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Professional Development Blog

Recording of the Swiss Army Knife of DB Pros

The recording of August’s broadcast entitled Being the Swiss Army Knife of DB Pros by K. Brian Kelley is now available.

Book Review: The Last Lecture

Partially due to the ease of carrying hundreds or thousands of books around with you easily today (Thank you Amazon for the Kindle!), I am reading more non-technical books. I recently read “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. You may have heard about this lecture, available on

Many college professors give a “last lecture” based on what they would like to say if it was actually the last lecture they would ever give. Randy was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University when he learned that he had just months to live. He decided to give a last lecture, in part to leave a legacy for his three young children.

His lecture was based on how he had achieved his childhood dreams and enabled the childhood dreams of others. He claims some pretty specific and far-reaching dreams, such as working for Disney Imagineering and experiencing weightlessness. He encountered many of what he termed “brick walls” along the way to achieving these dreams, but, because of networking and perseverance he managed to meet most of his goals.

Professor Pausch was a pioneer in virtual reality technology and one of the developers of the Alice programming software. It was important to him that investments in Alice continue after his death so that he would continue to make a difference long after he was gone.

Of course, I while reading I had to think back at what my childhood dreams were. There were some silly things like marrying Davie Jones, but I also wanted to be a teacher and to write a book someday. One of the big stars when I was a kid was Cher. I dreamed about singing.

Unlike Randy, I forgot about my dreams for many years. Eventually, I just fell back into them. I wrote a book in 2009. I have taught at the college level and also teach training classes for Pragmatic Works. If you know me well, you probably know I love to sing and was the person who originally introduced the SQL community to Karaoke. I developed a new dream as an adult, to be a programmer, and let nothing stand in my way to achieving that goal in 1997. It’s also always been important to me to make a positive difference in the world. As “Aunt Kathi” to SQL Server professionals all over the world, I believe I have done that.

“The Last Lecture” is a great read with lots of good advice about managing time and focusing on what is important. I think that the overall lesson is to have fun no matter what you do. Even when he had just months to live, he was determined to have fun until the end.

Another thing that struck me was Randy’s stories about his childhood. His family was very focused on education and providing great experiences for their children. I noticed the same theme when reading the memoir of Steve Wozniak. Both of these men were innately brilliant, but their parents helped create the spark.

Many of us SQL Server professional work long and odd hours. We need to make sure that we get away from computers once in a while, spend time with our kids, and, well, just have some fun. Be sure to take a look at the lecture or read the book if you need a bit of inspiration.

Recording of ‘Communicating Up’ Now Available

The recording of today’s Professional Development presentation by Kevin Kline on the subject of Communicating Up is now available for streaming or download.

Book review: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a couple of SQL Server 2012 launch events. The attendees at the launch events were asked to fill out an evaluation form from Microsoft, with many marketing questions and just a few rating the presentations. Most of the ratings were high, 8 or 9 out of 9, but a handful were in the 5 to 7 range. Of course, the folks giving me the medium ratings did not leave any comments on what they would have wanted me to do differently. The woman from Microsoft that I was traveling with suggested that I read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo as a good way to improve my presentation skills. I purchased the book on Kindle and read it last weekend. I would like to share my impression of the book with you.

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An Interview with Linchpin People Founder, Andy Leonard

I recently spent some time with MVP Andy Leonard (Twitter: @andyleonard Blog: Along with Brian Moran, he founded Linchpin People. I wanted to learn just what Linchpin Poeple was all about.

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Recording of Don Gabor Networking Skills Presentation Available

The recording of Don Gabor’s presentation for the Professional Development Virtual Chapter, entitled Networking to Build Your Professional Contacts is now available online and will remain available for the next 365 days.

Next month’s presentation by Joe Webb will be on March 10 at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST and will be on the topic of How to Conduct Effective Meetings. More details are available at our web site:

2012 Starting Schedule

In 2012, the Professional Development Virtual Chapter will be standardizing its meeting day to the 2nd Wednesday of the month, at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern US Time.  There was no meeting in January.

The upcoming schedule looks like this:

February 8:  Don Gabor presenting on Networking to Build Your Professional Contacts (click to attend)

March 14:  Joe Webb presenting on How to Conduct an Effective Meeting (click to attend)

Keep an eye on our web site ( for additional details as they become available.

Interview with Donald Wert

I met Donald Wert at the 2012 PASS Summit. I spent some time learning what he thought about the Summit and the SQL Server Community.

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Paul Randal on the Record

Today’s presentation by Paul Randal, entitled The Most Import Consulting Skill was recorded and that recording is now available on demand.  Click here for the recording.

Summit First Timer Follow Up

Matt Slocum (blog: Twitter: @SlocumMatt) attended the PASS Summit for the first time in 2011. In order to help newcomers feel more welcome and engaged, PASS created the First Timers program. I volunteered as a “Big Sister” or, in my case, “Aunt” this year. Matt was one of my “nephews,” and I interviewed him about the First Timers program before the Summit. Matt had some high expectations about the Summit, and I was wondering if those expectations were met.

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Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

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