Ramblings of a SQL Hillbilly

Or, the mad ravings of a data warehouse forklift operator

Accidents - Happy and Otherwise

I have been blessed throughout my life by an abundance of good fortune. You might call it serendipity – a series of happy accidents, all leading me to my current position. This is not to discount my natural talent nor my hard work, but I do admit that it all seems a little strange looking back. Perhaps I’m too quick to forget my failures, or at least the ones that didn’t direct me to where I am now.

A short history of how I got where I am would of course include a retelling of taking Computer Science 101 because I thought Intro to Computing would bore the life out of me. It would also include how I accidentally became the dialog editor of an open-source game because I was the first contributor who spoke English natively, and how that lead me to be a Google Summer of Code mentor for the same project. And it would of course include how I accidentally got into the SQL Server and Data Warehousing worlds when the internship I thought I was applying for lead me to the internship in the Data Warehouse.

I suppose I should be more careful using the term “accident” (and I know I should be more careful using the term “We” but that’s a different chat.) It kind of has a connotation in my mind of just falling into events and places Mr. Bean-style. I’m really not oblivious, perhaps I’m just happier with the idea that I’m not completely in control.

Either way, some of my happiest accidents yet happened last week, at the PASS Summit. There, I met some people who challenged my preconceptions of what a community can be. Special thanks go out to Mickey Stuewe and Allen Kinsel for their support in not only making me feel welcome, but in introducing me around to others in the community until I felt comfortable enough to begin introducing myself. I also met some people who surprised me by their depth of knowledge and speed of thought – I want to point out Rob Farley in particular here, who I look forward to misunderstanding for many years to come. I also had the opportunity to speak to such fine folks as Merrill Aldrich, Stuart Miller, and Andy Yun who helped me to understand that others faced many of the same challenges as I face every day – I’m not alone. I had the chance to talk to great consultants like David Stein, Bill Fellows, Tim Radney, Brent Ozar, Kendra Little, and Jes Borland, who really solidified in my mind that there are short-term contractors out there who really do care to see clients learn, grow, and succeed – as it turns out, they’re not all the bargain-basement quality “consultants” I’m used to dealing with at all. And finally, special thanks goes out to folks like Gail Shaw, who made it clear that the heroes of the SQL Server world are not all highly driven, self-seeking individuals, but instead regular folk who get kind of embarassed when mobbed by adoring fans.

Unfortunately, into each life a little rain must fall, and not all accidents are happy. If I’ve introduced myself to you or been introduced to you, you’ll know that I go by JK. These are my first and middle initials, and I chose this nickname because of a collision between my first and last name with someone else where I work, as well as a collision between my first name and that of another member of my team. I’m not trying to hide my identity, it just started as a way to minimize confusion (indeed, JK is a nickname my mother developed for me in college when she hired another person with my first name.) I was a bit stunned this week to discover that I had recently been confused with a local registered sex offender who shares my real first and last name, but not my middle name or initial. Let me make this clear – I am not a child molester. The idea makes me sick. And anyone who suggests that I am is confused or mislead.

And now, back to your normally scheduled nonsense.