This is the eighth in a series of interviews with speakers leading up to the 2012 PASS Summit which will be held in Seattle from November 6th - 9th. This interview is with PASS Performance Virtual Chapter Leader, Erin Stellato.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Senior Consultant for SQLskills.com and a SQL Server MVP. I like to know how things work, and in my SQL Server world that translates to knowing how the storage engine and query processor work. I have been working with clients for the past 12 years, and each day is an adventure. I learn something new every day.
Tell us your favorite thing about your PASS session(s)
My favorite thing about both of my Summit sessions is that I share practical, real-world knowledge that a DBA or developer can put to use immediately. It goes back to knowing how things work. It's not just about understanding how statistics get created and how they get updated, it's also how they are used by the query processor. For DBCC, I don't want people to simply know the commands, I want them to understand the impact on their data or on performance, so they don't have one of those "Whoops!" moments with a production environment.
Tell us about your first time at PASS Summit
It was two years ago, 2010. I finally had the opportunity to meet so many people in person - people that I "knew" from Twitter. One of the first people I met up with was Ted Krueger. I remember sitting down near the front for the keynote on the first day and it opened with a Tina Turner impersonator. I was so confused. I remember thinking, "What inside joke did I miss here?" Then I realized that I wasn't the only one who didn't get it. I planned to attend a session in every time slot, every day. By the second day I was exhausted. I learned a lot, met a ton of people, and it was a fantastic week.
What advice do you have for PASS Summit First Timers?
Keep an open mind. The value in Summit is not just the content, it's also the people. There are a few thousand people at Summit. Most of them are like you in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean that you'll connect with every person. Introduce yourself to people - that includes the person sitting next to you in a session, at lunch, or the speaker whose session you just attended. Some people may take a while to chat (some of us are introverts :), others will be happy to have an hour long conversation with you. You never know who you'll meet; you never know who will help you solve a performance problem you've been struggling with at work, who might get you actually using PowerShell (finally!), or who might end up being your roommate at Summit next year.
What are your can't-miss PASS sessions?
The ones from Bob Ward and Paul White. If I want to know how things work, those are two of the go-to individuals in the community.
Besides sessions, what's on your must-do list at Summit?
Wednesday morning's #sqlrun organized by roommate Jes Borland. Donuts from Top Pot. A trip down to La Panier in Pike's Place. But mostly, just seeing old friends, catching up, and meeting new people!
How can attendees become involved in the SQL Server Community and continue their learning throughout the year?
Take advantage of your Local Chapter, and start following the Virtual Chapters! Not everyone can attend their local meeting every single month, life is crazy. But the virtual chapters don't require you to go anywhere, just tune in and learn. I highly recommend Twitter. It is a great medium for getting to know people. And if you want to really get involved in the SQL Server Community, volunteer. If you don't where to start, stop by the Community Zone while you're at Summit. I know that PASS is always looking for smart, motivated individuals to help out with the many on-going projects in the community.