Hope Foley's Blog

Another day in the life of a SQL Server DBA

PASS Summit 2013 – Part 3 November 4, 2013

Filed under: PASS,PASS Summit,Presentations — hopefoley @ 2:22 pm
Tags: , , ,

Friday

The beginning of the end day at Summit began and doesn’t take long to start running into people leaving and the good byes begin.  It’s so nice catching up with people that you may only see once a year, definitely sad when it’s over.  I made it in time to catch Lenny Lobel’s (blog) session on spatial data.  He was such a vital role in my learning of spatial data, was very excited to see his session.  He concentrates more on the development side so nice seeing some applications involving spatial data.  And also one of his queries helped to trigger a potential method to help me with an interesting question I got while in Orlando.  After his session I went to the Birds of a Feather luncheon.  It’s a lunch where they have tables that contain topics and assign some expert resources to sit at them.  It’s a great one and I always have good conversation.  I ended up sitting with folks at the replication table.  Interesting hearing some experiences with it and some large applications using it.

PASS Board Q&A

PASS Board Q&A

After lunch I made it over for the PASS Board Q&A.  It is an opportunity to ask the entire panel of board members questions.  If you have any issues or concerns, it’s the one opportunity I know of to get them answered directly.  I didn’t have any grievances to air but it normally is good conversation and nice to hear the thinking behind decisions made.  It was very interesting to hear outcomes of the BA Conferences since it was a new endeavor.  Next I went to a session on Always On that was done by a customer panel.  I love hearing people and their experiences!  This panel contained people who have some very challenging environments.  Enjoyed hearing what they had implemented to assist in those challenges.  After that was the last session of the day and Summit.  I went to see my friend and colleague at BlueGranite, Josh Fennessy (blog|twitter) and his session on Excel 2013 for analytics.  It was an excellent session and I’ve already used some of the material I learned there.  Josh always seems so very relaxed in his sessions.  I knew he was a little nervous and it was almost sickening how it didn’t show AT ALL.

Always On Customer Panel session

Always On Customer Panel session

Josh in his session on analytics in Excel 2013

Josh in his session on analytics in Excel 2013

And then it was over!  I went over to the community zone again to make sure to say goodbye to as many as I could.  I then went with a large group of SQLfamily to a nice dinner at Fleming’s.  It was very relaxing to sit down to a great meal where they brought the food to me.  After that went to Dillinger’s for one last drink and called it an early night since my flight was fairly early next morning.

Warning: Mushy Content to Follow

<mush>

It was so great seeing so many wonderful SQL family members!  I have said several times that getting involved in this community has forever changed my life and career!  I couldn’t help reflecting on things at Summit since I got to speak this year after trying for so long.  I am honored to be considered caliber to speak at this wonderful event!  I am so grateful to the extremely long list of people in the community who helped encourage me to get out there and helped stop some of the negative voices in my head.  You know the ones saying things like “who wants to hear what you have to say when they have <insert super smart other speaker> out there giving sessions”.  I am still just amazed at the good nature of this community and I will keep making sure I do my part to make sure it stays that way.

</mush>

Advertisements
 

Survived BA Conference With New Battle Scars April 22, 2013

Filed under: BA Conference,PASS,Uncategorized — hopefoley @ 3:10 am
Tags: , ,

Last week was a trip!  I can say that now after some rest and reflection but was a bit of a different story while I was living it.  I was selected to present at the very first PASS BA Conference.  I was super excited as it was the first time I have presented at a conference of this level and not for lack of submitting.  My nerves were a bit up to a level they haven’t been in a very long time giving a presentation.  These elevated nerves kicked into sheer panic when the morning before my presentation I find…my laptop has died!!  I begin frantically working on plans B, C, and D just to be safe (always the optimistic DBA).  I am restoring databases on my drive to Chicago so you could say I was a bit rattled.

***

I get things functional and some odd kinks worked out in my demos in the morning but not early enough to catch the keynote unfortunately.  I heard fantastic things about it though and Amir Netz is normally the highlight of PASS keynotes in my opinion.  I had enough time though to catch my friends, Mark Vaillancourt (blog|twitter) and Doug Lane (blog|twitter) give their presentation “Hailing Frequencies: Analysis Services Terms and Concepts”.  On my already frazzled nerves I sit there and watch as they start off with resolution issues which didn’t help the knot in my stomach.  They handled it perfectly though.  These guys are great and so funny.  I love a presentation that has information and humor and they deliver there…big time!

***

After a little prep it’s time for my session.  I get through it and demos went well but I couldn’t shake some of the nerves I had built up.  And just like every session, I learn something.  From now on I will set a timer to vibrate at 5 minutes before the end of the session.  I was barely watching the clock, trying to concentrate on session and miscalculated time.  I thought I was running long when I was actually short and wrapped up way too abruptly.  I got some good feedback but I was kicking myself for a good long time for messing up on timing when in practice I had it nailed timing wise.

***

After the pressure is lifted a bit from my shoulders I take in Chuck Heinzleman (twitter), Gilad Elyashar, and David Magar’s session “Make Cloud BI Work for You”.  I was afraid it was going to go super sales-y as some Azure sessions do but it didn’t.  They give some good practical examples that didn’t have anything to do with bicycles.

***

After that things begin to catch up with me and decide that a nap is too good to pass up before the community appreciation party at the Lucky Strike bowling alley.  On the way there I meet Greg Kramer (twitter) and we begin chatting.  I was very excited to hear he’s getting ready to give his very first presentation soon for MADPASS.  Then after stuffing myself silly with some of the great food I bowl it up with Neil Hambly (blog|twitter), Wendy (blog|twitter), Doug, and others.  I should have stuck with bowling but from time to time I have the urge to see if I have spontaneously become a pool shark.  Surprisingly that didn’t happen.  Doug Lane said it best when he said I was more of a pool sea cucumber than a shark.

***

I was extremely glad I got up in time to catch the keynote from Steven Levitt (site) of Freakanomics fame.  This was one of my favorite keynotes, well ever.  I had read the back cover of Freakanomics and was intrigued but never actually read the book.  Steven was very entertaining with his stories over the gathering of data for the book.  You could tell the folks on Twitter approved too and those guys are a hard lot to impress.  I definitely want to read the book now.

***

They always say at these conferences that some of the best material is to be found when you aren’t in a session at all.  This proved true for the conversation I had over breakfast after the keynote with James Serra (blog|twitter) and Ted Krueger (blog|twitter).  We were talking consulting gathering material for the session Ted and I give that covers different aspects of consulting.  I don’t have any independent consulting experience and Ted’s is a bit dated so was great to talk with James and get his insight.  Thank you again James…really appreciate the information.  I continue getting info from James by catching his session after breakfast.  He gave a lot of great information on data warehouse concepts and had a good conversational style.

***

At lunch I went to the PASS Community Zone for the drawing for a tablet.  As I stood there complaining to Josh that I never win anything, Karla (blog|twitter) calls my name!  I won a Surface!  How cool was that?!  So then I joyfully float over with cartoon birds following me to go catch the lovely Julie Koesmarno (blog|twitter) and Josh Fennessy (blog|twitter) session ” The Essential 8: Narrative Reporting Techniques”.  Josh is a good friend so I’m a bit biased but they both did a great job.  They both seemed very at ease and had great demos.  Good information on snazzifying your reports.

Did you hear I won a Surface? :)

Did you hear I won a Surface? 🙂

I was so excited for the next session I caught which was Rob Collie’s (blog|twitter) ” Dark Matter: Domain Experts & Nextgen Spreadsheets Are Our Future”.  I have been using and learning about PowerPivot since it first came out.  I feel like majority of what I know about it came from Rob.  I had never seen a live presentation of his but his blog was pivotal (oh yeah I went there) in teaching me and getting me through what I wanted to accomplish within PowerPivot.  His blog always has a great entertainment value to them and his live session delivered in that aspect as well.  I think this was probably my favorite session.  I wanted to meet him but he had a large crowd gather at the end and I was anxious to hit the road for Addison for the speaker dinner for SQLSaturday.  So if I had met you Rob I would have said thank you for teaching me PowerPivot and doing it in a non boring fashion.

***

Thank you PASS for having me speak and for putting on quite the shindig.  I was anxious to see how this conference was going to go since it was the first one and was targeted at different folks than those of the Summit.  I don’t know if you reached the audience you wanted or hit any other metrics to equate a successful event.  I do know this gal came away feeling it was a success and I had a great time.  And no it wasn’t just because I won a tablet but that didn’t hurt by any means!

 

No Pity Party This Time! Selected for PASS Business Analytics Conference! January 23, 2013

Filed under: PASS,Presentations — hopefoley @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Got the best email ever!  I got accepted to speak at the PASS Business Analytics Conference!  I keep reading the email making sure I read it right.  There it is though, says “selected” right next to my submission!  It’s the first time I’ve been selected to speak at one of the big conferences!  And not for lack of trying and submitting to several over the years.  I became very accustomed to the Twitter woe is me pity parties.  No pity party required this time!

***

So I get this email and start to have a moment that felt a bit like one of those teenager movies.  I’ve been the awkward girl who’s likeable enough but always gets the response from the guys or PASS in this example, “It’s not you, it’s me”.  After much swooning and many SQLSaturdays, my time finally has come.  Jake Ryan, I mean PASS, picked me up in the Porshe and we had our moment where we sat on the table with a birthday cake between us.  Ok it’s a little bit of a stretch from a John Hughes movie but was what came to mind when I got that email.  I got accepted to speak at PASS BA Conference!  I’m so excited and so glad I finally get the chance to speak at one of these conferences.

***
PASS_BAC_I'm Speaking_Banner