Speaker of the Month, December 2013

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This will be my fifth speaker of the month post. Do a search to see the others.

I try to find speakers that people may not have heard of who are out there, working hard, doing a good job. But, sometimes, I’m going to see a presentation by someone who is a community speaker, and… well, it just might stand out so much that I don’t have a choice but to award them (remember, my contest, my rules, and the rules are utterly arbitrary). The speaker of the month is Ami Levin (b|t).

The session I attended at SQL Saturday Dallas was called Physical Join Operators. It was all about hash match, loop and merge joins. Stop yawning. I’m into that sort of thing. What I expected was, hopefully, an interesting talk on join operators. What I got was a very interesting talk on join operators AND a course in how to do awesome presentations. Ami had a very measured, slow, clear delivery. He was awesome to listen to. You could see the audience lean in just a little to hear him. Not because he was too quiet, but because he spoke just loudly enough. It worked well. And he had props. He pulls out two decks of over-sized playing cards, one blue and one red, and proceeds to use these cards to illustrate the concepts of join operations in a way that made it perfectly clear to everyone in the room. And he didn’t stop there. No. He also had a series of demos for every join operator that also clearly showed how the operators behaved, when they were helpful and when they were harmful. It was simply a fantastic presentation.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing is perfect. Ami ran out of time. So he had to curtail a couple of demos on the merge operator. So maybe one less on the loop join and hash match. Or speak a little faster. Or… not sure, but you could tell that everyone was a little disappointed that the session was over (and that’s not a bad thing, but I hate not getting all the information out). The other thing I found a little shocking was when he said to ALWAYS index the foreign keys on a table. Now, he backed up his statement quite ably, but I’m just hesitant to suggest it’s always a good idea. Maybe, mostly, or almost always, or the majority of cases would work better.

It was a great presentation. Very good information, well presented, illustrated through the use of props and excellent T-SQL. It’s the kind of presentation that I aspire to frankly. I can heartily recommend that you attend Ami’s sessions. You will learn something. Ami isn’t on Lanyrd (have I not told you people?), so I don’t know where he’s speaking next. I see he has submitted for SQL Saturday Cleveland. I’m submitting there too. If I get accepted, I expect to see you in Ami’s class with me (because yes, I’m going to attend more of his talks, the man is good).

OK, fine, but what do you think?