Very excited to take part in my third #PGSQLPhriday blogging event, even more so because it’s a topic that’s quite near and dear to my heart, community. To say that I’m new to the PostgreSQL community isn’t simply an understatement. Other than some online stuff, I haven’t been anywhere near the PostgreSQL community. That’s not for a lack of trying (multiple sessions submitted to multiple events), but so far, still just doing the online thing. So, I don’t know that I’m fully qualified to discuss what, specifically, the PostgreSQL community means to me. Instead, let’s talk about why you want a vibrant and strong community. I’m going to start with my qualifications to discuss community (not that anyone, anywhere, needs qualifications to take part in community, man, I dislike gatekeeping).
Why I Love Discussing Community
I’ve been involved with the SQL Server community since my first PASS Summit in 2005 in Grapevine, Texas. I didn’t immediately jump into the community. Instead, I managed to score an invite to a private vendor party because we had been using their product. While there, I ran into some people who were clearly having a little more fun than the others. I started talking to them and found out that they were volunteering at the event. After enjoying a nice evening talking to people from all around the world, who knew each other and treated each other so kindly, I was hooked. I volunteered with the organization a couple of weeks after the event. To put it bluntly, it changed my life.
I started a local user group for SQL Server. I started writing articles. I got more engaged online. Yeah, I started this blog. I wrote, what was supposed to be a 60 page book on execution plans, which turned into 200+ pages and then 600+ ultimately. I started doing more and taking on more at work, increasing my standing in the organization and improving my pay. I wrote a book on query tuning. I became an MVP. I ultimately ran for the board of directors for the organization that ran the Summit, won that election and ended up as the President. I also got a fantastic job with Redgate Software.
All of that, directly thanks to my involvement with community.
The key to the success of the SQL Server community goes way back to the 1990s when Kevin Kline, along with a few other wonderful humans, started the Professional Association of SQL Server, PASS. At the time, they decided to set themselves apart from bigger organizations by simply being, in Kevin’s words, aggressively friendly. They were not just building an event, they were building a community. While the PASS organization is gone, PASS Data Community Summit continues. More than that, the community itself continues, and continues to be aggressively friendly.
So, why community? What’s the magic here?
Whoever is reading this at the moment, chances are high that I don’t personally know you and we’ve never met. Sure, you can send me an email, or respond to this blog post and I promise, I’ll respond. However, that’s not community.
Community are people that you meet, online or off, but off is better, talk to and start to actually know who they are. You may not become friends, although you may, but you’ll certainly be acquaintances. From there, you’ll start to understand what they know, what they’re good at. And, chances are, you may run into a problem, and you think, you know what, Steph would know the answer to this, so you reach out. She knows the answer and helps you out. Or the reverse happens, and you help her. That is community.
It’s the simple idea that a rising tide lifts all boats. Community is about being friendly, helpful and sharing with others, so that they’ll be the same with you, and you’ll all benefit from it. Simple.
Lifting Boats at PASS Summit
While I haven’t yet been to a PostgreSQL event so I can start to engage with what I can tell is a good, vibrant, helpful community, I’ve done something else. Since my organization now runs PASS Data Community Summit, and I have a little influence on topics at the event, I made darned sure we had some PostgreSQL content. I reached out to some people (one of whom, Ryan Booz, became a coworker) and asked them to please, please, please, submit PostgreSQL content to Summit. I also made sure I talked to those selecting content to make sure we had some PostgreSQL. In short, I was aggressively friendly to ensure that, as more and more people are dealing with more than one data platform, there was PostgreSQL content at my favorite event. I’d love to see more next year, so if you’re reading this, please consider this a personal invite, submit when the call for speakers goes out.
Thanks to Pat Wright for hosting this particular PGSQL Phriday. Funny enough, while Pat and I haven’t seen each other in years, he was one of the first people I met in the SQL Server community, and I think, but I might be wrong, at that party in Grapevine.
My strongest recommendation, please, get involved with the PostgreSQL community. My experiences so far indicate that they are a friendly, welcoming bunch. You won’t regret your involvement and you may be able to learn, do and be better at your job. Follow this link as a starting point.