The Journey is the Reward: Speaking for SQLPass, where do you start?

I’m heartened by the numbers of people who are expressing an interest in speaking at events. In particular, I understand that SQLPass had record numbers of people submitting to SQLPass Summit in Charlotte this year. For me, this is especially important because it suggest that more people are interested in speaking and sharing their SQL Server knowledge. It also shows that the community are supportive of a SQLPass Summit event in Charlotte. This energy shows the strength of the event itself, rather than being tied to a particular location i.e. Seattle. As much as I love Seattle, I have never been to Charlotte and I’m excited to be visiting a new part of the United States. In case you are wondering, I am Scottish 🙂

I am not part of the session selection process for SQLPass so this blog is based on my insights from the community only.  How do you get experience so that you can speak for events, perhaps with the goal of speaking at the SQLPass Summit event, which is the pinnacle of every SQL Server guru’s career?

It can seem to be a vicious cycle: you can’t speak because you don’t have experience, and you don’t get experience because you don’t speak.

This isn’t true!

There are plenty of opportunities to speak and here are some:

Come and join me and give a webinar for the Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter. This is a great way to start and you will have the full support of myself and Julie Koesmarno, who helps with the Chapter as I do. We can help you to get started. The sessions last for about one hour, and we do 45 minutes talk, and then 15 minutes of questions.  Why not give it a go?

Your local PASS Chapter – come and attend your local user Group, and see how you can get involved. Take a look at the PASS site for some thoughts

Your workplace – why  not try a ‘brown bag lunch’ session, whereby you and your team all take turns to present on something? It is a safe environment to learn, and you might even enjoy it!

If you didn’t get a slot at SQLPass Summit this time – don’t be disheartened. There is a Chinese proverb: The journey is the reward. Keep going, and who knows what will happen? You’ll learn, and make friends as you go along. Submit again next year with more experience under your belt, and more knowledge of your subject. Good luck!

A special note for UG leaders – make sure and support your new speakers. Mentor and encourage them. That person might be the next Brent Ozar or Kalen Delaney, so give them the opportunity to grow. We are all part of a community and we can help one another!

Good luck everyone! Please email me at if you’d like to give a webinar. I’d love to schedule you in, and help you get started!

Jen x

Big Data for the Business Intelligence Professional SQLPass Summit Preconference Day

I’m delighted to announce that Allan Mitchell (blog ¦ twitter) and I are giving a Big Data for the Business Intelligence Professional preconference session at SQLPass Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC.

What will we be covering?

What does Big Data mean for business intelligence professionals? Come see the “whats,” “hows,” and “whys” as this full-day pre-conference session demystifies Microsoft’s Big Data technology offerings. 
Microsoft has partnered with HortonWorks to bring Big Data into the hands of business users via their favorite BI tools: Power View, PowerPivot, and Excel. This session will cover both on-premise and Azure-based technologies, examining the Microsoft distribution of Hadoop through a range of technologies such as HDInsight, Hive, and Azure through to Excel, PowerPivot, and Power View. 
The first half of the session will be dedicated to the “what” and “how” of Hadoop, using HDInsight. With Hadoop comes a whole ecosystem of tools, and we’ll look at how to use them in a BI context to support users’ Big Data needs. We’ll also look in detail at MapReduce to parallelize complex Big Data queries across many servers. After you have Big Data, how are you going to serve it to business users to derive value for the enterprise? 
The second half of the session will be dedicated to the “why” of Big Data. We’ll visualize Big Data in our favorite BI tools: Excel, PowerPivot, and Power View.

Would you like to join us? 

We’d love to see you there! Visit the PASS Summit 2013 website for the latest updates.  You can also take advantage of early registration, so book now to register at $800 off the final registration rate by June 30.

What is SQLPass Summit? 

It is the conference which is the pinnacle of the SQL Server world, featuring over 125 hand-picked sessions to help data professionals advance their careers and make the most of their Microsoft SQL Server implementations. The conference takes place on October 15th – 18th.
Presentations across 6 tracks will cover everything from database administration best practices, new SQL Server features, and the latest database and application development techniques to what you need to know about building and managing effective BI solutions and being successful in the cloud.

PowerPivot error: unable to upgrade the Data Model in this workbook

Upon opening a PowerPivot in Excel 2013 workbook, I get the following message:

unable to upgrade the Data Model in this workbook. The error occurred while upgrading PowerPivot workbook. The data model has reverted to the previous version

The PowerPivot model was created in Excel 2013. The machine is 64-bit and the model was created here and hasn’t been moved.
It was working fine yesterday, and the only real change was the addition of a password in order to secure the file.

The error message in details is here:

Error Message:

Element not found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8002802B (TYPE_E_ELEMENTNOTFOUND))

Call Stack:

   at Microsoft.Office.PowerPivot.ExcelAddIn.INativeEntryPoint.BeginUpgradeASPPModel(String workbookName)
   at Microsoft.Office.PowerPivot.ExcelAddIn.InProcServer.LoadSandboxAfterConnection(String errorCache)



I resolved this issue by:
running the ‘PowerPivot in Sharepoint 2013 Configuration’.
I also removed the password from the file. To move it around, I will have to use other methods of encrypting the file.  For customer data, I use diskGenie iStorage portable encrypted hard drives and USBs, rather than the plethora of USBs I tend to pick up for free from events.

After running the Wizard and removing the password, I could open up the PowerPivot model just fine.

Hope that helps.

An apology…

As some of you may know, I’ve been presenting in six different countries over the last month: Ireland, Norway, the United States, the UK, Denmark and Switzerland. A lot of this has been community work, for example, SQLBits, Database Days, SQLSaturday Denmark, SQLZaterdag in the Netherlands, and also the Norway LEAP architect program.

Along the way, I’ve collected a lot of requests from help for people for more information, slides, book references, help with technical issues – basically, I have a ton of questions from people, a pile of business cards from people who want more information, and hundreds of email to answer.

Whilst I work my way through this, I would ask for your patience with me. I am drowning in requests from people from six different countries (not including the questions I normally get) and I am slowly working my way through them. I will get to your question eventually, but I’d be grateful for your patience whilst I get through them.

I am grateful for all the people who have attended my events, and it’s clear that many people have a passion for business intelligence and data visualisation. Thank you to everyone who attended – and if you did ask me for something, I’d like to ask for some patience from you whilst I work my way through everything.  I will get to you, in due course.

In the meantime, I am very sorry that I can’t help everyone as quickly as I’d like.

Why don’t I simply post my slides up here? Simple. Unfortunately I’ve found that there has been some folks ‘re-using’ my stuff, reblogging it without crediting me, and so on. It’s a real pity but unfortunately I’ve had to resort to issuing PDFs ‘on request’ only.

I am very sad about it, but it’s been extremely disappointing to see my stuff copied and pasted and working its way around the place. I cannot find a happy medium, and I’m open to ideas if anyone has other suggestions.

Onwards and forwards!