Standing upon the shoulders of Giants

In the very late nineties and early naughties I used to co-habit the Microsoft Newsgroups (which was then located at news.microsoft.com over the NNTP protocol), and in particular I posted primarily on the SQL Server forums to help others where I could. A by product of my helping out was of course learning lots of hints, tips and best practices from other users and there is a lesson in that for everybody.

Also co-habiting those newsgroups at the time were many individuals who I considered “expert” and some of these had already been recognised by Microsoft by the MVP program and many others would go onto become MVPs. Those professionals would be almost religiously present on the newsgroups, selflessly helping others improve their SQL Server skills and troubleshooting problems currently being experienced.

It was through my participation in those Newsgroups that I formulated a huge respect from afar for many of those people and I guess you could say that they became well known names to me in the same way that Joe Montana would be if you were an American Football fan.

Fast forward around 12 years or so. Last Thursday I attended the SQL Herts User Group (my second time there). Quite incredibly out of a collection of around ten people or so present, at least 5 of them were previous SQLBits speakers and of these, two are currently serving MVPs. Therefore should you wish to be part of a SQL Server User Group that is “in the know” then this is the user group for you. Speaking on StreamInsight was one of the “SQL Giants” that I refer to. Allan Mitchell has been helping the SQL Community for as long as I remember and does so with as little fuss and self-publicity as he is allowed to get away with and does so simply because of his love of the technology and willingness to help others. He is one of a very small number of people that I consider to be a heavyweight on SQL Server technologies and has my immense admiration and respect. I am also aware that Allan spends a huge amount of his own spare time helping out behind the scenes of the SQL Community and expects nothing in return so thanks Allan, you are truly deserving of your MVP title!

I would also like to recognise many of the other people that were active on the Newsgroups at that time. They helped shape my outlook towards helping others and I only hope I can succeed in improving and increasing my efforts. The following list contains several people who are instantly recognisable to anyone in the SQL Server Community and a few who are probably a little less known but nether-the-less just as important to my own personal development. Apologies to anyone that I will have missed in this list because I know there are many, but I am pulling names from memories of around 10 years or so ago and I am (as always) fallible!

So a huge thank you to :-

  • Allan Mitchell
  • Neil Pike
  • Narayana Vyas Kondreddi
  • Jasper Smith
  • Kalen Delaney
  • Aaron Bertand
  • Kimberly L. Tripp
  • Tibor Karaszi
  • Andrew J. Kelly
  • Christian Bolton
  • Uri Dimant
  • Mark Allison

…and to all of those of you who have helped shape our fantastic community of SQL Server professionals. I wouldn’t be half as good as I am without your help, and continue to improve with it.

I should make sure that I also recognise the SQLBits Committee who work studiously behind the scenes, giving up vasts amounts of time to ensure that they deliver great events time after time. I owe a lot to the SQLBits Committee and thank them all without exception or reservation. Without them, the UK SQL Server Community would still be in its infancy.

We are currently in very exciting times and social media has revolutionised our Professional Social Networks. It has not only made it possible to become “friends” with leading experts in your field, but most importantly empowered you to demonstrate what you can do. The SQL Server Community is for me at one of the most exciting points it has ever been and looking back ten years ago, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be chatting in the same room with Allan Mitchell or meeting or befriending many of the other “illuminati” that you will read about in the pages of my blog.

I truly feel as though I am standing upon the shoulders of Giants.

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6 Responses to Standing upon the shoulders of Giants

  1. Jen Stirrup says:

    I second this… +1 from me.
    In the UK, we are very lucky to have technical heavyweights like Allan and Christian who freely provide help to the community, as well have providing the MS Product teams with real insights into the improvement and enhancement of Microsoft products.
    They are truly special and deserve praise even though they do not actively seek any recognition for their efforts – for me, the epitome of ‘community-centred spirit’.
    Yes, a big ‘Thank You’ from me too! 100%.

  2. Christian Bolton says:

    Wow, thank you both. I’m chuffed to be on your list Mark and slightly taken aback to be considered a technical heavyweight Jen!

  3. Honoured to be thought of in this way. Thanks for taking the time to write this Mark.

  4. Judith Kinsella says:

    A fantastic post Mark – I know I risk sounding sycophantic, but I doff my cap to you all (including you!). The level of knowledge and experience of the people I have had the pleasure to meet up with at events is astounding, and the sharing of that knowledge within the general community is second to none – Thank you.

    • retracement says:

      Thanks Judith, really appreciate that comment (however misguided!), and so pleased to have got to know you. Hoping to thrash you at Pool and drink lots of beer with you again sometime 🙂

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