Thanks to the MidnightDBAs, we have a new, intermittent, community writing assignment. For this inaugural post, we’re to discuss branding. But not branding irons. So I’m going soup to nuts.
The Summit was an interesting experience. I came to Seattle with the expectation that I was going to have to work hard to make contacts because I’m that lone weirdo in DC with a blog and an active Twitter account. And I did work hard because it’s not always easy for me to talk with people. But it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be because people knew who I was. That was completely unexpected.
I also had a few other unexpected surprises around the Summit. User Group leaders asked if I’d come talk with their chapters. I even had a request to write an article and the editor and I are figuring out an appropriate piece now. You’ll see in the next section why these were surprises to me.
Still, I know that I’ve got a lot of work to do because I’m “that SQL Cruise guy.” You know, “the one with the video.” And while I am proud of the work that I do at the Foundation, and I am proud of that video entry, I do want to be known for more.
I feel like my plan has reached a turning point. When I first started this blog, I was a complete SQL Server newbie – and I felt that I had to represent myself that way. Everything I wrote was geared towards the beginner, sharing tips and tricks that I learned along the way. While these kinds of posts have their place, I wasn’t giving up this beginner’s shtick even though my knowledge and experience had grown. I am not calling myself an expert in anything in any way, but I am beginning to recognize that I know more than I usually give myself credit for.
So what does that mean? It means that I’m adjusting my strategy. I’m going to begin to write more technical posts, and hopefully a few articles as well. The realization that I had at the Summit is that as much as people rely on their past experience, they also rely on research and observations. It’s scientific. I can do that too.
But I’m still that lone weirdo in DC, so I need to inject a little personality too. I’m a person, I’m personable: if I only see folks regularly around events, I want to share as well.
I implement my plan through three main channels. The first is this blog. Blogging is a great way to build a reputation, to share your knowledge, and to start conversations. I’ve blogged on and off for a long time before coming to the SQL community, but those times were difficult as I never knew if I had anyone listening. This time around I was encouraged to start again based on Brent Ozar’s blogging series. Tied in with this blog are my videos on YouTube. These have been relatively light, but I’m planning to ramp up again. The videos are a double whammy for me: I can teach and share my person all in one.
The second avenue is Twitter. Twitter is a good way to share my blog, but it’s also fantastic for sharing my opinions and having conversations with all you great folks that I don’t get to see in person all that often. If my blog represents my ideas, then Twitter helps to represent my voice.
The final component is my LinkedIn account. This isn’t as active a channel as the other two networks, but more of a final word. Once I think I’ve built a fledgling relationship with a peer, I’ll often send a request on LinkedIn to try to solidify it.
But all of this work is for nothing without goals. I’d like to speak at the Summit one day. (Well, more than Lightning Talks, as awesome as they were.) I’d like to be considered for and become an MVP. I’d love to land that dream job through the help of the community.
Most importantly of all, I want to grow in my experience, my knowledge, and my career. I brand myself in order to expand the number of opportunities that I have to learn and share.