Bits Buddies

SQLBits is fast approaching, in fact, Training Days start 2 weeks from today, on March 8, 2022.

I’ve attended SQLBits before, as well as other large conferences, but I still remember the first conference I attended. I was attending on my own and didn’t know anyone at the conference. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I felt a bit ill at ease. Just seeing one friendly face would have made a world of difference.

With this in mind, the good folks at SQLBits have created a program called Bits Buddies. It’s a program where first timers or those thinking about attending but aren’t quite sure yet, can reach out to a few folks who are not affiliated with SQLBits to provide insight into what SQLBits is about. It also gives you an opportunity to meet someone BEFORE you attend, so once you arrive, you will see at least one friendly face (actually we are all very friendly, but this is someone you will know!).

I have volunteered to be part of the Bits Buddies program and would love to be that one friendly face for those that may be ill at ease. We are holding a few virtual drop-in sessions and would love to chat with you, so stop by and meet some friendly faces.

I hope to see you there.


Data Saturday #8–Southwest US

I am very excited to announce that I will be speaking for Data Saturday #8 – Southwest US, coming up on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

I will be delivering my Profiling Your Data session.  I love this session, data profiling is a passion of mine and is too often overlooked.  Come join me to find out why you should be profiling your data and how to do it.

This is a free virtual event with lots of great sessions by wonderful speakers, so come join us, I’d love to “see” you.

Data Weekender v3.1

I am super excited about this new version of Data Weekender, coming up on Saturday, May 15, 2021.  This will be the third time I have been selected to speak for this event.  It is truly humbling that the organizers have selected me once again.

I will be delivering my Getting Started with Data Modeling session.  So, if you are interested in how to get started with modeling data for analysis and/or building out a dimensional model, this is the session for you.

Data Weekender is a free virtual event and there are some really great sessions being offered by some fantastic speakers, so what are you waiting for?  Go register now and I’ll see you on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

I hope to “see” there. 

I’m Speaking at #DataWeekender

With all our in-person events cancelled for the foreseeable future, I was so excited to find that some community folks are not sitting back and waiting for the social distancing to end in order to have a technical conference.  There is a new virtual technical conference created by some wonderful community folks in Europe, called Data Weekender.

I am so excited and humbled to have been selected to speak at this conference.  I will be presenting my Data Types Do Matter session on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

There are so many great sessions being offered by so many brilliant community people, take a look at the schedule and see for yourself.

If you’re not too busy washing the car in the drive or removing gum from that tangled mess of toddler hair, come join us.  I’d love to “see” you.  There is still time to register, so what are you waiting for?  Register now!

I am a #DataWeekender Supporter!

September on the Road

I am so excited for the next three weeks.  This is a trip that has been in the planning for nearly 2 years.  I have always loved travelling and wanted to go to Africa, now I have the opportunity of a lifetime:  I get to combine my love of travel with my love of SQL Saturdays.

My first stop will be in Johannesburg, where I will have the honor of presenting my Power BI pre-con session, Zero to Dashboard, for SQL Saturday Johannesburg on Friday, September 6, 2019.  I am super excited and can’t thank local organizer & fellow Data Platform MVP, Michael Johnson (B | T) enough for this opportunity.  Then I get to do two of my favorite sessions, Data Types Do Matter and Profiling Your Data, on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

Second stop on this tour will take me to Cape Town, where I will present my Zero to Dashboard pre-con again on Friday, September 13, 2019.  I am super thankful to another fellow Data Platform MVP, Jody Roberts (T), for giving me this opportunity.  I will then present the same two sessions as Johannesburg, Data Types Do Matter & Profiling Your Data, on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at SQL Saturday Cape Town.

I will spend about 10 days in Cape Town, visiting friends that are like family before I head back to Johannesburg.  From there I travel to Prague for SQL Saturday Prague on Saturday, September 21, 2019.  I am still pinching myself because I can’t believe I was selected to speak at this event.  I will be presenting my Profiling Your Data session.

I think there are still tickets available for both pre-cons and there are still open registrations for all three events.  If you are in any of these areas, please stop by and say, “Hi”.  I would love to see you and chat.

Speaking at SQL Saturday Raleigh

I am happy to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Raleigh this Saturday, April 27, 2019.  I have been part of the organizing team for this event for the past few years so have never been able to speak (those of you who are fellow organizers know why!).  This year we had a last minute cancellation of an afternoon session, so I decided to step up and fill the slot.

I will be presenting my What is Power BI? session at 2:30pm.  If you’re in Raleigh with some time on your hands, stop by and say, “Hello”, I’d love to see you.  You can also check out some other great sessions as well, we still have registration slots available.

Using Power BI To Track My Activities

As a MS MVP one of the things you have to do is keep track of all the “things” you do for community, whether it be volunteering, organizing, speaking, etc.  It can be a bit daunting trying to keep track of all of it.  But hey, I’m a Data Platform MVP, how hard can it be to keep track of data?!  Queue music from one of my favorite Blake Edwards movie .. Pink Panther.

At first I was just keeping track of everything in a text file via Notepad.  That got very unmanageable very quickly with all the different kinds of things I was doing.  I migrated all my data to a spreadsheet, because we all know that Excel is the most popular database in the world, right?

I knew that I had been busy in 2018, but I had no idea until I used Power BI to look at my data.  Yes, I was significantly busier in 2018 than I ever had been and 2019 is shaping up to be just the same if not busier.

Take a look at what I created.  It was a fun project to work on and allowed me to explore some things in Power BI that I don’t work with on a regular basis.  Let me know what you think.

Don’t Forget To Take Break

So many times we get sucked into a rabbit whole when fixing/troubleshooting things we forget to take a break.  More often than not this leads to the “not seeing the trees through the forest” syndrome as my grandfather used to call it.

Sadly this happens to me more than I like to admit.  I am tenacious when it comes to problem solving and I don’t like to “give up”.  However, once I hit that mentality of “I’m not going to let this problem beat me” is when I most need to take a break.

I have found that if I quit focusing on the problem at hand and do something else, often times not work related, for a few hours when I come back to the issue I solve it within 10-15 minutes.

Case in point, just yesterday I was troubleshooting a Power BI Data Gateway issue.  We had the Gateway installed and configured.  The Power BI Service could see and communicate with it so we were all set to create our first data source.

We entered in all our information about the data source and when we clicked the Add button, it came back with a failure.  It was a very generic error that didn’t really tell us anything.  I searched the Power BI Community forums only to find that we had done everything correctly.  I was stumped, but I started down the path of “I’m not going to let this problem beat me!”  Right then is when I should have put it down and walked away.  But no, I kept doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result (and we all know what that leads to – CRAZY town).

I was forced to take a break and go coach my swim team of 6-12 year old kids.  I completely forgot about the problem for 2 hours while I coached and talked with my kids.  When I got home and sat down at my desk, I had an epiphany.  Check the Gateway logs!  Wow, why didn’t I think of that before?! I discovered that the gateway had gotten itself into a bad state so I restarted the gateway service and was able to successfully create the data source using the data gateway.  That took less than ten minutes, sheesh.  If only I’d been forced to coach swim team earlier.

So the next time you encounter a problem and just can’t seem to figure it out, take a break.  Give your brain something else to focus on and you just may save yourself from a trip to CRAZY town.

Speaking at DataGrillen

After speaking at SQL Saturday Iceland last year, which is a smaller event that I absolutely loved (you can read about that adventure here), I decided I wanted to do another smaller event.  They are much more intimate and offer a better chance of engaging with attendees, sponsors, organizers and other speakers.

I heard about a smaller event called SQLGrillen that took place in Germany.  Their motto is “Databases, Bratwurst and Beir”.  How cool is that?!  But alas, I missed the call for speakers deadline, so I kept my fingers crossed that the event organizers would put it on again this year and low and behold they did.  They’ve changed the name to DataGrillen, but it’s still the same cool event.

I submitted a session and to my surprise and amazement, I was selected to speak.  I will be giving my Profiling Your Data session on Friday, June 21, 2019.  Now my German is very limited (Nein, Ja, Bitte, Bier & Bahnhof) but I’m still excited and I hope to see you there.

The event is already sold out, but they do have a wait list.  If you want to go get your name on the list as soon as possible because it’s FIFO.

Auf wiedersehen for now.