A Particularly Snarky Interview with Joe Celko

October 20, 2009
157 Views

Over on Simple-Talk, Richard Morris interviews Joe Celko, famed author and speaker on database design issues. In this Geek of the Week interview, Mr. Celko goes all out snarky (and I use that word as a compliment, by the way) on topics of careers, Microsoft, data modeling and Zen practices.

Some interesting responses:

I might have tried to weather the slump in the Porno industry until it went digital. In the mid 1990’s, I should have set up a dot-com scam and retired early.

I am proud of my series of SQL books and that is on top of the list. It is nice to get fan mail for decades from people you don’t know, thanking you because you gave them a solution to a problem. And considering how bad my retirement plan is, the Royalties are also very nice.

But looking back over all the decades, the two projects I am most happy about are the State Crime Lab database (pre-SQL, under budget, ahead of schedule) and the State Prison System data analysis. I have commercial clients where I made a difference, but those two projects showed immediate results and saved human life.”

As to “What are the three most important characteristics of an exceptional DBA?”

“I would say they are

Over on Simple-Talk, Richard Morris interviews Joe Celko, famed author and speaker on database design issues. In this Geek of the Week interview, Mr. Celko goes all out snarky (and I use that word as a compliment, by the way) on topics of careers, Microsoft, data modeling and Zen practices.

Some interesting responses:

I might have tried to weather the slump in the Porno industry until it went digital. In the mid 1990’s, I should have set up a dot-com scam and retired early.

I am proud of my series of SQL books and that is on top of the list. It is nice to get fan mail for decades from people you don’t know, thanking you because you gave them a solution to a problem. And considering how bad my retirement plan is, the Royalties are also very nice.

But looking back over all the decades, the two projects I am most happy about are the State Crime Lab database (pre-SQL, under budget, ahead of schedule) and the State Prison System data analysis. I have commercial clients where I made a difference, but those two projects showed immediate results and saved human life.”

As to “What are the three most important characteristics of an exceptional DBA?”

“I would say they are:

  1. Data modeling skills, since a bad model cannot be saved by the front end or clever DDL and DML code.
  2. Knowledge of Appropriate Standards. Inventing your own data encodings and procedures is like inventing your own spoken language. You will never communicate with anyone else.
  3. Flexibility and constant education; not being wed to one solution or company. IT is a trade where everything you know is wrong in a few years. And every few years you have a new problem that does not match the old tools.”

I’ll leave it to you to go find what questions led to those responses.