Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


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Saturday, November 22, 2008


This past week, I visited Seattle, Washington for the PASS Summit 2008 convention. This is the first time I've been to the west coast, and it has been a great journey.

The corporate headquarters of Vertafore are located in Bothell, Washington, just north of Seattle. I finally got a chance to visit and work at the site, which has been a goal of mine for some time. You see, I work with a load of people at this site, even though I live and work everyday physically in College Station, Texas in the Data Center. I finally got to meet people I've talked to on the telephone for the last 8-10 years or so. It was great to hug, talk to, and paugh with these people that have so become a part of my life.

I told a few people I was arriving, but not all people. The surprise factor was definitely on my side when I showed up at a few desks and said hello. I spent the first few hours of my arrival on Monday going around and saying hello to people, explaining what I was in town for, how long I would be, where I was staying, and the lot. Tuesday I was able to sit at a desk and work, but this time with a different group of people.

I have a reputation of, let's say, speaking my mind. I also can be a maverick and even possibly a loose cannon. I never saw it that way, of course -- we never see ourselves from the outside, only from our own perspective -- but I can see how I could be seen that way. So it was funny when one of the analysts I've worked with for so long asked me "So, are you starting trouble?" I asked for 15 minutes time to get something started!

The one thing that has yet to catch up to me is the time difference. Because the company is located on the west coast, it's 3 hours behind the bulk of our customers on the east coast. So, as a result, many people arrive at work at 5AM and leave at 2PM. When I arrived at work at 8AM, I felt like a slacker. So many people had been working for 3 hours already, and here I was, sauntering into the room as if to say "Time to work!" while they have been on the phones or doing other work for hours before, and in some cases before I even woke up that morning.

But the real reason I took this trip was to go to PASS and learn a few things about Microsoft SQL Server. It was a great conference. I even had the chance to catch up to someone I went to high school with. Douglas McDowell was a freshman when I was a senior, and I found out about this conference through him in the first place. We caught up on the last 20 years and had a few laughs. Doug is a charter member of PASS so it was great to see 2 people from the same high school doing so well in the database and computing industry. We are not the only ones -- I know a Windows Admin in the Philly area from our school, as well as a guy that created his own company based on network security.

I did get a lot of information from the conference, and I'll implement some of that next week to figure a few things out in our data center.

Josie, one of my colleagues and a great friend, was gracious to let me stay at her house during my stay. I got to meet her husband and son, and had a great time at her house. Friday night we had a dinner party and invited a few other colleagues and friends, and had a good time. Dino brought his cameras (one of which was a video camera, which I'm sure contains PLENTY of blackmail material!), and toward the end of the night, here's how well it went:


Now it's time for a few shoutouts:

Josie, thank you for inviting me into your home. It was awesome!

Steve, you get me in trouble EVERY time we get together! You are a BAD influence! But I had fun, so that's all that matters. The boy gets me drunk every time we get together...not that it takes a whole lot or that he force fed the beer. And everyone thanks you for the cold!

Kemp, thanks for letting me sit at your desk. Next time you better be here.

Marin, thanks for sharing your beer. You also contributed to my delinquency. Damn you! But thanks for having fun with us on Monday, it was a blast!

To everyone that attended the dinner party, I'll get Dino to post all of the video on YouTube as soon as possible. Parental Guidance is HIGHLY suggested.

(No, we really won't post the video...I just wanted to visualize your reactions...)

(Well, it IS Dino's video...I have no idea if he'll post it or not...)

(Are you scared yet? :))

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