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Alan Cruickshank

Alan Cruickshank

Insights Director,
Location: London, UK
Organizations: Author & Maintainer of SQLFluff


I've been around in the dbt community, especially the London dbt Meetup, since early 2019—around the time that we started using dbt at My background is the startup/scaleup space and building data teams in a context where there is a lot of growth going on but there isn't a lot of money around to support that. That's a topic that I've written and spoken about on several occasions on podcasts, blogposts and even at Coalesce 2020 and 2021! Aside from my work at, my other main focus at the moment is SQLFluff, the open source SQL linter which I started developing as part of a hackday at in late 2019 and now is the most starred SQL linter on Github with almost 1M downloads a month.

When did you join the dbt community and in what way has it impacted your career?

I joined the community in 2019 and it's been an invaluable source of advice and wisdom, especially operating on the bleeding edge of open source data tooling. It's been a place to meet like-minded people, even find new colleagues and certainly one of the places I look to when thinking about how to approach hairy data problems.

In London it's also been one of the most vibrant meetup groups in person, compared to many others which are either very, very specialized or more focussed on larger organisations.

What dbt community leader do you identify with? How are you looking to grow your leadership in the dbt community?

I just want to be useful 😁. I've learned a lot from the community over the years, and now I want to be able to give back to it. My primary vehicle for that is SQLFluff - both as a tool for the community to use, but also as a way of encouraging a wider group of people to feel welcome and able to contribute to open source software and build the tools of the future.

I also see SQLFluff as a vehicle to drive more consistency in the way we write SQL, and through that drive better communication and lower the barrier for new people to enter this field and find their own success.

What have you learned from community members? What do you hope others can learn from you?

For better or worse, I spend most of my day job on people and organisational things, less on how to solve individual problems, and more on how to enable and support groups of people in being able to make great decisions themselves. In some ways, if I have to touch the keyboard too much, it's a sign that I've failed in that calling. dbt itself is a tool which enables better collaboration—and the community is full of people with great ideas on how to better enable other people around us. I hope that I'm able to pass some of that knowledge and the experience of applying it in a scaleup environment back to others also treading this path.

More specifically from the dbt community, if I were to pick one recommendation, it would be Emilie Schario’s talk from Coalesce 2022 on “Data Led is Dumb”. I think should be essential watching for anyone who’s hearing “Data Led” a lot, and wants to turn that excitement into practical action.

Anything else interesting you want to tell us?

If you're not using SQLFluff on your dbt project, you probably should be: