How an Asian munchkin found courage

I’ve been a serial entrepreneur since 1993 when I attended a database performance tuning course that was a complete disaster. We couldn't get any lab exercises working on the recently revamped software, and at the end of that painful week we were given no apologies, no offer to retake the course at a later time, and no offer for a refund. Prior to this, I assumed: I’m just one person and they’re a huge company. That experience made me realize I couldn’t possibly do worse than that, and gave me the courage to embark on writing and teaching my own fundamentals course as an independent consultant. 

I wrote the course by partnering with my co-worker, who was the most knowledgeable expert I knew in relational database technology back then. As someone who was more the tortoise to my partner's hare, I embedded my battle scars into tons of real world lab exercises. The final ingredient in the secret sauce was to test that first draft on my father - granted, a Bell Labs physicist - but he couldn’t write ten lines of working code if he had to. What he returned to me after his first pass looked like a victim from a True Blood episode, red ink oozing from every page, comment after exasperated comment: what is this? You have to explain that. Why would I want to do this? What is this acronym???

The end result of that humbling exercise was that people raved about the course. Students with zero technical background not only learned the material, they turned into impromptu teaching assistants, bouncing around the class enthusiastically helping others after they’d finished the exercises.

Hence the "missing glue" was born.