Jeff Pries

Business Intelligence, SQL Server, and other assorted IT miscellany

Month: January 2016

Office Hijinks: The Treasure of Premiere Parkway

The assembled treasure map in the bottle of grog.I’ve been known, from time to time, to execute a fun and harmless over-the-top creative office prank.  With my upcoming departure from my current organization, I thought it might be fun to launch one last bit of fun, timed to be found at some point after i’d left.

I’d always liked the idea of hiding something (non-evil) in my desk to be found at some point by a future inhabitant of the desk.  I’d also heard of someone else calling the job documentation they were leaving behind a “treasure map.”  So, that’s where the idea was born — why not leave behind an actual treasure map to an actual treasure?  And if a treasure map is going to be created, then of course we’re going to need a pirate theme!

I had grand plans and ideas on how to make a fairly involved hunt — but, due to time restrictions and actually wanting this to be found, I decided  on a simpler approach to a basic map and instructions which led directly to buried treasure.  I had one other speed bump encountered at the last minute — my office and desk were to be reworked the day I was leaving, so leaving clues strategically placed there wasn’t going to work.

Never fear!  I managed to leave a small clue in a common area of the office (which managed to go unnoticed for a week) which then led treasure hunters to the map, which ultimately led to the prize hidden outside in the woods.  The hunt was great fun and was a great success!  Hopefully it was enjoyed by all.



The unfolded treasure map with its bottle.

The unfolded treasure map with its bottle.

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SQL Saturday Roundup: #477 – Atlanta, GA (BI Edition)

SQL Saturday Roundup: #477 – Atlanta, GA (BI Edition)

This past Saturday marked a great landmark for Atlanta — the first “BI Edition” SQL Saturday, and, for many of us, our first SQL Saturday of 2016!  Atlanta has been hosting a regular SQL Saturday event for many years now, always with tremendous attendance.  Based on the amount of interest in the regular SQL Saturday (usually around May of each year), it was great to see a BI focused edition launched.

With the regular event in the Spring, having this event in January was a great way to space out the two Atlanta events probably about as equally as they could be.  And, for a first event, it seemed to be a tremendous success with a registration wait list and around 300 in attendance.

The event was held at the local Microsoft facility in Alpharetta, GA, where the monthly Atlanta MDF user group meetings are held.  All told, the facility was a pretty good choice of venue (and definitely a convenient location), but suffered from some overcrowding.  The facility had about half the sessions in roughly classroom sized rooms and half the sessions in much smaller conference room sized rooms.  While these smaller rooms made for an interesting and more intimate setting, they ultimately filled up very quickly.

Unlike many SQL Saturdays, the event kicked off with an opening keynote and presentation in the large room (multiple rooms joined together technically).  I enjoy it when a SQL Saturday begins with some sort of all-attendee opening remarks, it provides nice symmetry to the event (which always has a final closing remarks session), so hopefully more events will adopt this.


Dandy Weyn presenting the opening remarks at SQL Saturday Atlanta 2016, BI Edition.

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New Year, New Beginning

2016 is here at last, and it’s already shaping up to be an exciting year.  Most notably, after 12 years, I decided to put the Professional Development skills that I’d been honing over the past few years into practice and start the year off with a bang — by interviewing for and accepting a Business Intelligence position with another organization.

I’m not going to pretend it was easy, leaving a stable job with an amazing organization after so many years, but it was a necessary one.  And, I won’t say that more than once, I didn’t ask myself if I was being crazy.  Personality types such as my own value and prioritize security and stability, sometimes to our detriment, to where we find ourselves in situations which are so stable and comfortable that it becomes difficult to challenge ourselves and grow and easy to fall into a routine.  But challenge is crucial to continue growing, learning, and advancing.  I’ll dearly miss the people at my previous organization, but I look forward to the adventures ahead of me.

So, here’s to a great, and definitely interesting, 2016.  My challenge to you for 2016 — if you find yourself too comfortable and stable, find a way to challenge yourself in some new way, whatever it is.  Make a plan, get out there, and do it!  And don’t forget to document it in your Professional Development Plan!


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