California Power Pivot / Power BI Pro for Hire

August 31, 2015

Post by Rob Collie

Solid Analyst / Data Modeler / Dashboard Dev Available Immediately

A few months ago, I convinced one of my younger friends to take a big risk.  Proficient in DAX and M, the heart and soul of both Power Pivot AND Power BI, he was ready for bigger things.  His role at his employer in Ohio didn’t acknowledge or encourage his professional growth.

With my encouragement, he accepted an aggressive new job in California  He packed up his life (as did his wife!) and they were off to the west coast.

Well the new role turned out to be more “BI Director” than “Place to Crunch Numbers as Part of a Team.”  The kind of job where the mechanical/analytical skills are only one small part of the puzzle, the mission is completely undefined, and even the underlying business itself is in a fledgling state.

So I had talked him into taking a job, TODAY, that he SHOULD have been accepting in five years.  I pushed him too hard too fast, and it’s not working out.  He needs a different job, one where he can ply his craft, contribute solid value, and learn more about business.

His salary needs are modest, his skills developed, and his attitude positive. If your company needs help, he’s worth a serious look.  If you’re interested, please reach out at the email address below and we’ll get you more information.

Find Out More

Grab a good team member who will help your org transition to Power BI.

Quick Poll on Data Nerd “Art”

August 21, 2015

Post by Rob Collie

No, We’re Not Opening a Store…

Not any time soon anyway.  if we do any “merch” stuff near-term, it would be as SPECIAL GIFTS.

But we’d want such stuff to be, ya, know, desirable just the same.

Click to take the 5-second poll!

Which of these (if any) make you smile?  Click Image and pick 1-2, please Smile

Click Image Above to Tell us Your Favorite(s)!

Some Good Power Pivot / Power BI Computers

May 26, 2015

Post by Rob Collie

Good Computers for Power Pivot / Power BIA Lot More Work Than Expected!

Last month I posted a survey of computer performance for Power Pivot and Power BI usage.  I underestimated how much work it would be, to synthesize the results into something useful for the community.  At bare minimum, this has been five different tasks:

  1. Throwing out untrustworthy outlier results
  2. Cross-referencing with CPU benchmark sites
  3. Finding computer models that contain those CPU’s
  4. Verifying that those models have good RAM
  5. Pulling together a view different price points
  6. Repeating for Desktop vs. Laptop

So for now, I’ve only managed to pull together options from HP.
(I will add other manufacturers later, but I have always liked HP hardware, especially their laptops, so it’s a great place to start).

Desktops – High End Options

If you want a true beast of a computer that chews through DAX workloads, you might consider something like THIS monster:

 The Z840 Workstation is an Obvious Candidate.
(But the Next One Below is Better AND Cheaper.)

16GB of RAM is more than enough for Power Pivot and Power BI workloads.  Seriously, 8 GB is gonna be enough for most of your needs until/unless you start transitioning into SSAS Tabular because you have too much data for Power Pivot.

Note that this workstation above offers much faster RAM than most other machines, at 2133 GHz.

But it also carries the ultra-premium Xeon E5 2620 v3 CPU – which the test results and benchmarks indicate is a LESS effective processor (for our purposes) than many lesser models of Xeon, such as the E3 family.

So, for $1300 less, you could have the following workstation, which in all likelihood performs even BETTER for our needs: Read the rest of this entry »

Grab Bag of Fun

May 19, 2015

Post by Rob Collie


Assortment of Quick and Fun Topics

I keep something called Ye Olde OneNote List of Future Blog Topics.  You know, I think of something and go “ooh, that would be a good thing to write about,” so I add it to YOOLOFBT.

Problem is, said list sometimes grows a lot faster than the rate at which I produce finished blog posts.  So…  good topics just get buried sometimes.

Today, let’s make sure a few of those topics get to see the light of day.  Like children who’ve been cooped up in the house all winter, they need to go outside and play in the yard.

#1:  DataZen Post “Wins”

Last week’s post on Datazen positively shocked me with the number of page views it got.  It set the all-time record for single-day views of a given post, AND that traffic also led to the single best day for overall traffic.  (A rising Datazen topic lifts all posts.  Something like that.)

And it wasn’t close, either.  Both new records eclipsed the former records by healthy margins.

The take-away, I think, is that mobile visuals SELL.  This excerpt from last week sums it up nicely:


So if you’re trying to increase Power Pivot buy-in at your company, Datazen is worth a look.  It’s a gateway drug.

#2:  Power Update Passes 2000 Downloads

Read the rest of this entry »

Where’s Rob?

April 27, 2015

Post by Rob Collie


Can You Spot the Power Pivot Blogger In this Picture?

A Little Scarce…

Last week at the PASS BA Conference, Matt Allington was giving me grief about having not written enough blog posts lately.

He is right of course.  It hit me pretty hard, to hear that, even though I already knew it.

Doubly so since writing turns out to be one of the most rewarding things I do.

Well, I have a reason.  There’s a long-running personal matter that has been consuming an ever-increasing share of time over the past year.

No, I’m not sick, nor is anyone else.  Everyone is (and is going to be) fine, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s all finally coming to a conclusion this week and next.  Wish me luck.  If it comes out correctly, I will be “back” in a big way.  If not…  well, then I’ll still redouble my efforts here.  This site, and you folks, are “home” for me in an important sense.

Thanks everyone for being here, for reading this, and for being so great to me (us) over the years. 

Stay tuned for our normal guest post on Thursday, and watch this space for news late next week if all goes well.

I also need to circle back with the results of the hardware/perf survey.  If you haven’t run that test yet, please consider it so that it makes the results more valid.



See You in 2015!

December 16, 2014

Post by Rob Collie


On Hiatus (from Blog Only) Until 2015

After 120+ published posts in 2014, we’re gonna give our blogging energies some much-needed recuperation time from now until the end of the year.

But that doesn’t mean we are resting!  Far from it.  Lots in the pipeline for early 2015, including a full “reboot” of this website in terms of its design and capabilities.

The rest of the “biz” stuff is also continuing without interruption.  Work with clients, the Online University, everything like that basically continues unabated.  Secret projects as well – we always like to have a few of those simmering at all times.

See you in January. Smile

Help Us Design Our 2015 In-Person Class Schedule!

December 10, 2014

Post by Rob Collie

Seattle?  Cleveland?  Elsewhere?

Hi Folks, we’re already starting to plan our 2015 class schedule and we could really use your quick input.

By default, we plan to offer classes in Cleveland and Seattle.  Cleveland classes will be taught by Rob, and Seattle taught by Avi (who has already worked with double-digit clients, including five onsite trips, and just overall been blowing people’s doors off).

But we don’t know whether, for instance, we should be scheduling CLE and SEA for the same month.  Nor do we know what 2-3 “hot spots” we should try to visit outside of those two obvious “home” cities.

Only the first question is “required” – the other 4 are purely optional.  Many thanks!

The Ultimate Date Table–Revisited

February 27, 2014

Guest post by Dominik Petri, who I am stoked to say is translating the book into German!  Today he shares a cool “hybrid” technique that blends two of my favorites things – Data Market and Power Query!

Take it away, Dominik…

Selecting a DateStream calendar from Power Query Navigator taskpane


As you might already know from Rob’s “The Ultimate Date Table” post, you need a separate calendar table to unleash the power of Power Pivot’s time intelligence functions. You want one for free? Fully customizable? Running up to a variable end date? Updated automatically every time you open your workbook? The time has come…

Get a great calendar table – for free

Boyan Penev has put together various calendar tables that you can download from Azure DataMarket directly into Power Pivot – for free. Again, see Rob’s postfor details. So far, so good. But it is a pain to filter the data range you want to import. But there is Power Query!

Read the rest of this entry »

Two Quick Updates: University Re-Launches Monday. And Power Query is Amazing. AMAZING.

February 6, 2014

Busy Day Today!

What can I say folks.  The Power Pivot “biz” continues to gain steam (one indicator:  last week recorded the highest traffic ever to this site) and that means busy days here at PowerPivotPro HQ.

So I will keep this brief.  First a quick note about the University, then read on for Power Query!

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments should be working again

January 10, 2014

For some reason, no one has been able to successfully submit a comment on this site since Jan 1.  I didn’t realize this until yesterday – I just thought people were unusually quiet to start the year.

This should now be resolved.  Let me know if you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up (and doesn’t tell you it’s marked for moderation).

See you in 2014!

December 17, 2013


Second Xmas Tree – Just Deployed by Santa’s Tree Ninjas at PowerPivotPro HQ

That time of year to rest.  And run around like crazy.

Well folks what can I say.  One heck of a year, this 2013 thing.  And it’s ending on a hectic note – this week I am conducting 3.5 full days of trainings, AND then driving to Chicago.

imageAnd, as pictured above, deploying last-minute “backup” Xmas trees.  You know, the one my wife saw in the movie “Elf” the other day and said “ooh I want one of those someday.”

So she went out to her boxing class tonight and I quickly deployed the tinsel tree that I cut down this afternoon in the tinsel forest.  Let me tell ya, tinsel trees are tough to cut down.  Let’s hope she likes it.

Pretty standard stuff really.

I already see the page view stats doing their standard year-end tapering, so I think it’s time to close up Santa’s PowerPivot Shop until the New Year.

If I get time during the upcoming two weeks to write one of my off-topic holiday posts, I’d very much like to do so.  But I can’t promise to do anything really other than to lay low for a bit.  And catch up on my email.  And prep for big stuff that I want to roll out in the new year.  And drive all over the Midwest, in the passenger seat, with a laptop and a cell phone hotspot.

So if I don’t see you until then, happy holidays / new year to everyone.  Thanks for reading and making my job so much fun.

Oh, and if you’re into 100% politically incorrect, Not Safe For Work Christmas humor that still (IMO) doesn’t cross any truly important lines, I highly recommend checking out this comic from my heroes over at Penny Arcade.

And if you were/are an epic Dungeons and Dragon nerd growing up (like me!), definitely check out How the Illithid Stole Christmas.

Modelling condoms power!

August 29, 2013

Intro from Rob:  Um, why bother with an intro?  Let’s proceed…

Condom Power (Pivot)

Olgeta! I’m Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom (Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog) and work in the public international health field as program analyst for the Oil Search Health Foundation in Papua New Guinea (although most of the time I work from Sydney).

Part of my job is to create reports from the vast amounts of public health data the Health Foundation produces and/or keeps track of. For instance, I try to make sense of our HIV testing-, malaria diagnosis- and condom distribution data and measure it against performance indicators and targets.

In this post I will discuss one of the examples from Rob’s blog. Remember ‘Modelling Viral Growth’? This is an addendum, based on real-life application and modification of the model.

Read the rest of this entry »