Now let's get a little more adventurous. I want you to hunt down some specific people. Keep in mind that I love each and every one of these individuals as a brother or sister. And though I may be asking you to do something that would appear to not be in your best interest, I promise that you will have a good time doing it, and the individual you meet should be nice to you in return, i think.
Ok, here we go. Things to do when you find these people while at the summit.
[EDIT : if you do not appear in this list, do not fret. I can only fit so many per blog. SQLFamily is huge. More blogs to come]
Try to get a run in with Steve Jones from SQL Server Central. This man is an inspiration to so many for his daily running routine. Even if you see him in the elevator while going to run will be an inspiration. Ask him how much he likes shoveling hay. If you dont have guts enough to do this, simply thank him for being the godfather of this SQL community we now enjoy. If you have the time, listen and learn. He can teach you so much about so much. As those of us that have learned from him for many many years can attest.
Challenge Grant Fritchey to an arm wrestle. Or better, tell him you can chop wood faster than he can. Actually, anything you can challenge him to in his presence will impress me, as he has a stern persona at first glance, but is one of the nicest people you will meet at the summit. Ask him about Azure, about performance, about anything, and be prepared to learn.
Purchase a cup of coffee and deliver it to Buck Woody. Do this and you may make a friend for life. I dare you to ask him if he likes tea. Any kind of tea. If you cannot find him while at the summit, keep your eyes peeled for a blur in the hallways, that's probably him simply moving faster than the naked eye can detect as he is amped up on caffeine. 10 minutes learning from him will keep you busy for months, if not years.
When you run into Paul Randal, challenge him to a game of Blokus, hinting that you could probably kick his butt. This will prove to be a fun conversation, if you survive the first accusation of superiority. My first time meeting him is so ingrained in my memory, I will always cherish it. This man will impress you from the get go, and you will be surprised when he speaks that his accent doesn't quite match the one you had in your head all these years as you read his blog. Remember that he wrote most of what you use today in SQL Server. Be prepared to learn from him. Listen raptly.
If you are lucky you will meet Kimberly Tripp soon after you meet Paul Randal. She will smile at you and make you feel welcome. As if you are actually of worth. Realizing that you are in the midst of SQL Server royalty, open yourself up to what she can share with you. Amazed you will be.
If you want to meet the nicest guy at the Summit, then you need to hunt down my brother from another mother, Andy Leonard, and become his brother thru conversation. He is so knowledgeable and so kind, you will simply be blown away at how much you learn from him while listening to him speak. If you don't feel like giving a bear hug at the end of this encounter, you may have done it wrong. He is the best.
If you like lists like I do, then you mush try to find Brad McGehee and learn from him how to keep track of and take care of your database servers. Ask him about Hawaii. He lived there. This alone is an amazing treat, in my mind. One of the nicest people you will meet is Brad. Learn from him. Let him teach you. You will be amazed.
Once you run into Tom LaRock, ensure that you ask him about his favorite sausage. Go on and on about how much you love sausage. Or is it bacon. I cant remember... find out for yourself. After giving him a hard time, sit back and let him teach you about the community. About how we need to help each other. About how we can do a better job. Soon you will find yourself volunteering to help him on whichever of the myriad endeavors he is embarking upon to make us all better people, in spite of ourselves. He will make you a better person simply by being around him.
I'm a sucker for accents, and have always loved to listen to Gail Shaw. You will too. Be prepared to ask a simple performance question of her, if you can find her, and then record the answer. Type it up and read it over and over and be amazed at how much knowledge you will be innovated with in a short period from her. If you could extract a small ounce of her knowledge, it would probably more than double what you already have.
If you are looking for a quite rock of knowledge that will thoroughly impress you and impress upon you that you need to be a better person, seek out Andy Warren. His quiet way will shock you into the reality of continuous improvement. Listen to him when he talks, and how he talks, and watch others learn from him. He is a giant of a man and you should be humbled to simply learn as much as you can from him.
When you meet Denny Cherry, be ready to be cussed at and maybe even yelled at, but come out of the event knowing so much more about storage than you ever thought your little brain could handle. He is not for the faint of heart, but has such a store of knowledge that you would be amiss if you skipped this opportunity to learn from him.
If you see a giant (literal) of a man wondering around with a camera, stop and say HI to Pat Wright. He too has a quiet way of pushing you out of your comfort zone and into the community and then letting you do what you will within it. But you are a member of it because of him. How many of us can say that? I know I am a member of the community solely because of his influence. Tell him HI from me when you do see him. I owe him sooo much.
If you get a chance to hunt down the elusive Brent Ozar, do so. At first I thought he was a fictitious bot generated from Quest on twitter, but he turned out to be real. A real boy with a vast collection of knowledge. And given the chance, he will share it all with you. You will not be able to take it all in at once, so drink from this fountain only as much as you can take it. He will teach you so much.
If you run into Aaron Nelson, ask him if he's ever heard of this new language called PowerShell. Tell him you think its a fad. Then if he is still talking to you, ask him to help you with a script. He probably has it on him, and can give you a copy. And you will be opened up into the world of Powershell that you never knew existed. Anything you can think of, he's probably already done it and will share it with you.
When you see Allen Kinsel, which you will. because he is everywhere, simply run up and give him a hug. He may resist. But while hugging him tell him how thankful you are that he made the PASS Summit work. None of us will ever know how much he puts into this event. We all ose him so much. After thanking him, tell him how sorry you are that he still has copies of SQL 6.5 in production. Offer him your condolences.
If you happen to see a DBA that looks like a criminal and causes you to pause, possibly switching to the other side of the hallway, this may be Chris Shaw. Don't avoid him. His shaven head and stern face is covering a plethora of Administrative knowledge that you cannot afford to pass up. He will give you his shirt off his back, if he could. Another one of the nicest people you will meet with a head for Data that will amaze you. Again, learn from him. Learn. Soak it in.
I could go on with more, and hope to continue this list as the Summit grows closer. This is a list of people I think you should meet. I have met them. I love them. I learn from them. I am amazed to be in the same community as they. They are SQLFamily. You should take the time to meet and add them to your network. Become part of the SQLFamily.