Today is the 2nd anniversary of my engagement in MSDN SSAS forum which is a good excuse to summarize activity because somehow I’ve had a feeling that I did much less while spending definitely equal amount of time if not more. Was it really so?
If we don’t measure, we … well, definitely can’t tell for sure – might be a free interpretation of the famous quote made from the technical perspective. In blog articles I usually try to perform an analysis which then results in a conclusion. In this one what I’ll do is a self-analysis with data gathered from various sites combined with some of my own.
Forum stats are as follows: 1250+ posts, 333+ answers, 6200+ points. As mentioned in advance, last year’s focus was supposed to be different – less forum activity, more of other types of engagement. And so it was. My forum contribution was reduced to only 25% of previous year’s posts (which had made me felt less active), but the percentage of correct answers increased relative to that (66% of previous year’s answers). Not bad. I wish to think it means only one thing – that I’m improving my BI skills by doing more with less. This observation, deduced from a quick measurement, helped instantly :-).
So what were those other activities?
Well, I wrote about a dozen technical articles in my blog (300% increase, 150% if we track exactly the same period because I started blogging in October), 4 articles for local magazines two of which were published, volunteered at 1 foreign conference, had 1 presentation for the local user group, 3 sessions at local conferences and 1 lecture at local university. Again a surprise. I spent a lot of time on these activities, partially because they were not routine to me, partially because they required more time than forum did (in form of preparation). For example, to blog it takes one night (for a good technical article), to lecture or write a magazine article it takes few days up to a week, to prepare a session for a conference it takes three weeks. In contrast, to answer a question on forum it takes approximately few hours of engagement (a rough estimate, spans from few minutes to several days; it varies a lot). Once put together like this, it made sense and again caused my perception to become more positive.
Then, I travelled a lot. I’ve been precisely twice around the globe in last two years with YoY (year-over-year) index of 200% in mileage and 150% in number of days. I’ve been to my very first MVP Summit and I’ve visited 5 conferences in total where I learned a lot and met interesting people. What I’m most happy about is the fact that on some of those trips I had a pleasure of sharing the experience with my family, which, now that I come to mention it, will increase in September :-).
There were some downs as well. PowerPivot and DAX appeared while Mosha said goodbye to BI at the same time. Yes, that casted a big shadow of uncertainty on future of SSAS and MDX, the things I like the most. Furthermore, as long as PowerPivot and DAX are tied to Excel with no APIs or similar, to a BI developer it is nothing but a peep show. Seriously, there are so many possibilities what we could do with it, programmatically! Anyway, I suppose things will inevitably change and therefore I’m learning this technology intensively. Even found a niche to blog about which amuses me – comparing DAX with MDX and T-SQL.
I also missed Microsoft BI conference in New Orleans and failed to present at some foreign conferences lately. I’ll try my luck again, but this won’t be an area I’ll concentrate the most. Next year that will be my blog.
In the following year I’ll continue blogging and I’ll increase the quantity of blog articles even more. That’s an activity I see myself in. Free topics, writing when inspired, cooking ideas in between the posts, fast delivery and not depending on anyone or anything else. I’ll probably change the platform soon. I’ve been delaying this for some time, but now that (already poor) stats are gone, it’s a clear case for me. As you can see, I like the stats very much. They are a measurement of silent feedback – how many people visited and perhaps read an article. And as we saw earlier, being able to see the results of that measurement is directly linked to feeling of worthiness.
Lower priorities are exams, learning and having a session or two at user group meeting or local conference. However, a recent opportunity to finally finish my master degree in economics might conflict that making those activities even less important because there might not be enough time for everything.
We’ll see which way the story went in a year from now review.