We all start somewhere and if you can find a mentor who will help you on your way by pointing you in a direction you had not considered, you are a lucky person indeed.  This episode I chat some fellow podcasters about their experience with mentors and the characteristics we think good mentors have.

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. -Oscar Wilde

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.  -Paulo Coelho

Experience is what you got by not having it when you need it. -Author Unknown

[A mentor and mentee] is the third most powerful relationship for influencing human behavior (after the family and couple relationships ) if it is working. -Richard E. Caruso, PhD

Part of the reason I have the podcast is to help bring to light some thoughts and ideas you may not have considered.  I hope this continues with today’s episode.  I hope you check it out.

Transcription: The Role of Mentors

Due to the number we had in our group, the transcription may not attribute the dialog to the correct person 100% of the time.

Carlos L. Chacon: This is a SQL Data Partners podcast. My name is Carlos L. Chacon, your host, and this is episode 20. Today we are going to be talking about mentoring.

At the past seminar, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some other podcasters. I wanted to do a group session together. I thought it would be interesting to get some different perspectives.

We got together and started talking about mentoring, some of the people that we relied on as we started in our careers, how they affected us, what we might be looking for in mentors, how that search continues, and how mentors change and develop over time.

Due to the length of the initial recording, we actually recorded for about an hour. I trimmed that down a little bit. There is some slight jumping, but I hope that’s not too annoying. It shouldn’t be a problem, but I apologize if I didn’t get it quite right. With that let’s get into it. Compañeros, welcome to the show.

Children: SQL Data Partners.[music]

Guy Glantser: My name is Guy Glantser, I’m from Israel. I’m the founder and CEO of Madeira. We provide data solutions around Microsoft Technologies and others as well. I also host the SQL Server radio show together with Matan Yungman. Matan Yungman.[laughter]

Matan Yungman: I host the SQL Server Radio show with Guy Glantser. I am the CTO of Madeira. Just like Guy said, working around the data on SQL Server and other platforms also. Having tons of fun on SQL Server radio. We sometimes talk to each other, we sometimes talk to other guests, and generally have lots of fun.

Carlos: Very good, and you’re on sqlserverradio.com.

Matan: Yeah, that’s right.

Richie Rump: My name is Richie Rump. On Twitter I am @Jorriss, J-O-R-R-I-S-S because nobody knows how to spell it.[laughter]

Matan: I still don’t know how to spell.

Richie: I know right.[laughter]

Matan: Even you said it now, I still don’t know how to spell it.

Carlos: Slow that section down.[laughter]

Richie: When we get the recording, I will give it to you and then you can have it.[laughter]

Richie: I am the co-host from Away From The Keyboard. We are a podcast that talks to technologists, not about technology. We get the insides behind their story of how they learned how they grew how they became famous or not so famous.

Chris Bell: I am Chris Bell, I’m wondering why I am here. I started a podcast a little while ago on my own site just to get ideas out and thoughts. Some interviews to get to know people better. Other times just to talk about weird stuff, like my lawn mower blowing up and how to think like a manager to deal with it. Which was kind of fun.

Matan: It sounds more interesting then.

Chris: It sounds more interesting than it is. We’ll put it that way, right? How you get to be a speaker, you write a really good abstract and you get in and you’re just like, “Oh.”

Carlos: Chris, your podcast is called?

Chris: WOxPod.

Carlos: It is at?

Chris: It is at wateroxconsulting.com/podcasts/ all the different series in there.

Carlos: I’m Carlos Chacon. I’m the host of the SQL Data Partner’s podcast. We’re a little bit more boring and we just focus mostly on SQL Server. One of the things we’re doing here, we’re at Summit this year, the PASS Summit, trying to learn, connect, and share.

Chris: Have fun as well.

Carlos: Is PASS answering this that you have to use their tagline?

Chris: I would say, “Yes,” but unless they give you any money then it’s “No.”

Speaker: [crosstalk] .

Carlos: Then cut it out.

Chris: Or you say, “Yes”, and if you don’t get the money then you cut that section out.

Carlos: It’s a great tagline though; I’m not going to lie about that.

Richie: Fantastic.

Guy: Carlos is going to go with, “No comment.”

Chris: Suddenly, dead air.

Carlos: Since we’re here, we’ve talked about getting together, right? Talking a little about some of the things we’re doing in the community, our podcasts are one. Then the role of mentors helping us along the way. We’ve all started from kind of staring and screaming at the screen because we can’t quite get things to work.

Matan: I still do that. Is it just me?

Chris: Job requirement. It is actually just there, other duties as assigned.

Guy: Now through mentor powers the screen changes magically in the words.

Matan: Of course.

Carlos: Normally if I spend a little bit of time and I can’t figure it out, I’m calling somebody. Who can I call? I have a few more tools in my tool kit now.

Guy: Absolutely.

Carlos: We wanted to talk a little bit about mentorship, mentoring and who’s helped us along the way and the ways in which they have done that. I want to get your thoughts on mentorship.

Guy: Well, I can think of several mentors but there’s one that’s really is the best for me. It’s Itzik Ben-Gan. Itzik Ben-Gan is the one I learned a lot from. I started my career I think ’97. I went to a course at one of local colleges in Israel, Itzik was the teacher.It was a wonderful experience for me. I was just learning SQL, so I was looking how Itzik teaches, how he transfers the knowledge and shares everything. Not only the way he did it but also during the breaks or during the exercises, he was going to his email and it’s all connected to the big screen so we can see everything.

Go to email and he goes through the questions that he gets from people. He goes to forums and he answers those people. He’s always working with other people, connecting, sharing, learning. I think he invented this back then and I say, “Wow, I want to be like Itzik, I want to be like that guy.”

This is where we started. I went to another class and I started to go to forums.

Carlos: How did you develop your relationship with Itzik?

Guy: After the course?

Carlos: Through the course or through that mentoring process, did you go up to him and say, “Hey. I want you to be my mentor.” Or, “Can we…”

Guy: Initially, I went to another course, and I made sure that itzik is the teacher.[laughter]

Chris: He’s saying he bought his way into it.

Guy: Yeah.[laughter]

Guy: Sort of. We started to be in touch. Itzik started the Israeli chapter, the Israeli SQL Server User Group, more or less same time, ’99, I think.I started to go to meetings and meet him there. We started to collaborate. One thing led to another. I was in touch with him all the time. I learn a lot to this day.

Today, when Itzik goes and delivers a presentation anywhere, I’ll go and see it. It’s the best. That’s my answer.

Carlos: Very good. Very good.How did you connect with your mentor, Richie?

Richie: Oh, wow. There’s been a few. Right now, I don’t have that one person that is…I’m looking, right? I’ve been looking for years. The one person I would consider a mentor that really shaped the last five years, I would say, of my career. That was a CIO that I had. His name was Chris Daily.I worked for him for about six years, maybe. Probably longer than that. He left the company, came back, and became CIO. At that time, I was promoted to project manager/architect. We all know what “slash” means. You do everything.

We implemented a supply chain management system for a complete quick-serve restaurant. Very large, one of the top five quick-serve restaurants in the world

I’m going to say, “me”. I’m going to take credit for this one. Rewrote that whole thing from top to bottom. It was in PowerBuilder 5. We rewrote that all in .NET and did all that other stuff.

Carlos: How did he provide mentorship in that experience?

Richie: He fired me.

Carlos: Ah. OK.[laughter]

Matan: Right.

Richie: That makes sense.

Guy: That’s mentorship.[crosstalk]

Richie: He fired me. After we did that three years of the whole thing. His door was always open. I’d go late at night. He would be there. We would talk over things. It came to the time where I was not happy there. I had spent three years of my life building this project, this product, and I was done.Sixteen hour days, the whole thing. He saw it and he let me go. He gave me the package. Essentially, he told me, “You cannot be successful here. You’ve done all you can. Now go be successful somewhere else.”

Carlos: You’re not going to be happy here.

Richie: He didn’t say it that way, but that’s how I read it. That’s how I will continue to read it. Someday, he’ll tell me the full story what was going on there. That was a big learning for me.

Carlos: Matan, what about you?

Matan: Regarding to what Richie said, your mentors actually change over time.

Carlos: That’s a good point.

Matan: You’ll have a mentor for a few years and maybe later on you’ll have another mentor. You can have a few mentors…

Guy: I hold to Itzak.[laughter]

Matan: There can be a few of them at the same time. They may not know that they’re your mentor. They may not know you at all. My examples for that is Brent Ozar, which I’ve been following for the past few years.I learned a lot from him, both from the technical side and about how to speak, how to write, how to think about your job and your world. Now, Brent talks a lot about your brand, how to brand yourself. That is for independent consultants, but also for DBAs who just have a day job. How to talk, how to write your resume, and so on and so on.

The other guy is someone called Pat Flynn. I think you know him also, Carlos?

Carlos: Yes.

Matan: I got to know him. He has a blog called Smart Passive Income. It’s not really only for passive income. He also talks a lot about productivity, how to manage your emails, and so on. Lots of other stuff.I got to know him when I searched about how to do a podcast. He has a podcast called Free Podcast Course on YouTube. Six lessons. I learned everything from him. Those are people that take you higher.

Carlos: That’s interesting. Have you actually met Pat in person?

Matan: No.

Richie: Yes. I have.

Carlos: Oh, you have?[laughter][crosstalk]

Matan: Did you talk to him?

Richie: Yeah.

Carlos: Interestingly enough, a mentor could be someone that you don’t necessarily interact with, but if they’re willing to share with the community so you can still benefit from the experience.

Matan: From here I’m going to San Diego and he lives in San Diego so, theoretically, I might bump into him.[laughter]

Matan: Most likely not.

Guy: What about you, Carlos?

Richie: Once he walks out his house and you’re stalking him, then yeah…[laughter][crosstalk]

Chris: Stalking online versus in-person, a little bit of a boundary thing there, but…

Carlos: Interestingly enough, my experience was similar in that through a job opportunity there was someone who was willing to share their time and energy with me.I think my mentorship experience was really about going as far as I could, trying to understand some of the concepts. When I needed some additional help, going and saying, “Here’s what I understand. Here are the dots that aren’t connecting.”

Then that person would help me connect those dots or point me to say, “Well, I don’t know anything about that dot, but you know who does? This person. Go talk to them.” Providing some of that guidance.

I think it was interesting that Matan mentioned, your mentor may not know. It may not be an official, “I am the mentor, you are the mentee,” type relationship.

I think particularly in the SQL Server community, we have lots of people who are willing to give their time and talents to do that and, ultimately, all you have to do is ask. Be approachable, and be willing to take some of that feedback.

Other attributes that would describe a good mentor?

Guy: Makes you have ah-ha moments.

Carlos: Ah-ha moments, OK.[laughter]

Richie: I’d say want a challenge, right?

Carlos: They challenge you, right.

Richie: In conjunction with that is also respect. If I have a mentor I don’t respect, I’m not going to listen to what that person has to say.

Carlos: Fair but tough.

Chris: If you actually have a mentor that’s acknowledged your existence, so not a stalking one, if you actually have… [laughs] Poor Brent.[laughter][cross talk]

Chris: If you’ve got that one, and they can start to pick up on, through your email or your talk on the phone or in person, they pick up on those subtle cues to realize there’s something that’s not coming through just yet. They can pick up on that and guide you to what that is.I’ll pull an even example from last night. I’m at the bar, at karaoke, where you can’t hear a thing. Guy’s coming up here and just starts talking. He’s like, “Yeah, I really want to give back to the community.” I’m like, “What are you doing?” “I go to user group meeting.” OK but, that’s not…

Richie: So you’re taking from the community. Congratulations![laughter]

Chris: Taking! You want to give back. “OK, how are you doing it?” He’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” Then, “Do you know the people that run your user group?” “Yes.” “Go tell them you want to do a Lightning Talk.””Well, we’re just starting, we don’t…” “Great! They need speakers. Say, ‘I want ten minutes to talk about Bom.'” He’s like, “Well, I don’t know what to talk about.” I’m like, “What do you know?” He’s like, “Well, RGRPL.” “There you go. Done! Ten minutes.” That’s all you need.

Richie: Go tell him you want to run communications. [laughs] Nobody wants to do that!

Chris: There you go! I’m just picking up on this as he’s saying “I want to do this but I’m not quite sure da-da-da-da-da-da.” He starts talking about these other things that he’s interested in, like “I thought speaking would be fun.” Well, do it.I’m picking up on that, but you didn’t. I wasn’t even realizing I’m being…What is it, mentoring? “Mentol?” Whatever we want to call it. [laughs] Just to go and say, “Just do it.”

The term I’ve heard a lot this week at PASS is the “voluntold.” You’ve run a user group, you’ve got people you kind of know…People who have run user groups, there’s a chapter of use in that here. You see those people that sit there every week, every month, they’re there but they never get up and do the thing.

They have this passion, it’s there, but even as a chapter leader you’ve got to realize you are a mentor to these people. You’re the one up in front and they’re going, “I could never do that.” You can just go up and say, “You know what? We don’t have anyone for January. Could you just do ten minutes?”

Guy: We were there in the beginning. I was there. Sitting in the audience and…[crosstalk]

Matan: I started talking because of this Guy.[laughter]

Richie: He was mute until then!

Matan: I sent him a LinkedIn. We didn’t really know each other very, very well, me and Guy, because there is no Skype, no [inaudible 15:27] . I send him a message on LinkedIn that I had an idea. Guy had just started to be the chapter leader in Israel.I sent him that I have an idea. He said, “Yeah, I’d be happy to hear your idea. Let’s sit for coffee.” We sat for coffee. I told him about my idea. He didn’t really know what I want from him…

Guy: I told him, “Are you stupid?” Something like that, right?[laughter]

Matan: And I told him, “Yes.”

Guy: Actually, I go, “You’re stupid.” [laughs]

Matan: But other than that, he asked me would I want to start speaking? I said, “Yeah.” The rest is history, I guess.

Carlos: We’ve talked about mentors can change. Obviously the person that helps us at the beginning of our career, very fundamental to our projection to where we are today. We also talked about the need for ongoing or continuing support and maintenance. We’re needy like databases. [laughs]Thoughts on, not that you necessarily are going out for an official, I’m not picking on Paul Randal here, but “Hey, who needs a mentor!”

[laughter]You want to reach out to people that are people that in similar circumstances. Thoughts on how you go and find people that you want to glean information from.

Chris: Who we want to learn from?

Carlos: Who do you want to learn from? How do you go about choosing a mentor now?

Richie: The people you look up to. You know who they are. You read their blog posts and you listen to their podcasts. Maybe these are the people you talk to in your office when you have a problem. Those are the people you need to approach.

Matan: Or you come to PASS Summit and you go to some presentation and you find someone that really looks like he can help you.

Richie: That’s right. Like this guy on Entity Framework at 4:45 today in Room 611.[laughter]

Matan: It’s too late.

Richie: Oh, dang it![laughter][crosstalk]

Carlos: Ultimately, the people that are putting out information, they’re willing to share. Going out, finding a little bit more about them. Reaching out to the people who are putting out content. Obviously you want to talk with them because you know they are knowledgeable. They’re trusted.I was listening with, was it Cathy, who’s mother, mom, mother SQL? I can’t remember what her name was. Each individual person will have their own voice. You want to find your people. [laughs] Your voice.

I think even here, our mentor experiences were very different. We looked up to that person or we established that relationship for very, very different reasons. It’s ultimately finding someone who matches that in the community.

Richie: Remember that they’re a human, too. They’re just like you. You can look up to them all you want. All of us are in the same spot. You can go [sings] “ah!” and we’re all of a sudden going [hollers] “augh!” [laughs] We’re humans.

Guy: There are some exceptions. I’m not sure Itzik is human.

Richie: Fair point.

Guy: Occasionally I have a really complex statistical problem. I send it to Itzik at 2:00 AM in the morning. I get an answer like up to five minutes, to get the answer. It’s not human.[laughter]

Chris: He’s actually a holographic projection, translator-like super computer.

Richie: He has an optimizer in the back of his head. Like Master Chief from Cortana.

Chris: I know. Exactly, there you go.[laughter]

Richie: You know what’s a good way to connect, so now that we have mentioned that? Go and speak. You need to go where these people and have interactions with them. It’s not just going to be, “Hey, can you be my mentor?” You say the first time I meet you.

Chris: Hit number one. Don’t ever go and say that. “Will you be my mentor?”

Richie: No, It’s multiple connections. When I first met Brent Ozar. Brent and I are….

Chris: Is there any other Brent in our world?[laughter]

Chris: Sorry to all the other Brents but you know what I’m talking about.

Richie: It was at one of those speaker deals, right? I started speaking because I wanted to meet those people. Not anyone in particular but, “Hey, there’s a speaker den?” When I found out there was a speaker den, where they are all in one spot and I can essentially have my own personal session with really bright people, I was all there, full in.I didn’t have any technical sessions to give. I was still a project manager. I gave a project management presentation. I talked about what I knew. Then a year later or a few months later, I was able to put together something technical and do some research and put all that. It’s just a matter of getting out there and being in these places, where these people you look up to are.

Chris: I do that with SQL Cruise, Alaska. My wife and I had that on our bucket list. We needed to do an Alaskan cruise. Then I saw it came up. Actually, Brent Ozar at the time on one of the blogs I’m reading all the time, said, “We are doing our company retreat on the Alaskan cruise.” I was like, “Boom.”I texted my wife and said, “These people are doing this, it’s an Alaskan cruise. You want to go?” I swear by the time I hit send, the OK came through right back from an immediate response. Got hooked on that.

I’m going to shamelessly plug SQL Cruise. I know you’ve been mentioning it on your podcast with Data Partners and that. It’s a life changing experience because you get with these icons, SQL royalty, if you will. You get to be the SQL courtesans.

Richie: No, that’s different. That’s Andrea.

Chris: All those big names, Kevin Lebrun, Kevin Klein, Brent Ozar, those people. You want to get in the room, you better get there half an hour early. People cram into those. Then there’s like us, maybe the courtesans that get stuck outside trying to woo and get into that room.

Richie: I’m the janitor of the SQL Server community, OK?

Chris: You’re the stable boy. Things like SQL Cruise, it’s unique because you’re on a boat. You can only get so far away from somebody. You’re in a boat, in the middle of the ocean. If you want to talk to Brent, he can only run so far. There’s a lot of swimming.

Richie: You can also run off the boat, which I’m surprised he didn’t do that.[laughter]

Chris: You know what’s worse? They bring their families. You wind up with a small group, with less than 30 people. Half of them are these icons or whatever you want to call them, that you look up to. You’re sitting there. That’s when you realize that they are humans. You are hanging out and it gets, this is going to be an inappropriate word almost, intimate.[laughter]

Richie: Lots of things happen.[crosstalk]

Chris: Exactly. What happens on the ship, stays on the ship. You get to know these people and interact. It’s so different. I know that I sat there across from Brent Ozar, which we all mentioned. He’s everywhere. He’s like marketing. You get him on media, boom, he’s there. That’s what it is. He owns Google.

Carlos: You want a case study of content marketing.[laughter]

Chris: It’s brilliant how he does it. It was brilliant what he did. I think we all want a mentor like that. We all want to have that kind of. I remember sitting with Brent and the one real mentor thing I got from him, sitting there. I look at him and said, “Why should I bother blogging or podcast or video where everybody’s going to Google and look it up and the first 10 pages are all Brent Ozar?”[laughter]

Chris: He gave me two things of feedback. One, it works like a resume on your own. You can actually say, “Yeah, I wrote this stuff.” Don’t go copy and paste other people’s stuff, because that can be found out really quickly. Write your own. In writing your own, the second point was you have your own voice of it.The way you say the exact same thing, someone else will interpret it better from you, then from me. That helps kick-start the things but also build those relationships with these people. Get the mentor-ships, even though you don’t realize you’re getting it.

Osmosis works fantastic in those situations. It doesn’t mean that you have to press against them. It’s just in the general atmosphere that it just evolves and happens.

Carlos: I would like to come back to the mentorship. You don’t know what will happen when you start to reach out, or you find your people, or you find your voice. I’m going to pick on Matan here for a second, only because that initial, “Let’s meet for coffee,” turned into a business opportunity. Correct?

Matan: Yeah.

Carlos: Do you want to tell us a little bit about that and that how evolved to what it is?

Matan: Yeah, we sat for coffee and we talked about starting to speak. We talked about podcasting and took some time. We needed to figure out how it gets done and then we bought the microphone. We did a few pilots. We started in Hebrew. It was tons of fun.

Chris: I actually heard yours is in Hebrew, because you had mentioned Statistics Parser. I was like, “Let me hear it.” I didn’t understand anything of it. I heard Statistics Parser. I was good with it.[crosstalk][laughter]

Richie: Any Google alerts? [laughs] Do you recognize those words?

Carlos: True story. Absolutely true.

Chris: I think any language is determined just like that.

Matan: At some point I went to Amsterdam for SQL Rally and I interviewed Brent, Denny Cherry, and Adam Machanic. It was an English chapter obviously. One of the listeners told me, “Why don’t you do an English podcast also?”We said, “Yeah, let’s do that.” It went very, very well. At some point you got business opportunity when we got to know each other. At some point it was pretty much clear that I would come and work with you guys.

Carlos: Interesting, that progression. I didn’t realize that that progression was actually you reached out for the chapter meeting. You guys talked. Then you started saying, “Hey, let’s do a podcast together.”

Matan: No, we sat for a meeting because we wanted to talk about the podcast. Guy also offered me to start speaking.

Carlos: OK.

Matan: Eventually the business opportunity came.

Guy: Actually, in the beginning, I thought it was a really bad idea. I didn’t think that anyone would like to listen to people talking about SQL Server. Initially it sounded like a very bad Idea. I told Matan, “Let’s forget about it. Let’s just do something else. Let’s just speak in the after meetings.”[laughter]

Guy: I need speakers. He insisted. He didn’t give up. Then we said,” Let’s give it a try.” Initially, we didn’t even think to do it ourselves. We looked at it as an initiative and let’s find people that can talk on the radio. We just manage it.

Matan: I thought about it. I actually thought about doing it myself. You are less skeptical.[laughter]

Guy: Then we didn’t find and we didn’t know who to go to. We said, “Let’s try ourselves. Let’s have one show and see how it goes.” It went really fine. We enjoyed it very much. Then we got some feedback from people. We did another one and another one. One thing led to another. Now I can say it’s a brilliant idea.

Carlos: So glad you thought of it.[laughter]

Guy: I’m so glad he insisted on it. Really today we have thousands of listeners every show. It’s crazy and people see us in conferences like this one.” Hey, you’re the guy from SQL Server Radio.” It’s crazy.

Matan: What I learned from this occasion with Guy and from other incidents is that a little bit of guts generally helps. Generally speaking, things are less scary than you think. If you think of something else or something that Finn says. If you feel uncomfortable with something most likely if you do it, it will be good for you.If you get over yourself and reach out and do the thing that scares you, in most cases, it will be very good.

Richie: You also ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the worst that can happen if I put a podcast out there? Nobody listens to it. OK, and I was able to interview someone that I probably wouldn’t have a conversation with otherwise. Well, so that’s a benefit and no one heard it. That’s OK, right? I can move on from there.

Chris: You have a much brighter outlook on life than I do.

Carlos: Well, then to close the circle, I don’t know what’s your business history there. You started this relationship. You guys started working together. Ultimately, you saw some value in Matan’s work ethic or even knowledge or whatever.

Matan: I’m a good liar.[laughter]

Richie: That’s a good trait to have.

Carlos: Maybe I’m making an assumption here. You were kind of serving as the mentor a little bit.

Guy: I don’t know.

Carlos: What made the decision?

Matan: In many cases, yeah.

Carlos: What made the decision to say let’s go into business together basically?

Guy: Well, I got to know him very well from the radio. We have been working together and speaking together. You get to know a person very good, because we have those. It’s that intimate. Some intimate conversations between us. I get to know him very well.When you get to know someone like that, you can appreciate and you know you wanted to work with this guy. I knew I want to work with him. It took maybe three, four or five meetings in order to get to know someone. Let’s move on. Let’s take it higher.

Carlos: That’s interesting. I think it’s part of when you reach out to your mentor, these people you want to connect with, you also have to give of your time. Yes, you’re retrieving information as you start to engage. If you’re not willing to take what it is they are giving you, then why?

Matan: I’m speaking here at Summit in three hours and talk about not being scared and taking risks, what’s the worst thing. I’m going to do my presentation dressed up as superman. I can say now.[laughter]

Matan: It’s going to be a surprise.

Richie: Can I throw kryptonite on the stage?[laughter]

Matan: Yeah, please do. My wife told me that this is a really bad idea. Don’t do that.[laughter]

Chris: So is Bradley Ball your mentor then?[laughter]

Matan: I’m taking the risk and what’s the worst thing that can happen? I don’t know.

Richie: You never speak at PASS again.[laughter]

Richie: Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Carlos: Last year, they had sharks and alligators or something.

Richie: I think the thing about Summit for me is that it’s not about the technical teaching. I think that would get people into the door. It’s really connecting with the community.I don’t think there’s many communities, technical communities that have the kind of interactions that the PASS community has. I think that’s what keeps bringing them more and more.

Matan: Then very many interesting things happen outside of the lectures, of the sessions. In the hallways and during such gatherings.

Chris: I’m notoriously bad for coming here and I cheat. I’ll go to two sessions and then I’ll go to all the Lightning Talks. Tonight I went to a dozen sessions. There were five in one hour.[laughter]

Chris: Yeah, I went to a dozen sessions, and that was great. I really went to four or three or whatever. Get the video. Buy the session recording. There’s no way you’re going to make to 230-whatever sessions every year. You’re going to miss the ones you want to do. I’m going to manage it even though no one’s going to listen.[laughter]

Chris: You used the technical aspect to sell it, to get your business to pay for you to go. You can learn the tech online. You can read a book, do whatever, but to meet the people and do the networking. Build that soft set skill that you get and all that experience.Don’t worry about losing your job because you didn’t go to every single session. You’ll have built a network strong enough to help you out to get something else quicker. I’m not saying you go and say I quit, that’s it.

No. Just know that you built that. It actually makes it more comfortable and easy to build life in those aspects versus just going and coming, I went to this session. I went. I left. They gave me a couple free drinks at the end of the night. Then I went back to my hotel room and watched whatever Superman movie, we’ll say.

Please don’t do that. If anything, sleep during the actual sessions and do everything else and be out until in the morning because that where you meet those connections.

Richie: Unless you’re speaking, then don’t do that.

Carlos: Oh yeah.

Chris: Unless you’re speaking the day after, other than that.

Carlos: Yeah, so.

Matan: In my first time two years ago I went to a lot of sessions. Just wanted to learn and learn and learn. I learned a lot, but I missed all the networking stuff around all the collaborations, and I wasn’t there. Last year it was different for me, it was like 50/50. This time I been to one session so far.

Richie: I think my experience has been similar to everyone else’s in that there are other people out there in your same boat. Whatever that boat is, you are not alone. It may feel very tough sometimes. Right?Maybe you think you got the crappiest company to work for, or your boss is horrible, or you don’t feel you have the career advancements that are available to you. Right? I can assure you there are people out there that have had those experiences, been able to overcome them.

Being able to connect, talking with them because you never know what other opportunities or what other things will come of that. I can’t say that you know we’ve invented Wonder Bread because of these experiences, but to have those relationships, even though I have run into problems.

I know that I do have a network of people that I can at least reach out to. “Hey what do you think about this, this is the experience I am having. What are your thoughts.”

Carlos: Yeah, I know.

Richie: They will give me some feedback.

Carlos: I think how you connect isn’t going to be through the technology. That’s how we’re all here, that brought us here. How you connect is what you like outside that technology.Last year they had a board game night. There was a group of us that had never met each other and we started playing a game of Pandemic. We still chat all the time on Twitter for the rest of the year because we played one game of Pandemic, which we lost horribly right.

This year we all saw each other and it’s like, “Hey remember that game?” and all this other stuff and we had an interest outside of the technology of which we connected with.

Chris: Does this mean we all have to keep in touch now?

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