LobsterPot staff are influential, outstanding and valuable

The title of the post says it all, but let me explain why…

It’s not news that LobsterPot has three SQL Server MVPs on staff. Ted received his fifth award earlier in the year, and this month saw Julie get her second award and a ninth for me.

But not only that, Julie was recognised as one of Nine Influential Women by Solutions Review magazine, and Martin received an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the PASS organisation. Ted and Julie have both received this award in the past, and former employee Roger Noble also received this award while he was working for us. It’s all further evidence that LobsterPot staff really are very special.


Heroes of SQL

Every story has heroes. Some heroes distinguish themselves by their superpowers; others by extraordinary bravery or compassion; some are simply heroes because of what they do in their jobs.

We picture the men and women who work in the emergency departments of hospitals, soldiers who go back into the line of fire to rescue their colleagues, and of course, those who have been bitten by radioactive spiders.

We don’t tend picture people who work with databases.

But let me explain something – at the PASS Summit next month, you will come across a large number of heroes. The people who are presenting show extraordinary bravery to stand up in front of a room full of people who want to learn and who will write some of the nastiest things about them in evaluation forms. The members of the SQL Server Product Group (who you can see at the SQL Clinic) from Microsoft have incredible information about how SQL Server works on the inside. And then you have people like Paul White, Jon Kehayias and Ted Krueger, who have obviously spent too much time around arachnids with short half-lives.

The amazing thing about the SQL Server community is their willingness to be heroes – not only by stepping up at conferences, but in helping people with their every day problems. It’s one thing to be a hero to help those in your workplace, by making sure that backups are performed, and that your databases are checked for corruption regularly, but people in the SQL Server community help people they don’t know on forums, they write blogs posts, and they attend (and organise) SQL Saturdays and other events so that they can sit and talk to strangers.

The PASS Summit is the biggest gathering of SQL professionals in the world each year. So come along and see why people in the SQL community are different.TSQL2sDay150x150

They’re heroes.


PS: Thanks to another SQL Hero, Tracy McKibben (@realsqlguy), for his effort in hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday.

Less than a month away…

The PASS Summit for 2014 is nearly upon us, and the MVP Summit is immediately prior, in the same week and the same city. This is my first MVP Summit since early 2008. I’ve been invited every year, but I simply haven’t prioritised it. I’ve been awarded MVP status every year since 2006 (just received my ninth award), but in 2009 and 2010 I attended SQLBits in the UK, and have been to every PASS Summit since then. This year, it’s great that I get to do both Summits in the same trip, but if I get to choose just one, then it’s an easy decision.

So let me tell you why the PASS Summit is the bigger priority for me.

Number of people

Actually, the PASS Summit isn’t that much larger than the MVP Summit, but the MVP Summit has thousands of non-SQL MVPs, and only a few hundred in the SQL space. Because of this, the ‘average conversation with a stranger’ is very different. While it can be fascinating to meet someone who is an MVP for File System Storage, the PASS Summit has me surrounded by people who do what I do, and it makes for more better conversations as I learn about who people are and what they do.

Access to Microsoft

The NDA content that MVPs learn at the MVP Summit is good, but the PASS Summit will have content about every-SQL-thing you ever want. The same Microsoft people who present at the MVP Summit are also at the PASS Summit, and dedicate time to the SQL Clinic, which means that you can spend even more time working through ideas and problems with them. You don’t get this at the MVP Summit.


Obviously not everyone can go to the MVP Summit, as it’s a privilege that comes as part of the MVP award each year (although it’s hardly ‘free’ when you have to fly there from Australia). While it may seem like an exclusive event is going to be, well, exclusive, most MVPs are all about the wider community, and thrive on being around non-MVPs. There are less than 400 SQL MVPs around the world, and ten times that number of SQL experts at the Summit. While some of the top experts might be MVPs, a lot of them are not, and the PASS Summit is a chance to meet those people each year.

Content from the best

The MVP Summit has presentations from people who work on the product. At my first MVP Summit, this was a huge deal. And it’s still good to hear what these guys are thinking, under NDA, when they can actually go into detail that they know won’t leave the room. But you don’t get to hear from Paul White at the MVP Summit, or Erin Stellato, or Julie Koesmarno, or any of the other non-Microsoft presenters. The PASS Summit gives the best of both worlds.

I’m really looking forward to the MVP Summit. I’ve missed the last six, and it’s been too long. MVP Summits were when I met some of my oldest SQL friends, such as Kalen Delaney, Adam Machanic, Simon Sabin, Paul & Kimberly, and Jamie Thomson. The opportunities are excellent. But the PASS Summit is what the community is about.

MVPs are MVPs because of the community – and that’s what the PASS Summit is about. That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most.