Michael J. Swart

February 9, 2011

Pinal Dave: Blogger, MVP and now Interviewee

Filed under: Miscelleaneous SQL — Tags: , — Michael J. Swart @ 12:00 pm

Pinal Dave is a popular blogger and if you follow any number of blogs, you’ve most likely heard of him. Pinal Dave’s blog Journey to SQL Authority (SQLAuthority.com), has the highest traffic of any SQL Server Blogger and the third most traffic for any site dedicated to SQL Server (after SQLTeam.com and SqlServerCentral.com). Recently, Pinal was kind enough to agree to answer some questions for an interview. It’s been a fun process and I’m happy to present the results of the interview here.

Although he doesn’t know this, I’ve actually met Pinal Dave. It was at the SQL Server Summit 2009 and I was running between one session or another and I sat down to check email. Pinal was in a seat nearby talking with some colleagues of his and I recognized him. I chose not to introduce myself because he seemed busy at the time. I kind of regret that now. Some day I’ll get the chance to introduce myself in person. But meanwhile, we’ve exchanged messages through our blogs and email messages. He was good enough to submit an article on indexes when I hosted TSQL Tuesday in September last year.

I hope you enjoy this interview. I think (and hope) you’ll find it fascinating.

The Interview

You and your family

Q.Hi Pinal, Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. First of all, how do you pronounce your name? (As you would pronounce it when introducing yourself to an English speaking Canadian.)

A. This is great question. People from India usually pronounce my name correctly. However, every time I travel internationally, I have issues. The way to pronounce my name is ‘Pinul Daway’. However, it is spelled ‘Pinal Dave’. Every time I travel to Canada, the USA or other English-speaking countries, people often call me ‘Dave’ – thinking that is my first name. However, Pinal is my first name and Dave is my last name.

Very interesting question indeed. I always wanted to clarify that on my blog but never got chance.

Q. Tell me where you grew up and where you went to school.

A. I can give you the names of the places and schools but it will not make sense. My father had a government job and he had to transfer from location to location. This meant I changed schools quite often. I cannot name one city as the place I grew up. I changed schools 12 times before I entered grade 12, I think that says it all.

Q. Tell me about your family. I believe you’re a husband and a father?

A. I have a beautiful daughter, Shaivi, and a lovely supportive wife, Nupur. Everybody has an interesting story about how they met their wife or life partner. I have interesting story about how we did not get introduced for long time.

Our homes were very close to each other. We have many common relatives and friends. But for almost 25+ years neither of us ever met each other. However, I had met her whole rest of the family (father, mother, sister, grandparents, etc) hundreds of times. Well, the same thing goes for her. She had met my family but not me. We were finally introduced to each other by our parents and it was love at first sight.

… and then there is Shaivi. She is now everything for us. This morning for the first time she said the word that I always wanted to hear – “Daddy.” I am overwhelmed with emotions.

Q. What is your favorite memory?

My top two favorite memories are already mentioned in the earlier questions.

  • The day I met my wife.
  • The day my daughter said ‘Daddy.’

I guess nothing can top those two moments.

Pinal’s blog: Journey to SQL Authority

Q. Your blog SQLAuthority.com is very popular. Why is that?

A. If I am polite and say I do not know or give you some kind of philosophy, it will not be the truth. I personally believe there are two reasons.

English – English is not my first language, which limits me to writing everything in the 500 English words I know. I think there are plenty of readers all over the world who are in the same boat as me.

Simplicity – I try to make complex subjects simple enough for even beginners to understand. We are all beginners at one point. I believe that the smartest guy is also a beginner in a new subject. I strongly believe that we all are beginners but the only difference is we all have different powers of understanding.

Q. You have written so many articles. With training and other events,when do you find time to write?

A. It is difficult – very difficult- extremely difficult! I have to ration my time. I sometimes feel guilty when I ration time away from my daughter. I promise I will not do that today.

Q. Your blog is written in English. Why is that? Do you also train in English?

A. English is my third language. The reality is that I have never received training in English. I did not formally learn English at all. I speak Gujarati (regional language) and Hindi (national language). I learned English because on the very first day I was in the USA for my master’s degree, I went to bed hungry because I did not know how to ask for vegetarian food. (I learned that I should say ‘no meat, no sea-food please’ or ‘sin carne’ in Spanish.)

Now I do training in English and I write in English. The reason I write in English is because I learned SQL in English only. I still think in my local language and then quickly translate it to English.

The reason I prefer English is because I believe English is a Global Language and if I want to help the global community, I must express myself in English.

Q. Who has helped you the most with your successes? How have they helped?

A. As this question is in a SQLAuthority.com section I understand you are asking this question in a professional aspect.

I have four icons:

  1. Ben Forta – He is an Adobe Evangelist and I learned a lot reading his blog and books in my early career. I always wanted to be Evangelist like him. I think I want to give him complete credit for inspiring me to write a technical blog.
  2. Vinod Kumar – He is an MCT-Technology Specialist in Bangalore, India. He was an SQL Server Evangelist from the inception of the program in India. After coming back to India, I read his blog and always wanted to be like him – helping the community become more technology aware.
  3. Rushabh Mehta – He is Solid Quality India CEO and world famous BI expert. He is one man, who have given me chance – chance to prove myself, chance to grow, chance to learn technology, chance to help community, chance to go to next level and many more. I own a lot to him.
  4. Rajendra Dave – He is my father. He reads each of my blogs and gives me his feedback. He always encourages me to write creatively and constructively. He has one rule – “Praise in public, criticize in private.” I think this has helped me tremendously. Others have inspired me but he has put 100% of his efforts in making me successful.

Q. You mention on your blog that you’ve been awarded the MVP award. How long have you held that distinction and how did it feel when you first won it?

A. The MVP was the best thing in my life professionally. The feeling was that Microsoft is watching me and appreciating me. I felt – “Microsoft Cares.” It was great feeling. I have been holding this award for three years continuously. I think being an MVP is the best thing that can happen when one is dedicated to the community.

The MVP award has enabled me to do lots of things. It has connected me with great peers and given me access to essential resources, which enabled me to help community further.

Q. Besides blogging, consulting, training and family time, how else do you spend your time?

A. I like to travel. I travel for consulting, training, the community, and for family vacations. Due to the nature of the job, I have to make a conscious effort to stay away from work many times. When I travel with my family, I make sure I do not keep computers around. I do not even check my email and spend 100% time dedicated to my family. They love it and I love them.

Thanks Pinal

Thank you again Pinal, I’m grateful that you took the time to answer my questions.

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