Your Name is Your Brand

Categories: Blogging, Professional, SSC
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: October 13, 2017

This topic is one that has been stewing for a while and finally this week it decided to boil over.

My first thought with this post was to write a rant. Instead, I want to try and turn it on its end and try to put a different spin on the problem. Yes – I said problem.

Know your Audience

This started when I was setting up a piece of software (to demo to a client) for a vendor that I respect – A LOT. I noticed something peculiar about the software that was different than the documentation (and therefore expected result). I reached out to my contact at this company and he escalated a ticket to their support staff. After a few back and forth threads, my contact noticed something troubling – as had I. While I was going to set it aside but my contact was bothered by it too. The support personal started calling me by the wrong name.

Addressing somebody by the appropriate name or title is a pretty important topic. In this case, not only did they start addressing me by some other name, they had also lost sight of the existing relationship I had with this company as well as any previous information provided to them demonstrating level of expertise in the area of SQL Server or with the specific observation being reported. This is demonstrative of a lack of attention to detail – both in regards to the audience and the technical problem.

Your Name is Your Brand

If I throw a few names out there like Paul Randal, Steve Jones, Grant Fritchey or Brent Ozar, chances are you will know who those people are (given you are reading this blog post). These are people (like many other giants in SQL Server) that have built a brand based off their name. This is a good thing. You recognize the name and you recognize that they are very good at what they do.

Building your brand is not an overnight sensation. It does take a while and possibly a bit of luck here or there along the way. The one thing it always starts with is your name. This leads me to my next story.

This week I have been at Summit. This is not the traditional DBA Summit hosted by PASS, rather this is related to Dynamics (AX, NAV, GP, CRM, 365). Just like most conferences, we all get a nice easy to read name badge.

Hopefully you can easily read that mine clearly says my name is “Jason”. Besides the name, there is a QR code on the badge. Otherwise, the name is large enough you can generally read it from afar.

While meandering through the Exhibitor Hall, I stopped at one particular booth that was raffling off an R2D2 that particular day (they also raffled off a C3P0 and a Yoda on other days). And yes it is very rare for me to stop at one of these raffles – but it was R2D2.

As I was stopped to fill out the form for the raffle, I was approached by an eager booth dude. “Hey Larry, how’s it going?” he said. He was obviously talking to me, so I turned to him and said “Jason” while showing him the name on my badge. Not even 30 seconds later he did it again “So, Larry…”. At the sound of that, I had to cut him off and correct him again and reminded him I had just told him my correct name and even showed it to him via the badge. At this point I abandoned the R2 raffle and told him I was no longer interested.

This was coming from a vendor that was more than likely hoping to try and pitch their software. A lack of attention to the audience at hand just cost him a lead (albeit small compared to the number they gained). Now, that vendor has to worry about the word of mouth that may come from their lack of attention and focus.

Now, my name is pretty important to me. It may not be as important to you – but it is to me. Similarly, your name should be extremely important to you. You and I are all working at a similar task – building our own brand based on our names.

I am sure both of these vendors I have illustrated are also keen on building the brand around the corporate name they have established. Brand and name are recognizable. Now, put yourself in either of these two scenarios I have just described. Have you ever made a mistake with somebody else’s brand? Or, have you ever been on the receiving end of this kind of mistake? Suddenly the world is spinning a slightly different direction, right?

I won’t divulge the names of either vendor in this case (partly because I still have a good relationship with the one and I have already forgotten the name of the second), but think about this: What do you do for your brand when somebody steps on it? How we react (and granted I probably could have taken a higher road in the second case by gently reminding the vendor yet again what my name was) can do quite a bit for building a brand. It’s not always about what you know, but also about how you conduct yourself towards and around others.

Please open this page in the Admin panel only

Categories: Blogging, News, Professional, SSC
Comments: No Comments
Published on: July 30, 2014

I am taking a slight deviation from the usual type of posts that I share.  This time, I just want to share a quick and easy fix that I ran across due to a broken blog site that lasted for about a day starting on July 28th.

I didn’t even know there was a problem for a majority of the outage (ouch!).  And that just reinforced an age old requirement in IT.  If deploying a change – make sure to validate and test after the deployment.  Yes that was a bit embarrassing.  Despite that, there is something else to learn from the outage.

The issue started when updating a plugin called Google Analytics Dashboard.  The update was to go to version 2.1.  Upon completion of the update, all pages on my blog started posting a message that said the following.

Please open this page in the Admin panel only

That said, the root of the problem was related to the gad-admin-options.php file.  The file contained the following code.

There are several different means to fixing the problem.

  1. Disable/Delete the plugin.
  2. Comment out the code
  3. Update to 2.1.1 which was released on 7/30.

Options 1 and 3 are very easy.  Option 2 can be done via several methods.  If you have access to your admin page in wordpress, then you can edit the plugin file from the plugins page.  All you need to do is add a comment like in the following code snip.

If you don’t have access to your admin page, that’s ok.  You can still get to the file by connecting to your ftp and performing the same routine.  The file should be located in the following path.

wp-content/plugins/google-analytics-dashboard/gad-admin-options.php

See, real easy.  A little bit of a nuisance but it can be fixed quickly and easily.  Just keep in mind, when deploying a change, take the time to test and verify.  If something is not quite right, be prepared to rollback or find a fix.

What is a Favicon?

Categories: Blogging, News, Professional, SSC
Comments: No Comments
Published on: March 8, 2012

If I were to show you the tabs in the following pic without a description, would you recognize the websites to which they belong?

I would dare say that you would likely recognize them.  Not due to the labels on the tabs, but quite possibly due to the icon on the tab.

Sometimes these icons are the logo for the respective site.  Sometimes, it is just something that might be fun.  In either case, it is something that helps brand the site in a fashion suitable to you.  These little icons are called “favicons” and they are pretty easy to put in place.

If you haven’t considered doing it, I think it would be worth the effort to create one.  It is a means to brand your site.  Here is a quick tutorial on how to do it.

Tutorial

I used a free website tool to create my favicon.  You can find it here.  The tool is appropriately called favicongenerator.

 Prior to being asked how to create one, I had no clue what those little pics were called.  Nor did I know how easy it was to create one.  It took me a few minutes searching the internet to figure out what it was called (I think I started by searching for “tab icon internet”).  Once I learned that it was called a favicon, it was easy to find instructions on how to create it.  Now it should be just a bit easier.

Blog Script Nuances

Categories: Blogging
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Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 30, 2010

I recently ran across an issue that is really annoying. I use a plugin to display my TSQL scripts in the original formatting. Unfortunately it does not maintain that original formatting in all areas.

The specific case I ran into deals with the word “TEXT.” When using that word as a part of a FOR XML Path statement, it gets upper cased. Upper case version of text is not a valid command for the FOR XML Path statement. It will cause an error. The code still showed it as lower case when I went to edit it, but the display of the code was what was changed.

The only workaround is to leave a note stating that it should be LCASE instead of UCASE.

Blog Changes

Categories: Blogging
Tags:
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 12, 2010

I have made some small but hopefully effective updates to my blog.  The changes are in an effort to make the Blog a little more visible.

I added an SEO plugin.  This should have make the blog more visible in web searches (Google, Bing).

In coordination with that, I changed the naming strategy for my pages.  The pages are now more search friendly rather than the WP default numbering system.  This should be a good thing too.

I also added a MobilePress plugin.  This should help make my Blog more visible to the portable devices.

I have also added the Social Links plugin.  This provides little icons to various social type sites.  This just so happens to be one of the types of plugins that I had installed that was deleted upon theme change.

I hope this makes the site better for the readers.

I have one more Plugin in mind but cannot find a good plugin for it yet.  The plugin would place a FeedBurner Icon so the user can subscribe to my feedburner feeds.  I have seen a redirect plugin.  The problem with that is that I do not want all of my feeds to be redirected to the same feedburner feed.  If anybody knows a good plugin, let me know.

WP and Themes

Categories: Blogging
Tags:
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 12, 2010

I have been meaning to write another article on Blogging for some time now.  The intent has been that I wanted to write about my discoveries concerning WordPress and blogging as time elapsed.  For this time around though, I will only discuss one topic (and some correlating subtopics) about my Blog.

I recently changed the theme to my blog because I have never been 100% satisfied with the theme I have picked.  So far, I am getting closer – but have not been completely satisfied with any theme that I have chosen.  How hard could it be?  I remember reading a note from Brent Ozar about making sure you liked your theme  (it is part 4 amongst the Blogging articles he wrote).

When I first read that, I interpreted it as – find a theme and stick with it.  After going back and reading the statement again, it seemed more along the lines of finding a theme you liked for certain so you would not have to deal with editing it.  I think both interpretations work well.  Find a theme and stick with it.

After changing my theme this last weekend, I found a lot of annoyances – and none of them should have been theme related.  I had several plugins that were installed and configured (not theme related plugins) that just disappeared.  Now I have to find the plugin again and reinstall it.  Then there are the problems with widgets not being properly lined up and so you have to tweak with all of them for a bit to get it looking good again.  Add to that, those settings are supposed to be saved but seldom are.

Despite these annoyances, I will deal with it.  Doing the blog is much more rewarding than the pains that come with it.

Tweeting – I took the Dive.

Categories: Blogging, News, Professional
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: January 25, 2010

In a previous post, I questioned how much Twitter could really do for me.  After some comments made, and some other blog posts that I have read – I decided to take the dive.

Andy Warren and Glenn Berry, both blogged about their twitter experiences after my last blog on the subject.  Both bring up some valid points that make sense to me.  Others people have also made mention of some good reasons why to tweet.  The biggest reason I can find is that it can help to build your brand.  I am trying to start a blog (well continue it at this point), increase viewer/readership as well as create my personal brand.  One comment was made that helped me to realize another aspect of twitter – the social network really integrates into blogs quite nicely.  I heard another person tell me that he was going to spread the word on twitter about this blog – that is pretty cool.  So if others will spread the word for me, why shouldn’t I as well use the same tools to help myself out some too!!

So the only thing left to do now is to mention that I have updated my blog to integrate with my twitter account, added an icon so you could click to follow me on twitter, and my twitter account is sqlrnnr.

Pages and Posts

Categories: Blogging
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments
Published on: January 6, 2010

For the past couple of days I have been stumped on a very trivial thing with my blog site.  I really want to be able to be able to add posts to different pages in my menu bar.  I know I could add those posts to categories.  I can even use categories in my menu bar.  However, that option does not cut the mustard for me.

To achieve this, I tried several plugins.  None of them worked as advertised.  That was frustrating and annoying and the plugins will be removed.  I continued my google search and finally came up with something that seems to work.  I went so far as to try several themes to see if any of them could accomplish this very feat.  All I accomplished with that was a short test drive of several themes.  On the positive though, I did find some that I like very much and may use them at some future time.  This fix is more of a band-aid/ workaround – but at least it works.  Many thanks to the other wordpress blog that discovered this little trick.

Here is the original blog on how to get this working.

http://agileom.com/index.php/blog/word-press-posting-on-different-pages-finally-i-did-it/

Again, many thanks.  Now I have in essence a combination of categories and pages on my menu bar – but they appear as pages.

Hello world!

Categories: Blogging, News
Tags: No Tags
Comments: No Comments
Published on: December 31, 2009

Welcome to the Blogging world.  I am a SQL DBA.  The primary intent of beginning this blog is for the career purpose and things DBA related.

Now let’s see if I can do that.

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