To Paris And Back

My colleague K.took the train to the airport (and she said that Helsinki has the best public transportation (which I agree!). While walking to the train, we met two other conference participants who opted for the train, too, so my word was spread ! When we arrived in Paris, she said we would take public transport as well, and that was a slightly more dramatic experience 🙂

Also, it turned out that we were in different hotels, and my other co-worker came to rescue me ;). This co-worker previously invited me to share a suite in the hotel with me, and her boss approved, so I had free lodging. We also had a terrific conversation while walking there and later at dinner.

Chocolate-coffee-buckwheat dessert
Continue reading “To Paris And Back”

What A Week!

So many things happened this week; it feels like a month! And I didn’t blog about anything!
Let me catch up on at least something.

My last post was about Suomenlinna, and how I took one of my co-workers on a tour there. Other people started to arrive on Sunday afternoon, and everybody was asking me about the “nice place for dinner.” All Vlad’s suggestions wee somewhere further away from the city center. A couple of weeks before the conference, I suggested Harald for the company dinner, and then I thought that we could also go there on Sunday, and if we don’t like it, we will change the EDB dinner reservation.

Cinnamon beer
Don’t remember half of it, the black things ar reindeer blood pancakes, and salami is bear salami, and the light things are made with cod tounges. Don’t ask 🙂
Reindeer cooked two different ways
Wild-game sword: it looked gigantic, but actually it was mostly presentation that was gigantic
A close-up

We liked it, although I am sure it is not really a “Viking food,” but rather a tourist version of it, it was a good food anyway.

And we also when there on Tuesday after the conference for our company dinner. Usually, when you are at the conference, you try to socialize more with people from other organizations, but since my company is so distributed, we do not meet in person often, so everybody is eager to see each other.

On Monday, I was trying to work, and then meeting with people and showing a little bit of Helsinki again, and then there was a speaker’s dinner in the evening in a different place.

Both days, there were lots of talks about the war. I argued with one of my co-workers, who was saying that “we need to support our community in Russia.” We need to make a clear distinction between individuals and organizations. Several IT organizations made statements condemning the war, and nobody destroyed them. On the other hand, multiple organizations received money from the Russian government, not necessarily in contracts, but often as direct financing of their work and research, grants, etc. And now they say nothing.

Many ordinary people are braver than these companies. And to be honest, I do not think they are “afraid.” Nobody would destroy them, they just won’t receive money from the government…

P.S. I know that some would be outraged with the way I combine the pictures from the fancy dinner with the talks about the war, but I am being honest. It was as it was: I live event after COVID, which everybody was anticipating, meeting with great people, having a great time – and talking about the war, and thinking about the war – all that time.

Postgres Activities

I had to cancel Wednesday’s meetup – the speaker canceled on Friday evening. I attempted to find a substitute speaker, but it was too late. Usually, in cases like this, I volunteer myself, but it would take me too long to prepare a new talk this time. I am actively working on the presentation for the conference at the end of April, but it is very far from being done.

I feel it is a personal failure each time I have to cancel, so I am contemplating two meetups in May instead. Also, I want to make sure that May meetups will be hybrid. I think I now have enough energy to accomplish that 🙂

Also, I submitted proposals for two European PG Days, and I will submit something to Pgconf Europe. With just a couple of days until Nordic PG Day, I am so excited to see everybody in person!

How It Feels

Life still seems not real. During the conference, the time felt thick with all of the events happening. I gave two talks, and I talked to people literally all the time. I could catch up with many people I knew before and make new connections. Also, I spent a lot of time with my new co-workers. Usually, you won’t spend time with your co-workers at the conference, but since at EDB, we are remote by definition, it was a rare opportunity to meet people in person.
“We – at EDB” – this still sounds and feels unreal. I could not imagine what an impact it would have on me. I was setting up my new email yesterday and typing my name followed by “” I felt like, “this can’t be true!”

And at the same time, it feels so right, so normal… all these emails coming to my new account, all meeting invites.

The comments on LinkedIn blow off my mind… and it’s funny how people congratulate EDB with almost the same frequency as they congratulate me:)

Oh, and I am still baking cookies, decorating the house, and thinking about presents…

Recent Activities

The last couple of days were all about PostgreSQL, not just work but mostly my community activities. A couple of weeks earlier, I volunteered to participate in selecting the talks for yet another in-person conference, which will be held in San Jose in January. One of my talks for this conference is approved, so I am going there. The organizers asked me which of my talks I would prefer to present for that conference. That was great because I didn’t want to present the same talk at multiple conferences.

Tomorrow, I am hosting a Chicago PostgreSQL User Group meetup, and I am trying to do hybrid again. This time, six people registered to participate in person, seven including me. I think that in reality, there will be three people plus me, and it will progress because last time it was just me plus one more person.

Another thing I realized is that the holiday season is approaching for real, so this weekend, I need to start sending out international cards, and I need to start baking cookies. Also, I need to review my presentation for the New York conference. Although I’ve already presented it at least three times, I still need to review the slides and ensure they are not outdated.

How Is My New Job

At work, there are so many things every day that I do not type fast enough :). It’s a very different environment, different ways of doing things. In the beginning, I felt like Chad is breaking his promises and does not let me do the right things. However, it was not the case, and yesterday, we had a conversation that I do not even know how to describe. In this conversation, we started with some very practical questions, but then we went into a very theoretical discussion about levels of database modeling. I can’t remember when was the last time I discussed such things, especially as a part of my job responsibilities :).
It’s breathtaking how many things are out there for me to improve and to create from scratch.

As usual, one me is not enough:)

My News Of The Week

On Monday, I did something which many people will consider the most stupid thing I could do. An official LinkedIn announcement won’t appear until after the fact, but I wanted to tell my close friends, especially because some of you know it was in the works for a while.

In four weeks, I will leave the company I am with now, and I will start a new position in an even smaller startup. I will work with my former colleague with whom I have wanted to work again for the past ten years. Or rather, we both wanted to work together, and the timing was never right. At some point, I realized that there would never be the right time. His new company is operating for over a year, and if I don’t jump in now, it could very well be “never”.

Now, why is it “stupid”? That’s because I am taking the biggest pay cut I ever have taken, and that’s what “normal” people don’t do. But if I would be in a position to work for him for free, I would.

I am not mentioning people’s names without their explicit consent, but some of my friends know whom I am talking about :). And yes, that’s what I started earlier in the year as a “side job,” which was the most delightful thing, but we quickly realized that what we want to accomplish can’t be accomplished as a part-time job.

So – yet another new life 🙂

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 🙂

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:)