Positives from 2019

December 10, 2019

As I reflect on 2019 from a tech-community perspective, I see a few things of special note. Some I didn’t necessarily see coming, but certainly things that made me smile.

A few years ago now, Denny Cherry started the Speaker Idol events at the PASS Summit. It wasn’t a new concept – Richard Campbell asked me to be part of a Speaker Idol event at TechEd North America 2009 (I wasn’t eligible though, as I’d already spoken at a few TechEd Australia events, and suggested they ask a different Adelaidean, who won the whole thing!), and it had already been going for a while before that. So I knew that this was a great pathway into speaking, and I happily encouraged people towards it and coached anyone who asked. Last year that included my friend and former employee Heidi Hasting, who reached the final, and 2019 has seen her presenting career really flourish, and she has spoken at numerous SQL Saturday events, Difinity, and even the PASS Summit. I’m stoked! And at PASS’ Speaker Idol this year, my friend Deborah Melkin won the whole thing! I had the pleasure of spending time with Deb at the PASS Summit a few years ago, and we have talked a lot about presenting since then. It’s brilliant to see her step up. There’s a whole generation coming through, and it definitely feels like a gift to me to see it happening.

Of course one of the biggest names to come through in the data community in recent years is Hamish Watson. We’ve been good friends for a while now, and I love this guy to bits. Seeing his journey has been an honour, as his heart is reflected by the work he does for those around him. He has no selfish ambition. He’s entirely about seeing other people become stronger, and this is demonstrated in the work he has done in the Muslim community after the Christchurch attacks earlier in the year, and in his mission to MakeStuffGo. I was one of several people who nominated him for the PASSion award, and it was very cool to see him win it. His getting that award was definitely a highlight for me.

On a personal note, my journey has been a little more interesting this year, with a few notable differences. I had delivered my first keynote at the first Difinity conference, back in 2017, and done another keynote in 2018 in Perth. In 2019 I managed to get a spot doing a paid keynote, at the SMBiT national conference, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d like to do more keynote speaking – there’s something about inspirational speaking that’s just amazing, and if I can get paid gigs to do that, it’s obviously so much easier. I also got to speak at SQLDay in Poland and at Ignite US (my first American TechEd/Ignite), which both gave me the chance to see old friends and get to know people from the community that I now consider friends. So this felt like a gift too.

There are other things I could talk about. I could talk about my health journey this year and the positives I can take from it. I could talk about the LobsterPot Solutions story and how it’s developed this year and how Kelly is shining in her leadership role while still providing technical leadership to customers. I could talk about my amazing kids and what they’ve achieved…

I just love seeing people do better. Even though I’m not always the best person to help them, it’s been good to see people develop this past year, and not just the ones I’ve listed here, but others too. It makes me look forward to what 2020 might hold, and what we can all achieve.

(Thanks to Mala for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday)

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