Fifth Blog Birthday

So my blog birthday has come around again, and five years seems like some kind of milestone – I’m surprised anything in IT lasts five years. But here I am still going…

It’s been a pretty good year. Half of it was taken up with writing “Expert Cube Development with Analysis Services 2008” with Marco and Alberto, which was published in the summer; I was very happy with how it turned out, and we got some really good reviews on various blogs (see here for a list) as well as six five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Even the one bad review we got on Amazon, in my opinion, proves that we achieved our objective to write a book specifically for more advanced users rather than beginners. We heard the other day that we’ve already sold more than a thousand copies which I don’t think is bad at all for a book with a relatively small target readership.

The blog itself did quite well too: I was very proud when won an award for best BI blog post in the PASS Log Reader Awards for my post on SSRS Drilldown, and I was equally chuffed when Donald Farmer named me in his top ten SQL bloggers of 2009 the other day. It’s been harder to find SSAS and MDX-related issues to write about because, let’s face it, there hasn’t been much new SSAS and MDX functionality in the past few years, but I’ve got a lot of PowerPivot and DAX posts planned and there’s plenty of new stuff in the wider MS BI stack that will be worth a look. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to move with the times and start Twittering as well, not because I have anything against it but more because I’m sure I’d like it too much, and I spend far too much time tapping away at my laptop already.

Business-wise things have certainly been slower in 2009 than they were in 2008 or 2007, which was only to be expected. Luckily the quietest months for work were also the months when I was working hardest on the book, and it now looks like things have turned a corner (for the European market, if not the UK) and I’m extremely busy once again. I’m not sure whether PowerPivot and DAX will present many opportunities for me to make money from consultancy, but given that I’ve been doing a lot more training recently I’ll probably set aside some time to write a course on them too; I’ll be on the lookout for other opportunities to diversify away from my core expertise of Analysis Services and MDX, but I don’t think I’ve found a new technology that really grabs me yet.

Last of all, I couldn’t let Mosha’s ‘farewell to BI’ blog post from earlier today pass without comment. I started working with OLAP Services as it then was during the beta for SQL Server 7.0, more than ten years ago now, and right from the beginning Mosha made an incredible effort to engage with the user community, giving us advice, answering our questions and taking the time to understand what we were trying to do with the product. His posts on the microsoft.public.sqlserver.olap newsgroup, and latterly on his blog, were a goldmine of information and I firmly believe his efforts were one of the main reasons why Analysis Services has been as successful as it has been; his example is one other development teams at Microsoft would do well to follow. Of course it’s not like he’s died or anything and I don’t want to sound as though I’m writing his obituary, but he’ll be missed and Bing’s gain is our loss.

Here’s to 2010!

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