Today we, the SQL Data Partners team, celebrate our 150th podcast episode! We introduce ourselves, talk about what we’re doing, our goals for the coming year and answer the SQL Family questions. Come get to know us!
“It’s funny how you push the record button and all of a sudden, the conversation stops. We have a little more sympathy now, for our guests that come on.”
Listen to Learn
01:37 Introduction to the SQL Data Partners team
07:23 What we are looking forward to in the next year
10:31 Request for ideas for the tech game Michael is working on
12:25 SQL Family Questions
29:55 Closing Thoughts
Carlos: Compañeros! Welcome to another edition of the SQL Data Partners Podcast. My name is Carlos L Chacon, your host, and this is Episode 150! It’s kind of exciting. It’s one of those milestones that I wasn’t quite sure that I’d get to when I first started putting this podcast out. The goal was to get to one year. We were thinking 50 episodes, and now we’re three times beyond that. Much has changed since I clicked the record button, actually first in Argentina, and then some of my original conversations happened while I was in Costa Rica, and now the SQL Data Partners’ team has gotten a little bit bigger. Most of them don’t make it on the podcast, and so what I thought might be interesting for this episode, is to introduce the SQL Data Partners team. We’ll talk a little bit about some of the things that we’re doing and some of the things that we want to start doing, come next year, in 2019. With that, we’ll go through and we’ll make all the introductions, but we’ve got Amanda, Angela, Bill Lund, and Michael Halverson. Okay, so why don’t you guys go ahead and introduce yourselves.
Amanda: I’m Amanda Halverson. For SQL Data Partners, I do graphic design work, like marketing things, print work, online work, and if we make banners or whatever. Also, for the podcast itself, I transcribe all the episodes and then publish everything, put it all together and get it out there, and do the marketing on the social media. Personally, I am a musician. Not like a professional musician or anything, I’m just a singer and I’m in a couple of groups and I play flute. Also I really love technology and animals and those things don’t go together very well sometimes. I used to want to be a veterinarian. That’s what my dad is, but that didn’t work out, which is fine, and technology doesn’t always love me back, but it’s sometimes a love/hate relationship.
Carlos: Yeah, you and Randolph West can commiserate a little bit.
Amanda: Yeah, I love to see new things coming out and it’s really fun to actually transcribe the podcast, even though I don’t know SQL Server at all. I’ve played with it one time to help do some checking for your book. I’ve done some queries, that’s it. That’s my experience with SQL Server. But it was interesting, so it’s fun to transcribe and learn all these– I Google a lot of stuff to make sure that the transcription looks as close to right as possible.
Carlos: That’s right, I was going to say that if you’ve read the transcripts and you’ve appreciated what they look like, you can thank Amanda for that. Okay, so Angela she’s been on the podcast a couple of times. Once as a guest and then we’ve coerced her into coming on as a panelist, but Angela, you want to introduce yourself?
Angela: Sure, I am Angela Henry and I am probably the latest edition, I guess, to SQL Data Partners. I’m very excited about that and I take care of all things reporting focused. So, Reporting Services, PowerBI, that kind of stuff, and I absolutely love it. And that’s me.
Carlos: Very good, yeah, we’re happy to have you.
Bill: My name is Bill Lund. I joined the SQL Data Partners team this year. My responsibilities are on the client services side, and one of the great things about joining SQL Data Partners was to see the great relationships that Carlos had with our clients and to be able to build on that. It’s a great time here at SQL Data Partners. I’ve known Carlos since 2004 and really excited to be able to work with him starting this year and look forward to what the future can bring for us.
Carlos: Yes, and we should mention that, from the SQL Data Partners perspective, Bill represents the golfing wing of our team, as well. He’s our ringer.
Bill: We’ll see how we do.
Carlos: That’s right, we have an upcoming golf tournament that I’m hoping he does very well on.
Bill: Well, thanks for the pressure.
Michael: I’m Michael Halverson, and as far as what I do for SQL Data Partners is that Carlos reached out to me this year, and I am a board game designer and so he reached out to me to create a board game for SQL Data Partners in the healthcare-centered world and that’s what we’re working on. That should see production by the end of this year. Then we’re also hoping to work on another one in the SQL area this next year as well. We’re looking forward to that and maybe getting some ideas from listeners out there to what a board game like that might look like. So yeah, this is a really exciting area for me.
Carlos: Yeah, I know when we originally approached you, there’s another vendor out there, they’re in products, people will know who they are, and they put out a game that was actually played at PASS Summit last year on the game night. And I showed you that video and I thought, “well, hey, what about doing something like this?”, and I remember you being not so impressed with what they had come up with. So yes, we are looking for some feedback, and are very interested in what people might want to play that’s database-related. I could see it getting very interesting with you know, some cloud options in there, versus traditional on-premise stuff, you know, bad things that could happen.
Michael: And not something that’s just like a cut and paste of another older board game. Modern board gaming’s come a long way since then.
Carlos: Yes, that’s right and I have been surprised at the number of gaming enthusiasts that we have, actually, in the community. Game night’s still kind of in its infancy, but I do see lots of people talking about the games that they have, and so it will be interesting to see if we could put something together that will, maybe not quite compare or be exactly the same, but at least stay on the shelf.
Carlos: Yeah, okay. That’s fun. So, that’s the team, and now we’ve had to make a change. This is actually coming out after SQL Trail, which I’m sure went fabulously. If you weren’t there, obviously we missed you. But yeah, that’s been a lot of fun to put together. Well, I’m sure it will be fun once this airs, because it will be over. It’s quite a bit of work at this point. I guess I’m curious, let’s see, from here, what kinds of things are we thinking about for next year? We’ve already talked a little bit about Michael and the game. To bring Angela back in here for a second, traditionally, we have been a very managed services or DBA-heavy focus, so one of the things I know that we’re looking to grow in, is in that reporting space and this is where the very popular Dashboard In A Day components have come in. So, I think we’ll be looking to do some of that and this may be one of those opportunities where we get to do a little bit of traveling, potentially. I think SQL Trail is still in its infancy. It needs a couple of years, I think, to get its legs underneath it, but doing something like this could be a bit easier, and travels a bit better to do a single day Dashboard In A Day- type activity.
Angela: Yeah, it does, and I’m really excited to be able to have that opportunity to do the Dashboard In A Day. I think there are so many people out there who really need that type of training, and not just for the technical piece, but also for the visualization piece, because there are a lot of dashboards that are not so easy on the eyes, so we’ll include some visualization helpers along the way.
Carlos: Yeah. And just a “what am I looking at” kind of a thing.
Carlos: Yeah. Okay, one of the other things that’s kind of exciting, at least from my perspective, is we’ve also started to extend our swag a little bit. I’m actually holding in my hand now, the very soon to be coveted SQL Data Partners poker chip. Let’s see, Amanda and Bill, you want to talk to us about how this came to be?
Bill: Sure. RVA Tech Links, here in Richmond, is holding a golf tournament for all of us tech folks, and they were asking for sponsorships, so one of the things I’ve always, as I play golf, Carlos mentioned, I enjoy collecting different golf ball markers at the different courses I play. I was down at the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida, and I took the poker chip there, and we talked about it and Carlos actually seen that one. We talked about that might be a good thing for us to sponsor, as something people usually keep in their golf bags, to put our logo on there and to give a little name recognition to the tech world on this upcoming golf tournament here in Richmond.
Carlos: Yep, and then Amanda helped us put them together and I think they turned out really nice. I was a little unsure as to what they would feel like, but they’re nice and sturdy and of course, if you were at SQL Trail, you got one. But then you’ll have to seek us out at one of the future events if you, too, compañeros, want a SQL Data Partners golf ball marker/poker chip. We’ve asked for some feedback on games, so if you have ideas, and let’s go ahead and make that solicitation. I guess maybe we should start asking for good things that could happen or bad things that could happen to you, as a DBA, we’d be very interested in starting collecting that feedback, and we’ll see what Michael can put together with that.
Amanda: A lone DBA-type of game or a group of DBAs together in a company or make it a co-op. You against the servers.
Carlos: Oh, there you go.
Amanda: Or every man for himself.
Carlos: Yeah, yeah, now that would be interesting.
Michael: Yeah, I’d like to get some good story ideas. Give me some good story ideas.
Amanda: Yeah, what kind of story do you want the game to be?
Carlos: Yeah, so you against the servers. So SentryOne, for example, has like a score card-type idea for their database, depending on where you are. That would be interesting, you get a scenario somehow, and then based on the cards that are available to you, as an example, that you’re able to play certain moves, and then does your score go up or down based on the decisions that you make, based on what’s available to you. Something like that. That might be kind of an interesting idea. Yeah, something to think about. If you have ideas, compañeros, we’d be very interested to get your take. Okay, what else? Anything else we want to talk about before we get into SQL Family? We have a very quiet bunch today. It’s funny how you push the record button and all of a sudden, the conversation stops pretty quickly.
Amanda: Yeah, you push record and my brain goes blank.
Carlos: Yeah. We have a little more sympathy now, for our guests that come on. So let’s go ahead and do SQL Family. Here we go. All-time favorite movie.
Amanda: My all-time favorite movie is Princess Bride, and my second favorite is Emperor’s New Groove, and I have to say those two, because those are the ones that I quote constantly.
Amanda: Just anything. It’s funny, because I’ll quote something and occasionally it’ll be some other movie, but I ask Michael, “do you know what that’s from?” If he can’t guess it, he needs to see it.
Carlos: There you go. Angela?
Angela: Well, so, I have been on as a guest before, and I’ve stated my first favorite movie of all time, which is Stripes with Bill Murray. But you know, listening to Amanda and how she quotes Princess Bride, that would probably have to be my number two movie, because, just like Amanda, I live and die by quotes in that movie. And I’ve read the actual book, as well, so definitely, definitely.
Carlos: You keep using that phrase. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
Bill: My all-time favorite movie, and this is kind of like, I don’t know how many people have seen this movie. It’s Fletch with Chevy Chase. I can quote the entire movie. I quoted it the other day. My wife knew it was from Fletch, and I’m like, “she’s got it, she’s getting it”. I was putting antifreeze in the car and I said, “I need some Prestone. No, make that Quaker State. I need some 3 and 1 oil and some ball bearings, because it’s all ball bearings, these days.”
Michael: Mine would actually have to be the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Carlos: Ah, so if they made it all together, it’s just basically one movie, anyway, right?
Michael: It is, yeah. They made it all together. I used to read the books before the movies came out, so I have to go with that.
Carlos: There you go, okay. I have to agree, the Princess Bride is one of my favorites. We actually don’t own a lot of movies, but I do own the 25th anniversary edition of the Princess Bride, and I enjoy quoting that, but because that’s already been said, I feel like I have to have another one. As I think about a favorite movie, I don’t watch it often enough, probably off kilter. It’s an old Disney movie, but it’s actually the Man from Snowy River.
Amanda: Oh, that’s so great.
Carlos: I love that movie. And it’s one of those, as we started introducing our kids to movies that we had watched growing up, I’ll never forget that, because the opening scene there’s those horses, and my oldest saying to me, “Dad, is this one of those stupid horse movies?” And I’m like, “you just sit down and watch the movie.”
Michael: It’s the best horse movie.
Amanda: It is the best horse movie.
Carlos: It’s the best horse movie, that’s right. And so, by the time it was all over, I think I had gotten some credibility back. Not a whole lot, but they were glad they had seen it, anyway.
Amanda: Oh, good.
Carlos: Okay, city or place you’d most like to visit.
Amanda: I want to visit Scotland, because I just feel more of a family tie to Scotland. Most of my DNA is from England, but I feel more close to the Scottish side of me. A close second would be France, because I have a lot of French in my blood, too, but definitely Scotland.
Carlos: There you go. I have to preface this by saying that Amanda and Michael are married, but I should say, watch out, Michael, when she gets the kilt out. “Hey, Michael, I bought you something.”
Amanda: Oh, he already had one. Before we got together. He has one.
Michael: I’ve already worn one.
Angela: I’ve done an awful lot of world travel, so there’s lots of places I would like to go, but the next big place on my list of places to go is South Africa, and specifically Cape Town. I have a couple friends that live in South Africa, and I’ve been doing a lot of research and yeah, I would love, love, love to go to Cape Town, South Africa. And I am actually going to go next year, so I’m very excited about that.
Carlos: There you go, that sounds like fun.
Bill: I’d like to go to France in July. I’ve been following professional cycling for the past 20 years or so and I love the Tour de France and I would love to see it live and in person.
Carlos: Now, is there a particular place along the route you’d want to be?
Bill: Yeah, I’d love to see one of the mountain stages, either in the Alps or the Pyrenees. If they had a finish at the top of Alpe d’Huez, that would probably be where I’d want to be.
Michael: It’d have to be Norway for me. Specifically, some of the fjords and then some of the cities of my ancestors.
Carlos: Yeah, gosh, I guess I should have thought of more of this myself, cause I enjoy traveling. It’s one of my, I guess, bucket list items to get to all seven continents. So as strange as it sounds, I guess I’ll say that one of the places I’d like to go is Antarctica, only because it meets my requirement for getting to all seven continents. And so I’ve taken care of Asia, North and South America and Europe.
Bill: Angela has a connection with Antarctica.
Carlos: Oh, is that right?
Angela: I do, I actually used to, a long time ago, work for the US Antarctic program. When Raytheon had the contract. I worked for them for a while. I never did get to go to the ice, but I had several friends who did.
Carlos: Right, oh there you go. So admittedly, I’m probably going to cheat there, a little bit. There is a cruise that leaves from Argentina.
Angela: That’s what I was just going to tell you.
Carlos: Yeah, that goes over there. They have like the jump in the water, so I think you get to see it. I’m not sure that I’m actually going to step foot on it, but I’m going to count that. That’s close enough for me.
Angela: That’s probably as close as you’re going to get.
Amanda: Oh, very cool.
Angela: It is.
Carlos: I’m not sure if it’s next, necessarily, but that is one of the things that I have been thinking about. Okay, food that reminds you of your childhood.
Amanda: So for me, there’s lots, because our family is focused on food. Overly focused on food, it cracks Michael up. But I think my favorite one is macaroni and cheese goulash. The way we make it is, box macaroni and cheese, hot dogs cut up and black olives, although, as I grew up, I also add green olives. And that is something that I still do eat.
Carlos: Oh, that’s funny.
Amanda: And I also had extra cheese to make it nice and gooey.
Angela: Well, cheese makes it taste better, right?
Angela: You can never have too much cheese.
Amanda: Exactly! Never. That’s not a thing.
Carlos: And that is a little bit funny to me, because, as I’m married to your sister, I keep suggesting we put hot dogs in our macaroni and cheese, because I’m not a huge macaroni and cheese fan, and I get run out of town whenever I suggest that. It’s heresy.
Amanda: She must have just got tired of it, because I love it.
Bill: It’s– it’s– it’s bacon, Carlos. Add bacon to your macaroni and cheese.
Angela: So, food that reminds me of my childhood. Well, so I kind of have to go with Amanda on this one. Our family was very food focused and when I was on the podcast before, as a guest, I brought up the whole Kentucky Fried Chicken thing, and that is still one of the things, but the other one is ham and pineapple pizza. That was my dad’s favorite and when he first came home with a– the first time he came home with a ham and pineapple pizza, all of us three girls were like, “we’re not eating that. That’s disgusting. You don’t put fruit on pizza, Dad.” And he’s like, “just give it a try, just give it a try.” And I was like, “all right.” And you know what, to this day, all three of us girls, that’s our favorite kind of pizza, is ham and pineapple.
Amanda: Yeah, mine, too. It’s so good.
Angela: It’s tasty.
Bill: The food that reminds me of my childhood is grits. And I’m not sure anybody knows what grits are, that might be listening to this, but it’s in the corn family, something that’s eaten for breakfast in the South. I guess it’s occasionally seen with dinner, too, but in the cooler months, so fall, winter, grits was a staple at our breakfast table. My mother would fix us breakfast and she would place on our plates this dollop of butter. We got a spoonful of grits over the top of that dollop of butter and the butter would just melt. We would just add a little salt. That was the way I liked to eat it, just add a little salt to the grits, stir in that butter, eat it with my eggs and whatever else, and toast or what have you, and it was always fantastic. But yeah, grits is one of the foods that reminds me of my childhood.
Carlos: There you are, true man of the South.
Michael: I kind of had a hard time with this one, but I grew up with a lot of casseroles, so I think tater tot casserole is the one that probably reminds me most of my childhood.
Carlos: There you go, Tater Tot Casserole.
Angela: That sounds really good.
Amanda: It’s so good.
Carlos: Yeah, so now I think of casserole, I think of pasta, so is this like a pasta and tater tots or?
Michael: No, it’s not pasta, I still make it a lot, because it’s ground beef, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, tater tots on top and then cheese on top of that, throw it in a casserole dish, and then it’s just in the oven for like 45 minutes. Easy to make, come out and just yeah.
Carlos: Yeah, it’s funny how those quick and easy things just become part of of your childhood culture.
Michael: Yeah, we didn’t have a lot growing up, and so we just made do with what we had and I still just crave those simple and yet satisfying meals a lot.
Carlos: Sure, that’s funny. So for me, I’m going to have to go with arroz con pollo. Chicken and rice. There are lots of variations of chicken and rice all over the world.
Amanda: Yeah, I was going to ask, is it similar to the kind that Dad makes?
Carlos: It is not, in flavor, no. It’s different. This actually has some vegetables in it, as well. And then of course, my dad being from Costa Rica, there’s a sauce called lizano sauce and so we would put that sauce on it and so that lizano sauce it really kind of what ties the flavor to the family, and then of course, to my memory. So yeah, chicken and rice. Okay, now this is going to get fun. So, how did you first get started with SQL Server?
Amanda: So, like I said, I have one experience with SQL Server. I ran some queries to make sure that the queries in your book were adding up to the right information from the database, so that’s my whole experience with SQL Server.
Carlos: Really good, everybody’s gotta start somewhere, right? Okay, so I know Angela, you’ve talked a little bit about this before.
Angela: Yep, I was volun-told. That’s my first experience.
Carlos: And now, Bill, have we actually gotten you onto SQL Server, yet? Have you ever interfaced with SQL Server, yet?
Bill: I’ve been in several meetings with you where there was code on the screen.
Carlos: There you go.
Bill: So, I’ve seen the code, Carlos.
Carlos: It sounds like we’re going to have to add that to the–
Bill: Fourth quarter goals?
Carlos: Fourth quarter goals, right? Fire up SQL Server Management Studio and Amanda can show you how to run some queries.
Amanda: Yeah, right!
Bill: There we go.
Carlos: And Michael’s another one. We’re not using SQL Server when we develop the games, just yet.
Michael: Yeah, I’ve heard you guys talk about it. I know it exists, and that’s about it.
Carlos: I did hear someone say that they had added Java into SQL Server 2019, so the way that they keep adding things into the database, it would surprise me if at some point in the future there’s some kind of game design program.
Michael: I know Java.
Carlos: Added into SQL Server. Oh gosh. Yeah, so then you have to go back to Episode 0 for me. Very similar, my first experience was basically installing SQL Server for a company I was doing support with and that kind of started it, and yeah, and the rest, as they say, is history. Okay, we’re going to skip the change question. So, best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Amanda: I guess I would have to say the best piece of advice I’ve received, which applies to careers as well as to just life in general is “take everything one day at a time”. Sometimes one minute at a time, depending on what you’re doing.
Carlos: There you go. Slow and sure wins the race, right?
Angela: Something that has kind of helped me out and maybe not necessarily career advice, but it was advice that I got when I was in college, from one of my math professors, who said, “you know, you don’t have to remember everything in super detail on the top of your head, but what you can do is, essentially index that information in your brain so that when you read it, you kind of file it away, and then when that topic comes up you go, oh, you know what, I know that. I don’t know the details, but I know exactly where to look to get that.” And that has saved me many, many times, trying to always remember varied minutiae when you don’t have to. If you can remember where you can find that minutiae, that’s all you need.
Amanda: That’s good.
Bill: Yeah, a couple things come to mind when thinking about this. One is one that was taught throughout my life from my mother and it’s about having a positive attitude. And I’ve worked in different environments and when negativity comes in, it’s really just kind of bringing against the culture and so one thing I’ve really tried to do is always have a positive attitude, no matter what we’re facing. I guess the other piece that’s really made a difference in my life is to love what you do, and I’ve spent a lot of hours working and trying to grow our careers and have great careers and the quote is, I think, “love what you do and you’ll never work a day”.
Carlos: There you go, which I’m sure you say every day, working now for SQL Data Partners.
Bill: You know, as an affirmation, I do say that. You know, I love what I do. I love the people I work with, and we make a difference. We help people. We help companies, we help people, and we make a difference and so it’s easy to love what you do when you’re in a company like that.
Carlos: Very cool.
Angela: That’s great advice.
Michael: Mine actually goes hand in hand with what Bill just said. It kind of came from my parents, it stuck with me. I’ve heard it from other people as well, but it fits me like this, “find something you’re absolutely passionate about, because it’s going to be taking up most of your time, so you’ve got to love it.”
Carlos: Yeah, I’m going to actually steal a movie quote here. I’m not sure if it’s the best career advice, but it’s definitely one that I’ve been hanging my hat on, as of late. Here you go, name the movie. “If you build it, they will come.”
Bill: Field of Dreams.
Carlos: Field of Dreams.
Angela: Field of Dreams.
Carlos: And of course, that quote or that idea or that concept of a movie has obviously stuck with me and I really enjoy that movie. That’s probably, should be up there in the top whatever, because of the powerful nature of it and kind of going after something, taking a risk when you don’t quite know all the answers. It’s not to say that we’ve arrived, by any means, but there’s a lot of joy in the building process, and to now have a team with you guys, 150 episodes, and a pretty good following of people and thank you, compañeros. I don’t check it all the time. I used to check it a lot more than I do now, but from the stats perspective, I’m always grateful, thankful, that people are still tuning in after all this time. Our last question for today’s episode, guys. If you could have one superhero power, what would it be, and why do you want it?
Amanda: Definitely teleportation. I like to travel. I used to like road trips, but I get motion sick so easily, and it’s not so much fun. Plus I like to feel productive, so I don’t really feel very productive when I’m driving somewhere or even flying somewhere. So, teleportation, where I could just be somewhere and have more time to do the things that I’m wanting to do. I do want to travel across the country and visit places, but if I just need to be at a meeting or something, I just want to be there.
Angela: Definitely flying. Teleportation is kind of cool, but I like the flying aspect, up there in the sky, looking down at everything. Yeah, flying. Still flying, for me. Always will be flying, for me.
Bill: Boy, Angela just took mine.
Amanda: You can both fly.
Angela: It’s okay, I’ll share, I’ll share.
Bill: You’ll share. So, two of my favorite superheroes are Superman and Spiderman, so I like all of the different powers they have. To fly, I remember I had a dream when I was a kid that I was flying like Superman. I thought it was the coolest thing, ever. I would love to have that power.
Michael: Probably for me, regeneration. I’d love to just be able to heal up. I’ve got so many health things, it’d just be nice to be able to get back to a time when I didn’t have all of that stuff. So yeah, I’d like to be able to fix all of these things that I have and be healthy again.
Carlos: Okay. Yeah, so in my original episode, I also said flying. Now that I’ve listened to quite a few other people give their take and I guess there’d be very, very cool abilities, again, to quote another movie, when he’s asked, “now, what’s your superpower again?” He replies, “I’m rich.” And so, that one would be awfully nice, sometimes. So there you go. That’s our episode for today, compañeros, 150, hurray! We got there, we’re looking forward to another 150 episodes. Not sure that we’re going to do a show notes for this, but I’m sure we’ll do something. As always, so now there’s a few more people, and we should probably go ahead, because I know at least with Angela, and Bill, Michael and Amanda are very friendly people, so if you want to connect with them as well, you’re certainly welcome to do that. On social media, just pick one of your social media, because we didn’t talk about this beforehand and so I’m putting everybody on the spot. Tell us one way that we can get a hold of you on social media.
Amanda: On LinkedIn, I am Amanda Halverson.
Angela: On Twitter, I am @sqlswimmer.
Bill: On Twitter and Instagram, I am @bill_lund. I post pictures of all the food I cook.
Carlos: Yeah, I was going to say, don’t go there if you’re hungry.
Amanda: Oh, maybe I need to go there. I love food.
Michael: That is a very good question.
Carlos: Yeah, we’re going to have to get you a social media presence.
Carlos: Okay. And then of course, compañeros, on LinkedIn, I am at Carlos L Chacon. Again, we appreciate you joining us today and we’ll see you on the SQL Trail.