Blog 5 stories to celebrate 5000 students on SQL Habit

5 stories to celebrate 5000 students on SQL Habit

Let’s celebrate the 5000-student milestone and SQL Habit’s 4th birthday! Enjoy these couple of stories from SQL Habit’s journey.

When I was 16, I had a great math teacher. She naturally made me curious about the subject; her lessons were always memorable, she won the “sexiest teacher of the year” award (I’m not making this up hahaha), and, most importantly, I loved that we discussed things beyond math.

In one of those conversations, she mentioned that when you’re a kid, time goes slowly. That’s true. I still remember my first day at school – I was 6, and my parents just told me that I’d study in school for the next 11 years. 🙀 I was so scared. 11 years sounded like forever.

In your twenties, time goes a bit faster. Sleepless nights before exams, more sleepless nights partying after exams. Still, so much has happened in my twenties – a whole shelf of diaries and 100+ Gb of photos.

Finally, she mentioned that in your thirties time accelerates, it goes faster by day. I think I’m starting to understand what she meant back then.

Well, let’s leave the time perception theory for some other time 😉 and today let’s toast to the 4 years of SQL Habit and 5000 students milestone! Let’s celebrate it with 5 stories. Cin-cin! 🥂

Story 1. The Birth of SQL Habit

I hear people often say that they don’t have ideas, they’re not creative.

I don’t believe it’s true and to prove it to myself, I created a Trello board and made an agreement with myself to write down every idea the moment it comes to mind, even 5 seconds before going to sleep.

The result: I quickly filled the Trello board with 212 terrible ideas. Here are some of them:

  • new fabric skins for IKEA chairs (inspired by an unfortunate coffee accident)
  • toilet cards to reflect on life (the perfect spot, isn’t it?)
  • toaster that prints today’s weather forecast on bread in the morning (I still love this one)
  • plank app that streams your face while you’re planking and connects you to other planking people (I guess to defocus you from pain and maybe add a minute to your longest plank?)

Toaster idea

Among these 212, there was this idea of “Morning Something” – a daily email to boost your skills – “Morning Design”, “Morning Engineering”, and finally, “Morning Data Analysis”.

I thought about it as a lesson or an exercise you’d receive every day to learn something new and practice it.

I thought that some folks (myself included) would love to binge all the lessons, so a hosted version made more sense.

I also wanted to inspire my colleagues at Blinkist to start building dashboards with SQL, so it all came together at a perfect moment and SQL Habit was born.

Today, even more than before, I believe that everyone has a creative seed. I believe it’s really about stopping listening to your inner voice that, for some reason, decided to humiliate you.

I’d say if you want to create something – get a notepad and start writing things down. ✍

Story 2. It took a year to complete SQL Habit

I designed and built the SQL Habit website, architected the data platform behind it, and wrote all lessons and exercises. All outside of working hours, a side project that went out of control. 😎

As I look back at it now, I think it’s just silly – how could I spend a year (!!) of morning hours, hours after work building all that?! Reflecting on it, I believe there’re 2 secrets:

🎩 Secret 1. I just loved the idea of sharing data skills with the world. To me, Data Analysis feels like a game, a detective movie where I play the main character. I wanted to dump all my Data Analysis knowledge, my tricks, and intuition into a platform that is SQL Habit.

I wanted all my colleagues, all Marketers, Product Managers, Engineers, and CEOs to gain Data Analysis knowledge and level up their data game.

I want you to be so data-savvy that you can answer any question with data in a minute (you’ll hear me saying this phrase a lot, and I mean that quite literally – you set a timer and get your report in a matter of minutes).

🐰 Secret 2. After 4 years, I can confess – I didn’t wake up every day eager to work on SQL Habit.

As any human being, I had great days and not-so-great days. When I couldn’t wake up in the morning or came home like a zombie after a hard day at work I … watched a motivational clip on Youtube. In a year, I watched at least a hundred of them. Yep, you heard that right.

I watched all of David Goggins, all of Jocko, and all the motivational montages of famous scientists, actors, athletes, etc. The most memorable videos are, of course, the interviews with Kobe Bryant. 🏀 I found myself crying when I learned that he passed away in January 2020. 😢 #RIPKobe

What I want to say here is SQL Habit exists because I had a purpose. My close friends and colleagues gave me early feedback and cheered me up, but those Youtube videos… love them. 😤

Story 3. The main thing

SQL Habit is about learning Data Analysis with SQL. Throughout the course, the word data is mentioned 773 times. 💣 It may seem, as data is the main thing.

It’s important, no doubt, but on my list it’s placed way below the first place.

In my opinion, the main thing is love. Love for yourself, love for your family and friends, love for your colleagues and customers, love for your product and business, love for your countrymen and the world, and love for the planet. There’s so much love out there! 🫶

Data certainly helps. It helps to solve problems, it helps to find more problems to solve. Being able to make a query and get an answer turns boring work into a game, and makes it fun.

Let’s remind ourselves that the data-driven fever is over. I believe the data-informed approach is here to stay – we measure things, but it’s we humans who make decisions and take responsibility.

Keep mastering your data skills, but think about what is the main thing. ❤

Story 4. Where product ideas come from

In 2019, the first version of SQL Habit was just a bunch of lessons and exercises. It was a bit more than that – SQL Habit had lessons and exercises based on a startup story, and confetti to celebrate each completed item. 🎊

There was one more thing – a feedback button on every single page (that orange envelope icon in the bottom right corner). 😉 I wanted to talk to every single student and answer their questions. Soon I realized that feedback often came around certain parts of content, so I extended the feedback form and you can trigger it by selecting text – that way I’ll know what exactly you’re talking about.

Some of the questions were super awesome and deserved to be published – that’s how Forum was born.

Afterward, I added ratings to all lessons and exercises – every negative rating ends up in my email. Sometimes, it takes me a month to answer, but I haven’t skipped a single email yet. I must tell ya, sometimes you’re very annoying students hahaha ❤ but I love it, I love that SQL Habit becomes better with every single email.

Each email teaches me something – how to be a better Data Analyst, a better teacher, a better writer, and a better human. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. ❤

My next step towards improving SQL Habit was NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey after you finished a few lessons. Once again, every negative feedback from the NPS survey lands in my email.

In case you’re wondering – SQL Habit’s NPS score is 76. 💥

All SQL Habit features started in a student’s email or DM on TwitterPractice exercises, multiple datasets, Chart tools, and the Skill Test. More features are coming this year, but no spoilers for now. 😊

Please, keep flooding me with your feedback. 💙

Story 5. The best part of SQL Habit

Guess what I like the most about running SQL Habit?

Highly inspired by Admiral McRaven’s Commencement Speech, it’s the metaphor of people helping other people:

In short, if you help 10 people, and they each help 10 people, etc we can change the world.

SQL changed my world – I attribute all success I have in my career to learning how to work with data. My goal was always to “answer any question with data in 1 minute”. Often, it takes even less than that.

I want to share this superpower with the world, and SQL Habit is my way of doing it.

Receiving letters from students starting careers, getting jobs, promotions, and simply having fun with it makes my heart go a bit faster and makes me pause and smile. It makes me happy.

Now I’m passing the torch to you – go help 10 people. ❤


I want to thank all SQL Habit students for sticking with SQL Habit, giving feedback, and spreading the word. It means the world to me!

As usual, if I can help you in any way – reach out by email (hello at, on Twitter, or, even better, post a question on SQL Habit’s Forum.

See you at the 10000 milestone! 👋 🚀