Robert's Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Big C" or "little c," Champions All

Earlier this week, at its Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas, IBM announced its Data Champions program, along with the first 23 people to be so designated. I am delighted to be among this inaugural class of IBM Data Champions, in large part because of the other people in the group. The 15 DB2-focused honorees (there are also Informix, U2, and Data Studio professionals on the list) are consultants and users who have made tremendous contributions to the worldwide DB2 community. IBM, through this new program, has made us "Big C" (i.e., "official") Champions, but what we have in common - and I suppose that this is the point of the award - is that we have worked to further the efforts of the legions of "little c" (as in not officially known-as) champions all over the world who stand up and speak out for DB2 every working day of the year.

Having long been a "little c" DB2 champion myself, I think that I can speak to what motivates so many people to be active DB2 advocates, even when there is no direct corresponding financial reward (as might be earned by an IBM software sales representative). It comes down to having a strongly-held view that DB2 represents the very best in database technology - in terms of advanced functionality, in terms of reliability and availability, in terms of scalability and performance, and in terms of value received for the dollar (or whatever your unit of currency) spent. During my first year with IBM, when I was training to be a Systems Engineer (an in-the-field technical support person), I delivered a presentation that impressed one of my instructors. "You ought to consider going into sales," he said, but I wasn't interested in that line of work. I never was comfortable with trying to persuade someone to buy something. And yet, I've long spoken forcefully in favor of using DB2 for high-visibility, high-stakes applications - whether as an IBMer, as a DB2 user, or as an independent consultant. How to explain the seeming contradiction? Simple: I don't like to "sell," but I'm very much ready to speak to the advantages of building applications on a DB2 foundation. I'm just educating people - telling them what I feel they ought to know. This may sound like sales talk, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

And so it is that all kinds of folks - right now - are championing DB2. Many of these individuals - including, as mentioned previously, my fellow "Big C" Champions - have taken things a step further by working to equip "little c" champions with the knowledge that they need to be successful in their DB2 advocacy efforts. We facilitate that knowledge transfer through our leadership of regional and international DB2 user groups, through our presentations and Webcasts, and through our writing in technical journals and blogs. We help people to learn about new DB2 features, we share best practices, and we encourage people to think big with respect to using DB2 technology in new ways. We're Champions working with champions. That's called community. It's something that money doesn't buy, and it's something that DB2 has in spades. I encourage you to be a part of it.


Anonymous Amit Patel said...

Great post, Robert! The last paragraph of your post is the absolute best write-up I have seen on the value of the DB2 community. Thank you.

November 10, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Robert Catterall said...

Thanks for the kind words, Amit. I owe a lot of my career success to support I've received from the DB2 community. I really enjoy being a part of it.

November 14, 2008 at 5:06 AM  

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