It’s good to be a little bit scared

How many times have you read or heard that phrase from someone about to embark on some endeavour? A stand-up comedian, a stunt-man, a sports person, each preparing for a big event where they are putting themselves at some risk, challenging themselves physically, mentally or psychologically in some way.

Well, I can’t say that I’m seeing the good part about it yet. I am just about a week away from doing a presentation at SQL in the City, an event being staged by Red Gate software in London* on 17th July.


Being asked to speak at this event was a catalyst for a lot of things in my professional life. I had never spoken in front of any number of people, certainly not a group of professionals about their own subject. Since being asked I have done a lightning talk at SQLBits 8, spoken at SQL Soton user group, started a local user group (sqlsouthwest) and spoken there and I have also just yesterday submitted for a full session at SQLBits 9 (Liverpool, 29th Sep). The two talks I have done so far were to no more that 20 people combined and SQLBits 9 is several months away.

SQL in the City is going to be my first talk to a big group of people. A BIG group of people. The event is, I understand, for approximately 300 people and there are two tracks so I guess, unless the other speaker has a much bigger room than me, I will be talking to around 150 people. I think its fair to say that Red Gate are putting a lot of trust in me. I am very pleased that they are, there must be something in what I have said and done in my past dealings with them that has given them this confidence. I am going to do everything I can to repay this to the best of my ability.

I am going to be talking about two of Red Gate’s applications – SQL Backup and SQL Monitor. Now I use these products every day in the office and that will hopefully be to my advantage, I am on home ground, familiar territory, somewhere that I can put my confidence and experience in to use. This doesn’t however stop me from starting to feel somewhat apprehensive about it all. It’s possibly not helped by the fact that my wife has started the whole “In a week’s time we’ll be …” comments!

So, the presentation is written, I have sorted and shuffled the notes around, it’s been passed to Red Gate for editorial comments and I have one last weekend to practice. Then, next week I am off to Cambridge on Tuesday and then down to London for the event on Friday.

If you are coming to SQL in the City then I hope you have a great day, I certainly hope to see some of the other sessions as there are some great speakers there, if you see me please come along and say hello.

* – There is also a mirror event being staged in Los Angeles in August. As yet I have not been, and to be honest never expected to be, invited to speak there also.