Insider’s thoughts on Strata 2015 in San Jose

#Datagasm in the valley


This past week I spoke at and attended the Strata+Hadoop World event in San Jose California  I arrived on Wednesday and went straight to the conference to check out what was happening.. It was the first day of the event and so many all day training sessions were already running. Flying in from the east coast I didn’t arrive until about noon. So I checked out the venue and went by speaker registration and got my badge and lanyard.

It was interesting to see the variety of people and conversations that I got pulled into throughout the day.

The next day I arrived early to meet some friends and sit together for the keynote  I though the cameo from President Obama was a pretty nice touch  He was there to support Dr. DJ Patil (his new Chief Data Scientist) during his keynote address to the audience on Day 1 of the event.

Keynotes and Sessions

Other keynotes were pretty well received. The format of a group of shorter individual keynotes provides more conversation starters for the day, but also tends to feel a little like “how many sponsors can we cram on stage?”.  As you would imagine, some were better than others. Once we broke from the keynotes I got some time to catch up with some specific people I wanted to meet and network with and had some great conversations about how we are thinking about the future of our fields. I’m guessing that’s what the organizers love seeing happen!

Right after lunch was my session. I had the second half of a two part session in the Business and Industry track  Right before me, Vijay Subramanian presenting an interesting session on how his firm Rent the Runway is democratizing the designer clothing industry using data and analytics to drive their processes and decisions. Pretty cool stuff. I already emailed the site to my wife!

My Session

Then it was my turn and I jumped in to talk about how Pragmatic Works has been changing the way retailers work throughout their supply chain to apply analytics and find the opportunities for really boosting profitability. The session went well and I had a nice group of conversations afterwards for people looking to find out more information about how we might be able to help them.

That evening I missed the Data after Dark event to have dinner with a friend who works with me in another data organization (PASS) so we could talk about the exciting things we have going on there, Like our upcoming Business Analytics Conference in April! 

I enjoyed the event. I hated to only be there for part of it, but I still got a lot out of it. The expo was busy and had a lot of good vendors in there. I’m looking forward to hopefuly being a part of it again next year ..

Until then..


Notes on PASS’ January Board Meeting



Hey there community! I thought you might like to know that we just finished our first PASS board meeting of the year in Seatle WA and it was awesome! I am so excited to have new board members like Grant Fritchey and returning board memebrs back around the table talking about all the exciting things that you and PASS are doing together.  The official meeting minutes and summary will be published soon but for the time being I thought I would share some of my personal thoughts on behalf of myself :).

Don’t you have enough to do in January?

Well yes, but this is important! Typically January is a packed meeting and as EVP I am responsible for making sure that we have a good productive agenda, that we’re setting goals and making good progress throughout the multi-day meeting. Normally a board meeting  is a two day meeting and in recent years we have started the January meting with an insights workshop  that is geared toward smaking sure that the very different people making up the board communicate effectively and understand each other’s motivations. This is incredibly helpful! Perhaps in a future post I’ll share some of it publicly. You won’t be suprised that the board has people who lead with bold, compassionate and consensus driven energies and attitudes. Don’t be shocked, this thing is science!


Enough talky talky.. let’s get something done!

Once we got through the couple of hours of workshop and the communication wheels were greased we jumped into some key topics like:

  • The evolution of our global growth initiatives into an expanded committee to take our next steps on the way to a LATAM board seat. So much positive activity in this region that I’m excited to chair this committee and see this through to our next milestone.
  • We had a good discussion around SQL Rally, the community and business model considerations for our regional events.
  • Amy Lewis led us in a deeper dive on spearker and session selection process improvements for Summit 2014 and plans for Summit 2015  Some exciting thigns here!

As day one drew to a close the team was tired but spiritis were high at dinner and everyone was looking forward to a good discussion the next day on our Business Analytics efforts. Day two would be spent on BA and portfolio goals.

We discussed the amount of research and effort that has gone into the BA program and I must say, I continue to be impressed by the quality of the program the team has put together. This has been spearheaded on the board by Denise McInerney and Jen Stirrup. It’s well targeted at the right audience and gives us an incredible foundation to build on. We discussed some of the challges we’ve discovered along the way with helping to coalesce this new community and provide the bigger umbrella to include them. The team has done a tremendous job and I’m proud of the work that has gone into this event and community! Check out more here if you’re interested in our BA community efforts..

How about we set some goals?

Moving on to portfolio goals. To give you some background on the goals process, we made some changes recently to the goals process to align portfolio and organizational goals. This means that the Executive Committee sets some higher level strategic goals or “focus areas” such as global growth, IT innovation & security, volunteer growth, leadership development and others that are critical to the organization and our community. The portfolio owners then align their goals to those priorities. It doesn’t mean something won’t get done if it doesnt fit in those proirities but we’ll discuss it as a group and find the best way to get as much done as we can.

All the portoflio owners  brought well-aligned goals and I’m excited to see what they create this year. I’m hoping some of them will share those goals in their own blogs at some point once the details are finalized. Keep in mind these are goals for FY2016 which starts in June. The current board goals for FY2015 are published here. It’s important to get the goals process moving forward now since we need an approved budget done by June.  Like most organizations goals get turned into budget requests and then that budget is trimmed/adjusted and then approved.

The budgeting process used to be more arduous and has gotten better under recent boards. This is because of the extra effort from PASS HQ and from some new things we’ve done to help educate board memebrs on the process and involve them earlier. This past year the board was able to get a budget approved with 75% less revisions than in previous years. More time for the community!

Wrap it up..

We closed with discussions around IT projects and security, agreeing on priorties for different intiatives to support those  and keep our members innovating and secure at the same time.  Then it was time for tearful good-bye’s and red eye flights. I’m not sure if the tears were for each other, or about spending all night getting kicked inthe kidney in 34C. Either way we had a great meeting and I’m excited about 2015 for our community and our ever growing umbrella.

I hope this helps give you a view into what’s been happening and what will be coming up for the board. Of course I can’t regurgitate 2 entire days on a Tuesday morning, but I thought it was important to make sure you got some “from the table” perspective. Grant has also published his thoughts on his blog here.

You can also get more information when the minutes and board summary are published here on the governance page.  Hit me up on twitter or email me with questions. I’m happy to chat.

Until next time!

Adam J.

Change your life at PASS Business Analytic Conference




Now.. I know that sounds a bit dramatic but I have seen this happen firsthand. This year’s Business Analytic Conference (brought to you By PASS) is better than ever. We can’t wait to see you April 20-22 in Santa Clara Ca  We have a completely updated program that brings together the best lineup of speakers, experts and mentors in the field of data  We have Excel MVP’s from around the world, inculding such powerhouses as Mr. Excel Bill Jelen and Chandoo!  See all the amazing speakers here.

PASS is all about community and I’ve watched this community of business analysts and data professionals come together and grow into something amazing. This is how the conference will change your life  You will meet other people and experts that will help you with your job. You may find other areas of your field that become interesting enough to aspire to grow into, or get another job entirely right at the conference! I’ve seen it happen!

This event has created a community for all of you who deliver amazing products and data insights for your organizations but in many cases don’t have a team of your own. This community is your global team, your support group, and in many cases your helpline.


I have a personalized discount code for my readers. The first ten of you who enter discount code BFFAJ when registering will get the entire conference for an amazing price of $1295.00 USD. This is over a $500 discount off the highest sale rate (price bump coming soon).  This will insulate you from price bumps but you need to jump on this opportunity. This is a special offer for my blog readers.

If you want to get started early, check out today’s BA Marathon. This is an all day series of FREE webinars from PASS’ BA Community. These are the actual conference speakers presenting live. There are thousands registered for this marathon series so get in and be a part of this community online.

I encourage you to get out to this event. It really could change your life. Perhaps all at once or over time as you grow into this new community, but no matter what, you will be enriched personally and professionally! I can’t wait to see you there!

Until next time…

Adam J.


Pragmatic Works coming to Phoenix

We're taking over!


Hey everyone! I’m winging my way across the country this week but I can’t hold back my  excitement  to be coming to Phoenix the week of Feb 22 forSQL Saturday Phoenix!

I’m coming with a number of my Pragmatic Works peers. Some like Ginger and Alan are presenting with me during our precon. I can’t wait! Our precon is all about creating your future data warehouse platform. From SQLSaturday’s site:

” We’ll examine the problems and solutions facing the modern data warehouse. We’ll look at how to balance data loading and computing processes with the needs for the platform. Looking at how to work with both structured and unstructured data and when to continue to leverage relational databases versus file-base solutions, such as Hadoop. From on-premise to appliance to cloud solutions, this session will examine how to select the right fit for the right solution. We’ll also discuss how to augment these solutions with Big Data and Cloud technologies including automating those (and giving you the scripts to do so  ) and adding common analytic data sources such as social media. At the end of the day, you will understand what is possible in the modern data warehouse and how to architect solutions fitting your company.”

This will be a jam packed day and the schedule for Saturday’s main event is packed with quality sessions and speakers such as:

  1. SSIS Tuning Tips and Tricks – Ginger Grant
  2. Dimensional Modeling Design PAtterns – Jason Horner (MCM)
  3. On Demand Compute with Azure and Powershell – Adam er.. Me 
  4. Azure Data factory – Data Integration in the Cloud – Josh Luedeman
  5. BI DBA Performance Tuning – Bradley Ball
  6. Predicitng the future with Azure MAchine Learning – Ginger Grant
  7. SSAS Multidimensional vs. Tabular – Alan Faulkner
  8. SQL Server filesystem – Roger Wolter

There are lots of other great sessions and Pragmatic Works is bring our team from all over the country for an awesome day of community in beautiful Arizona.

Make sure to sign up for precons before they fill up. What a great value for a full day of training from all the great speakers lined up!. If you come to ours then please bring your current challenges so we can make sure we get a chance to solve them with you!


– See you out there! Adam J