Speaker of the Month, February 2014

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I didn’t get out to many events in January, so I was somewhat limited in the pool of presenters that I could choose from. Luckily for me, that pool primarily consisted of the entire Caribbean since I was on the SQL Cruise. There I got to see some of the best in the business doing serious teaching (and networking, and water slides, and rum, and beaches, and rum). I could easily cop out, cheat, and name the Cruise as speaker of the month, but I have not yet sunk that low (plus, the rum is gone). Every speaker I saw was great too. Tim Ford doesn’t let just anyone present in his watery venue. So, I could pick from any of them and be 100% right. But, I had to select someone. My Speaker of the Month for February 2014 is Andrew Kelly (b|t).

Andy gave a couple of sessions on the cruise, but the one I enjoyed most was called Demystifying Performance Monitoring. It’s an awesome session. Andy shares a ton of great information, scripts, guidelines, best practices. I think some of the best parts were right at the start where he talked about some very important points when it comes to monitoring. Too much information is overwhelming, but too little leads to bad assumptions. Experience is the best teacher. You need to determine what your goals are going to be up front. And finally, you should just use a 3rd party tool for monitoring. It’s entirely possible to build your own monitoring suite, but that’s time and effort you should be spending elsewhere. Take advantage of the fact that someone else has done all the work for you. All totally excellent advice.

Andy’s delivery is dry and direct. He explains things extremely clearly. He dealt with questions throughout the session in a smooth manner, deferring or redirecting where they might take the discussion too far off track. It’s not at all shocking since Andy has been presenting at venues around the world for more than 10 years. He knows what he’s doing and it shows. His slides are very clear and where he uses graphics, they add to the information being presented. It was an awesome session.

The only feedback that I could give Andy would be around timing. He had too much material (which is extremely preferable to too little), but I didn’t feel like we were skipping over stuff in a timely fashion. It seemed a little rushed. So maybe shortening a little on some of the topics at the beginning (but not the lead-in, that was too good) in order to more smoothly cover the stuff at the end.

It was a great session, extremely well delivered. The people on the cruise were very attentive and I’m pretty sure most people in the room learned a little something. I did. I’m not sure where Andy is speaking next. I couldn’t see anything posted anywhere (I’m going to stop posting this part, no one seems to want people to find out where they’re speaking). If you see him on the schedule for an event you’re attending, I strongly suggest going to his session (unless it conflicts with mine).

OK, fine, but what do you think?