I’m a delegate at the inaugural Cloud Field Day. We’ll be live streaming all the events, including our podcasts today and tomorrow.
Podcast on Is Data Boring?
Podcast on Is Cloud Tech the solution or is it the Cloud Process?
Podcast on Is DevOps A Load of Crap?
Visit with Cisco
Visit with Druva
Visit with Scality
Visit with Docker
I will be attending DellWorld 2016 as an influencer/media/analyst participant. This means that I’ll get access to the regular sessions, plus special engagements with product teams to see what they’ve been working on recently and what they want to do in the future. I’ve attended a couple of Dell on-site events and am looking forward to talking to key customers and real-world, hands-on data professionals. Also, doesn’t everyone want to visit Austin as much as possible?
If you will be attending Dell World, let me know. I hope we can #selfie. Or just have a real conversation. Or we can get breakfast tacos.
I love getting to see new technologies changing the world. The opening of the new Vancouver Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre included prominent Microsoft and Canadian leaders, including our Geek Prime Minister. Take a few minutes to see how all my favourite buzzwords come together:
Microsoft + my Canadian BF + Jobs + Deep Learning + AI + Machine Learning + Investing + Accessibility + YVR + SEA + Innovation + Prime Minister "knows how to code already" + Geek + Big news for Canada
This sort of “making a difference” is why I keep getting out of bed in the morning.
Dear Conference Attendee:
I started out writing this as an apology. But it’s not. I’m sorry that it isn’t. Months ago, I was required to submit my slides to your conference organizers for reasons:
- there may be a review committee that reviews the content for offensive and unacceptable words, images or demos – and, yes, I’m sad that this is even needed.
- there may be a review committee that checks to see if I mentioned my own name more than once in the entire deck, even at the end of the deck where I want to tell you can reach out to ask me more if you want to. Yes, this is a real thing.
- there may be a review committee that measures font sizes and types to see if they exactly match that of the official conference template, which will be ugly, unreadable, and bullet-point driven, but required for all speakers to use. Yes, font measuring is a real thing.
- there may be a review committee that counts the number of words on a slide and deletes the “extra” words. Yes, this really happened to me.
- there may be a review committee that fixes all the trademark names.
- the organizers might have been burnt too many times by speakers who weren’t ready with a slide deck the day of the event—and yes, I am sad this is even needed.
- the organizers might need to print the handouts of the slides months in advance – so they tell me.
Some of those are great reasons, some of them awful. But they are reasons the organizers require slide decks to be submitted months in advance of the event.
But in those months between the time I submitted the deck and I show up to present, the world has changed. I say that one day in cloud time is equal to one month in boxed software time. So 2 months in cloud tech is like a 5 years delay in talking about traditional software and hardware releases.
The products, services and features I am presenting about will have changed. Their names might have changed. They may have been bought by another company. They may have had a new release. They might have new features. They might have deprecated features. They may have changed their license agreements. They might have gone bankrupt. They might have disappeared. They might have changed their architectures. Anything and everything might have happened in the months between my deck being uploaded somewhere until the time those pieces of paper are handed out to you upon registration.
I Change, Too
In the weeks between my submitting the slide deck and actually giving the presentation, I think of a great way of presenting a concept. Or I think of a new thing I want to point out. Or I experience a failure along the way that I want to share. Don’t get me started on fixing typos or other inaccuracies. Yes, I know that I shouldn’t make mistakes. But I do.
Maybe I hear about something I didn’t know about when I did the deck. Maybe I realized that something that was true when I developed the deck is no longer exactly true. The point is, I am constantly thinking abut making my presentations better.
But What About…?
I know some of you are saying “What paper handouts?” Yes, some conferences still give you printouts on dead trees, especially for half and full-day seminars. I know you are thinking “Can’t you just send them updated slide decks?” Yes, I can. Sometimes that works, most times it does not. Sometimes we speakers are penalized for doing so.
But this happens even with digital decks. I can send revised slides and sometimes someone on the other end will update the deck produced for download. Sometimes they will not. We speakers mostly have no control over that.
I’ve also heard about people who completely redo a presentation so that the slides from before aren’t even recognizable. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a few new slides, some changed ones, maybe some replaced ones. I want to be able to do that in the 2-3 months between submission time and class time. I want to make it better for you, the attendee.
I’ve also been asked “Why don’t you just print out new handouts for the attendees?” and “Why don’t you email out the updated slides before the event”. I have done that for my formal training classes (of course). But for organized events, I may not have the authority to do that. At some events the distribution of all materials is forbidden. I also don’t have access to attendee email addresses to distribute them, either.
What I Do to Minimize the Impact of Changes
When I have enhanced my slide deck in those months, I do the following:
- Provide the whole current deck on my website for download
- Provide the whole new deck on a thumb drive for you to “download” at the event
- Provide the organizers with the updated deck
- Encourage everyone to learn how to leverage the mark up features of the apps they have on their tablet and laptops. These are a true timesaver for me.
- Describe, while presenting, why there is a new or different slide.
Yes, I know you want the paper copy for taking notes and marking up the deck. I’m not happy, either, that these decks had to be provided from a 2-3 months ago reality. I know many of you will be unhappy. You will mark down my speaker score because I included new slides to show new functionality (this happened to me two years ago at an event). I know you will leave an evaluation rating and comment that my slides should have matched the handout. I want you to do that if that’s what is important to you.
But I’m not going to apologize for the paper handouts being out of date. It’s a physics problem. My only way to fix this is to be able to bend time so that I can see the world as it will be 60-90 days in the future. Trust me: if I could do that, I would be presenting at a much different event.
So cut speakers some slack. You really do want them to enhance their slides, fix mistakes, update for new information and maybe even make them prettier in the months before the event. If you have other ideas about how I can make the impact of change easier on you, let me know.
Good speakers want you to learn, have fun doing it AND have something to take home with you to remember what you learned. Help us help make that happen for you.
I’m visiting Dallas this week to speak at the North Texas SQL Server User Group this Thursday. I’ll be speaking about keys: primary keys, surrogate keys, clustered keys, GUIDs, SEQUENCEs, alternate keys…well, there’s a lot to cover about such a simple topic. The reason I put this presentation together is I see a lot of confusion about these topics. Some of it’s about terminology (“I can’t find anything about alternate keys in SQL Server…what the heck is that, anyway”), some of it is misunderstandings (“what do you mean IDENTITIES aren’t unique! of course they are…they are primary keys!”), some of it is just new (“Why the heck would anyone want to use a SEQUENCE?”).
We’ll be chatting about all these questions and more on Thursday, 17 March at the Microsoft venue in Irving, Texas starting at 6PM.
Attendance is free, but you need to register at http://northtexas.sqlpass.org/ to help organizers plan for the event.
Don’t worry if you don’t know about SQL Server or don’t use it: this presentation will focus on some SQL Server specific features, but the discussion is completely portable to other DBMSs.
So many of us have learned database design approaches from working with one database or data technology. We may have used only one data modeling or development tool. That means our vocabularies around identifiers and keys tend to be product specific. Do you know the difference between a unique index and a unique key? What about the difference between RI, FK and AK? These concepts span data activities and it’s important that your team understand each other and where they, their tools and approaches need to support these features. We’ll look at the generic and proprietary terms for these concepts, as well as where they fit in the database design process. We’ll also look at implementation options in SQL Server and other DBMSs.
Hope to see you there!
CA has completed the sale of the ERwin data modeling business to Parallax Capital Partners, a private equity firm with an exceptional track record of transitioning divisions, subsidiaries and product lines into successful stand-alone entities.
The transaction, which closed on February 29, is a win-win scenario that was carefully designed to ensure mutual value and a seamless transition for customers, partners, and each of the approximately 60 ERwin employees worldwide. This move also aligns with our global partner strategy, which is an important component to CA’s growth model.
With this divestiture, ERwin is an independent company that will continue to be led by its current management team.
Parallax Capital is a private equity firm that specializes in lower middle market (between $5 and $100 million) software companies. In looking at their current portfolio, I recognize only a couple of companies, with Micro Focus being the one that I recognized instantly, but they sold that in the early 2000s. Parallax owns a diverse set of companies, so I’m not sure where they will go with the ERwin Modeling product set.
What I do know is that CA was clear after the failed Embarcadero purchase attempt that they were still intending to sell off ERwin, so a purchase is important to the ERwin user market. I have no other information and expect that initial communications will be that everything is remaining the same until it changes.
This quote: “This move also aligns with our global partner strategy, which is an important component to CA’s growth model. “ appears to imply that CA did not consider data modeling a growth area of the enterprise software business. As sad as that is, I agree.
My initial feelings are that having the ERwin business owned by an entity that does not own a competing product is likely best for customers. Competition is good, for technical quality, innovation and pricing.
UPDATE: a new, more upbeat announcement has gone up on ERwin.com http://erwin.com/resources/news/erwin-divested-from-ca-technologies/
What do you think the impact of this sale will be on you and the data modeling market?
I had so many more questions I wanted to talk about during my recent State of the Union of Data Modeling 2016, but one hour goes by quickly when you have tools, industry, professionals, standards and user groups to cover. I’m interested in your observations and comments about these questions:
Has data modeling accomplished all it needs to? Are we just in the maintenance phase of data modeling as a practice and profession?
What industry trends (tools, processes, methods, economics, whatever) are impacting (positive or negative) data modeling the most today?
How has the cost of data modeling changed since 1980s?
How has the return on data modeling changed since the 1980s?
How has risk changed in data modeling since the 1980s?
Data Modeling tools have so much maturity of features in them today. But along with that prices have reflected those changes. How have the prices of enterprise data modeling tools impacted data modeling on enterprise projects?
Have you worked with any non-IDEF1x/IE data modeling notation recently?
Have you worked with any open source data modeling tools?
What new features/enhancements/changes would you like to see in data modeling tools? Processes? Notations?
Why haven’t we solved the “no one loves me or my models” problem more widely?
I’ll add my thoughts on these in the comments, but I’d like to hear your responses as well.
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