About People’s Interactions

I liked how my Wednesday’s meetup went. I only regret that I didn’t put enough time into advertising, and there were not many people attending. The talk was brilliant. It was new Bruce’s talk “Democratization of Databases,” where he talks about opensource products and how their development is different from commercial products. 

Our discussion ended up being rather political; that’s why I am not posting it on my professional blog.

But you know, I think it was very appropriate. There are times when you have to be political, times when you can’t enclose yourself in your professional world. And now is that kind of time. 

On another note, I started to assemble my team of volunteers. And now, when I started, I do not know how I lived without any help! I felt so good when people responded to my call. When they started to reach out telling me that they want to help, to give back. One of the people who reached out told me: I want to compensate for all these times when I would just come and sit in the corner, listen to the talks, eat pizza and go back home. 

I can see now how many things we didn’t do to give us more publicity. Interestingly, when I talk to other people about giving their enterprise more publicity, I name all these things I didn’t do myself :). I hope that by the time of the next meetup, things will start to look different.

This week was very intense. I had many things going on at work, and I also had to talk to many people for a very long time :). I can’t recall this level of interactions I was involved in since the pre-pandemic times. I am tired, but I also feel very good. I feel empowered by people’s responses. 

My New Thing

How should I put it? I didn’t start a new job, but I started a side job, which brings me immense pleasure.
That’s the job I am doing for my former co-worker and mentor, and doing something for him and together with him was something I’ve wanted for the past seven years.

I could tell that it was the right thing to do to start this project because I instantly felt ecstatic when I started to code. It had been a long time since I felt like this, and since I wanted to finish coding not because I had a deadline, but because I wanted :).

We talked about that project in the early fall, and I didn’t want (and could not) to start until I was done with the book. But the day I was done, I messaged him.

It is a very different environment in terms of how his team operates, how they approach tasks, and divide work. I am not saying it is bad; it’s just not what I am doing at my primary workplace. In some sense, it is good to get out of your comfort zone. Besides, he is a person from whom I can learn a lot, and I am eager to have this “ideas exchange.”

Usually, spring is my worst time of the year regarding what happens to me in all aspects of life. But it looks like this spring is an exception ๐Ÿ™‚

Acting Like A Leader

I am listening to “Atomic Habits,” a well-knowing book, mostly building on the “Power of Habit,” which I read a long time ago and really liked. 

As it often happens, you notice the closest ideas to what you are thinking about at the moment. This time, it was the well-known idea of “if you want to become something, act as if you already are.” To be precise, in the book, the author rephrases it like “do not say: I want to run a marathon, say: I want to become a runner.”

The reason I paid attention to this statement is the conversation I had on Friday. Among other things, I was asked about “things that work” with the Chicago PUG. While answering that question, I started to list all the things I usually mention when people ask me, “How did I build it.” I talked about having specific dates, announcing meetups early, starting on time, engaging the audience, coaching the first-time zoom speakers. And I ended my answer with one simple statement: I am a community leader, people are looking up at me, and I felt the responsibility to act.

And that is the most important reason that Chicago PUG is running regular meetups, one of the very few PostgreSQL meetups regularly running during the pandemic. 

I vividly remember how I felt a year ago. I had to make difficult choices, and at that time, I was very unsure of what is the right thing to do, and I was questioning myself and my actions, and the situation was changing not by days but by hours. 

First, I announced the change of speaker. Then, I announced the rescheduling. And two weeks later, I announced going virtual. I opted to be a first zoom speaker because I knew it could be a very miserable experience (and it was). But the important thing was that we were able to continue our activities and the PUG members responded with great attendance. 

I am very proud of all of us, and I hope that later this year, we will be able to switch to the hybrid meetups:)

Eternal Happiness

Remember how I said last week, that I made several important decisions, and I feel the happiest person because of that.

Well, today I finally started to execute on one of these decisions, and I feel over the moon. Just to be clear – it is professional :). But people who know me long enough also know that my worst moment and my happiest moments are most often related to something I am doing in the professions sphere.

The extent of my happiness clearly shows that at least this decision was the right one ๐Ÿ™‚

The Book Is About to Go Into Print

Yesterday, I approved a cover proof of our book:). Our editor told us that it will go in production on March 8 and will be available on May 7, which is very exciting.

Also, our technical reviewer published a blog post about the NORM methodology, and it raises a lot of interest (as I can tell by the number of people hitting my GItHub repo. I know that my friends in tech follow me on LInkedIn, but still I will post the link here as well:

https://www.enterprisedb.com/blog/how-no-object-relational-mapping-norm-improves-application-performance-postgresql

Work- Life Balance, And What’s Not

Last week, our CTO asked the tech leadership team to estimate the percentage of all work time we spend on the following categories: the actual management, routine work and processes, and project work. 

I was in Helsinki at that moment, and since I had some extra time< and Boris was there, I decided to approach this task creatively. 

We had different views on what should be considered the project work and whatnot, but in the end, I decided to count as project work only the code writing and coming up with ideas on how to do certain things. I classified all the project planning, discussions with businesses, etc. as management. 

To calculate the percentage of each activity, I needed to calculate the number of hours I spent on each of them. Since I had time, I didn’t just estimate, but I looked at the three previous weeks and calculated the average numbers. 

It turned out that I work 55 hours a week, and I could not believe that number when I saw it. I always thought that if I worked during the after-hours, that’s because I spent some time during the workday for some non-work things. No wonder I felt so tired in the past weeks, and no wonder I felt that I need some vacation, And no wonder I did pretty much nothing in Helsinki. 

All of the above might explain my reaction to the “Laziness Does Not Exist” book. These past three weeks were the weeks when we finished working on the book, and immediately all the extra time I had was taken by work, and that was not right. A side note: when I calculated the total number of hours I work, I included the “natural time waste,” which totals to about an hour a day: sort intervals between meeting, coffee, and bathroom breaks, stretches, and other small distractions. They are essential for your normal functioning, and thereby should not be subtracted from the work time. 

It’s not that I never knew all that. I knew, and I was encouraging other people to not overwork. But for some reason, I always thought that “this does not apply to me.” Because I am passionate about my work, because this is not hard for me, because I am a superhuman, and for whatever other reasons. 

I am trying to change it now, and I realized that I need to advocate for myself the same way I advocate for others. 

A Training Database, Available Now!

One more repost from my professional website, announcing the open-source database

The World of Data

In my yesterdayโ€™s post, I mentioned that there was not one, but two projects. The first project being the book, the second one is closely related to the first.ย 

When Boris Novikovย and I started to work on the book, we realized that we need a training database.ย 

For years, we used examples from the real projects we worked on during different periods of our professional careers. It wonโ€™t work for a book: we needed a running example. However, when we started the search for public databases, we could not find any available with the size big enough to demonstrate optimization techniques. After spending some time on the search, we realized that we need to create our own.ย 

That took a while and materialized as a separate project. We really liked the result and thought that it would be a great contribution to the community.ย 

With this, please meet

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The Book Is Official!

I will write more on one of the subsequent days, but I really want to share my news, which one of my former co-workers called “the next most important news of the day after inauguration.”

Last week, our book became official, we are on Amazon, and we will be published at the end of April.

Here is it: Amazon.

I made an official announcement a today’s meetup of Chicago PostgreSQL User Group. Also, we officially announced the open source database postgres_air, which we developed to illustrate the concepts from the book. But it ended up to be more than that, and we decided to give it to the community as our contribution.

I am happy in all possible ways ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the recording, if somebody wants to hear a lot of me :). Tomorrow, there will be LinkedIn blog posts, and I will upload the video there as well, but not everybody follows me on LinkedIn ๐Ÿ™‚

Session Recording – I Do Not Think I Will Ever Do It Again!

If I could only imagine that the preparation for my talk at the PostgresBuild conference would take almost two days, I would never submit my talk proposal! A fun fact is that I invested a lot of time to submit a proposal for my bitemporal short tutorial, which was such a success at October Chicago PUG, and it was my last-minute decision to add one more proposal – for the NORM talk.

Then, just this last-minute-not-so-much-thought proposal got accepted. Only after it was accepted, I learned that it has to be only 30 minutes, and only after that, I learned that should be recorded! 

Do not take me wrong; I understand the organizers. With the tight schedule as it is, nobody wants technical difficulties at the moment of presentation. But imagine what does it take to record a tutorial! 

I had to record screen videos for several slides; I had to adjust their timing several times to make sure the whole presentation fits in 30 minutes. Then I had to come up with the background because they had very specific requirements. It turned out that my Mac Air is not powerful enough to have a custom background for zoom., so I had to move to the work laptop. Then – black sweater and makeup.

During my first full recording, I when six minutes over. When I started to record one more time, ten minutes into the recording, I realized that Boris left one extra field in the picture. (I asked him to re-draw the picture we used for the NORM talk in Cyprus to go with my new training example. Previously, he already re-drawn it for the book, and then one extra field from the airlines example was left. Good thing I had to re-recode! If not these six minutes extra, I won’t re-record, and it will still have an error in the presentation! 

Then I started recording from the updated slide, and then six minutes before the presentation’s end, Boris’s phone rang – with a spam call! 

We spend another hour and a half figuring out how to combine several pieces on QuickTime – this app has its ways of thinking what’s right!

There is one visible gap in the final presentation, but I decided I can’t do it any longer!