2014 was a wonderful, challenging, exhausting, exciting year. I grew a lot as a person and as a BI professional. This blog grew in content and in popularity. I’d like to take a moment (and several paragraphs) to celebrate the great opportunities and great people who made my year special.
I gained more experience as a speaker/presenter in 2014 and marked a number of firsts in this part of my career. In addition, I got to travel and see many lovely places and meet good people.
- I tripled the number of speaking engagements in which I participated from the previous year as I spoke at 12 different conferences, user group meetings and virtual chapters.
- I gave my first presentation to a PASS local chapter in January at the Kansas City SQL Server user group.
- I presented my first webinar for the PASS BA VC.
- I spoke at my first paid conference at Mile High Tech Con in Denver.
- I created and delivered my first professional development talk.
- I created and delivered my first lightning talk.
- I created and delivered a presentation in Choose Your Own Adventure style!
- I attended and spoke at PASS Summit.
Along the way, I met several people who deserve some recognition for their efforts as event organizers, coordinators, and volunteers:
- I met Paras Doshi (t|b) at SQL Saturday #305 in Dallas, and he gave me the opportunity and encouragement to speak at the PASS BA Virtual Chapter. He gave a great presentation at SQL Saturday about How To Train Your Business Users To Create Their Own BI reports.
- Miguel Escobar (t|b) and Diana Betancourt(t) put on a successful inaugural SQL Saturday Panama. They were so friendly and welcoming. Miguel got on a Skype call before the event to make sure I had all the information I needed, and he provided recommendations of fun things to do while visiting. Diana Betancourt is congenial, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She was a great representative for Panama tourism (as a native with great travel tips), SQL Saturday (as a speaker and volunteer), and the PASS community (as a friendly face) at the event.
- Marc Beacom (t|b) organized the first Mile High Tech Con in Denver. He (and his team) went out of their way to make sure all of the speakers felt appreciated and comfortable throughout the conference. I hope I get to speak at MHTC next year! I also had some great conversations with him that I truly appreciate about BI and career topics.
- Lance Harra (t) helped us organize SQL Saturday Kansas City this year. He brought lots of great experience and ideas and helped us be better organized and less stressed. We couldn’t have done it (or at least wouldn’t have wanted to do it) without him! He also supported his fellow Kansas Citians by attending my presentation at PASS Summit. It was nice to have a friendly face in the room.
- SQL Saturday #332 (Minnesota) was the best organized SQL Saturday I’ve attended to date. They had plenty of volunteers and great support from sponsors. Congrats to Rick Krueger(t|b), Mike Donnelly (t) and the rest of the team.
I also had the opportunity to be in the audience to experience some impressive and inspiring presentations from other speakers:
- Doug Lane (t|b) is always creative and entertaining. His presentation of SQL Server Mystery Hour: Dead Reports Don’t Talk was engaging, informative, and charming.
- Joshua Fennesy (t|b) delivered an excellent lightning talk at PASS Summit that set a high standard for the rest of us.
- I finally got to see Mark Vaillancourt’s (t|b) presentation DANGER: The Art and Science of Presenting. It was funny and illuminating and immediately applicable. I went home and updated my PASS Summit presentation based on his helpful tips.
I made a goal to blog at least once a month in 2014. Although I didn’t get a blog post in exactly every month, I did end up with 12 blog posts by the end of the year. Other interesting statistics from my blog include:
- My blog is less than 2 years old and has been viewed over 14,000 times.
- The blog post with the most views in 2014 was Retrieving Lowest Level Hierarchy Members and Leaves in MDX.
- The most common search term (of those available) that led people to my blog was “ssrs 2014 visualization”.
- The most popular links from my blog to other resources go to Stephen Few’s Perceptual Edge.
In December, I joined BlueGranite, a business analytics consulting firm with an excellent reputation and many interesting projects and opportunities for a BI developer like me to enhance my skills. I’m still settling in, but I have to say that it is a pleasure to work with some of the nicest and most talented people I’ve ever met. My new career opportunity is due in large part to the PASS community. Many SQL People helped me make new connections, gave me great advice and encouragement, acted as a sounding board, listened to me vent my fears and frustrations during the job hunt and transition, and then celebrated my new opportunity with me. A few that stand out are David Klee, Bill Fellows, Tim Ford, John Morehouse, Marc Beacom, and Hope Foley. My former job and speaking experience prepared me well for this new opportunity, but networking in the SQL Community made it happen. I went to PASS Summit and told my friends and colleagues that I was interested in new opportunities. They gave me great leads and good contacts, and less than 3 weeks later I had a new job.
I’m taking Q1 off from speaking so I can rest up and settle into my new job. I probably won’t speak quite as much as I did last year, but I will definitely submit to speak at some SQL Saturdays and other conferences.
I plan to publish 18 blog posts this year. While most posts will be technical in nature, I’d like to write a couple posts about my experience as a virtual employee who works from home.
I’ve become a mentor to a college student who thinks he might be interested in BI and process improvement. I’d also like to get more involved with my local PASS chapter. And I’d still like to try to make a SQL BI Cruise happen.
I’m looking forward to new friends, colleagues, opportunities and adventures in 2015.