Befriending Dragons

Turn Scary Into Attainable


3 Comments

Taking Flight a.k.a. The Data Dragon’s Life After Microsoft

Cross-posted (with slightly worse formatting) from http://befriendingdragons.com/2014/07/23/taking-flight-a-k-a-the-data-dragons-life-after-microsoft/

Taking flight like Toothless from How to Train Your DragonLife is a journey – we can choose to fly through it with our wings spread to catch and channel the winds, or we can let the winds pummel us to the ground. I choose to take flight, enjoy the journey, and land on my feet. Then take off again. Even when the flight happens because of an unexpected push from the nice, comfy nest, it’s possible to spread our wings and take off in the direction we choose. Especially when you’ve decided you’re a Data Dragon. Yes, that’s me. Cindy the Data Dragon.

Wha...? Huh? Wha…? Huh?

What am I talking about? One of those life changing events that sneaks up on you sometimes.

Last Thursday I got a very unexpected call and I got to experience hearing the words “you’ve been laid off” for the first time ever. It was effective the same day, at least as far as job elimination. I am a Microsoft employee until September 15, my options are wide open after that.

I could choose to sit around and feel sorry for myself, ask countless “why me” and “why now” questions. What I did instead is remember that I am likely in a far better position than many of the other 13,000 people laid off the same day. And remember that now I don’t have to wonder and worry about the remaining Microsoft layoffs that are expected. And remember that this opens up many wonderful opportunities. And remember all the friends, co-workers, and customers who instantly offered support (thanks Sean, Terry, and Linda for the coffee followed by the much stronger drink and the rest of you for all the calls, emails, and IMs). And thank those same folks for the job leads, introductions, and recommendations on LinkedIn that immediately started pouring in – keep them coming! The Data Dragon chooses to concentrate on the good things, dive into making sense of things, and move on to new and better things. (Yes, Murshed, I again referred to myself in the 3rd person).

So now what?

I am going camping this week, I plan to make time for getting out of town again for a few days or weeks before the end of September (SLC ComicCon anyone?), and I am going to get my beautiful back yard back under control and add more colorful things growing in it. I am going to take my time finding the right Big Data job, not just any job.

Connect with me on Skype (cindygross@outlook.com), follow me on Twitter (SQLCindy | Cindygross), and send pics of you toasting the Data Dragon and her beautiful future!

Don’t stand in my way, the Data Dragon is taking flight and looking forward to all the wonderful things in my future!

Green-eyed Data Dragons like me never stay down long!

Green-eyed Data Dragons like me never stay down long!

Advertisements


16 Comments

Taking Flight a.k.a. The Data Dragon’s Life After Microsoft

Taking flight like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon

Taking flight like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon

Life is a journey – we can choose to fly through it with our wings spread to catch and channel the winds, or we can let the winds pummel us to the ground. I choose to take flight, enjoy the journey, and land on my feet. Then take off again. Even when the flight happens because of an unexpected push from the nice, comfy nest, it’s possible to spread our wings and take off in the direction we choose. Especially when you’ve decided you’re a Data Dragon. Yes, that’s me. Cindy the Data Dragon.

Wha...? Huh?

Wha…? Huh?

What am I talking about? One of those life changing events that sneaks up on you sometimes.

Last Thursday I got a very unexpected call and I got to experience hearing the words “you’ve been laid off” for the first time ever. It was effective the same day, at least as far as job elimination. I am a Microsoft employee until September 15, my options are wide open after that.

I could choose to sit around and feel sorry for myself, ask countless “why me” and “why now” questions. What I did instead is remember that I am likely in a far better position than many of the other 13,000 people laid off the same day. And remember that now I don’t have to wonder and worry about the remaining Microsoft layoffs that are expected. And remember that this opens up many wonderful opportunities. And remember all the friends, co-workers, and customers who instantly offered support (thanks Sean, Terry, and Linda for the coffee followed by the much stronger drink and the rest of you for all the calls, emails, and IMs). And thank those same folks for the job leads, introductions, and recommendations on LinkedIn that immediately started pouring in – keep them coming! The Data Dragon chooses to concentrate on the good things, dive into making sense of things, and move on to new and better things. (Yes, Murshed, I again referred to myself in the 3rd person).

So now what?

I am going camping this week, I plan to make time for getting out of town again for a few days or weeks before the end of September (SLC ComicCon anyone?), and I am going to get my beautiful back yard back under control and add more colorful things growing in it. I am going to take my time finding the right Big Data job, not just any job.

Connect with me on Skype (cindygross@outlook.com), follow me on Twitter (SQLCindy | Cindygross), and send pics of you toasting the Data Dragon and her beautiful future!

Don’t stand in my way, the Data Dragon is taking flight and looking forward to all the wonderful things in my future!

Green-eyed Data Dragons like me never stay down long!

Green-eyed Data Dragons like me never stay down long!


Leave a comment

Interview with Julie Strauss–Microsoft BI WIT

Julie Strauss is a very accomplished and respected Senior PM at Microsoft. Her current role is technical assistant for Microsoft Data Platform Group (DPG) Corporate Vice President Quentin Clark. She has been the public face of Microsoft BI at conferences and helps deliver great technical content and data stories to the public. Julie loves to help others so she has shared some background on herself and some great business advice that could be helpful to others seeking to improve their success.

Julie saw a job posting for the support team in Microsoft Norway (at the time Great Plains) looking for an individual willing to learn the ins and outs of the Microsoft BI products. She was excited that the posting indicated a willingness to learn was more important than previous knowledge of the particular Microsoft product. This was how and why Julie came here – she loves the technology and the data driven parts of the business and finds them fascinating.

Read the complete post at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/cindygross/archive/2013/11/21/interview-with-julie-strauss-microsoft-bi-wit.aspx


2 Comments

HDInsight Big Data Talks from #SQLPASS

SQL PASS Summit 2013 was another great data geek week! I chatted with many of you about Big Data, Hadoop, HDInsight, architecting solutions, SQL Server, data, BI, analytics, and general geekiness – great fun! This time around I delivered two talks on Hadoop and HDInsight – the slides from both are attached.

Zero to 60 with HDInsight takes you from an overview of Big Data and why it matters (zero) all the way through an end to end solution (60). We discussed how to create an HDInsight cluster with the Azure portal or PowerShell and talked through the architecture of the data and analysis behind the release of Halo 4. We talked about how you could use the same architectural pattern for many projects and walked through Hive and Pig script examples. We finished up with how to use Power Map (codename GeoFlow) over that data to gain new insights and improve the game experience for the end user.

The next session I co-presented with HDInsight PM Dipti Sangani: CAT: From Question to Insight with HDInsight and BI. We went deeper this time. Not only did we present an end to end story with how our own internal Windows Azure SQL Database team uses telemetry to improve your experience with SQL Server in Azure PaaS but we also went deeper with demos of Hive, Pig, and Oozie. We also gave another archetypical design scenario that will apply to many of your own scenarios and talked about how HDInsight fits with SQL Server and your other existing infrastructure. The deck covers your cloud and on-premises options for Hadoop on Windows including HDInsight Service, Hortonworks HDP for Windows, OneBox, and PDW with Polybase.

Please let me know if you have any questions from the talks or just general HDInsight questions!

 

PASSSummit2013BigData.zip


2 Comments

Self-Service BI Works!

When I talk to people about adding self-service BI to their company’s environment I generally get a list of reasons why it won’t work. Some things I commonly hear:

  • I can’t get anyone in IT or on the business side to even try it.
  • The business side doesn’t know how to use the technology.
  • This threatens my job.
  • I just don’t know where to start either politically/culturally or with the technology.
  • I have too many other things to do.
  • How can it possibly be secure, allow standardization, or result in quality data and decisions?
  • That’s not the way we do things.
  • I don’t really know what self-service BI means.

#PASSBAC 2013 Cindy and Eduardo 

So what is a forward thinking BI implementer to do? Well, Intel just went out and did it, blowing through the supposed obstacles. Eduardo Gamez of Intel’s Technology Manufacturing Engineering (TME) group interviewed business folks to find those who were motivated for change, found a great pilot project with committed employees, and drove the process forward. They put a “sandbox” environment up for the business to use and came up with a plan for monitoring the sandbox activity to find models and reports worth adding to their priority queue for enterprise BI projects. The business creates their own data models and their own reports for both high and low priority items. IT provides the infrastructure and training including products like Analysis Services, PowerPivot, Power View, SharePoint, Excel, SQL Server, and various data sources. The self-service models and reports are useful to the business – they reduce manual efforts, give them the reports they want much faster, and ultimately drive better, more agile business decisions. If a model isn’t quite right after the first try, they can quickly modify it. The same models and reports are useful to IT – they are very refined and complete requirements docs that shorten the time to higher quality enterprise models and reports, they free up IT resources to build a more robust infrastructure and allow IT to concentrate on projects that require specialized IT knowledge. Everyone wins with a shorter time to decision, higher quality decisions, and a significant impact on the bottom line.

Learn more about how Intel TME is implementing self-service BI:

Eduardo (eduardo.m.gamez@intel.com) and I (cgross@microsoft.com or @SQLCindy) are happy to talk to you about Self-Service BI – let us know what you need to know!

Digg This

How_Intel__Integrates_Self-Service_BI_with_IT_for_Better_Business_Results_[DAV-208-M].zip


Leave a comment

PASS BAC PREVIEW SERIES: SQL Professionals and the World of Self-service BI and Big Data

Are you excited about the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference? You should be! This conference will offer a wide range of sessions about Microsoft’s End to End Business Intelligence (including Self-Service BI), Analytics, Big Data, Architecture, Reporting, Information Delivery, Data Management, and Visualization solutions. Whether you are an implementer, a planner, or a decision maker there is something here for you!

PASS_BAC_Horizontal_Banner

What makes this conference different? Why should you put in the effort to attend this conference in particular? We are seeing a paradigm shift focused on shorter time to decision, more data available than ever before, and the need for self-service BI. There are exciting technology solutions being presented to deal with these needs and new architectural skills are needed to implement them properly. Self-Service BI and Big Data are very different in many ways but also responding to the same problem – the need for additional insights and less time spent getting to those insights and the resulting impactful decisions. Self-Service BI via PowerPivot, Power View, Excel, and existing and new data sources including HDInsight/Hadoop (usually via Hive) offers fast time to decision, but you still sometimes need Enterprise BI to add additional value via services such as data curation, data stewardship, collaboration tools, additional security, training, and automation. Add in the powerful new data sources available with Big Data technologies such as HDInsight/Hadoop that can also reduce time to decision and open up all sorts of new opportunities for insight and you have many powerful new areas to explore. Not to mention that Dr. Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, is one of the keynote speakers!

Read more about my thoughts on Self-Service BI and Big Data in this #PASSBAC guest blog published today: PASS BAC PREVIEW SERIES: SQL Professionals and the World of Self-service BI and Big Data

And sign up for the session I am co-presenting at #PASSBAC with Eduardo Gamez of Intel: How Intel Integrates Self-Service BI with IT for Better Business Results

Take a look at all the information tagged with #PASSBAC and tweeted by @PASSBAC, there are some good blogs, preview sessions, and tidbits being posted. Get your own Twibbon for Twitter, Facebook, or however you want to use it, the Twibbon site will add a ribbon to the picture of your choice:

PASSBA2013Cindy

If you’re going to be in Chicago anyway, you might as well stay a few extra days for two nearby SQL Saturdays. The weekend before the conference take a short hop over to Madison, WI for #SQLSAT206 on April 6, 2013 at the Madison Area Tech College. Then head over to the bacon, uhhh, PASS BA CONference April 10-12. Stay one more day in Chicago (technically Addison, IL) for the #SQLSAT211 sessions at Devry. This is a great opportunity for even more SQL Server immersion and networking!

See you at #PASSBAC in Chicago in April!

@SQLCindy

Small Bites of Big Data


1 Comment

Big Data – All Abuzz About Hive at #SQLPASS Summit 2012

Big Data – All Abuzz About Hive
Small Bites of Big Data

Cindy Gross, SQLCAT PM

I hope to see you at the #SQLPASS Summit 2012 this week!

There are many reasons people come to the PASS Summit – SQL friends, SQL family, networking, great content in 190 sessions, the SQL clinic, the product team, CSS, SQL CAT, MVPs, MCMs, SQL Community, and sometimes just to get away from the daily grind of work. All those are great reasons, and they all make for a great Summit.

This year I am focusing on BI and Big Data. For the Summit this year I will be introducing you to Hive. Hive is a great way to leverage your existing SQL skills and enter into the world of #BigData. Big Data is here in a big way. CIOs are pushing it, business analysts want to use it, and everyone wants to gain new insights that will help their business grow and thrive. Don’t let Big Data pass you by, leaving you wondering how you missed out. Hive is fun and interesting, and for SQL Pros it looks very familiar. Come to my talk and come by the SQL Clinic to ask questions throughout the week. Please come up and introduce yourself at any time, I love to meet new SQL Peeps!

BIA-305-A SQLCAT: Big Data – All Abuzz About Hive
Wednesday 1015am   |   Cindy Gross, Dipti Sangani, Ed Katibah

Got a bee in your bonnet about simplifying access to Hadoop data? Want to cross-pollinate your existing SQL skills into the world of Big Data? Join this session to see how to become the Queen Bee of your Hadoop world with Hive and gain Business Intelligence insights with HiveQL filters and joins of HDFS datasets. We’ll navigate through the honeycomb to see how HiveQL generates MapReduce code and outputs files to answer your questions about your Big Data.

After this session, you’ll be able to democratize access to Big Data using familiar tools such as Excel and a SQL-like language without having to write MapReduce jobs. You’ll also understand Hive basics, uses, strengths, and limitations and be able to determine if/when to use Hive in combination with Hadoop.

And there’s more! Here is a sampling of blog posts about this year’s summit:

After the Summit, you can still stay involved. Follow some SQL Peeps on Twitter, sign up for a few SQL blog feeds, and buy a book or two. Attend local events like SQL Saturdays and User Group meetings. Reach out to your fellow SQL-ites and stay in touch with those you meet. Keep SQL fun and interesting and share what you learn!

See you at the #SQLPASS Summit 2012!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small bite of big data! Look for more blog posts soon on the samples and other activities.

Note: the CTP and TAP programs are available for a limited time. Details of the usage and the availability of the CTP may change rapidly.

PASS2012BIA305AAllAbuzzAboutHive.pptx