Office Hours with DataChick (Karen Lopez)

Barbie and Barbie Talk DataOne of my commitments this year is to try some new ways of interacting with the data community.  I’d like to try to have some recurring office hours where people just like you YOU can drop into a Go To Meeting to ask me questions about data, data modeling, database design …or my treadmill desk, a recent conference, industry standard data models, etc.  Or you could just say “Hi”.  I’ll also have the ability to get help from you, too.

What are Office Hours?

I’m drawing from an academic practice of educators publishing set times when students could stop by to get help from an instructor on a more direct basis than in a classroom.  However, my intention isn’t for this to be an Instructor/Student dynamic, but more of a professional information sharing opportunity to talk shop outside the bounds of our regular projects.

I see this as the types of conversations that happen during breaks at user group / DAMA meetings or at the end of a webinar.  Not all work, but primarily about topics we share an interest in.  I also see this as a type of tertulia, which is a conversation by a group of people with a share interest.

Rob Drysdale may join us as his schedule fits, too.

This is open to anyone and everyone who would like to be part of a virtual meeting of data professionals where there is no set agenda.

Meeting Information (GoTo Meeting)

1. Please join my meeting.

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (773) 945-1017

Access Code: 483-280-225

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 483-280-225

Update: Office Hours meeting info has changed.  Please see: Office Hours are Back for new information.

Please enter your real name or Twitter ID when joining the meeting. It helps us connect better, which is why we are having these meetings.

What it Is not

The intention isn’t for us to provide 45 minutes of free consulting to solve a detailed data modeling problem for one person.  That’s what we do for a living. It also isn’t quite the bar discussion after a user group meeting where all topics are available.  However, I might be on a beverage break at the same time and so could you.  So think about the same sort of topics, approaches, and conventions you’d normally follow in the break room at work or over breakfast at a your local DAMA meeting.

This isn’t a user group meeting with a presentation or agenda.  Perhaps it is an “unmeeting” of sort.  You don’t have to join at the starting time, nor do you have stay all the way through.   If you want to bring your Barbie, GI Joe, or Wayne Gretzky action figure, please do so.

One final note

We are using a version of Go To Meeting that allows for 15 participants at a time.  That means that our group will be small at any point in time. I think that matches what my intent is.  It also means that we can share screens/applications and that you can use a computer headset or dial in to to talk.


As I said, this is a trial.  I’m thinking this will be a couple of times a month, probably on Thursday afternoons ET.  But I’ll be looking for feedback to see if this is the right timeslot and if we are using the right tools to do this.  I’ll also be looking for input into the right structure.

Update: We’ve had a few of these now and I can definitely say that they are here to stay.  Most Thursdays at 4PM Eastern, using the meeting information above.

If you’d like a meeting invite for you calendar, e-mail me Karen @ (remove those spaces).  You can also leave a comment here with a valid e-mail address so that I can send you the meeting invite.

So lets give this a try.  I’d love to hear your questions, comments, thoughts on DATA.  We talk about issues, challenges, funny stories, and whatever is going on in the news about data.


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