What Does #SQLFamily Mean to Me? #mememonday

Nov 7, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Fun, Professional Development, WIT  //  1 Comment

Microsoft This is Community Slide

This month’s Meme Monday assignment by Tom LaRock (@sqlrockstar | blog) is to write about the SQL Server community (#SQLFamily) and what it means to us. I’ve been blogging and Tweeting about my experiences as part of this community for a while and I sometimes get questions from those outside the SQL Server world about why I keep putting "SQL" in front of everything. It’s hard for me to explain because most of the time I don’t really mean SQL Server, but the SQL Server community people who have done so much for others and me.  There have been some amazing posts so far in this meme Monday. I’d love to see 100 blog posts about this topic.  Tell us what the #SQLFamily means to you.  If you don’t have a blog, this would be a great time to start one or you can send me your thoughts and I’ll guest blog them here.  Yes, there is still plenty of time.

I blogged recently about #SQLRun, a group of family members who ran the Portland Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k and raised a cloud of money for charities. This reminded me of one of my favourite quotes:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

The SQL Server community isn’t just about having people offer up spare rooms, parking spots, or sofas for when I travel, helping each other out, or agreeing to sign a legal document for each other. The strength in our community is that we are working together to make the world a better place, often about data and databases, but sometimes about helping people get back to work or helping out with serious real-life problems. We don’t always agree on some of the things we are each trying to change (nulls aren’t evil, really), but we fight them out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, then head to an after party, hangout, or SQLSaturday to show support for each other when it is needed.

I’ve seen many instances of #SQLFamily changing the world:

  • Like many IT organizations, PASS has a Women in IT chapter and program. I’m hoping the work we do there is making a difference in society, even if it causes only one person to go home and talk to their daughter about taking more math and science classes in school.
  • I’ve seen ad hoc groups of #SQLFamily people get together to volunteer locally, to collect supplies for the less advantaged and to raise money for charities. Not huge things, but something that makes a difference. I hope to see more that at future PASS events.
  • I have discussions and debates with other family members about balancing data quality with system performance, but that’s what the world needs. We need passionate people to figure out together the right balance.
  • I’m always happy to see people muster up a series of job interviews for SQL Family members who are looking for a new project.
  • I love the discussions about how to manage work-life balance, especially since this is a problem that impacts women staying in IT jobs.
  • I’m thrilled when I see personal offerings of encouragement, even when we don’t know what else to do.  In my #SQLRUN blog post I wrote about our Scream Team of real-life and virtual encouragers. There is a lesson there (and another blog post to come).
  • Thousands of community members spend time blogging wonderful information about what they know.  This sort of giving is something I don’t see as much of in other communities. Sadly, this is especially true in the data management professional community.

So many people blog on a regular basis, hoping to influence others to think harder about providing better data to the world. That touches me, even if it’s a post about data models, indexes, keys, normalization or virtualization. When someone takes the time to put their thoughts down in writing so that others can benefit, I see the power of this community. My tagline is "Love Your Data" because I want to influence the IT community to think beyond code and table structures. However, I need to be influenced just as much about the operational side of databases so that data can be available and reliably accessed. Having said that, some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned came from people in the community talking about collaboration, professional development, human dynamics and other "softer" subjects. All of this because virtually everyone in the community wants to make everyone else successful. That’s amazing stuff.

That’s when I realized we in the #SQLFamily aren’t just about databases. We are passionate about changing the world for the better.

That’s what #SQLFamily means to me.

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