Browsing articles in "Speaking"

Dear Attendee: My Slides Will Not Match the Handouts

Apr 5, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, DLBlog, Events, Speaking, Training  //  8 Comments

 

Sorry...not sorry

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.

Stuff Changes

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:

  1. Provide the whole current deck on my website for download
  2. Provide the whole new deck on a thumb drive for you to “download” at the event
  3. Provide the organizers with the updated deck
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

The Key to Keys at the North Texas SQL Server User Group – 17 March

Mar 15, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, Speaking, SQL Server  //  No Comments

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!

Follow Up to State of the Union of Data Modeling 2016–Questions for You

Feb 1, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, DLBlog, Speaking  //  1 Comment

DATA spelled out in cereal letters

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.

7 Databases in 170 Minutes: Workshop at NoSQLNow!

Jan 26, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, Events, NoSQL, Speaking, Training  //  No Comments

image

My friend Joey D’Antoni ( @jdanton | blog ) and I will be giving a workshop at NoSQLNow! about new database and datastore technologies like Hadoop, Neo4j, Cassandra, Vertica, Document DB, and others.  This will be a fast-paced, demo-heavy, practical sessions for data professionals.  We’ll talk about where a modern data architecture would best use these technologies and why it’s not an either/or question for relational solutions in a successful enterprise. And, as always, our goal is to make the time we spend fun and interactive.   This session will be a great starting point for some other session on Monday that go into data modeling for NoSQL as well as for all the other in-depth, database-specific talks the rest of the week.

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Level:
Intermediate

imageWe’ve been busy keeping relational data consistent, high quality, and available. But over the last few years, new database and datastore technologies have come to the enterprise with different data stories. Do we need all our data to be consistent everywhere? What does data quality mean for analytics? Will we need relational database?

Learn how traditional and new database technologies fit in a modern data architecture. We will talk about the underlying concepts and terminology such as CAP, ACID and BASE and how they form the basis of evaluating each of the categories of databases. Learn about graph, Hadoop, relational, key value, document, columnar, and column family databases and how and when they should be considered. We’ll show you demos of each.

Finally, we will wrap up with 7+ tips for working with new hybrid data architectures: tools, techniques and standards.

 REGISTER

Use code “DATACHICK” to save:

$100 off for  Tutorials Only + Seminar Only Registration and $200 off for Full Event, Conference+Tutorials, Conference +Seminar, and Conference Only Registration.

Super early registration ends 29 January, so take advantage of both discounts now (yes, they stack!).

Follow Along TechFiedDay10 #TFD10 Austin–Updated with Video Streaming

Jan 25, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Cloud, Database, DLBlog, Events, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

TFD Logo

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:

image

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.

Database Design Throwdown, Texas Style

Jan 21, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, Events, Fun, Snark, Speaking, SQL Server  //  3 Comments

SQLSaturday #461 - Austin 2016

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

Speaker(s):  Karen Lopez Thomas LaRock

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.

I’m Going to be TECHUnplugged in Austin

Jan 20, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Cloud, Data, DLBlog, Events, Speaking, Training  //  2 Comments

…and you should join me.

image

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:

– A group of independent, insightful and well-recognized influencers
– Leading disruptive technology vendors,
– End users who manage rich technology environments.

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:

infoadvisors

Yes, all lowercase.

 

I hope to see you in Austin.  Maybe we can have tacos.

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