It is with both sadness and excitement that I am announcing I am leaving my position as Senior Data Architect at OTO Labs.
The sadness comes because I am leaving behind a great company and an outstanding team, many of whom I am quite happy to consider friends rather than co-workers. This decision was not easy; I spent several days and sleepless nights wrestling with it because my current team and job are all I have known in my professional career, going back 13 years.
The excitement is because I feel like the Remington man or that guy from Hair Club for Men commercials – I am joining a team to work with a product that I am a huge fan of, and that has served me very well over the years. And on day one I will already be welcomed by co-workers I already consider friends.
But before we talk too much about where I'm going, let's talk about where I've been.
I grew up in Canada, hating computers. I had a Commodore Vic 20 and used to curse those cassette tapes when I'd make a typing mistake while "recording." My favorite thing about the Commodore 64 was Moon Patrol – I don't think I did much else with it. My first real computer was a 486; it ran Windows 95, but barely. I still remember the hours-long process of upgrading from Windows 3.11 for Workgroups using a stack of, what, 23 3.5" floppy disks?
You can read more sordid details about how I became a dork in these two blog posts:
But essentially I have been evolving in the same position for over 13 years. I first came to work for Eric Picard (twitter) in Rhode Island immediately after graduating in 1997. The company name changed from Waterworks Interactive, to 9th Square, to Bluestreak, before finally being absorbed by One to One Interactive in 2007. And the office I've called "home" has moved from several locations in Newport, to Middletown, to Providence, and finally to Charlestown (a quaint little area just north of Boston). But it has still felt like a single job to me, even though I have expanded my skillset and responsibilities there.
At PASS 2005 in Grapevine, Texas, I met Greg Gonzalez (blog | twitter) and his fantastic team from SQL Sentry. I fell in love with their flagship product, Event Manager, and had several great conversations with Greg about what I liked, and to a much lesser extent how it could be improved (because it already did a *lot* of the things I found at the time, and still find, lacking in Management Studio). I like to think that some of those conversations led to innovations in the existing product, and the further development of new tools such as Performance Advisor.
Last year, I published a product review of Performance Advisor on SQLServerCentral, comparing it to the Management Data Warehouse feature introduced with SQL Server 2008:
Having been a long-time user of the tool, it served mostly as a review for me; however, through interviews and conversations, I did get a better feel for the camaraderie of the team and the quality of the product they continue to build and perfect. I have also spoken at the Charlotte SQL Server User Group multiple times, and also at SQL Saturday #33; at these events I have had several positive conversations with the team.
Over the past year I have been involved in a benchmarking project that has measured in very fine and excruciating detail the overhead of using SQL Sentry to monitor your servers. I can't wait to continue the work on this project and show you how little you actually "pay" for the wealth of information it provides. This project, too, has led to a much better appreciation and understanding of the product, the team, and the company.
Also over the past year, and along with a few MVPs and other esteemed colleagues, I have served on a Product Advisory Council that has helped provide product feedback and steering to the SQL Sentry team. I can say with no hesitation that my interactions with the company have always been stellar.
So it should come as no surprise to many of you that my new employer, effective October 25th, is SQL Sentry. My official title will be "Senior Consultant" but, in addition to assisting with consulting services, I will wear many hats… from product tester, to blogger, to evangelist, to public speaker, and several things in between. I will be working out of my house for the most part, often pantsless (don't be jealous @buckwoody). I think the only thing I will *not* miss about my current job is the annoying commute – and when I do need to travel to Charlotte, I suspect the total travel time will be shorter than my current drive to Charlestown – on a good day.
I'll repeat again, that other than the commute, it has not been easy for me to leave my current position. I have made a lot of good friends over the past 13 years, and I feel that my contributions have been valuable and have greatly impacted their offerings. And while my new career path will bring about a whole new set of challenges, many of my responsibilities will consist of things that I have already been doing in my spare time – blogging, speaking, helping folks out on twitter… so if you're worried about my community involvement changing, it will only change for the better.
I am very excited about this opportunity… October 25th can't come soon enough.