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Last year, as part of launching my very first online course, I gave away FREE access to my SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery Deep Dive Course. I’m doing it again this year but with a totally different reason. Here’s why.

I’ve been very active in the SQL Server community in one way or another. A lot of people ask me why I do what I do. It all started in late 1999 when, fresh out of college with no one wanting to hire me, a potential customer asked me to write an inventory application for their small business. This might sound really exciting for somebody who would consider this their very first consulting opportunity immediately out of college. This plus considering the fact that my potential customer was willing to pay me any price I would charge them for it. But not for me. You see, I didn’t have a computer science/engineering degree. I even failed my only computer programming course. The only reason I passed the second time I took it was because I asked my best friend to help me write my final project. So, taking this project on was really not a good idea for me. But my then customer really wanted me to do this project for them because they liked me and trust that I would do a great job at it. So, I gave in and that was the beginning of my career in the IT industry. I managed to finish the project in about 6 months and my customer was happy. End of story.

Well, not quite yet. If you read between the lines, you’ll see that I’m not really good at writing code. Heck, I can barely read code at that time. So, how did I manage to finish the project and make my then customer happy? I started learning about how to write code – Visual Basic 4 at that time. I borrowed a book from one of my former classmates and started reading, slowly learning one line of code at a time. This, of course, was before a lot of content was even available on the Internet. But what really got me thru was a young guy named Ken (I don’t even know if this was his real name) who I met in one of the bulletin board system (BBS) that I constantly visit to learn about Visual Basic programming. I would ask questions, he would answer. Patiently. When I didn’t understand a syntax, he would explain further. When a piece of code didn’t work, I would send it over to him and he would look at it, acting as if he was my virtual debugger with an explanation of why I got the error and how to possibly fix it. I spent an average of 16 hours a day on the computer writing code, almost half of that time was with Ken asking questions and following his advice. That was my routine for almost 4 months. And, that’s the reason behind why I was able to finish my project and ended up having a happy customer.

I never got to meet Ken personally. I don’t know where he is from, what he does or if he still writes code. But I’m thankful that I met him virtually on one of the BBS. Since then, I’ve started doing what he did for me – helping online communities by answering questions on forums, presenting at events, mentoring others, etc. I hope I bump into Ken one of these days and personally thank him for what he did for me.

I’m very thankful for communities like that of the SQL Server community. I’ve met folks who have become my friends, extended family members, prayer partners, career advisors, etc. There’s a reason why the #SQLFamily hashtag exists on Twitter.

And this is why I’m doing this again. I owe the SQL Server community big time. And this is my way of saying a big “thank you” to every one who contributes to make this community even better every day.

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Now, in order to be one of the ten lucky individuals who will receive FREE access to the full course, you must take the following actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. What are the TOP 3 things that you are thankful for about the SQL Server community? Be very specific. If you need to reach out to the folks whom you are thankful for, do it via email or social media and share it with the whole world. That’ll be a great way to put a smile on their face that day.
  2. Fill out my Contact Form. Provide a valid email address that you check on a regular basis. You want to make sure that my email announcement doesn’t end up in your Spam folder.
  3. Share this this blog post via social media.  Use the #SQLHADRRocks hashtag on Twitter, share it on Facebook (I know Facebook now uses hashtags as well,) LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, and anything else you can think of. Include at least one of the links in your comment below.

On Saturday, 06-Dec-2014, I will be selecting ten (10) lucky individuals based on my evaluation of their submission. If you have been selected, you will receive a personal email from me on 13-Dec-2014. If you didn’t receive any email from me, you can assume that your submission was not selected.

Thanks for reading this blog post. And if you’re in the United States or an American living elsewhere, Happy Thanksgiving!

[UPDATE: 13-Dec-2014] The winners have been chosen. Expect an email from me and enjoy FREE access to the online course.

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