Category Archives: Professional Development

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.

Speaking at SQLBits

I got an early Christmas present this year, I found out I had been selected to speak at SQLBits!  That’s what I call a gift that keeps on giving.

I have always wanted to attend SQLBits so I decided that 2019 would be the year I would finally attend.  Since I had decided to attend, I thought, “what the heck, why not submit session?  I’m going to be there anyway.”  But never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be selected.  I will be presenting my Profiling Your Data session.

It’s been twenty years since I was in England and I am super excited to be going back.  I have family ties to England so I added a few extra days for sight seeing.  Last time I was there I visited Malvern Link, home of the Morgan Motor Car Company, my dad’s favorite auto manufacturer.   This time I am planning a quick trip over to Liverpool so I can see where my Dad’s favorite band (and one of mine) was started, you may have heard of them, they’re called The Beatles Winking smile

Speaking at SQL Saturday Nashville

I am excited and honored to announce that I have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Nashville on January 12, 2019.

I’ve been to Nashville before, in fact I was just there last June for Music City Tech, and am super excited to be going back.

I will be presenting my Profiling Your Data session.  If you’re in area and haven’t registered yet, there are still seats available, you can register here.

Feel free to stop by and say, “Hi”, I’d love to see you.