Monthly Archives: June 2018

I’m Speaking At SQL Saturday Baton Rouge!

I am excited to announce that I have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Baton Rouge (#749) on August 11, 2018. I will be presenting two sessions, Data Types Do Matter and What is Power BI?

One of the reasons that I’m so excited to speak in Baton Rouge, is because I met William Assaf (B | T) a couple of years ago when he came to speak for us at SQL Saturday Charlotte. He’s super nice and while chatting I discovered that he was the event organizer for SQL Saturday Baton Rouge. It was before I started speaking and I was just picking his brain a bit on organizing a SQL Saturday. He had some really great ideas that I thought sounded interesting. This is the tenth year for SQL Saturday Baton Rouge. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

The second reason I’m so excited about speaking in Baton Rouge is the food! I’ve only ever driven through Louisiana, never had the opportunity to stop and enjoy it. This time I will have plenty of opportunities to do just that, but most importantly eat. My list of foods to try include étouffée, boudin and jambalaya to name just a few. Then I’ll top it off with some beignets. I may need to swim a few extra laps before I go (and after I return)!

New Session: Profiling Your Data

Data Quality is a huge issue, especially now with more and more data being created daily.  According to Micro Focus back in 2016, we were creating 44 ExaBytes of data per day and are expected to produce 463 ExaBytes of data per day by 2025.  That’s a LOT of data.

With all this data, it’s important now more than ever to profile your data BEFORE your warehouse or ETL projects start.  No one wants to be several months into a project only to realize the design has to be reworked due to data quality issues.  So I’ve created a session called Profiling Your Data that talks about Data Profiling, what it is, why you should do it and how you can do it with the tools already included in the SQL Server BI stack.

If you’re interested in having me present this for your group or event, just let me know, I’d be happy to.

Speaking At SalemSQL, A Kind Of Homecoming

I am so excited to announce that I will be giving my Data Types Do Matter session for the SalemSQL user group in Salem, OR on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

After being selected to speak in Seattle at the PASS Summit, I decided to reach out to the newly formed SalemSQL group to see if I could speak for them while I was in the neighborhood. They normally meet on Wednesdays, so I am very grateful that they were willing to shift their meeting day around to accommodate my travel schedule allowing me to present.

One of the reasons this is so exciting for me is that I spent a lot of my formative years in the Willamette Valley, just outside of Salem. My family moved around a lot when I was younger, but this is where I learned to drive, graduated from High School and got my very first job (no, it was not IT related). I have so many fond memories of the area and still have loads of friends and family there. I used to make the trip to visit at least once, and sometimes twice a year when I was lucky. My trips have dwindled off as the youngest members of our family have graduated, gotten married, had children and moved away, but I still welcome any chance I get to visit. Mostly for family and friends, but it’s also the only time I get to eat fresh Marionberry pie for breakfast. And who doesn’t love to eat pie for breakfast?!

If you are in the Salem, OR area on November 1, 2018 and have no plans for lunch, please stop by and say, “Hi”. I’d love to see you.

Analyzing Feedback From Music City Tech 2018

I recently presented two sessions at Music City Tech and just received my feedback.  I got great feedback and looks like I did a great job.  WooHoo!  It’s always nice to have your own version of what happened in your sessions validated.

Getting feedback on sessions is how we learn, as speakers, to become better speakers.  I must admit that I haven’t always felt this way.  When I got feedback on my very first speaking engagement I initially took it personally and became very defensive.  After some reflection, I reviewed it again a few days later and realized a few things:  Not everyone learns the same way, has the same background I do nor do they have the same goals.

I know not everyone reads the abstract/description of a session, they see the title and think it sounds interesting.  When I start a session I like to lay out expectations so the attendees know what to expect.  This helps me out when asking attendees for feedback but it also helps attendees understand what they most likely will (and won’t) learn in my session.  I have found that in doing this I’m less likely to receive negative feedback (because the attendee had different expectations) and the attendee is more likely to have a positive experience.

With that said, here are the summary numbers from my two sessions at Music City Tech.

MCT2018_FeedbackSummary

Overall I did pretty good.  But when I look at the details, I see an area that I could have definitely improved.

MCT2018_FeedbackDetails

It’s funny too, because in my Data Types Do Matter session, I specifically cut out my war stories to make my normally 60-75 minute session fit into 50 minutes.  As I said, people learn in different ways.

So my lesson here is that people like the stories from the trenches, they make it more relatable.  Next time, I’ll be sure to include at least one war story to help hit the concept home.

Getting Called Up

When baseball players are called up to the Major League from the Minor League it’s referred to as getting “Called Up”.  Today I am proud (and very humbled) to announce that I have been Called Up to PASS Summit 2018.  I will be presenting my Data Types Do Matter session.

I started speaking on a regular basis only last year which I guess makes me a Rookie*.  I never thought I would grow to love speaking as much as I have in the last fourteen months.  I used to have a major phobia of public speaking (you can read about it here).  But, with any fear if you confront it head on, in most cases, that fear becomes more manageable or even vanishes completely.  A few years ago I decided that I would confront my fear head on (you can read about that here) and look where I am today.  It’s not completely gone, but I have learned to manage it in a way I never thought I would.

I have presented 23 times on four different topics and reached 502 people in two countries.  If someone had told me two years ago that I would have these kinds of stats I would have thought they had taken a Bad Hop* to the head.

This is only my second time submitting a session to PASS Summit, so I feel very honored to have been selected.  I know others have submitted for years and still not been selected.  Maybe wiping my submission with Pine Tar* actually helped this time.

Here’s hoping I don’t Whiff* and get Sent Down*.

*Baseball References Explained Here

Music City Tech Rocked!

I know Nashville is most famous for Country music, but in the recent years, it has become home to more and more genres.  Last week I attended and spoke at Music City Tech/Music City Data in Nashville and let me tell you, it ROCKED!  The organizers were amazing, all the attendees were so friendly and I got to meet yet another #SQLHero of mine, Joe Webb (B | T).

One of the cool things about Music City Tech, from a speaker’s perspective, is how they encourage comradery amongst speakers.  Music City Tech was held on the beautiful Vanderbilt campus, so for those speakers that wanted, they could choose to have their accommodations comp’d by staying in on campus housing.  They did this for all of the crew from the conference as well.  I was a bit skeptical at first, I mean really, I’m not a teenager anymore.  But I had some of the best roommates and have made some friends for life.

I had two sessions to present, Data Types Do Matter and What is Power BI?  Both sessions went well, though I had less than 10 attendees in each session.  I couldn’t really blame anyone, it was a super nice day after having days of clouds/downpours, it was the last day of a three day conference and the sessions were in the last two time slots of the day.  Oh yes, and it was a Saturday.  I fully expected two attendees max, so my expectations were exceeded by far.

I think the only thing that could have made my experience at Music City Tech was if it were held this weekend instead of last, so I would have an excuse to go to Bonnaroo!