I was lucky enough to be one of the people selected to attend FreeCon 2015 from PASS Summit and the experience was a very enlightening one that really challenged me with how I should move forward in my career. Brent Ozar and Kendra Little did an amazing job putting this together and gathering a group of people who were all engaged, passionate about SQL Server and who were happy to share their experiences to help the group. Because of this, I wanted to share a few of the key things that the FreeCon did for me.
- Encouraged me to consider how I would want to brand myself within the SQL community. A huge part of the FreeCon included thought-provoking discussion about the types of words that you feel describe you and the types of words that you feel make you stand out. These are things that had never really occurred to me to even consider in the past and it was challenging to come up with words that made sense for me. Being surrounded by SQL MVP’s, some of the more active members of the SQL community and some of the best minds in the SQL Server world really made that a challenge for me. And frankly, it was humbling and a big part of why I chose to go with the humblesql name.
- Encouraged me to start blogging. In the group discussions, one of the big things pointed out numerous times was the idea that there are already so many fantastic SQL bloggers. However, in that same discussion nearly all of them said that we all have something to offer that community. This was very encouraging to me, and frankly it made sense. I can not ever recall going to a SQL Server session or reading a blog from one of the many excellent SQL bloggers, where at the end I felt that I had gotten nothing. There are obviously times when you get the life-changing experience and there are times where you just pull a nugget of information from information where you are already very well informed, but in all cases I feel like if I go into it with the right frame of mind that I will learn something new. And if that is true, then there is no good reason why I should not blog as well, and potentially add a small amount of value to someone else. So here we are.
- Time management! The last point that I really want to discuss that I learned from the FreeCon was how to manage my time wisely. One of the suggestions for those looking to blog or looking to speak or looking to be active in the SQL community (or any community really) was to make it a priority. Brent gave a number of guidelines for how long it takes to build certain kinds of blogs, how long it takes to build certain types of sessions, etc…but the thing that stuck out the most was the concept of making it part of your calendar. If you really do want to blog, set aside time to get that done on a weekly basis. I am still in the process of making this work for myself, and there are struggles for me, but I feel like in just these first few weeks I have learned a great deal and hopefully am getting better.
For those who get the chance to attend one of these in the future, I highly recommend it. For those of you that were there and shared this experience, I would love to know what your key takeaways were.