Getting better over time

July 10, 2013

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Bradley Ball (@sqlballs), and he wants us to write about a proper balls-up. He wants us to think it’s an opportunity for a Second Chance, to see things as an opportunity to write about how we learned and did better when we had a second chance.TSQL2sDay150x150

I thought hard about this. I know I could write about times when I’ve done something badly – there are projects, jobs, university assignments, that I would happily redo – but I also know that I could list almost anything I’ve done in that category. Not that everything in my past is bad, but compared to the way I do things now, perhaps ‘not as good’. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but over time we continue to hone our skills and, I’d like to think, we make improvements in the ways we do things.

The thing I want to consider in this post is my blog. For the past 3.5 years I’ve been blogging here at Before that, I was at for about three years, and had spent a year or so at blogspot, reaching back to 2005. I even did four posts over at Despite the fact that there are a number of posts I still find useful and that get complimented by people as knowledgeable as Paul White, I still cringe a lot when I look at old posts (and not just because the images seem to have been lost from my blogspot posts). There are things that I did out of ignorance (such as when I used scalar functions), and things that I know I could have explained better now. If I compare the stuff I write even now compared to content by better bloggers than me, those people (like Paul) who write posts I could only dream of putting together, it makes me realise my blog is pointless. When I look at the old stuff… cringing is an understatement!

By all rights, I should remove all that old content. I feel like it must simply be there to misinform the masses. You know the masses – that would be all those people that might want to read about a fix() function in T-SQL, or about… actually, no, I can’t see anything from my old blogspot site that’s useful at all – okay, maybe the thing about using row_number() to avoid duplicates, but I clearly didn’t get my MVP status because of blogging… Yeah, those masses of people. Ha. Does something have mass if it’s zero?

Over time, I would like to rework some of my old posts into new ones. For example – I would like to redo my Covering Schmuvvering post using trace flag 9130 to demonstrate some more about what’s going on. But even reworking posts doesn’t mean I should necessarily remove the old ones.

I think mainly, I leave that old content there because it shows part of my journey. I imagine it won’t be long before I’ll look back at some of my recent posts and shake my head about what’s in there. When people like Jef Verheul write tweets suggesting I can’t write rubbish, I have plenty to point them at (including this one, I think!).

If you’re thinking about whether it’s worth writing blog posts or not – just do it. Even if you write absolute rubbish, that’ll just mean you have posts that are at a similar level to what I’ve written – and still write!


Note: This is the same whatever you’re doing, not just blogging. I’m sure everyone in the world can write queries better than earlier versions of me, do BI projects better than earlier versions of me, present better than earlier versions of me, etc, etc, etc. (And of course, plenty of you can do these things better than current versions of me too!)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bradley Ball (@SQLBalls)

    Hi Rob, Thank you so much for contributing :).  I still think you’re darn near perfect.
    I can only imagine what I’ll think of my blog posts over the next couple years, I’ve got some note books and flash cards that I put together to quiz myself on SQL over the years.  Occasionally I find one from long ago and think "Wow SQL works nothing like that, I can’t believe I wrote that"  As long as week keep moving forward the best is always yet to come!

  2. Chris Yates

    You’re second to none Rob, thanks for all you do.

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