Dave Stokes and I tracked
down Sarah Novotny Sunday night at the early bird
registration for OSCON 2012. We had a few moments to
interview her about MySQL Connect and her recent
endeavors. I hope you enjoy:
Larson: Thank you for joining us today.
Novotny: I am glad to be here.
Larson: First just a general question, What
were your thoughts when you heard that Oracle was going
to do MySQL Connect ?
Novotny: I was very excited about it. I didn't
expect Oracle to give us our own space. Even thought
JavaOne had gotten that . JavaOne has existed as it's own
conference before, and with the O'Reilly Conference no
longer happening, I didn't expect it and I was
surprised. I know the first year after Oracle purchased
MySQL, we had MySQL Sunday, which was great. We were
told that this was such a big deal and it is really only
a transition thing and with 140+ products nobody gets a
big name like that. So when MySQL Connect came out I was
Larson: Since we pulled you in as part of the
MySQL Committee, what did you think of all the sessions
that you saw or reviewed.
Novotny: The session looked very good. I always
hope for more sessions and more opportunities to look
through good sessions. That is one of the reasons I sit
on conference committees, so I can learn about all the
cool stuff people are working on. The sessions where
pretty broadly varied and I was very excited to be able
to also build some little story arcs within topics. So
you could have a couple of replication sessions or a
couple of backup sessions that all feed onto one
another. So from story point, from the creation of the
conference, there was some very interesting threads to
follow through in order to get a really robust
experience for people, both beginner, intermediate and
Larson: So based on the story arcs you spoke of
and saw, what type of session do you look forward to
attending while your there?
Novotny: I am a total
replication geek, because that is the way that you can
maintain sanity within MySQL, making sure you have good
replication. I love seeing all the way that people can
replicate, really interesting architectures in order to
meet the needs that they have for their application. So
with the new replication features coming out in 5.6 it
is very exciting. So the focus for me is MySQL 5.6 and
the replication features in it.
Larson: So I was going to ask what features do
you look forward to the most in MySQL 5.6, I assume
replication is it.
Novotny: Replication is a big one. There have
been a lot of enhancements that have been a long time
coming. We've seen them in the code tree and out there
for integration to mainline someday and now we see them coming to
fruition. So it is
very exciting for me.
Larson: You obviously travel a tremendous about
of time and attend a lot of conferences. What would you
recommend for people who attend this conference.
Novotny: I would recommend a couple of things.
One, find that story that you want to learn at a
conference. Maybe it is replication so you find three or
four talks about that. Understanding what your goal is
out of a conference is very important. Then making sure
you have time to meet people,interact with people, ask
questions, teach someone something, be able to have
those interactions face to face with the community
members that you know from blog posts or your support
roles with Oracle. So, make sure that you make time to
interact with people directly and always take advantage
of the speakers. Most of the speakers
who are up in front of an audience want to be engaging
of the audience, you want to be understanding of what
they need from your talk, and then how to engage with
them to make a better talk next time.
Larson: As a speaker at many events, you
encourage the people to ask questions and ask questions
Novotny: Absolutely, I actually have a couple
of talks on giving presentations to technologists, to
and by technologists. In those I often talk a lot about
looking at the people that are engaged and even the
disengaged ones. But not to spend to much time on the
disengaged ones, they might have a sick kid and that is
why they are texting and it has nothing to do with you. As an audience, being
engaged with the speaker is part of your responsibility
as well. Making sure you get what you need out of it,
which could be asking questions afterwards or sending a
note saying you liked it or that you didn't it, or I was
interested in more things like this.
Larson: So any additional tips you would give
to people for handling the long hours at conferences, we
typically have BOFs and after hour events as well so...
Novotny: I will give you my trick for surviving
OSCON, which for me is like a ten day extravaganza . I
start resting up the weekend up before. I make sure I
get ten to twelve hours of sleep the two or three nights
before OSCON. Then midweek I make sure I have night that
I carve out time for myself. I put nothing on it. The
other thing is, and this might sound absurd, but stay
hydrated eat your vegetables. A salad will do wonders
for your stamina in the middle of the week. It is very
much just about taking care of your robot in that sense.
Your brain might be willing and excited but if your body
can't do it then your not going to enjoy it or even
retain it. For the introverts among us, make sure you
carve out quite time for you. It is important, otherwise
I get way overloaded.
Larson: So you have been very busy as of
lately, we caught you after the big sale.
Novotny: I have, I have a couple of new
exciting things yes. Blue Gecko was sold to datAvail
which is very exciting. For me it is a very lovely , I
founded it, I helped run it, I sold. It looks like a very nice
little bow on the resume . We are making sure it is a smooth transition for the
Blue Gecko internal staff as well as the external
customers. We worked a long time to be able to sell this
and yet still be able to maintain our culture.
Larson: So are you going to go buy an island
Novotny: OH we will see... Terms have been
undisclosed. (laughter) On a serious note, my day job
which has been keeping me busy for the rest of my time,
is of course Video Game Publishing. Which is going to be
a lot of fun and really exciting. It is a big left turn
for me but looks to be fun.
Stokes: So if your Joe or Josephine DBA and
trying to make the case to your boss to attend MySQL
Connect. What is the killer argument as a boss that you
would take from an employee to attend this show.
Novotny: I think what I would actually say is
that this is a very important element of professional
development for a few different reasons. One I get
exposed to new content. Two I find additional resources
that could include new people I meet that help me learn
more about new content or websites or blogs I should
read. Three, it gives me an opportunity to be an
evangelist for my company. Four, I can recruit, trying
to find a new DBA is harder than finding the Easter
bunny. Everyone I know has changed jobs in the last year
for reasonably large increases in salary so they are not going
to jump again. It is like pulling hen's teeth.
Stokes: Yes I have recruiters that offer money
if I know anyone and I just don't.
Novotny: Yes I get that like four times a week
and I just don't know anyone who is looking.
Stokes: Anything else you want to add...
Novotny: Rock on ! I do want to say thank you
to you guys for doing the community work that you do and
pulling us all together.
Larson & David
Stokes: Oh no, thank you.