One of the many details of writing a book is that the publisher wants a few paragraphs of biographical material that can be used in the book itself, promoting the book, and so on.

I've spent far too long on this already. For some reason it's a real challenge to write about myself (in the third person, no less) and do so concisely without sounding stupid or full of myself.

Here's my current working version. Comments are appreciated unless you plan to bash MySQL. In that case complain to someone else because I'm getting really sick of it.


Jeremy Zawodny and his two cats moved from Northwest Ohio to Silicon Valley in late 1999 so he could work for Yahoo!--just in the time witness the .com bubble bursting first-hand. He's been at Yahoo ever since then, helping to put MySQL and other Open Source technologies to use in fun, interesting, and often very big ways. Starting with the popular and high-traffic Yahoo! Finance site, he worked to make MySQL part of the site's core infrastructure in large batch operations as well as real-time feed processing and serving content directly on the site. He then helped to spread "the MySQL religion" to numerous other groups within Yahoo, including News, Personals, Sports, and Shopping. Nowadays he acts as Yahoo's MySQL Guru, working with Yahoo's many engineering groups to get the most of of their MySQL deployments.

In 2000, he began writing for Linux Magazine and continues to do so today as a columnist and contributing editor. After over a year of active participation on the MySQL mailing list, he got the idea to write a book about MySQL. (How hard could it be, really?) You can still find him answering questions on the list today.

Since 2001, Jeremy has been speaking about MySQL at various conferences (O'Reilly's Open Source Conference, PHPCon, The MySQL User Conference, etc.) and user groups in locations as far away as Bangalore, India. His favorite topics are performance tuning, replication, clustering, and backup/recovery. In more recent times, he's rediscovered his love of aviation, earning a Private Pilot Glider license in early 2003. Since then he's spent far too much of his free time flying gliders out of Hollister, California and Truckee, near Lake Tahoe. He hopes to earn his Commercial Pilot license in 2004 and go on to become a certified flight instructor someday. Occasional MySQL consulting also helps to pay for his flying addiction.

Jeremy rambles almost daily about technology and life in general on his weblog:

Are there other things I should say or highlight? Does that, from the book marketing person's point of view, provide sufficient evidence that I'm qualified to write this book? What would you change?

Would you date me based on that?

Oh, wait. This is not a geek personal ad. I forget that sometimes when I don't take the little pink pills.

You know, it occurs to me that I could probably [re]use some of this material to update my outdated bio page too. Hmm.

Posted by jzawodn at January 02, 2004 06:21 PM

Reader Comments
# BillSaysThis said:

While an amusing and accurate draft, your effort doesn't really capture the demeaner most publishers expect. LOL

on January 2, 2004 06:42 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Can you tell I don't read book bios very often?

on January 2, 2004 06:43 PM
# Jon Gales said:

It's not like most book bio's, but that's great. Too many read like:

"AUTHOR_NAME resides in AUTHOR_CITY with his 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. AUTHOR_NAME has worked on many projects..."

I get Mac books in the mail all the time for review, and there's such a formula for these things it's not even funny. I say run with it!

on January 2, 2004 07:04 PM
# John Battelle said:

Actually, I think it's close to perfect. It in fact may try *too* hard to prove you're qualified to write the bok. The fact is, you wrote the book. That's the validation. The rest is character that makes a reader want to like the person who wrote the book, and identify with the voice within the pages. That I think you nailed.

on January 2, 2004 07:17 PM
# Tom said:

OOOWWWWWWWWWWW!! (that's me biting my tongue - BAD)

on January 2, 2004 07:22 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

Jeremy - just curious - why are you going after the commercial pilot's license? Are you planning to fly commercially? Or just doing it for fun?

on January 2, 2004 07:38 PM
# Donny said:

I wouldn't recommend using many dates in your bio, since the first thing people look at is the bio of the author. And if they see that you hope to receive your Commerical Pilot License in 2004, and it's 2006, people will immediately say the book is out of date.

And "just in the time witness the .com bubble bursting first-hand" doesn't make sense, I "to" between time and witness.

Just my 2 cents.

And when will the book come out? I'm ready to order a few copies!


on January 2, 2004 08:25 PM
# Muli Ben-Yehuda said:

One thing I'm always curious about when checking out a tech book on an open source project is whether the author actually wrote any of the code, or just wrote the book. If you did write any of the code, I would make sure to mention it in the bio. Other than that, looks great!

on January 2, 2004 11:35 PM
# Chris said:

How about some more background info to prove that your 'not just' a MySql junkie... Flying, spam, infrequent movie critic and bar ratings analyser Etc :D

on January 3, 2004 01:03 AM
# kasia said:

1. Instead of 2004 use "in near future".. as the previous comment said, dates == bad.

2. I'd omit the .com bubble part.. waaay overdone.

Overall it reads a bit dry.. which I suppose author bios are supposed to be, but why be boring? If I was writing a bio for myself it would sound more like..

"In her spare time Kasia enjoys collecting dust bunnies and searching for the meaning of life in boxes of dried pasta".. or something..

Speaking as one of the two females reading your weblog (that dating question was for females, right?) no.. that bio would not make me want to date you, sorry :)

on January 3, 2004 10:27 AM
# David Clain said:

To be honest, it just seems too...impersonal? You seem to be trying to fit the mold, but I honestly think that's a backward way of going about the whole thing.

The proof that you're qualified can be found not in any specific publication, but just in the "voice" you've developed by writing here (and I would assume it translated into your book as well). I'd say that it sounds too forced; you're probably better off letting loose and writing in the way you do. If your'e going to be used to "sell" your book, it makes sense to sell the actual you rather than what a technical author is "supposed" to be.

on January 3, 2004 01:22 PM
# Courtney said:

As the other female, I'd have to agree that it's not really a hit on the dating thing. And yes, it's a bit dry, but Hell, it's a computer book! :P

on January 5, 2004 10:46 AM
# rukmani said:

i am a bio student . can i be pilot

on August 1, 2009 07:41 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.