Tuesday Grab Bag of Biz and Fun

September 16, 2014

Post by Rob Collie
 
mullet with labels

Today’s Post is Like a Mullet Haircut:  Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Let’s Go!

Series of quick updates today, mixture of pure fun and serious biz, sometimes simultaneously.  In this post:

  1. Download the Draft Index for the Online University – whether you are currently enrolled or not, this may be relevant.  Grab it here.
  2. Live Class in Philly – seats still open for Oct 21-22, more details here.
  3. “Secret Summit” Between Microsoft and Power Pivot early adopters last week.
  4. DAX:  The Power of Paper
  5. Yours Truly taken into police custody for Possession of Industrial-Grade Data Tools

 

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The Benevolent Virus Spreads to Australia :)

September 3, 2014

Post by Rob Collie

PowerPivot Pro Training Australia

“Scaling Out”

Despite me being arguably the loudest advocate of our favorite technology, it remains true that this Power Pivot thing is much bigger than any one person, and everyone needs help.

I’ve already reached the limits of my own personal travel calendar.  As much as I would LOVE to jetset around the world and teach classes everywhere, well, my family would never see me except for occasional burned-out stopovers at home.

The fortunate position I find myself in is that I’ve met AMAZING people over the years.  When I need help, I have the luxury of consulting the Rolodex of Awesome.

So when the time comes to help spread our most benevolent of viruses to the other side of the world, I’m ridiculously happy to be able to call up people like Matt Allington.

(If you haven’t heard Matt’s story, you should quickly click on his name above, right now, because it will blow your mind – I am still putting mine back together actually.)

 

 

Certified in My Methods

PowerPivot Pro Training Australia

As of Today, Matt Allington is the ONLY Person
I’ve EVER Certified in My Teaching Methods

In July, Matt made the voyage from Down Under to the shores of Lake Erie for an intensive week at PowerPivotPro HQ.  I deprived him of sleep.  I fed him nothing but Ohio food, like 3-pound grilled cheese sandwiches.  I subjected him to relentless DAX torture.  He bent spoons with his mind.

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In-Person Class in Philly, Oct 21-22!

September 2, 2014

Post by Rob Collie

How recent students have described the class

image

Our July Class in Cleveland – 90% of these Fine Folks Came from Out of State!
(And One From Australia!)

Taking it to the East Coast – and Beyond

After running three consecutive classes in Cleveland (April, July, and August), and seeing a packed classroom for the last two, we’ve decided that I should start occasionally venturing out of the Heartland and teaching the class elsewhere too.

This time we’re going to be partnering with Microsoft itself, and teaching in their MTC (Microsoft Technology Center) just outside of Philadelphia.  An exciting step for sure, uniting me (former ‘Softie and Power Pivot’s most passionate advocate), with, you know, the company that makes the product.  Probably should have figured out some way to cooperate sooner, but such is the independent nature of current and former ‘Softies.

Click Here to View Class Details & Registration

Optional Gathering/Dinner on “Middle” Night

image

Some Folks from the August Class Throws the “Excel Gang Sign” at Dinner
(Can You Spot MrExcel Himself, Bill Jelen?)

On the night of the first classroom day, we’ve been running an informal gathering at a local restaurant, and many people reported that it was one of their favorite social outings ever.  Just being surrounded by people with similar backgrounds, mindsets, and problems is a unique experience, especially for the Excel crowd.

So of course we will organize such an outing in Philly as well.  Venue TBD (if you have suggestions, send them our way).

Included:  Thumb Drive and 50% Off Online University

All Students Receive a PowerPivotPro thumbdrive containing the materials from the course:

thumbdrive

And also a 50% off discount code to the online video course.  Past students have found it to be a helpful “reinforcement” to the live class (as well as covering topics that we don’t have time for in two days), so we have decided to offer it as a bundle.

More Info and Registration…

Click Here to View Class Details & Registration


Has Power Pivot Changed Your Life? I Want to Know!

August 19, 2014

This face obviously represents happy.

We Want to Hear Your Cool Stories!

Unprompted Confirmation

In last week’s post I explained why I now “kick off” my training sessions with the bold promise of “Power Pivot will change not only your career, but also your LIFE.”  (Please go back and read that, briefly, if you have not – because this post won’t make as much sense otherwise).

Well, a funny thing has been happening lately – I’ve been getting emails from people saying that it HAS changed their life.  Literally in those words.

Are these people just being nice to me, confirming my bold statement?

Nope, because none of them has heard me say it before – these are people I have never met in person!

In fact, this pattern of emails was the reason why I got started writing last week’s post.  I actually intended to JUST write THIS post, the “has it changed your life” post, but along the way I realized I needed to add the background, so this got split into part two.

Please Share Your Stories!

If you are feeling like this, please leave a commentIf you’ve experienced life change as a result of Power Pivot, please leave a comment at the end of this post!

Or if you’re a bit shy about that, drop me an email.  My address isn’t hard to find or guess.

Take it Away, Rob’s Inbox!

imageThese are real emails from real readers, slightly edited to maintain their privacy.  In all cases, I am bolding the “life changing” portion of the quote:

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Vending Machine or Kitchen: Two Kinds of Self-Service

August 12, 2014

Preface:  Breaking the Consulting “Rulebook”

Power Pivot Allows Us to Set a Much Higher Bar - and Then Clear It

This may seem bold:  Starting about six months ago, whenever I find myself in a room with spreadsheet/business/database people, one of the first things I tell them is that Power Pivot won’t just change their work, it will change their LIVES.  That’s right – I tell them, with a straight face, that this business technology will actually make them happier.

That violates one of the unwritten rules of consulting, which is to underpromise and overdeliver – set expectations low enough that no one ever has reason to complain or be disappointed.

I understand why it’s traditionally a good practice to “set the bar low.”  I get it.  I truly do.

“Consumer with Choices” vs. “Empowered Producer” is a BIG Difference

But Power Pivot is different.  Yes, in the truly breakthrough, transformational sense – you knew I was going to say that.  But different in another critical sense as well – it requires (and incents!) the analyst types on the Business side to participate to a degree unlike with any other BI tool.

No matter how they are marketed, every other BI tool I have ever seen treats the business user as a glorified Consumer.  Yes, Business Objects and Cognos for sure, but I’m also looking at you, Tableau and Qlikview and Spotfire.

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Next Week’s Sold Out Class: One Spot Re-Opens

July 25, 2014

 
Hi folks.  Next week’s 2-day class (Wed-Thu, 7/30-7/31) taught by me (Rob) has been sold out for awhile now, but we had a last minute cancelation.

So if you live in the Cleveland area, or feel like some last-minute travel, drop us a note at empower@powerpivotpro.com

If you ARE considering the trip, you won’t be the only one traveling in, btw.  Of next week’s class, 16 of 17 students are coming from out of town.  Maybe you want to be lucky number 17 of 18.

We’re also doing a social outing/dinner for the class on Wednesday night.  The famous Matt Allington will be joining us from Down Under.

Note that we’re doing another class in August as well, so if you’re not inclined to join us on short notice, there’s another option as well.


July 30-31 Cleveland Class: Now With Special Guest!

June 3, 2014

 
image

Yeah, the Crazy Aussie Himself Will Be Attending:
Former Coca-Cola BI Director, Matt Allington!

July 30-31 – Cleveland, Ohio. 

Conquer Data AND Meet Living Proof of Legitimacy.

Last time I taught one of these, I was flattered that half the class came in from out of state – Indiana and Pennsylvania, I believe.

Well, the famous Matt Allington, who left his BI Director Job at Coca-Cola to join the Power Pivot Revolution, is taking that to the next level, and flying in from Australia.

Class Info

Two full days, $1249 per student. 

  1. Download the PDF agenda HERE.
  2. Reserve your spot HERE.

Convince Your Boss?

We hear this a lot:  “I’d love to attend, just not sure how to sell it to the boss man/lady.”

You could always say, “well, a BI Director at Coke has bet his career on it, for $1249 we can have that power too.”

Failing that, drop us a note and we’ll help you with a tailored value proposition: 

empower@powerpivotpro.com


Simple, Amazing, and Happy: A Story About Data

May 29, 2014

Last week’s two-part series on The Three Big Lies and The World Doesn’t Know Its Own Numbers got me thinking about how all of this is connected.  It’s all one big story, and I need to stitch it together.

I actually told a big part of that story in one of my sessions at the PASS BA CON earlier this month, and people seemed to genuinely both enjoy and benefit from it.  Because of that (and because I spent over 100 hours prepping that talk!), I’ve been meaning to re-record that talk for YouTube.

So I thought, hey, let’s cross the streams.  I’ll make a series of short videos that tell the entire story – including, but not limited to, what I shared at PASS.

Today I present the Introduction to the story.  Anyone who’s used Power Pivot for awhile will “recognize” the transformation I’m hinting at in this Intro, but if you’re just starting down the road, I hope you find it exciting.  Because you have some amazing discoveries just around the corner.

Please tell me what you think of this video – either here or on YouTube – because I’ll factor that into the series.  The more I know, the better I can tell the story.

(Note that we will be switching PowerPivotPro.com over to a new server this weekend, so comments might be disabled here starting Friday night).


The 3 Big Lies of Data. (And Power Pivot vs. Power View, Power Query, Q&A, etc.)

May 20, 2014

 
How Power Pivot, Power View, and the Other Power BI Tools Relate to Each Other

Power Pivot is the Engine that Turns Data Into Information!
But We Can’t Understand This Properly Without Examining the Three Big Lies of Data

Goal:  Answer Four Frequently-Asked Questions

So many things to say this week. Let’s jump in.  Here are the questions I ultimately aim to answer, which are questions I get basically everywhere I go:

  1. How do all of the Power BI Components relate to each other?  Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Map, Q and A, etc. = Power Confusion for some folks.  I get it.
  2. Has Power Pivot become less important, now that we have all of these other new “Power *” tools?
  3. Which tool should I learn first in the Power BI family?
  4. Should I consider abandoning this stuff altogether in favor of <hot new technology X>?  Tableau, Hadoop, R, etc.

In order to answer these, first we must confront some insidious lies that we are told every day.

Examining:  The Three Big Lies of Data

We want data tools vendors to lie to usThe world of data, today, is clouded by Three Big Lies.  These lies originate with all of the tools vendors – Oracle, IBM, Tableau, etc., and yes, Microsoft too is very much playing along.

Even though the Vendors are the Purveyors of these lies, they are NOT “at fault” for them.  Because the world actually WANTS to be told these lies.  BADLY wants to be told them, in fact.  And because the audience is so receptive to these lies, the vendors naturally learn to tell them, and tell them well. 

Vendors who DON’T learn to tell these lies?  Well, those vendors don’t win many customers.  And then those vendors disappear. 

So while the lies COME from the vendors, the PROBLEM, really, is with US – the people who BUY the tools.

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Mini-Post: 2-Day Class in Cleveland, July 30-31

May 1, 2014

 
teacher power pivot

Yes, I Look Precisely Like This in Person Smile with tongue out
(But No, I Don’t Have One of Those Little Teacher Batons)

The last time we did this was a blast.  So we thought we’d do it again, this time with more advanced notice.  I met some truly amazing people – even the lunch breaks were just a lot of fun.  And, as amazing people are inclined to do, they are now off doing amazing things with their data.

Half the class actually traveled in from out of town last time, which is an inversion of my normal dynamic of flying out to a client’s headquarters.  It’s a very cool feeling to wake up at my house, get in the car, and go teach Power Pivot all day.

It makes it all feel very mainstream, which is of course becoming more true every day.  The first time I taught Power Pivot professionally was 3.5 years ago out in California, and for what felt like a long time after that, ALL of my clients seemed to be “out West.”

That I can now teach classes without leaving town is, in itself, a sign of the times.  Just fantastic.  And I hope to see a few of you there.

This time I think we will also schedule a “social event” of sorts at the end of the first day.  Even if it’s just grabbing a beer or something similarly simple, it’s something I wish we’d done the first time, especially for the out of towners.  Purely optional and informal.  But fun.

Syllabus, pricing, and registration information here


Mini-Post: Agenda “Slides” from One of my PASS Talks Next Week in San Jose, CA

April 30, 2014

 

Power Pivot Talk on Self Service BI Revolution

One of my Intro “Slides” for Next Week
(“Slides” in quotes because the live version is animated)

I’ve mentioned before that I am speaking at the 2nd annual PASS Business Analytics Conference, aka BACON, and I’ve also mentioned that I’m scheduled to present three separate sessions:

  1. A full-day pre-conference session – a Power Pivot Jumpstart, if you will.
  2. A joint presentation with Mike Miskell of Kaman Industrial Technologies, where we talk about their tremendous Enterprise-wide scorecarding success with Power Pivot.
  3. A “solo, standard” session on My Seven Principles for the Data Revolution (listed as Six in the program, but Now With 16.7% More Principles!)

In Case You Like BA-CON on a Whim…

I think there’s approximately a 0% chance anyone is going to decide “hey, I’m gonna fly to San Jose next week on short notice,” but just in case, remember to use the discount code BASB5O.

Those of you who are already signed up?  Well, I will see you next week Smile

Power Pivot Talk on Self Service BI Revolution

This “Crypto-Cute” Agenda Slide Will Be Explained to Attendees Next Week
(Also Animated.  Hmm, Maybe I Will Do a YouTube Version in the Future)


A New Kind of Secret Formula: BI Director Leaves Coca-Cola to Become Power Pivot Professional

April 24, 2014

Matt Allington

This Man Just Walked Away from His 25-Year Career at Coca-Cola
to Become a Power Pivot Professional.
(And the Short List of Rob’s Favorite People Grows by One)

I Am Not Making This Up

Seriously, this is the Truth.  Matt Allington, pictured above, was until recently the BI Director for the entire Asia-Pacific region at Coca-Cola.

And he recently turned in his resignation – to join OUR ranks.  He sees the same sort of promise here that I first glimpsed in early 2010 – that “New and Better Way” thing.

From Coca-Cola to PowerPivotThis isn’t just an “Excel Pro.”  No, this is someone who has “been around the block” with data tools of all shapes and sizes.  A savvy and respected leader from the BI profession – and not from a small company.

I’m torn on how to describe my reaction.  On one hand, of course, I am not surprised.  When you truly believe in something (as I DO with this Power Pivot stuff), you’re never really shocked when someone else agrees with you.  If you are, you didn’t really believe all that deeply or honestly right?

But at the same time?  HOLY SHIT EVERYONE, the BI Director for Coca-Cola Asia Pacific just jumped ship for the Power Pivot revolution!!!!  Anyone know how many synonyms there are for “awesome?”  Cuz I think I’m going to use every one of them.

An Unexpected Client Development

Back in September, I got an email from a guy named Matt who wanted some quick help with Power Pivot.  Then I noticed Coca-Cola.com as his email address, and THEN I noticed his title.  Hey, I was flattered to help.

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