Last year I participated in the first Data Field Day in San Jose. I’m honoured to be a delegate for the tenth Tech Field Day which follows the same format. On 3-5 February I’ll be in Austin, Texas visiting with vendors in the software, hardware and virtualization world. There will be twelve of us participating, along with our fearless host, Stephen Foskett ( @SFoskett ).
We will be visiting these vendors during TFD10:
At each vendor visit there will be livestreaming during their presentation and we will discuss their products and services, ask questions. You can follow that stream above. Delegates are known for their brutal honesty, their insight and even some fun observations.
You can also follow along on Twitter hashtag of #TFD10. You can also post your own questions for these session using that hashtag.
What I love about field days is the the mix of delegates with a wide background in business, tech, innovation, entrepreneurship and data. This breadth means that we, as a team, look at the technology and business with a variety of viewpoints. And you get to watch it all live.
BTW, the next Data Field Day is scheduled for 8-10 June. If you have products or services you’d like to present to a team of independent data experts, contact me.
I hope you can follow along. It’s a great chance to see real world tech innovation discussions.
It’s a new year and I’ve given Thomas LaRock (@@sqlrockstar | blog ) a few months to recover and ramp up his training since our last Throwdown. The trophies from all my wins are really cluttering my office and I feel back that Tom has not yet had a chance to claim victory. So we will battling again in just a few days.
I’ll be dishing out the knowledge along with a handkerchief for Tom to wipe up his tears at SQL Saturday #461 Austin, TX on 30 January 2016. This full day community-driven event features real database professionals giving free presentations on SQL Server and Data Platform topics. All you need to do is register (again, it’s free) before all the tickets are gone.
Database Design Throwdown
Duration: 60 minutes
Track: Application & Database Development
Everyone agrees that great database performance starts with a great database design. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees which design options are best. Data architects and DBAs have debated database design best practices for decades. Systems built to handle current workloads are unable to maintain performance as workloads increase.Attend this new and improved session and join the debate about the pros and cons of database design decisions. This debate includes topics such as logical design, data types, primary keys, indexes, refactoring, code-first generators, and even the cloud. Learn about the contentious issues that most affect your end users and how to avoid them.
One of the other great benefits of attending these events is that you get to network with other data professionals who are working on project just like yours…or ones you will likely work on at some point.
Join us an other data pros to talk about data, databases and projects. And make sure you give a #datahug to Tom after the Throwdown. He’s gonna need it.
…and you should join me.
On 2 February I’ll be speaking at TECHUnplugged Austin, Texas. This event, which has free registration, focuses on how technology innovation is changing business and IT.
TECHunplugged is a full day conference focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure.
Its innovative formula combines three essential parts of the industry for an exceptional exchange of information, insights and education:
The ultimate goal of TECHUnplugged Conference is to bring quality information to IT decision makers by bringing them together with independent influencers and industry vendors, to engage, debate and be informed through open discussions on topics such as IT infrastructure, virtualization, cloud computing and storage.
I’m going to be talking about how data has changed over the years and how data quality issues can become obstacles to business innovation.
If you are in IT and would like to attend, use the registration form below. If you use my special code, you’ll be entered to win a special prize of an Amazon Echo (I SO LOVE MINE!) at the event.
My promotional code is:
Yes, all lowercase.
I hope to see you in Austin. Maybe we can have tacos.
I recently wrote a whitepaper, sponsored by Neo4j, on how your master data (think cross-application data like CUSTOMER, PRODUCT, ORGANIZATION, etc.) is much more valuable to your organization if you can leverage the relationships between the data. You might think that relational databases are all about relationships, but they aren’t. The relational in relational database comes from the fact that data is a relation (a table-like structure of columns and rows).
The best thing we have for describing relationships in a relational database is a foreign key (FK). An FK is a constraint between two tables. In a relational database, FKs enforce integrity between exactly two tables. But in the real world, relationships are more than constraints. They are implied, inferred and, maybe even just plausible. That’s not a constraint; that’s a relationship. And these relationships often exist because they span multiple tables. Think about CUSTOMERs that are related because they live at ADDRESSes near each other, they have TRANSACTIONs at the same RETAIL STORE and they buy the same PRODUCTs and SERVICEs. That’s a specific relationship, one that has nothing to do with foreign keys.
You can download my whitepaper at http://neo4j.com/resources/wp-master-data-graph/
Note that while Neo Technology sponsored this paper, they had no editorial control over its content.
This week I’m also doing a webinar about some of the content of the paper. Kamile Nixon of Neo Technology will join me in this discussion. You can register at http://info.neo4j.com/0430-register.html
I think this one will be a lot of fun. Kamile and I have worked together on many things over the years. She and I share the same sort of sense of humour. You have been warned.
Webinar: Your Master Data is a Graph: Are You Ready?
Thursday, April 30 at 09:00 PDT | 18:00 CEST
As you tackle your ongoing Master Data Management challenges, it’s important to keep a few things in mind: Hierarchies don’t really exist Relational isn’t about relationships Foreign keys aren’t relationships, but constraints It’s crazy, isn’t it?
Join Master Data Management expert Karen Lopez and Neo Technology’s Kami Nixon as they discuss today’s MDM requirements and explore the companies that are getting MDM right.
In this webinar, you will learn:
- Why hierarchies aren’t real
- How to choose the right technology for the stories your data wants to tell, so your business can use data in ways it couldn’t do before
- Why relationships are just as important as the things they relate
- What foreign keys really do to your architecture
- How companies like Cisco and Polyvore use graphs to get real business value from Master Data
Karen Lopez, Data Evangelist, InfoAdvisors
Karen Lopez has more than 20 years of data architecture and database design experience. She specializes in the practical application of design approaches, balancing development time frames with the need to deliver solutions that will support business agility and data quality needs. Known for her practical and sometimes snarky views on the data world, Karen works to find the right tools for the job, even if it means learning something new. She wants you to love your data.
Kami Nixon, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Neo Technology
A recipient of the 2012 “Graphie”, Kamille was a fan of Neo4j for several years before she happily joined the team. Kamille has helped several successful database companies (DataStax, Comindware and Embarcadero Technologies) to identify and execute on market trends so they could pull ahead of the pack. Her efforts have led to doubled vertical bookings, increases by 30% to 100% in year-over-year revenue, and several awards. In addition to the Graphie, Kamille has received several other commendations, including co-authoring with Karen Lopez story #5 in Information Management’s Top 10 for 2011, and Best Investigative Journalism in a national competition.
Lara Rubbelke (@sqlgal ) and I recently presented 7 Databases in 70 Minutes, a sort of homage to the book 7 Databases in 7 Weeks. The event was SQLBits, a UK-based SQL Server event. We first gave this talk at the PASS Summit last year.
We don’t talk about the same databases as the book, but the concepts are the same. We cover relational, column family, graph, key value, Hadoop, and document database technologies, focusing mostly on the reasons why you would want to consider these and what a typical create and query statement might look like.
And then we end with 7 reasons why you should start exploring them.
It’s a blast talking about so many things in such a short time frame and it’s fun watching light bulbs go off as people realize these aren’t just silly open source projects, but real, enterprise class solutions for common enterprise processes.
Check out our slide deck.
Have you been looking at non-relational technologies to tell your data stories, too?
This year we had a new item at the 2014 PASS Summit: Speaker Idol. Run by Denny Cherry ( blogs | @mrdenny ), this is a contest where people who have never been selected to speak at Summit get the opportunity to win a golden ticket (an automatic speaking slot) at Summit 2015. To win, speakers must put together a 5 minute lightning talk, then impress the judges more than any other speaker in the competition.
I competed in a similar contest at TechEd two years ago. The difficult part about this is there are no criteria for which you can prepare. You don’t know what the judges think are good habits or what topics they might enjoy. They might even give conflicting advice. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a crowd, give your presentation, then be critiqued by others in front of a crowd.
A few of us judges are blogging today about the things we commented on to the presenters:
Denny Cherry discusses the overall process used to put it all together
Joey D’Antoni focused mostly on physical presence while speaking
If others blog, I’ll update this post with links.
Today I’m going to continue on with Joey’s theme of physical presence.
Move, But Don’t Wander
It’s really difficult when you are stressed or nervous to get the timing and location of moving around right. Some people hug the lectern as if they are on flight experiencing extreme turbulence. Others pace back and forth like a caged animal hungry for fresh meat. At some conferences at Summit, this is compounded by a speaker set up where there’s a table, a lectern and several chairs. The AV equipment is often taped or strapped down so that your laptop must be located on the lectern. I find this annoying because presenting isn’t the same as giving a speech. Presenting and training involve more discussions with the audience and need more engagement than just speaking at a group of people.
The raised podium effect also means that moving around can lead to falling off the stage. Not a good thing.
Joey gave advice to stand with your feet together. I usually give other advice: stand with your feet shoulder’s width apart, then move your feet about 3 inches further apart. This sort of forces you to stay put for a while because it feels slightly off, but not enough to make it feel awkward. It’s harder to move out of that stance and it tends to be a more powerful, competent looking to the audience. Move around to ensure you aren’t blocking the same audience members for your whole presentation. Move to show that you and the audience are working together to learn.
Remember: pacing back and forth is bad, but taking a few steps in a variety of directions can help you engage different members of the audience. Have a purpose when you move.
A Mic Changes Everything
Most speakers would prefer not to use a microphone. A hand mic plus a remote means both our hands are tied up. A lavaliere mic (one that clips on your shirt and has a pack that has to be stuck in a pocket or worn in the back) means everything you do or say is being amplified. But when sessions are recorded, broadcast or in large rooms, audio equipment is mandatory.
One of the more common mistakes the speakers made was leaning forward then turning their heads to read the slides on the screen. This meant that as they were talking, they were talking away from the mic. We judges were in the front row and I had a hard time hearing what was said.
The trick is to turn your whole body when you are mic-ed up. Do this even when you are turning to speak to an audience member and to highlight something on the screen.
Remember: The audio portion of your presentation is just as important as the visuals. Probably even more important.
Don’t Read Your Slides to the Audience
This is a tough habit to break, especially if you are running short on time. It’s the most common feedback I hear from people who are attending sessions and are frustrated by the speaker. This is especially common with lightning talks because time is so limited. If you read your slides to the audience, you are basically showing them that you don’t really need to be there speaking. You could just email blast out your slides and be sitting in the bar enjoying a conference-themed beverage.
One of the ways to break this habit is to have fewer words on your slides. More on this later.
Another way is to have speaker notes that you can see when you are presenting. These should have different words/bullet points and that will force you to explain things in different words. PowerPoint shows these notes when you are in presentation mode.
The best way to break this habit, though, is to not look at your slides when you speak. Look at the audience. Engage with them. Offer insights into what is on the slides, but do that while having a conversation with the audience.
Remember: You are there to give insights and to engage with the audience. Your slides are there to support that, not the other way around.
One of the more interesting things about being a judge is that we all talked about how we are also guilty of many of these speaker vices. We recognized that while we were giving all this advice, we all needed to take care when we presented, too. I’m sure it was difficult for the contestants to be judged in public. It was difficult for us doing that as well.
I’ve blogged about what to do when something goes wrong during your presentation, but I’ll be blogging about those things and more as part of this series. I’ll be talking about equipment, preparation and delivery. Plus being judge-y .
shared some of these on Twitter, but I decided to pull them all together in one place. There’s be a lot of tips shared prior to these events, but I think these haven’t been covered nearly enough.
- Laptop Power cord
- Spare batteries
- USB charger ends
- VGA adapter/dongle
- Presentation clicker
- Presentation on thumb drive
- Compassion for those with difficulties
- Bravery to meet people in person
- Spirit to lift others up
- Daring to try something new
- Firmness to speak up
- Care for not insulting others
- Humility to ask real questions
- Talent to discourage Strutters
- Expertise to think of audience, not self
- Restraint not to sell from the podium
- Civility to be nice to everyone, not just the celebs
- Class not to spam the crowd
- Excellence to understand that not everyone speaks English well.
- Integrity to disclose your biases and affiliations
- Professionalism not to cuss
- Readiness to help others
- Genuineness to show your real self
- Trust that others want you to succeed
- Diligence to keep your promises
- Concern for others who have less experience than you
- Coolness to get through tough discussions
- Kindness for others
- Goofiness to have fun
- Self-discipline to take care of your body
- Prudence to take care of your mind
- Sincerity to admit your mistakes
- Preparedness for your presentation.
- Openness to constructive feedback
- Honesty to admit “I do not know”
- Expertise to answer questions
- Mindfulness to know when you are not helping
- Charity for others who disagree with you
- Expertise to know when to not try to answer questions
- Empathy for others
- Respect for self
- Wisdom to know that you can’t have self respect without empathy for others
- Forethought to pack well
- Vigilance to call out bullying and disrespect
- Courage to meet others who are different than you
- Strength to deal
- Moderation to get to tomorrow
- Stamina for long days
- Thankfulness for volunteers and staff
- Joy for cheering on others
What did I forget on this list?
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