Episode 96: Building Community Tools

Episode 96: Building Community Tools

Episode 96: Building Community Tools 560 420 Carlos L Chacon

Have you ever created something and wanted to share it with others with the hope they will contribute and make it better? Sites like the new defunct codeplex and GitHub are full of functionality people want to share and work with others on; however, many projects remain dormant.  What are the characteristics that create an environment where people want to contribute to your project?  Steve and I discuss a few ideas and we interview two very successful community project leaders in Brent Ozar and Chrissy LeMarie about how they got started and what it takes to put together a good community project.

 Episode Quote

“We don’t know that building community tools is for everyone. . . , but if you have a problem that you’ve solved and you are committed to it, you liked the idea and I’ll say go for it.”

SQL Server in the News


Carlos: Companeros, welcome to Episode 96. And today, Steve and I will are going to be doing something little different and we are going to be talking a little bit about building community tools and referencing a couple of really successful examples as we kind of go through and talk about this a little bit.

Steve: Yes, and those tools are some things that people probably use some of them every day in their work so it shows how valuable they can be.

Carlos: Yes, so we are going to be talking about, I guess the concept is as you put something out there and you want to share it with others how have some of these “successful” meaning lots of people have participated in providing feedback or giving of their time into testing and things like that. If you want to replicate some of that what goes in, what’s involved with it and why perhaps some of these tools are successful and why others might not be, and we’re not going to talk necessarily about the ones that aren’t super successful. We’re not trying to embarrass anybody here. But we’re going to point out some of the characteristics that we’ve seen and kind of walk through that.

Steve: And I think there is a big difference there between a community tool that somebody creates and nobody ever uses and a community tool that somebody creates and people use every day and people even contribute to every day.

Carlos: That’s right, and I guess we are going to focus on the contribution components so for example Ola scripts, the Minion stuff, sp_whoisactive. What necessarily “qualify” for this only because generally they may be receiving feedback but they are not necessarily openly soliciting it that they’ve just developed and kind of made available. We are looking and we’re focusing on tools that have a, “hey, you want to help out, submit your idea here”, kind of idea.

Steve: And it’s not to say that any of those tools are bad by any means because they are all pretty awesome. It’s really just looking at how people contribute and how you go find.

Carlos: Collaboration components.
Steve: Yeah, from a single person as the contributor or a single company to the community actually being involved.

Carlos: Right, so we’ve already jumped into that. I do want to take a minute and give a shout out to Ernest who lives in the DC area. We met up at SQL Saturday Baltimore this last weekend, came up, and we chatted a bit. He mentioned that he listens to the podcast and so wanted to give a shout out to him. It can be a little bit daunting to reach out and say, what you like or what you don’t like. And so I appreciate him coming up and saying hello and we were able to chat just a bit and kind of get his take, what he thought about the show, what was good and maybe what we could do differently.

Steve: Yup. And another shout out came from [name unclear – 2:40] and his comment was, “Yes, #93 (Episode 93) left me in a cold sweat thinking about some of the mistakes I have made and servers taking down. I asked myself what mistakes I’ve made in the 15 years dealing with SQL server and the honest answer is what mistakes haven’t I made at least once.”

Carlos: Yup, we’re with you there Andre. And I guess ultimately hopefully we’re making some of those mistakes in the test environment.

Steve: Or for a previous employer not your current employer.

Carlos: That’s right. And yeah, I think what we get into the conversation here. A great way to engage the community is to talk about ways that others can avoid the same mistake that you’ve made.

Steve: Yup, we had another shout out. This was in regard to Database Health Monitor and this came in from Derrick Bovenkamp and his comment was one word, “Awesome”. And what that was referring to is that a new feature that I added in last week’s release of Database Health Monitor where in the future when there is an update available it will tell you there is an update you just click yes and it will download the file, install it and then restart Database Health Monitor so you don’t have to go out and get the download file, run the executable and do it all in several different steps. It just makes it a lot quicker. And then he said, now if only Microsoft would copy this. The new versions of SSMS are seriously frustrating especially because it feels like every month it is updated, and I think what is getting up there, and this originally came from conversation I had with him where he was complaining about how SSMS. They should download the file, run the installer every single month where if they could just, and that’s where I thought, “Oh, well let’s make Database Health Monitor do it quicker and easier”, so thanks for the input there Derrick. I appreciate it.

Carlos: Yes, very nice little feature. So a quick note on the Companero Conference, we’re excited to announce that all of our speakers are set. We’ve been able to identify them or at least what we think we have. Some of that might be subject to change if schedules get updated. But we have basically all we can handle and we appreciate everybody reaching out to us. It’s not say that we couldn’t squeeze in surprise speaker but for purposes our speaker setup is straight and we’re going to be announcing those on the website at companeroconference.com here in the next couple of days. Of course we’ll be talking about them on the podcast each one as we get close.

Steve: So look for those announcements. We do have a total of 6 speakers beyond Carlos and myself, so Carlos and I makes and 6 makes 8. So it’s going to be quite a few people presenting.

Carlos: We have a [inaudible – 5:50] crew there. One date to keep in mind is that we are going to have a price increase on June 16th which happens to be my birthday and so if you would like to get in the lowest possible level of $400 you can do that before June 16th and we would love to see you there.

Steve: Yup and that’s the early bird pricing until that point I guess.

Carlos: That’s right.

Steve: Another thing relating to that early bird pricing everyone who registers by June 16th get something extra. Is that right, Carlos?

Carlos: Yes, we are going to sprinkle a little something extra if you’re there on Tuesday evening before the opening social. We’re going to invite in the early bird option those who can register beforehand. We’re going to invite them out to a dinner with as many speakers as it make it as well and we’ll have a dinner at a restaurant that will be announced in a couple of weeks ahead of time and get together and be able to kick that off with everybody there.

Steve: Yup. I think that would be a fun time to get to meet those early registrants and talk with all the speakers as well.

Carlos: Yup. Ok, now for a little SQL server in the news. You know, it’s amazing, it’s impressive how much functionality continuous to roll out of Microsoft and one that I know that people we’re asking about for quite awhile and admittedly I need to play a little bit more with that that is the Azure analysis services in Azure obviously.

Steve: Oh, very interesting because if that’s what it sounds like, previously you need to use analytic services local and then push your data to Azure. Sounds like now you’ll be able to run analysis services in a server less in Azure.

Carlos: Yes, so you’re going to without having to have some of that infrastructure to be able to take advantage of the cubes and some of these other things so the aggregates and do so in a way that you don’t have to worry as much about the servers. And so kind of interesting idea, and so at first I thought, who would be a good candidate for some of this? And I think it’s really those who have adopted PowerBI and I don’t want to say outgrown but maybe have more data. They’re throwing a little bit more data at PowerBI that it can handle and they need some cleansing or smooth some of the edges of that data before they actually present it to the end users. And I think that’s going to be probably a predominant use case for most of those who are going to be the early adaptors of the service.

Steve: You know another good use case I think would be people who have pushed a lot of data into the Azure parallel data warehouse and they need then to built cubes or other analysis components off of that.

Carlos: Right, that’s true so it would be interesting and again I just had a discussion today with somebody who would like to adopt this and so we’ll probably dipping our feet a little bit more into it and so it would be interesting to see how that service responds and behaves compared to what we’ve known and used to.

Steve: Alright. Well, the URL for this episode is sqldatapartners.com/communitytools or sqldatapartners.com/96 for our episode number.

Carlos: That’s right, and so ultimately again our topic today is our thoughts on what it takes to get good participation for the community. And we should say first if you have done anything in the community, right, there are no losers. You’ve done it. You’ve stepped out and you stuck your neck out and you’ve made something that you’ve created available to others. And so whether that’s your mother whose downloaded it or a thousand people you’re still pretty cool on our books and congratulations or at least for taking a step to make that happen. Yup, and I think one of them that we’ve come across that I think is really a key thing to look at when you’re doing this is really why are you doing it? Why are you building a community tool?

Carlos: Exactly. And so two of the tools that we’re going to highlight are the Brent Ozar unlimted Blitz scripts and then the tools from dbatools.io. And so these two have had great success if you will not only in name recognition which I think obviously helps but that in fostering people to give their time and suggest an improvement or a way to enhance what it is they are trying to do.
Steve: Yup, and I think between those two projects they’ve kind of had a different path to where they got to what they are today. And I think that with the DBA Tools they started out and for years they have been open source with many contributors. And then with the Blitz scripts from Brent Ozar that was something that was originally built internally by Brent Ozar and team. Eventually it was let into the wild as the open source concept.

Carlos: That’s right. And in face, so we have little sound bites if you will from both of them that we’ll go ahead and share now.

Chrissy: Alright, so DBA Tools actually didn’t start out how it is now. Initially, way back in 2014 I created a bunch of migrations commands and made a little project on GitHub called SQL Migration and then I started adding a couple of things like Get SQL Server Key where it dug into the registry and it grabbed that information. And then I just kept on adding more and overtime I realized that it could be more than just migration tool so I called it DBA Tools. And then I just started marketing it that way as a general PowerShell tool for DBAs and it really took off from there.

Brent: Yeah, I think for me it was, like with our stuff it was always we built it ourselves to use it ourselves first. And I think what made it so successful is it has to be something that you’re going to code no matter what. Like you have to believe in it enough that you can evangelize it and use it every day yourself. If it’s something that you think you’re just, “I’m going to do this for the community”, you know and you’re coding it for someone else you got to be User #1. Chrissy was clearly User #1 of her stuff, you know, and then you look at everybody who started piling on to that because it was just so obvious that it made production DBAs lives better.

Carlos: You know, and Steve, even as we went back to Episode 86 we were talking with Sebastian about his tSQLt. He talked about they were working at a hospital. They had this large project and needed to basically this elephant if you will they needed to chew up and swallow and it needed the way to break it into smaller chunks. And that’s how the framework was built and then it kind of improved upon ever since. And I think, again so that first question of why are you building something. I think a key to and we can talk about how we want to find success but to getting engagement is building something that you’re going to use. It’s going to solve some problem that you have.

Steve: Absolutely, and I think that with the example that Sebastian had on tSQLt. It was something that even if he’d never put it out in the wild I think he would have built most of it to do the job that he was trying to do with that hospital.

Carlos: Right, because it can go sideways and I think sometimes particularly as entrepreneurs things that we are trying to do we think, “Oh hey, people might be interested in this.” And Brent actually mentions this idea of trying to build something for somebody else and it just lands to the thud. His quote is, “If users don’t have a reason to actively use it and if you don’t have a reason to actively use it it’s not going to catch on.”

Steve: Right, and I think that is so important and I think that there are things that I look and say, “Oh, that would be interesting to put out as an open source.” But then I realized, well it’s something that I wouldn’t actively be using. I just be kind of doing it here and there and it’s maybe not worth doing at that point.

Carlos: Sure. Yeah, because it is interesting as to what even people latch on to. I know when I was talking with Adam Machanic in Episode 22 about sp_whoisactive. It had been available for about 8 years there. Some of his favorite components of sp_whoisactive was not something that I was using. Admittedly, that may just be because I’m a knuckle dragging Neanderthal and he is a lot smarter than I am.

Steve: And I think with that, I mean another example is like the Ola maintenance scripts there, right, where I, prior to discovering those I’ve built some of those my own. And then I realized that I saw his and I thought, “Oh, I could either put mine out as publicly available or I could just switch over and start using his because his is really awesome.”

Carlos: Right, so kind of being the first out there you kind of stick your neck out. And I don’t know the history there because he does a couple of different things but I think backups or maybe index maintenance is one of those popular for and we were all kind of struggling with that, and so it was like, “Hey that’s a problem that a lot of people have. Let me put it out there and then make it better.” And I think as more people have used it, again they are able to provide some feedback with them. It makes it better for him in his environments and then for everybody else as well.

Steve: Yup, absolutely.

Carlos: Now, this kind of brings up the questions as what success looks like with a community project. And I think we can use the default database answer of it depends on what it is that you think success is. Obviously, engagement is a component but it’s not necessarily the only metric that we want to be using.

Steve: Yeah, and I think the big part is being able to get those active contributors. I mean, that’s not an easy thing to do. And I think that anyone can throw something out there and maybe it will get a little bit of acceptance but getting people to contribute that makes a huge difference between an active and successful community project and one that’s just maybe will languish along the way. And I know we all get busy with different project and things and if you’re the only person contributing well that product may slow down during the times when you’re busy. But if there are other people contributing at the times you get busy then it will continue to move along.

Carlos: Yup, and Chrissy Lemaire from dbatools.io. She actually brings up another point as to one of the reasons why she puts together her tool.

Chrissy: I don’t know if you can hear my smile, but it’s true. I’ve seen people come and say, “Man, CK was walking me through this thing and I’m just like, dude, CK you are awesome.” It’s been an incredible journey with CK, with Claudio, with Rob, and Aaron and everybody. It’s kind of out there buts it’s reduced, I don’t know about you guys, but for me kind of being isolated here as both an IT worker and somewhat of an introvert and somebody who is living in a foreign country. It’s reduced the isolation, and I love hanging out. I hang out with CK all the time, I hang out with Rob all the time, I hang out with Aaron and we all just kind of hang out together and we are all passionate about this project.

Constantine: Yeah, there is a lot of people who know that DBA’s are a lonely bunch. There’s not a lot of people understand what we are doing in the business even if we work with them every day and having other group of other DBA’s that you can complain to, or laugh about the same problems or look at an execution plan with so many zeros that doesn’t fit on the screen. That’s meaningful to people like us.

Carlos: Ok, so we have this idea, we have something that we think is helping us and we think will help other people. So it kind of begs the question as what does it take to keep the community going? And I think we can kind of skip to the end and a spoiler here for everyone is that it’s a lot of work. If you think building the tool was hard being a community manager is even harder, right? Those of you who have done anything with your User Groups is might be a good parallel to something like that.

Steve: Yeah, and I think one of the keys that I remember from the DBA Tools podcast that they talked about was how making everyone feel welcomed. And that’s not always easy to do in an online GitHub style environment because sometimes things don’t come across as smooth or as nice as you like them to. And I think having a positive engagement is really a key there.

Carlos: And so both Chrissy and Brent give us some thoughts on what it takes to kind of keep their communities going.

Chrissy: So I do have to tend to the channel almost like it’s a garden. If I get sick, or I just recently, my little baby my cat got real sick, I let everybody know hey, “I won’t be around. I’m having problems with my cat.” Always having him, to bring him to friends which is fancy. I’m bringing my cat to friends to get some fixes and I let them know and I do invest a lot of time, you know ensuring that the conversation continues, ensuring that the pull requests are merged. So there is absolutely a lot of time invested in developing those relationships like you were talking about.”

Brent: When someone contributes code, when they make a pull request you can kind of bet on it being probably an hour of your life. Like you’re going to go through, when they submit a piece of code even if you worked with them before so I have to spin up instances of SQL server from 2008 to 2016. I got to test it on case sensitive databases. Databases with large number of indexes, servers with large numbers of databases because people who contribute code don’t necessarily have this lab environments to go test it in, and it’s not fair for me to ask them to do that. We have this huge lab an AWS and Google so it’s easier for us to do that but there goes an hour of my life just testing it across those. Even with automated testing like I have got a few cheap and easy SQL scripts that just roll it out everywhere and bang on it then I’ve got to find what the errors are and make sure that it’s actually going to work. Then you want to document it enough that other people can go on and use it. Sometimes that means writing documentation in a form of a blog post because someone will write a check for something new in sp_Blitz like a new crazy way type and then if there is no good documentation out there on it you have to go write it. So it can be one, two, three, four hours to do a complex pull request but even a basic one it’s not unusual to see an hour of your life there. So looking it the GitHub right now we have four pull request out, Jeff Rosenberg, RW Howard, Eric has a couple of them out there. We’re now just looking at them. I know I’m going to go and spend like half a day on the weekend or like an evening so that I can go tackle these things and make sure that they are good to go publicly. And it’s not the contributor’s fault when they don’t. Often they are really using this code themselves in certain environments but then they just encounter surprising gatches like the case sensitive database thing that most people don’t have to hassle with.

Carlos: So we mentioned a little bit about the tech side there. But as you alluded too there previous Steve, it’s not just about technology at that point. It’s going to be about people.

Steve: Absolutely, and I think part of it is kind of the gamafication side of it and I think that in the GitHub system there is a lot of that because you can go in and see how often people contribute and you can see overtime what contributions are and it’s almost like people want to compete to get the most in there.

Carlos: That’s right so they have pretty good metrics there. How many downloads and pull requests and all of these other type things. It helps lends itself to, “Yes, hey, I’m a project worth contributing to.” But again it does take a little bit of effort to put some of that together. I know, so for Chrissy for example has her contribution wall so on dbatools.io if you could have meet certain metric. And I think it’s like a certain number of lines of code that you have to contribute then you get added to the wall of fame type of thing.

Steve: Yup, and it’s kind of like a high score board on who has had the most contributions.

Carlos: That’s right. Again it’s another facet of the overall project. It’s not going to make your tool be any better but it’s going to help engage and foster that community.

Steve: Well, I mean you say it won’t make the tool any better. It actually may help make the tool better because those people are going to want to contribute more.

Steve: Sure, sure, you know, that’s right. I think I’m bespoke there in the sense that you’re putting in effort that will indirectly affect the tool. You’re hoping that that work will then be reproduced by other people who want to participate.

Carlos: Yup, and I remember, I don’t know, many years ago I tried contributing on an open source Linux project of around something I was working on that point and I just remember doing that the people I was contributing with just made me feel stupid. Not necessarily [inaudible – 24:16] doing but I just didn’t understand their process or their flow. And I think that that’s one of the things that the DBA Tools do with the wall of contributor and the gamafication and all that is making people feel comfortable.

Carlos: And then also, so Brent did mention this. We don’t have a quote from it but kind of that rules of engagement of, and Chrissy mentioned this as well as far as like, “Here is kind of our standards. Here is how we kind of expect certain things to be.” Now she did mentioned what kind of working with Constantine and doing those code reviews. And again, that’s kind of individual one on one time but again it helps [inaudible – 24:59] like, hey when you contribute this is kind of what we’re looking for and this is what we think it should look like and that will help people kind of self identify as to whether they can help or not. But it doesn’t always go your way. I mean getting people to contribute might mean that they wanted to do things that are outside of what you thought your tool is going to do, and Brent got an interesting quote here on this one.

Brent: Well, another you said was how much time do you spend guiding versus building? One of the things that’s is tricky is sometimes you’ll get request or either pull request or just request for features that don’t line up with where you want to go. Like even though it’s open source that doesn’t mean it has to be a 100% community vision. It can still be your vision of where you want the tool to go because when somebody contributes code you’re supporting that for the rest of your life. Just because somebody threw in a brand new feature doesn’t mean they’re going to be around to support it when it breaks. So there is a lot of time where I think maybe one pull request out of 4 or 5 where I’ll say, “You know what I totally get where you’re going with that but this just isn’t is going to be something that we do.” The classic example is security stuff. People often want to add security stuff in the sp_blitz and I’m just like I get that it’s important to some people but someone needs to start a security script because I’m not going to be the guy who’s going to explain how security works because that simply way out of my wheel house.

Carlos: And I think this one is tough because we’ve just talked about kind of going to great lengths in creating processes and thinking about how you’re going to engage people and then you finally get some folks engaged then you’re like, “I don’t want to do that.” And I think that could be tough.

Steve: Yeah, and I think a lot of that really comes down to the vision of what it is that your open source thing is going to do. If the vision is we’re going to these things but not include security well that’s a very different project then if we’re going to go build a security platform. Not that either one of them is any better or any worst than the other. It’s really just focus so that you can do a really good job at what you’re doing.

Carlos: Right, and I think at the end of the day you have to know that if you accept it it’s going to stick with you forever, or not forever, it’s going to be something that at least take care of, tend to or get out. And that could just cause problems for adoption. So kind of knowing where you want to go and I think it’s then ok to say, “Thank you for that but we’re not going down that path.” But they do talk about it being a little bit like having another job.

Steve: Yeah I can see that. I think that there is so much involved in managing all of that from the code reviews to the people to even getting updates out when that’s appropriate that it could really be like another job.

Carlos: Right. And so Brent has a interesting quote about this.

Brent: Yeah, and it will be draining. This is going to sound awful but there is a great post you can go and find it on how draining it is. It’s like, I’m sorry you’re the new leader of an open source project, but there is going to be a lot of people who file bugs and you are so proud of your code until the moment all of a sudden people start pouring in, “Hey, this doesn’t work.” And they’re not going to be polite. They’re going to be, “Hey, you doug.” They’re going to be short into the point and you have to think of that feedback as a gift because for every person who tells you what’s broken there are a hundred people who downloaded, and try it, and went, “This sucks!”, and they’re not ever going to take their time to go tell you what was broken. It’s bad as it sounds even the short snippy, “Hey, this is broken when I do this”, is still good feedback that you should be thankful that people are actually using it. I tell myself that all the time.

Carlos: It’s funny I tried to get Chrissy to kind of nail down be like, “Ok”, because I started to kind of sense what she was doing of course in the Slack Channel. She’s quite busy and even in our interview kind of doing this individual code reviews and I thought, “Oh my goodness that sounds like a lot of work”. And she kind of demurred a little bit and like, “Oh, you know, it’s all just part of what I have to do.” So I actually signed up for the DBA Tools watcher their on GitHub and so I get notifications. So I signed up on April 7th, and between April 7th and as of the time of this recording there were 1,017 emails or discussion points, pulls, updates, changes, modifications to the code and so that is a lot. Here we’re recording on the 11th, so just a little over a month a thousand. You divide that by 30 that’s pretty intensive.

Steve: Oh yeah, and that’s more than any solo developer would be able to do. And it’s probably even more than a lot of small companies may be able to do with the development team.

Carlos: Sure, so I definitely think, you are kind of making that commitment to putting in some processes and then almost like the dev ops stuff we keep talking about. Like making your life a little bit easier and spending some time on things that are just going to help those processes a little bit easier. Now one of the things that we’re going to want to help you with this is good metrics. And at least in our case with the podcast we lament quite a bit about we could see the download numbers but then the people that actually engage with us is a teeny teeny tiny fraction of that number. And so kind of knowing, if you’re going the right direction and kind of getting that feedback is important and I think Chrissy is a great example of this is because she is in there talking, promoting, cheerleading, engaging, “Hey, you mentioned you’re going to do this for me. How was it going. What can I help you with?” Those kind of things and I think because of that she is getting good metrics. She can see a lot of this traffic and where people are going and paying attention to them.

Steve: And I think as you mentioned the podcast with a thousand listeners. I mean that’s one metric but how valuable is that really? I mean if you have a thousand of downloads of something, is that a good number? If you don’t get a lot of feedback do you assume that everything is perfect or do you assume that nobody cares enough? It’s really hard to tell there.
Carlos: Yeah, and I think again things like GitHub can help with that but again it’s just another component that you have to then pay attention to. Now, we’ve been talking a little bit about tools at least the ones that we’ve mentioned have all been tool based but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has just to be a tool in order for you to engage with the community. And Steve actually is a really good example. As I was getting dressed today I actually happen to be wearing my Database Corruption Challenge t-shirt and I thought that that was kind of an interesting way. You won’t necessarily creating a tool so much as you were creating a framework for people to be able to participate in and contribute, you learn quite a bit and they also learn as well.

Steve: Yup, and with that that was something that, oh it kind of evolved and grew as I did it. I didn’t really have a solid plan in the beginning of what it was going to be. But what it turned to be in the end was a great training platform. A way for people to learn how to deal with database corruption and with that I could go and rant and rave all day about here is how you can deal with it. But with contributors, the people who competed in the Database Corruption Challenge, providing their solutions I was able to learn some really interesting things along the way, and I was able to share those with the community that others could learn from those interesting solutions along the way as well.

Carlos: Sure, so kind of a win-win scenario.

Steve: Yup, and although it’s technically not an open source thing in the fact that there is no GitHub and people don’t contribute in that way. But it is, I mean all of the sample databases and the solutions that are there are freely available for people who download and take a look at and learn from. So it’s almost like open learning.

Carlos: Right, exactly, I think because you had that mechanism where you were open to that idea of new suggestions or “hey have you tried this” or “what about this certain scenario”. Again it lends itself to people wanting to participate and engage. Another one again that is slightly different take which some of you may have participated in, I think about the T-SQL Tuesday. Again that’s kind of taking on a life of its own. There is now like a each month there is a leader. The leader then picks a topic, makes a blog post, lets users know how they can interact with this and then they make sure that all the post and what not are put together in a single repository if you will. Generally I guess on that page so that those who are interested on learning more about that topic can go and produce some of the blogs of their choice.

Steve: Yup, that’s definitely another interesting training with community involvement.

Carlos: Yes, and again that’s one of those things, maybe a good example of a way to engage without taking on a ton of responsibility, and originally Adam Machanic started that. Steve Jones helped kind of keep it alive I think by helping maintain the topics and who was organizing and now they have their own website and different people kind of organize that so they are able to engage in different way.

Steve: Yup. SQL Saturday is another example of community contribution.

Carlos: It is, that’s right, I mean today SQL Saturday is big, probably a big deal particularly in our community but I think about Andy Warren and Steve. I know there are a couple of others I’m not mentioning but kind of put in together those initial SQL Saturdays, you know where, “Hey, let’s get some pizza and get together and chat about tech stuff and how much we now as organizers benefit from the structure that is already been created.” If you’ve ever put one on you like to fret and worry about all kinds of different things but there is a whole lot of infrastructure that’s been put together that you’re taking advantage of and branding of course as a result people kind of giving their time giving feedback to pass about how to make it better and different, change it up. Things like that.

Steve: Yup, I think SQL Saturday is one of the more successful endeavors in that area. I mean there are a lot of other things people tried along the way out there but the involvement you get from people all over the world in the SQL community through SQL Saturdays is just amazing.

Carlos: Mind boggling. And then even through a lesser extent so our podcast it kind of a way to engage community. Again, we lamented that we don’t have as good as of engagement or metrics maybe some of these other ways. But we still like to get out there. It’s something that we can do with a little bit of process around it and people do give us suggestions on things we could talk about which we appreciate and we would like you to keep them coming.

Steve: Yeah, I find it more enjoyable sometimes when we’re building a podcast around something that somebody asked for rather than just something that we thought up and that would be nice, you know. And I think that pushes us little bit more and we usually learn a bit more in those areas too. But it also leads to some more successful podcast too. And I think one of the big ones was our indexing podcast that ended up being a double episode. And that was one that people asked for for a long time and we just kind of never really thought of it ourselves as, “Hey let’s do an indexing one.” The community asked and we responded, and I think we got some great feedback on that one.

Carlos: That’s right, that’s a great point. So kind of wrapping these all together is you may consider maybe you have something out there that you think you would like to share. So the question is should you do it? We don’t know that it’s for everyone and I think we’ve talked about some different ways that you could potentially engage without doing a full on set tool. But if you have a problem that you’ve solved and you are committed to it. You liked the idea and I’ll say go for it.

Steve: Absolutely. It’s the kind of thing that if it solved the problem for you and in your environment there is good chance that maybe it will solve a problem for someone else. And if you want to have that be something that grows and has a life of its own look for other people to contribute to it and you may end up with something way more powerful than you ever thought of.

Carlos: And this is where we’ll open up our podcast. If there is something you would like for us to talk about we could probably incorporate that into the SQL Server in the News. Or if you want to just talk about the actual problem that you’re solving, we’ve done that plenty of times. We would love to have you on and we could talk about that and what the problem is and how you go about solving it. That would be an interesting conversation as well or anything we could do to help contribute to that. Let us know and we would be happy to make something happen.

Steve: Yup, and sometimes that might be that we love what it is and we want to run with it and use it ourselves. As you make it available other times it might be coming out and say, “Hey, that’s sounds like a really good thing to go into sp_blitz and go talk to Brent about that.” Or it might be a great thing for DBA Tools or just understanding what the right avenue is to get that thing you’re doing out there and available for other people to use.

Carlos: Exactly. So we look forward to what the community continues to put forth and some of the neat ideas that are available. And so by all means, again, if you’re on the fence if we can help you push on as you go ahead and do it go for it if the things that we talked about today haven’t scared you away.

Steve: Yeah, and this isn’t for everybody. Some people may look at this and say, “No, I never want to do that.” That’s ok too.

Carlos: I think like you mentioned like getting plugged in to some other project might be the way to go, right?

Steve: Yup.

Carlos: Well, awesome. Upcoming episodes we actually have Chuck Lathrope. Did I say that name right?

Steve: Yup, and it’s on SQL replication.

Carlos: That’s right, so he has been talking about this quite a bit and so we thought, hey let’s have him on and talk a little bit about that. Again, the show notes for today’s episode are going to be at sqldatapartners.com/communitytools.

Steve: Or at sqldatapartners.com/96 for the episode number.

Carlos: Yes, and so companeros, thanks again. If you’ve made it this far we appreciate you tuning in. If you’ve been listening for a while, thank you! If you’re new to the program thanks for tuning in and we look forward to your feedback. We’ve been talking quite a bit about maybe we’ve been mentioning Twitter but actually we are getting more feedback from other places beyond just Twitter and all of the social media platforms. Feel free to reach out to us and then of course at any in person event. Some of the SQL Saturdays and we’d love to have you out at the Companero Conference if it makes sense for you to be there. So with that I guess we will close up this episode. Last thoughts, Steve?

Steve: Well, as far as the social media goes. Normally we close out with our Twitter and those spread I think this time I’d like to say instead of follow us on Twitter, come find me on LinkedIn and find Carlos on LinkedIn.

Carlos: There you go. Ok, well thanks again for tuning in companeros and we’ll see you on the SQL trail.

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