My Kibana presentation slide deck from SQLBits

17 Mar

Here are the slides from my first SQLBits XIV session at the Excel in London, March 2015.

I presented with Allan Mitchell on the topic of ElasticSearch and Kibana. I did the Kibana section and talked around the topic of data visualisation, and the slides are here. I whizzed through these first, before giving a demo. I’ll post up the SQLBits video as soon as I have it.

Jen’s Diary: Overcoming the Power of Feathers through Action

17 Mar

I’m sorry I haven’t kept this diary up to date: I’ve been at SQLBits, SQLPass Nordic, Data Culture events, and other community gatherings. I’ve also had dental surgery, involving the removal of two teeth and the removal of some of my lower jaw. I haven’t been very happy, needless to say.

As always, I don’t represent PASS or any other organisation throughout this blog.

FYI I’ll be holding a Twitter Surgery Hour on Friday 20th March at 12pm GMT so please tweet me at @jenstirrup and ask me whatever you like! If you are not sure what time that is in your time zone, please check here.

never+not+broken[1]I’m not Hindi, but I’m inspired by the HIndu goddess Akhilanda, which means essentially “never not broken.” In other words, The Always Broken Goddess. Sanskrit is a tricky but amazing language. Here, we see a double negative here means that Akhilanda is broken right down to her name. The thing is, being broken is actually part of a renewal process, and it means that your broken parts can shine out more brightly than ever before – simply because you are broken, and moving, and reflect light out wide. It means you can pick up your pieces, and run without limits.

Outwardly, I am not an obvious leader. I realise I am a quiet person. I don’t party. I very rarely drink alcohol. I am not much of a dinner date – I am a forty something single mother, with no real hobbies or interests other than technology. I have never been someone to write home about. I am my own person.

People can know you by your reputation, but your actions can speak louder than words. Let me give you an example: a Jewish tale talks about a man, who went about the community telling gossip about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and wanted to apologise, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, “Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”

Why do I write this blog? I want to give people something other than feathers, what is said about me, whether it is good or bad. Instead, I want to demonstrate real actions that prove me, demonstrate unequivocally that I work for the community, and work hard. Instead, I hope that these diary post series will overcome the power of feathers – whether they are good or bad – and shine out what I actually do for the community. Actions speak louder than words, and this is how we overcome the power of feathers – let your light shine more brightly than ever, even if you are not perfect but broken. For me, I work really hard for the community and hope that the actions demonstrate that.

I’m hoping that people will see how hard I’ve worked for the community, and they will hold onto that data – we are in a data-driven decade, right? – and they will see the data for what it is. So, what have I been doing?

Ongoing – PASS BA Conference. I attend conference calls for about three hours a week, some weeks, up to seven hours, and these calls are held from 9pm my time onwards. Obviously, that takes out a few of my evenings a week. I obviously have work to to outside of this time, such as sponsorship, blogging on numerous occasions, email.

Ongoing – I have been holding PASS Data Science Virtual Chapter webinars every Friday night, 9pm my time. This obviously takes out my Friday night, in additional to the BAC calls I mention above, and I have been doing this for four consecutive weeks now. This week is the last week, and I’m considering doing a five week introductory course to Python and/or AzureML after that. I’ve held lots of Virtual Chapter meetings before, particularly since I held that Portfolio for PASS last year. My most popular sessions were on data visualisation, personally, but I have noted that my audience has really increased over the last five weeks and I’d like to continue to offer that community support.

March 2015 – I tried to hold another DiTBits (Diversity in Technology) event at SQLBits, but, alas, this wasn’t to be. The event wasn’t marketed and it seemed a pity to try and shoehorn something in at the last moment. Next time, I hope.

March 2015 – I held a two hour R and Python for SQL and Business Intelligence Professionals session at SQLBits. Files and notes to follow (see earlier note about my surgery!) It was extremely well attended.

March 2015 – I held a general session on Data Visualisation, entitled Eye Vegetables and Eye Candy: How to Visualise your Data at SQLBits. Again, notes to follow (I’m still recovering from surgery…)

March 2015 – I did half of a joint session at SQLBits with Allan Mitchell, where I talked about Kibana. The topic was Building Scaleable Analytical Solutions on Azure and it was fun presenting with Allan.

March 2015 – I spoke at SQLRally Nordic on Pulling back the green curtain: Data Forensics, Power Bi and Dataviz.

March 2015 – I held a Women in Technology event at SQLRally Nordic, talking about the importance of diverse teams.

March 2015 – I interviewed Mico Yuk as part of our ‘Meet the Experts’ series and you can listen to the podcast here. I’m really looking forward to meeting her!

Feb 2015 – Ongoing – I worked to help get the Data Science Virtual Chapter off the ground, led by Mark Tabladillo, who is the VC lead. This has involved groundwork, phone calls, and working with Microsoft to get speakers. You should really register for the Data Science VC. It’s great fun!

Feb 2015 – Data Culture – I was the keynote speaker for Microsoft, which was great fun! The slideshare is below. My section is about the middle third or so; credits are on the slides for the other speakers.

Feb 2015 – Ongoing – I kicked off my series Intro to R series of webinars for the Data Science Virtual Chapter
Feb 2015 – I ramped up my SQLSaturday Edinburgh in earnest, which has a Business Intelligence focus.
Feb 2015 – I held an Excel BI VC session on cubes and Excel. I also hosted another session as a mentor.
Feb 2015 – Techdays - I held a webinar on AzureML to over six thousand people. Nervous? Yes, bordering on terror. Great thanks to Andrew Fryer (I’m honoured to call him my friend) for all of his support and he’s an inspiration to me, and I was glad to be his presenting small person for the day.
Feb 2015 – Hants UG – on the same day that I held the Techdays session, I left and travelled to Hampshire to deliver a session on AzureML.
I hope it’s clear that, in the past few months, I have been doing a lot of work for the community as well as my PASS Board responsibilities.
So, if you catch a feather and want to ask me about it, my email is or tweet me during my Twitter Hour on the 20th March. I look forward to your input. Just go ahead and ask me!

Data Science VC follow up: Intro to R and Statistics for the Rookie Part 1

20 Feb

I’ve decided to hold a five week introductory statistics and R course. Here, I am sharing the slide deck and the code. The video will go up on our YouTube Data Science Virtual Chapter channel, which is accessible from here.

In the first week, we talked about the relationship between statistics and data visualisation, and how it is extremely useful to have a good grounding in both topics. The slides are here, followed by the code:

The R code can be copied and pasted into your RStudio file:

# Loads sample datasets

# Let’s look at the data
# This command tells you the metadata. What does R see, when it sees ‘iris’?

# What are the attributes?
# This gives us more information.

# Let’s see more of the data

# A data frame has columns which can have different types.
# The column names and types constitute the schema.
# how do we know what is in our data frame?

# Column Names

# how can we see data in one of the columns?
# or we could also use iris[,3] to get the same column data.

# of course, we want to visualise the data.
# Let’s do a simple scatter plot.

# How can we see the first five rows?

# how can we see the Petal Length of the first 5 rows?
iris[1:5, “Petal.Length”]

# This shows us some of the descriptive statistics of each variable


# Let’s have some dataviz fun!
plot(iris$Petal.Length, iris$Petal.Width, main=”Anderson’s Iris Data”)
# You can now see the plot appear in the right hand side frame of RStudio.
# we can make it slightly more interesting
plot(iris$Petal.Length, iris$Petal.Width, pch=23, bg=c(“orange”, “blue”, “green”) [unclass(iris$Species)], main=”Anderson’s Iris Data”)

# we can make it even more interesting
pairs(iris[1:4], main = “Anderson’s Iris Data”, pch = 23, bg = c(“orange”, “green”, “blue”)[unclass(iris$Species)])
# pie charts!

# ooh, 3D!

scatterplot3d(iris$Petal.Width, iris$Sepal.Length, iris$Sepal.Width)

# ooh, even more 3D!
plot3d(iris$Petal.Width, iris$Sepal.Length, iris$Sepal.Width)

#Save your work!

savehistory(“~/Topic 1 Getting familiar with R A.Rhistory”)

PASS BA Speaker focus: What did Steve Jobs have to say about Daniel Fylstra?

17 Feb

PASS BA Conference is delighted to have Daniel Fylstra speaking at our conference. In fact, he was the first speaker we signed up.

Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say:

“There have been two real explosions that have propelled the industry forward. The first one really happened in 1977, and it was the spreadsheet. I remember when Dan Fylstra, who ran the company that marketed the first spreadsheet, walked into my office at Apple one day and pulled out this disk from his vest pocket and said “I have this incredible new program — I call it a Visual Calculator,” and it became VisiCalc. And that’s what really drove — propelled — the Apple II to the success it achieved.”

I think it’s great that we have such a visionary attending our PASS BA Conference. I’m looking forward to meeting Daniel, and picking up his insights from 30 plus years in the industry. Jobs mentions an event that took place when I was only six years old, and look at how the industry has grown since then. We have Excel’s 30th Birthday this year.

We can really say that the team of Dan Bricklin, Bob Frankston and Daniel Fylstra are great innovators who have really changed the industry fundamentally. Although they didn’t invent the spread sheet, it was Daniel Fylstra suggested it would be a viable product if it could run on an Apple II computer. VisiCalc was born.

Ever used the Microsoft Excel Solver? Well, here is Daniel Fylstra’s paper on the Microsoft Excel Solver, and its design and use. If you’ve ever used it, you should tip your hat to the great team who put it together. Daniel is one of those people. More recently, Fylstra has been working on Integrated simulation, data mining and optimization in Excel. Here’s a recent paper here, from the ACM.

From this insight, there are great innovators and thinkers that can we learn from them. They seek better ways of doing things, about bringing insights from other disciplines. We are inspired by people who see the bigger picture, and I’m personally looking forward to meeting Daniel and thanking him for all he has done for this industry.

Make sure you sign up for the Conference, and take the opportunity to meet a legend in the industry.

PASS BA Conference: Why I’m delighted Mico Yuk is keynoting!

16 Feb

Quick note: If you are looking for the biggest discount possible for the PASS BA Conference, please email me at

I am on fire about our Keynote Speaker, Mico Yuk! Mico is someone I admire very much. She’s a Business Intelligence coach, thought-leader, author, blogger, and data scient, author of Data Visualization for Dummies, and we are very fortunate that Mico has agreed to keynote at the PASS Business Analytics Conference in Santa Clara, CA, April 20-22. Mico will leading the charge of all-star lineup of top speakers from across the world of business and data analytics. Not only is Mico an expert in her fields, but her experience, passion and belief in the power of Business Analytics and Data Visualisation mean that she is the right person to lead the charge at PASS Business Analytics Conference. I’m so delighted that she has come on board. I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with Mico on the phone, as well as listen to a lot of her sessions on YouTube, and I cannot wait until I finally meet her in person.

Nearly a decade’s experience of using and teaching thousands globally how to harness the power of data visualization to create real business results, Mico is the founder of BI Brainz, a leader in enterprise visual solutions, and the BI Dashboard Formula (BIDF) coaching series, focusing on helping enterprises embrace a more visual culture. Named one of the Top 50 Analytics Bloggers, Mico speaks and blogs about all things BI-related.

A world-class lineup of business and data analytics experts from Revolution Analytics, Microsoft, GoDaddy, IBM, Gigaom Research (f which I’m fortunate enough to be a Gigaom Analyst!) , and other leading companies – along with a “Dream Team” of Excel masters – will be joining Mico to share the latest best practices for leading organizations from data to insights to action.

The event will also showcase five, full-day pre-conference workshops on April 20:

  • 3 Tools an Hour – 24 FREE Tools Every Business Analyst Needs – Lynn Langit
  •  An Overview of Predictive Analytics for Practitioners – Dean Abbott
  •  Building Awesome, Interactive & Advanced Charts with Excel – Chandoo (Purna Duggirala)
  •  Join the Power BI & Excel Revolution – Rob Collie and Avi Singh
  •  Stay Calm and Data On: How to Dig into Data Visualization and Dashboards – Miguel Martinez, Sanjay Soni & Marc Reguera

Analytics professionals can get a free sneak peek at the PASS BA Conference’s sessions and speakers with on-demand recordings from last week’s BA Marathon webinar series.

PASS BA Speakers – here come the IBM Experts plus introducing Richard Lee’s articles on Data Privacy Day 2015

15 Feb Featured Image -- 1076

Jen Stirrup:

Here come the IBM experts! Here’s one our PASS BA Conference speakers, Richard Lee, sharing his expertise on the topic of data privacy. Richard is a well-respected influencer and strategist in data leadership, and we are delighted to have him join us at the event. Richard Lee is on of IBM’s Honours list as a Big Data and Analytics Hero, as well as on of their Champions.

Richard joins another IBM superstar, James Kobielus, who will be talking about Big Data. James G Kobielus is an industry veteran. He serves as IBM’s big data evangelist; as senior program director for product marketing in big data analytics, and as editor-in-chief of IBM Data Magazine. Kobielus spearheads IBM’s thought leadership activities in Big Data, Hadoop, cognitive computing, enterprise data warehousing, and advanced analytics. Basically, he is an expert in a variety of facets of big data.

Personally I cannot wait for their sessions. I’ve admired their work from afar and when we were selecting speakers, they went straight onto my wishlist. I have been lucky enough to meet Richard in person recently and we had a great conversation. I’m looking forward to meeting James as well; we’ve spoken on the phone. I learned things from conversing with both of them, and I’m sure that attendees will gain inspirational and practical advice from both of them.

Richard’s session is here: and James’ session is here:

Originally posted on infomgmtexec:

I have written two articles for this year’s Data Privacy Day (#DPD15) endeavors . One will be published in the February issue of Information Age ( and is online now (see link below) & the other is on the IBM Big Data Hub ( going live on January 28th as a feature on DPD. I encourage all of you to visit these sites;

Information Age: “Personal Privacy, Internet Commerce and National Security: Can they co-exist?” (

IBM Big Data Hub: “Some Thoughts for Privacy Day 2015” (

2015 is going to be a critical year in determining the future of Personal Privacy in all respects e.g. Protecting Students Privacy, Reigning in Data Brokers, Thwarting Cyber Attacks, Curtailing Government Surveillance and Snooping, a Refresh of the EU Data Protection Act, President Obama’s “Privacy Bill of Rights”, etc. I believe that it is essential that everyone take an agressive role…

View original 68 more words

Jen’ Diary: Board Meeting, BA Marathon, PASS BA features on TechNetRadio!

14 Feb

Here’s another diary entry for my time on the PASS board. I don’t represent PASS officially here. I know it has been quiet but I am busy on PASS, work, and other community things such as SQLSaturday Edinburgh and TechDays UK. So far this year, I have had one night off! It’s 2.30am here in the UK and I’m churning out a blog, so I can’t be accused of shirking!

If you are attending Pass BA Conference and looking for a discount, please email me at and I have a discount code to give away.

I attended the PASS Board meeting in January, talking mainly about handing over the Virtual Chapters portfolio but the main focus of my time was the PASS BA Conference. We talked about our goals for the Portfolio, our progress so far, and our next steps. I also shared some marketing insights. I’m on the Program Committee, so I talked about our process for going out and getting the big names in the analytics industry – people who live and breathe analytics. It has been a lot of fun, but it has also been extremely hard work to get the right speakers. Our speaker list is here. We still have some names to release, so watch that space.

I’ve also been helping some of the sponsors with thoughts on their content and material. Hortonworks are going to put on a great session and you’ll get more details of that, in the future.

I also took part in the PASS BA Marathon. My session is here. Again, the PASS HA team did a great job of supporting this event and the sessions are extremely fresh. The speakers did an amazing job!

I was also part of the process in securing our amazing Day 2 keynote speaker, Mico Yuk. I have so many things to look forward to at PASS BA, and Mico’s session is a real highlight for me. Mico has many achievements, including one of the top 50 Analytic voices on Twitter. We are blessed to have her with us, and I can’t wait to hear her talk and to get to know her in person.

More good news! What did Microsoft’s Jen Moser, Jen Underwood and Miguel Martinez @sqljen @maikelson @idigdata say about the ‪#‎passbac‬ with TechNetRadio?

I’m so excited to be part of this opportunity to grow the business-focused data community, the data analyst, the business analyst, who works with data but doesn’t work in the IT department. It is a exciting growth in our approach and our fantastic speaker list reflects our vision about the emerging BA community and what they really want.

Miguel is correct; we worked hard to invite big name analytics speakers, and they are coming!

Listen here!


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