Plans for 2013

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I have lists. Lots of lists. I even have them in different locations sometimes. Some of them are carefully written down in my notebook, others are typed into OneNote and I’ve been experimenting with Remember the Milk and Trello (Trello is winning). These lists include ideas for presentations, blogs, articles. Notes from sessions I’ve attended or meetings. Lots and lots of plans and ideas and all that sort of stuff. I try to keep it organized, but sometimes it runs away from me. However, I find writing things down helps me to keep things organized. Between very carefully scheduling out my calendar and all these notes, I only occasionally completely drop the ball.

One ball I dropped was coming up with some goals, some plans, for 2012. I just plowed through 2011 and then 2012 and here I am, two years an employee with Red Gate (and I’m sorry to say, terribly happy there, my apologies) and I’m not sure where I should be going. I don’t mean within the company. We’ve got lots going on there (more than I can keep up with). No, I mean career goals, work outside work, all the extra stuff.

I’m going to break these down into pure technical issues that I want to spend more time on and professional development. Let’s start with the easy stuff, technical.

First, HDInsight. I absolutely believe there’s something big possible with this technology. I could be utterly wrong (I sure thought SCOM had legs too, oops). But I’m going to keep slogging on this stuff til I get something of a more thorough understanding of it. I doubt I’ll be presenting on it except maybe for introductory sessions, and not even those for the next 3-6 months. But I’m going to get my mind wrapped around it and understand how it works. Maybe then I can better determine if it’s just a highly specialized impact wrench or a true paradigm shift.

Next up, more Azure. Go ahead, giggle. Microsoft keeps doing more and more stuff with it. You know you can store spatial data in Azure now? I didn’t either until earlier this week. I’m going to be presenting on how to do query tuning using Azure SQL Database tools. Actually, I’m thinking I’ll only use the online tools. Everything you need is there. You can access most of the Dynamic Management Objects (DMO) and you can read execution plans from queries there. I’ve got presentations already scheduled for this. I’m pretty excited about others that might be scheduled (LOTS of noise if those come to pass). I’m going to continue expanding my learning here.

As to professional/personal development, I’ve got something somewhat trivial I want to work on, and something that, frankly, scares me. I would also like to find a coach or coaches.

The trivial task is that I want to work on pumping up my slide decks. I’ve long simply used them as markers for my talks. Bullet points as reminders of the topics I want to make sure I cover. They somewhat act as a point for taking notes for the attendees, but they are excessively dull. I’m going to work with Mrs. Scary (a graphic artist, good at her job, freelance if you need some help and are willing to pay for it, get in touch) and punch up my presentations. I had about 12 or so different presentations last year. This year, I’m dropping that number down a little.

Scary. Really scary. No, not me. Me. I mean I’m scared, not scary. I’m scared because I’ve taken on the task of acting as a mentor to an actual human being. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find that extremely scary. I’ve got a level of responsibility that I’ve never had with putting up a blog post or even making a presentation. It’s as bad as writing a book (and if you think putting your name on a book isn’t scary, wait til you see your first bad review). But, I’m excited by it. This is something new and different. I’m really looking forward to it, and I think the person who approached me has a lot of potential. They’ll be great without my ever getting involved, so if I can take some of the credit, I win. Sorry, joke. I’m going to try to help someone who doesn’t need it, but will benefit from the help. Assuming I get it right… Scared again.

Coaches. Am I doing the marketing bits of my job right? I don’t know. I need some help in that area. Am I approaching learning HDInsight correctly? I could use a coach to talk with and get some guidance from. Maybe some suggestions on my slides (although my wife is going to supply a lot of that). Pro athletes do it. Good surgeon’s do it. They must know something. It’s an approach I want to try.

That’s it. I’ll be continuing things like working on books (yes, I’ve committed to writing one and editing one, so far), presentations, light consulting, and working for a fantastic organization. But these are the current plans for 2013.


  • Brandon Leach

    Look at a book called “Smarter, Faster, Cheaper” by David Siteman Garland. Its a great book on marketing. Might give you some new insights in that area. I can lend you copy next time we run into each other.

    Also congrats on becoming a mentor. We all have things we can teach other. And having someone provide guidance can increase one’s learning rate tremendously. Plus its pretty satisfying helping someone else grow.

  • Hey Brandon,

    Already read that book. In fact, I think I have a review of it here on the blog somewhere. That and some Seth Godin books and others, all help. But really, it’s a weird space and not at all straight-forward like tech geek stuff. A coach would help.

  • Thanks Hugo. Yeah, pacing is something I’m aiming for this year. I’ll be travelling about as much as last year, but I really don’t want to go through creating as many presentations as last year. Blech!

  • Grant,
    as far as the lists are concerned: as long as you keep clear segregation of your circle of concern and your circle of influence – you will be perfectly fine. I have plenty of scattered ideas, but each and every one belongs to a specific circle, and shifting is very tough. This way, I get most efficiency over time.
    When it comes to the Azure – it is a funny thing – I did some tests myself about a few weeks ago and discovered that it takes almost 1 second to establish a connection to it, and it takes about 400 concurrent connections to break it. And it takes more than 2 minutes to insert 100k rows… Very disappointing. I can’t wait for Azure to become a bit more useable, so I can take advantage.
    And when it comes to the mentoring: a quote comes to mind – “Having a kid gives a lot of opportunities to screw up someone’s life from scratch”. I think this was said either by John Stewart or some other comedian. It is a joke.
    But seriously – the mentoring is scary. In a way. But not that scary really – if you succeed – you take credit; if you fail – there is always someone else to blame. Heheheh. 🙂

    Good luck!

OK, fine, but what do you think?