Category Archives: business

MySQL Cookbook 4th Edition

A nomadic sailing dream that turns into book authoring and a new role…

The inception of the book

I want to start with a huge thank you to Sveta for her invitation to her engagement with O’Reilly as a previous author. Although I had mentioned that I had an inspiration to author a book and attempted to release a booklet in the past, this was somewhat unexpected in the midst of my first biggest pandemic. 

Unexpected and surprising developments

Let’s go back in time to the infamous covid-19 pandemic. We have been under pressure with the unknown virus with little or no hope of recovery anytime soon. I got an alert from one of the brokers about a sailboat I was interested in. After a few minutes of checking with my long-time friend Nurhan, I decide to make an offer. Unfortunately, our discussions didn’t go that smoothly, and I was informed that the boat was already sold to another buyer. I insisted on increasing the price and changing the wind direction to my side by writing a moral story to the broker, and he accepted it. Now, no flights were allowed during a total lockdown. 

The rest of the story is here

After three weeks of getting a special business permit, we landed in Zagreb, Croatia, and completed our purchase. The paperwork took about another three weeks to complete. That’s when I got the ping from Sveta about the possible authoring of a book. At the time, I worked at Percona as Sr. Technical Manager at the same company as Sveta. Strangely, I had an offer from another company within the same week. So I accepted to join PlanetScale as part of the Vitess Open Source project role. So now I have a boat to bring home, a new job to sign in, and a book to author. 

O’Reilly Experience

I had no prior experience authoring a technical book or working with a professional editor. The company has proven to be one of the best in the industry, working with the brightest minds and publishing hundreds of books annually. Here comes Sveta again for help while I’m planning a long pandemic-bound sailing journey and a new job with many unknowns. 

The MySQL Cookbook was initially authored by Paul DuBois and released three times. So it had massive content, and I had not gone through it in detail. Looking at the overall chapters and fast reading in 48 hours, I have decided to accept to co-author 4th release of the book. The original agreement was to update %60 of the content of the last edition. Since a significant time passed and MySQL advanced to hole new levels with MySQL 8 altering for new release would merely touch every part of the book. Not only MySQL itself, but there were also new programming languages to be added, and deprecated code had to be removed. 

Developments in making

Discussions and agreements were made based mainly on Sveta’s input on all the chapters, and I was mostly monitoring how this book could be turned into a new release. Besides the technical content and programming languages used, there was another challenge to the authors about the platform. 

It’s not a simple Word document or gdoc that had to be used, but DocBook and XML had to be mastered. After two years, I still lack the skill to do both. 

The process of authoring new chapters was more effective than rewriting or editing existing chapters. For example, the book used a different data set throughout the chapters, and we decided to change that. Finding a sample data set that is freely available and suitable for the entire book is difficult. So we had to go to multiple sources. 

The older chapters also had a lot of deprecated values and updates, which changed the storyline of the content. To fix those, we had to rewrite most of the chapters and revisit them repeatedly to ensure referenced content was not missing from other chapters. 

Key Takeaways 

Before agreeing to author a book, talk to other authors about the time and material, it takes for the type of book you are getting in. This will allow better planning of your work/life/book balance hence avoiding burnout. 

Once agreement is made, research the platform you will be responsible for authoring and training yourself—for example, Gitlab, DocBook, XML, etc. 

Take advice on how to plan or co-author the parts you’ll be responsible for. Record all agreements you made to keep track of the progress. Take everything very seriously and ensure it does not impact your other responsibilities. 

Be well organized in your time and planning. What times and which days you’ll be spending time on the book where? Create a cadence around this dedicated time, and it’s no different than finishing a degree. 

Allow extra time to deliver sections you’re involved in, as there’s a deep feedback circle. If you are authoring alone, this time will be reduced, but you’ll get feedback later in the process. If you are co-authoring, every chapter you’ve split will have to be reviewed before the first editorial. After the initial review, you’ll get feedback to clarify, modify, remove and rewrite multiple times. Some sections go into an endless feedback loop for a very long time. You’ll receive at least four to six technical people’s feedback later in the process and additional editorial feedback. So expect to return to a section or chapter you were involved in a year ago. 

Last but not least, do never over-commit yourself. This will decrease your productivity and lower the quality of the output. Timing is essential to fulfilling this lifelong dream of being an author. Some do it earlier in their career maybe a better result for authoring other books.  

I want to thank my wife, Aslihan, and my daughters, Ilayda and Lara, for their patience and support when I needed to focus and use family time to write this book.

Many thanks to my colleagues and team at PlanetScale, especially Deepthi Sigireddi, for her extra care and support. Special thanks go to the MySQL community, friends, and family members.

I also want to take a moment to thank Sveta Smirnova for her endless support while coaching me throughout my first book journey.

You can read the book here,

Thank you

Hustle for that Muscle


I have been asked several times about my diet and exercise practices. I thought it would be good to share it here as for a healthy business life we all need a balance between our work and life. Before getting into exercises and other dietary recommendations we need to clarify the motivational part.

Self-motivation to achieve the most beneficial goal in life “A healthy living style”. This should be our only goal since without our health nothing else matters. Even if they did there would be no room to focus on them. Many people would take this as a goal when they realize it’s been late or faces health issues in their mid-thirties. Life comes with several ups and downs and such life events with pretty much poisonous diets we totally forget about our real cause which is long living with health under our belt.

How do I motivate myself?

Like every other goal I have a short, mid and long term plans those fit my lifestyle and genetic characteristics. Everybody is different in their physiology, DNA, lifestyle, living conditions and other factors. So be realistic when setting goals and compare with your abilities, dedication and past experiences. We’re in a new year and the gym I’ve been going has been super busy lately. I asked a few friends and trainers what’s up with this crowd and the answer was don’t worry “It’s new year resolutions, those will wear out soon.”. Sure enough, just before March of this year I’m already noticing attendance is less and less every day. I’m sure by the summer it’ll be back to regulars only. So in order to make your motivation stick, attach it to a goal, a realistic one.

Short term goals and results

Exercising hard will give you some results depending on again age, size, DNA and habits. But don’t expect to see a change in your body overnight. Even if you lose a couple of pounds/kgs that’s mostly water, you’ll gain more of that faster than you’ve lost it.

Going back to the motivational part. Believing that you’ll achieve your goals in a given time period and keeping that pace for a prolonged period of time will give you the answer you need.

My advice is to do the same exercise, in the same place, with the same people, at the same time every day… or whatever your schedule allows you. Exercise time should overlap as little as possible other activities so your focus will go 100% to your exercise instead of something else.

For example, if you need to take care of other errands, walk the dog, drop kids to school etc. in the morning, alter your exercises time to midday or evening. This will keep you motivated to your ultimate goal of healthy living.

The way I motivate myself is very similar and I do it in the morning for a reason. I’m a morning person: with a short and light sleep overnight, I can wake up fresh. So I take advantage of this as much as possible by taking care of things early otherwise I would not have time. As of this writing, I’m at a high pace with 6 days/week 30 minutes intense training which we’ll get into detail about below.

The second biggest item here is the infamous diet that you’ll need to accompany your exercise. We will go with 80/20 rule here and motivation along with a diet, of course, will be your 80%. If you are surprised by this, it’s the reality that people don’t think of to start with. Exercising a lot does not allow you to become fit or live a healthy life. In fact, most exercises people do for a long period of time such as running, cycling or weight lifting have damaging side effects. I will not get into details here for these but you may research easily. Or just look around at your friends and family members to see complications they’ve faced after so many years of training hard.

What’s a healthy diet?

This is a big subject and there are so many resources to come to some sort of conclusion here. My take on this is starting with our body’s biggest enemy “Sugar..!” Why is sugar bad? Because we humans aren’t designed to live only on sugar but many eat only a sugary diet. What really happened in the 20th Century is we turned into Sugar Monsters. Everything including all GMO products contained heavy amounts of sugar which had more sugar than pure sugar originally had. Yes, you read it right you can have a higher sugar index than actual 100% sugar on a product. Those products are in your kitchen cabinets and fridges and you are consuming them without hesitation. The other enemy to your body fitness is fat. Taking organic and healthy fat such as olive oil will help you boost your diet. Avoid all others by any means.

A healthy diet is a balanced diet which means consuming your vitamins, proteins, fat, and carbohydrates properly. Look up your needs per your weight size. If you need to lose some weight be on the deficit if you need to build some muscles be on the plus side with a bit more on protein than you would need (1gr of protein/pound a day). Remember this isn’t a competition, it’s for your health. Do the right thing and reduce sugar consumption by going on a low-carb diet. This diet doesn’t mean you’re fasting, you are actually in control of your diet paired with proper exercise and active living. Although intermittent fasting is proven to be healthy as well. This is how I get results so why shouldn’t you?

Last but not least our 20% of the goal which falls to exercise. In order to reach results in less than six months you need to give a bit more than the regular cadence of exercise. Gym membership has some benefits from an exercise standpoint. I’ve personally never liked gym exercises when I had a chance to play team sports like volleyball, basketball or soccer or outdoor sports. Enrolling in gym membership has some other benefits like your dedication and obligation to exercise at a cost. This money you’ll spend somewhat motivates you to gain your return on your investment. Though this isn’t always true with the budget and long term membership deals we get lately. The other benefit I see here at the gym is free group classes. They are fun, energizing and free most of the time. Third, but most important, the gym has access to professionals like personal trainers and athletes that you may not find on streets. You can consult, hire and gain information about your goals. Aside from that, cycling, running or any other cardio will help to meet your goals.

Exercise that fits for all

A body needs a minimum of 30 minutes of intense (non-stop) training a day. If you can double this up you’ll see results (fat loss, muscle gain) faster. You need to add or remove according to your need, but watch your cardio levels and don’t overdo or stress your body. I suggest cross-fit, conditioning and boot-camp-style exercises. Adjust your focus area of exercises depending on your current shape and balance the upper, lower or mid body.

Before starting your 30 minutes of exercise, I strongly suggest doing a minimum of 5 minutes warmup with an indoor row, elliptical trainer or treadmill to bring your cardio levels up.

I also suggest having at least one day of outdoor activity hiking, biking, sailing, fishing that has not only the physical exercise part but gives you the mental freshness you’ll need from your hard week at work.

Exercise Program (Recommended)

Monday – Wednesday- Friday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) | Exercise 30mins of intense cross-fit/conditioning

Tuesday – Thursday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) |Exercise body weight parts lower, upper, back

Monday – Wednesday – Friday | Noon (Optional)| Swim freestyle 30 mins/30 laps

Saturday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) | Freestyle biking/hiking

Sunday | Morning | Run for 30 mins regenerative (Indoor/Outdoor) / Coordinated bike ride of 50-80km

Saturday/Sunday |Weekend (Enjoy the weekend with an activity)| Hiking, Biking, Camping, Fishing, Sailing, etc (Outdoor activity when possible)

Once a week team or group sports in evenings (Soccer|Volleyball|Basketball, etc)

Above is an ideal world scenario but that’s something always not possible to achieve with busy work/life balance. If you can commute to work or the gym by bike that would  add to your total exercise counts. Remember one of the best exercises for humans is walking. So take advantage of that.

Although I’ve been training and exercising for decades as an all-time athlete, I never practiced any sports professionally. All the research and development are results of self-studies and they do not necessarily include professional health recommendations. Motivate, diet and exercise at your own risk, please.

Recommended reading :

Brain Rules

Grain Brain

Recommended Apps for calory intake monitor



What’s BurnOps?


In about every five years or so there is a new term born for a tech job role or function. We have seen this on all levels of engineering jobs as well as other business roles. Here, I want to share some thoughts on another term called BurnOpsThis isn’t a job role or title but it’s a consequence of having one of those technical roles. Do not mix it with Firefighting this is actually being burned of off unbearable work.

In the operation world of most administration jobs a.k.a admin jobs (network, system, database), the names were correlated with the area of interest. When the Dev team also responsible for Operational tasks it’s called DevOps. This way they also do hold pager and respond to incidents thus support issues to solve. This may also be referred to as the only ProdOps and it goes like that.

When the tasks of operations or software engineer become overwhelmingly stressful it turns into BurnOpsThe consequence of BurnOps is generally a loss of a job.

Let’s take a look at the main contributing factors what leads to BurnOps:

  • Life events and pressures
  • Poor leadership at work
  • Unrealistic work expectations
  • Skills mismatch
  • Chaotic workplace
  • Work/Life/School balance

As the order of contributing factors may vary by every person, in my opinion, top one reason to BurnOps is the surrounding life events and pressures they come with an added bonus. To be perfectly honest if there is a “Poor Leadership” at your workplace is not the case this will still stand out as number one.

In the career planning people mostly tend to be in relationships in their most productive age. These relationships usually result with marriage or other long-term commitments which involves having children and relations to extended family members. For those who are not in this category please move onto the next assessment. These life events followed with financial commitments such as a new house or car loan, overspending for a new place, gifts, travel and more can cause such turmoil that eventually can cause BurnOps while committing other operational tasks under pressure.  I suggest re-evaluating the priorities if you find yourself in this situation.

Poor leadership is a number one cause of employee depression in the workplace. This combined with any other factor listed above can immediately cause BurnOpsI don’t want to repeat the fact that “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers” analogy here still poor leadership that impacts the employees most to reach their BurnOps thresholds fast. Leaders can help employees to hump through their difficulties by changing some priorities and bringing some extra help with proper planning.

Unrealistic work expectations both from employer and employee side are a very common cause of BurnOps. As I mentioned earlier operational tasks are not only risky also pretty stressful to execute. Some of the tasks are so risky that outcome can cause major outages, loss of data and even legal problems. Combined with long working hours and coverage commitments shifted work weeks, timezone differences, multi-tasking duties as well as policies and procedures are all things needs to align. Ideally, proper resourcing and planning can easily overcome to avoid finding yourself in this situation.

Skills mismatch is another leading cause of BurnOpsWhile it can be assumed the responsibility of leadership, planning sometimes you’ll find yourself into a job that you aren’t cut for it. Often times it’s referred to as taking a challenge. This challenge can be so big that it leads you up to BurnOpsThe ideal solution for this is to asses the challenge and ask your mentor to discuss before getting into. If you have already taken the challenge and find yourself in BurnOps situation, plan for a change immediately.

A chaotic workplace is for real. You can never imagine ending up with one of those places where you have no intention to be part of past problems. Several companies in the past with great talent turned into a chaotic workplace after some changes in business, market conditions and other factors such as executive leadership changes. You may be in a chaotic workplace and literally trying everything but still, find yourself in BurnOps situation there’s always for another alternate job elsewhere. Look for one.

Work/Life/School balance is another leading cause of BurnOps. Let’s start with work/life balance and what that means. It simply means that you spend enough time with your family and friends along with the personal time that’s much needed to be successful at work. Start with a personal time that’s needed. Ask yourself this question “Do I have enough time for myself?“. If the answer is negative please refer to my earlier posts about Are you a workaholic? and Is 24x7x365 days+6 hours and leap seconds availability possible? In our long-term planning, there are times you may need to revisit academic career or some sort of certification which will bring additional stress to work/life balance. Life is too short to miss this train to find work/life balance.

We also need to acknowledge Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) role that helps us remove the toil and build new features efficiently in a scalable manner. The goal is to remove the recurring issues with a satisfaction which should help work/life balance in return.

In conclusion, BurnOps is a reality you may face in some parts of our career. As long as it’s short-lived with minimal damage it’s okay to learn some lessons from it. Taking a long break, changing locations and focus area, as well as employers, are other options to overcome this outcome.

Where did I start reading?

In this blog post, I’m going to try to cover my reading initiative. As you already know one of the difficult tasks in professional life is to find a balance to enhance or develop new skills. In today’s world, we’re lucky to reach all the information we need to get better at things we do. Several of those include learning new things, doing things more efficiently and finding the balance between work and life.

I get a lot of questions on the reading list that I had. When I started my own approach I really had no guidance. There were few recommendations but they were all related to the specific subject not broader plan that I could use. So I started my own learning program to learn how to read first.

I’ve given advice, list of books and often times examples from the books or digest of ideas from many books I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve read enough books yet but if someone tells you they’ve speed read a book in a week and they can repeat that for weeks maybe in months, please don’t take that as an example. It’s really not recommended.

In my opinion, a good book should be:

  • Relevant to what you are trying to achieve in life.
  • Easy to follow and understand clearly.
  • Interesting and intriguing to your objectives.

Until and after you read a book, you will not know if the above is true. It’s also true that I’ve had a few disappointments myself due to different factors.

Where did I start to learn what books to read?

I can only think of one book straight out and recommend a great book by Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful . This book was not only a great beginner’s book, it was also exactly the purpose of the situation I was in. Interestingly enough, the order of the book that you will be reading will define the path you may follow. So I think this is the reason behind this blog post. I’ve had another adventure on Brain Rules. Not that it’s a wrong book or anything timing was not right. After reading several leadership books, you can easily find most information references what’s in this book. Both books are great and had me find my real journey to the rest of the grand plan.

I’ve continued with The Personal MBA. This book not only talks about what you’ve been doing wrong all along also comes with The 99 Best Business Books list. Basically, after subscribing Josh Kaufman’s email newsletter you get an email with this comprehensive list of books to read. Before moving on anything on this massive list grouped by different business subjects it’s wise to read his second book advised. The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! 

Once you start with the above information, you will have a pretty good idea to pursue to focus on what you want to achieve.

Here’s a list of the top 10 books that had an impact on my business life:

  1. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  4. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
  5. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
  6. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues
  7. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
  8. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  9. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  10. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

The order may vary by purpose and person. Again remember the idea is to figure out what’s out there and focus on purpose. This is not the full list of books I can recommend rather a give you guidance.

If you are a slow reader, maybe start with this 10 Days to Faster Reading: Jump-Start Your Reading Skills with Speed reading. I prefer Audible – Audiobooks & Podcasts. Audible mobile apps allow offline versions of audiobooks, which are perfect for long flights without the internet. Audible is also a space saver during travel due to baggage limits. I carry all my technical books in a cloud drive where I can pull offline if needed. So Audible solves this problem by bringing non-technical books to my iPad/iPhone. Cloud sync also allows devices to remember where you left off.

At the time of writing this blog post, I’ve been reading Business Model You: A One-Page Method For Reinventing Your Career and was pretty impressed by its content. In conclusion, reading self-development books is helpful in business and personal life but not enough. Eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy work-life balance to achieve greater success.

Are you a Workaholic?

           The workaholism is one of the biggest problems where professionals face challenges between work and life balance. It is self-destroying inner impact to working people eventually spreading side effects to family, friends and even colleagues.

            The overwhelming pressure at work or in today’s terms ‘want to be the company’s rock star’ along with perfection instinct can bring serious consequences.Once, it leads to make one workaholic rather than a self-disciplined hard worker, the impact to person’s surroundings is irreversible.

            Experts and researchers in this area of work life balance and addictive working found out that, generally people forced to adult responsibilities in early ages ends up being a workaholic. They feel in need of doing everything themselves and become self sufficient while controlling surroundings (The Workaholics).  Moreover they will turn in to a person they aren’t meant for. Responsibilities may come from loss of family member to an individual in very early ages. The scenarios leading to taking too many responsibilities on early ages will eventually start causing physical and mental breakdowns. Furthermore some of mental side effects may turn in to anger management issue as well.

            While there’s a need for professional help on finding out whether one is a workaholic or not, it is clear if following symptoms exists;

  • Excessive worries about work and deadlines.
  • Intense work style, always feeling pressured.
  • Being state of panic and watched at all times.
  • Far away from teamwork environment.

There is a possibility leading to become workaholic if not already in process. As always one other method determining a workaholic is whether they accept being one or not.  If an individual worker showing signs of workaholism but refuses when asked, he/she is usually a workaholic.

            There are many ways to have a good work and life balance starting for limiting work hours. It is also very important to work efficiently during business hours by avoiding unnecessary distractions. Small but seriously time consuming events add up during the day and in total, consume a lot of unrecoverable time. Focusing on work with self-discipline will help getting work done in timely manner and will avoid extensive overtime. Addictive but short-lived interactions such as extensive gaming, smart-phones, tablets and Internet takes quality time away from family, friends and natural beauties surrounding us.  Healthy living is the key for success at work. It can easily be achieved with quality food, exercising and a complete good night’s sleep. 

            In conclusion to avoid becoming a workaholic follow simple steps of healthy living and question constantly what is important is in life. The answer is always be enjoying the life as much as possible with loved ones.




                        The Workaholics  (Killinger , n.d) Understanding the Dynamics of Workaholism, Retrieved from,

                        Treatment for Workaholics (Addiction Treatment Magazine,  2009) Treatment for Workaholics, Retrieved from,