Blog Four years in (and it’s a strange time to celebrate)

Four years in (and it’s a strange time to celebrate)

dbt is four years old, and we are so grateful for the community that has grown alongside this project. Read now
Four years in (and it’s a strange time to celebrate)

Four years ago this week, we started building dbt. Like most new things, it was released into the world without too much fanfare or ovation. Since then, nearly 5,000 distinct dbt projects have been created, and the instructions dbt run <Enter> have been punched in on a command line in one form or another almost 50 million times.

If you squint, maybe you can see yourself in this chart. I’m all the way on the left, along with Tristan, Connor, Erin, and maybe 7 other people using dbt back in September 2016 (when we first added anonymous usage statistics to dbt). You might find yourself closer to the great Data Council spike of April, 2018, or in the Holiday Season trenches of December, 2019. Wherever you find yourself on this line, we’re glad to have you with us.

The story of dbt is fundamentally a story of community. If something special has emerged here, it is not graph traversal or cleverly-applied database DML. Instead, it is the great coming-togetherness we’re seeing where folks with different backgrounds, titles, and experiences unify around a lower-entropy vision of analytics.

This community is very much on our minds right now as we’re watching the COVID-19 headlines. For the foreseeable future, the Fishtown Analytics team is working from home, and we’re cancelling all in-person events with the dbt community. This is the most powerful mechanism we have at our disposal to do our part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

That said, we’re also still…working, and trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy as this all plays out. This is a hard, weird, surreal time for all of us. The gravity of the COVID-19 situation has wedged itself directly into my prefrontal cortex, and it’s the lens through which all other information is filtering into my brain right now. I bet many of you are feeling the same thing.

Work communities are just one part of our lives, and at a time like this, hardly the most important one. But we do want to continue to support this group of humans, and keep making progress together over the coming weeks. Here are a few things we have lined up:

  • We will be hosting more frequent office hours. These will likely be a little more structured than they have been in the past. We’re looking to include some short presentations (10-15 minutes) and then discussion time. Join the #office-hours channel in dbt Slack for more info. We’re all working from home and looking forward to seeing new faces 😄
  • We are working on a distributed dbt Learn program as a replacement for the five dbt Learns we cancelled. The first of these will be offered to folks who already purchased tickets (details coming soon!). If our first group is happy, we’ll be  doing more of these over the coming months.
  • We remain optimistic that Coalesce will be happening in August. We’ll have speaker notifications out this week, and updates on our refund policy coming soon as well.
  • I’m also hoping to just get more 1:1 time with people in the community. A bunch of my scheduled travel has just been cancelled, and I’m in a pretty different headspace overall these days. If you have an issue or idea and want to hop on a call to discuss, I’d love to hear from you.

So, please join me in strangely celebrating four years of dbt. As we say in my family: use it in good health! I’ll see you in Slack.

Last modified on: Nov 22, 2023

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