From the Blogosphere: PASS BA Conference Day 2 and Beyond

Data visualization expert and Information is Beautiful author David McCandless set the tone for an incredible last day at the PASS Business Analytics Conference Friday with his keynote (watch now), telling the crowd of data professionals to play with their data and showing them how to explore possibilities with examples of his own data visualizations: “You may have heard that data is the new oil, but perhaps data is the new soil, where you can get your hands dirty, build, and nurture” insights and understanding.

Day 2 featured 30 breakout sessions with the industry’s leading BA/BI experts, a buzzing Exhibit Hall, and a full schedule of MVPs and community leaders in the Community Zone, answering questions and sharing how to stay involved in the analytics community year-round. Catch up on Day 2 and full event recaps with these community blog posts and articles (and let us know if you have one to add). 

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Microsoft Keynote Showcases New Power BI Features by Analyzing Shark Attacks, Hawaiian Tourism, and Power BI Adoption Itself

Microsoft's Power BI-focused Day 1 keynote (watch now) at the PASS Business Analytics Conference took a tour through shark attacks, Hawaiian tourism, and growing adoption of the cloud-based self-service BI suite, featuring crowd-pleasing announcements about a native app for iOS and SQL Server Reporting Services support by end of summer, a new Power BI KPI editor using natural language, and the availability now of Power View forecasting and upcoming Tree Maps visualization, drap-and-drop chart combining, a new Data Exploration mode, and more.

Back by popular demand, Microsoft's Kamal Hathi and Amir Netz showcased powerful new Power BI for Office 365 features in their hallmark entertaining style, including demos analyzing shark attacks (if you go in the water, you’re safer with a weapon), Hawaiian tourism (Japanese visitors prefer Hawaii in the fall), and the adoption rate of Power BI (over 1 million questions answered by the natural language Power BI Q&A in April alone).

As Kamal looked at data usage by browser via Power View running in Chrome with HTML5 on a Chromebook, Amir noted that the goal is to support any data on any devise and build a “data culture,” where everyone can enjoy the power of data.

Amir also introduced Michael Carper as the winner of Microsoft’s Power BI demo contest, with his entry analyzing if tweeting in the third quarter of an NBA game can help win the game.

The opening keynote included Dell Software’s John Whittaker talking about the promise of Big Data and predictive analytics for the middle market – informed by a global survey of midmarket executives.

PASS President Thomas LaRock led off with a warm welcome to more than 750 attendees from 300+ industry-leading companies and a call for data professionals to embrace their passion for data and get involved in the business analytics community: “Regardless of your title, if you work with data, you are the lifeblood of your organization.”

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Connecting the Analytics Community

By Thomas LaRock
PASS President

I’m so excited you could join us at the 2nd annual PASS Business Analytics Conference for an amazing time of learning and networking. Organized for the growing analytics community, the BA Conference brings together professionals from around the world to connect, share experiences, and learn more about the power of data to transform business.

From keynotes with Information is Beautiful author David McCandless and Microsoft’s dynamic duo of Kamal Hathi and Amir Netz to thought-leadingsessions by over 75 of the world’s most knowledgeable and top-rated analytics speakers, you’ll walk away with the best practices and strategies you need to get the most from your data. The only problem may be picking which sessions to attend – remember to get the session recordings so you don’t miss a thing!

The BA Conference is all about meeting and talking with fellow analytics pros, sharing issues and solutions, and gaining new ideas and knowledge that will make you a better data professional. So go ahead and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in a session or at lunch and continue those valuable discussions in the hallways between presentations. Thanks to those who joined our Speed Networking event and connected with old friends and new ones at last night's Welcome Reception. And don’t miss tonight’s Unconference, featuring pizza and open discussions around community-proposed topics.

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PASS Business Analytics Conference 2014 Welcomes Over 750 Data Professionals

Featuring 70+ sessions by the industry’s leading experts and keynotes by Microsoft, Dell Software, and Data Visualization Expert David McCandless

SAN JOSE, CA – May 8, 2014 – The 2nd annual PASS Business Analytics Conference welcomed over 750 data professionals today, with keynotes by Microsoft and Dell Software kicking off 2 days of world-class sessions, hands-on solutions showcases, and networking opportunities to help attendees connect, share their experiences, and learn more about the power of data to transform business.

As of this morning, 764 data and business analysts, data scientists, and BA/BI practitioners, architects, and IT pros from 23 countries have gathered to learn how to make better data-driven decisions and take their companies to the next level. With 251 registrations for yesterday’s pre-conference sessions, the community event – presented by the not-for-profit PASS organization – has drawn 1,015 total registrations.
“From our incredible keynotes and sessions to thought-leading panels, mealtime conversations, and networking activities, the PASS BA Conference is all about meeting and talking with fellow analytics pros, sharing issues and solutions, and gaining new ideas and knowledge that will make us better data professionals,” said PASS President Thomas LaRock. “We’re thrilled this week to bring together professionals from around the world of business analytics to learn how to get the most from our data.”

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Get in the Zone - the Community Zone!

Looking for cool networking buttons? Want to get more involved in the Business Analytics community? Stop by the PASS BA Conference Community Zone and talk with community leaders, PASS Community Evangelists, and PASS HQ staff about how you can participate in the BA/BI community year-round. 

Located in the West Lobby
* Closed during keynotes
  • Wednesday, May 7: 7:00am-8:00pm
  • Thursday, May 8: 7:00am-6:30pm*
  • Friday, May 9: 7:00am-4:00pm*
Talk with MVPs & Volunteers
Have pressing BA/BI questions? Interested in speaking at user groups, Virtual Chapters, or SQLSaturday events but don’t know where to start? Come chat with these MVPs and community leaders in the Community Zone: 

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What’s Up in San Jose

By DesignMind
(Cross-posted from

Headed to San Jose for the PASS Business Analytics Conference? If you’re a typical geek, you’ll be excited to know that San Jose has the fastest public Wi-Fi network in the nation! 

Did you know San Jose is…
  • Located 45 minutes south of San Francisco and 5 hours north of Los Angeles.
  • The oldest civilian settlement in California, founded in 1777 by Spanish colonizers.
  • America’s leading patent generation city.
  • Northern California’s largest city with a population of 984,000 (yes, larger than San Francisco!).
  • The third largest city in California (after LA and San Diego).
  • The 10th largest city in the nation.
  • Perhaps the largest concentration of technology expertise in the world, with 6,600 technology companies.

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Looking Forward to the PASS Business Analytics Conference

By Mark Vaillancourt
(Cross-posted from Mark V SQL)

I have the great privilege to attend the PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose, CA. This is actually a bit of a surprise since the pieces only fell into place a few weeks ago for my being able to go.

I have been given the opportunity to be part of the Blogger Core again this year and will be Live Blogging the Keynotes. I will also be spending a fair amount of time in the PASS Community Zone chatting about PASS, BI, Data, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and Firefly. And Spenser: For Hire, if anyone is interested. Remember that show? It was awesome.

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the things I am really excited about. These are in no particular order, and this is certainly not everything.

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From the BA/BI Blogosphere: May 2 Update

Only five sleeps until the PASS Business Analytics Conference. Start preparing with these blog posts, articles, and recordings from around the world of analytics and business intelligence, and we’ll see you in San Jose next week!

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Interested in Self-Service Analytics at the PASS Business Analytics Conference?

By Kevin Kline
(Cross-posted from Kevin's blog)

I don’t know if you’re planning to attend the PASS Business Analytics Conference. But you'll be missing a ton of great content especially for data, analytics, and business intelligence professionals. There's still plenty of time to register and, if you use my discount code – BABS2B – you'll get $150 off the conference registration fee. There will be more than 70 sessions at the event by BA/BI experts from Intuit, Microsoft, SurveyMonkey, Wells Fargo, and more.

Last year’s inaugural event was quite the shindig, bringing in around 900 business analysts, data scientists, architects, and BI and IT professionals to connect, share, and learn how to get the most out of their data. This year’s conference promises even more real-world insights and best practices, how-to guidance, and strategic vision from some of the most knowledgeable and top-rated speakers in the industry. 

Still don't know what kind of content I'm talking about? Then check out the recorded content, which is more or less a preview of the full PASS BAC from the February 5th webinar phenom known as the 24 Hours of PASS: Business Analytics Edition.

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The Law of Two Feet: Why You Should Attend the PASS Business Analytics Unconference

By Jen Stirrup
(Cross-posted from Jen Stirrup's Business Intelligence Blog)

An unconference is a conference organized, structured and led by the people attending it. And we are having one at the PASS Business Analytics Conference!

Unconferences are founded upon The Law of Two Feet, which states that:

If during the course of the gathering, any person finds themselves in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place.

The Unconference is definitely not another panel session. Unconferences facilitate greater exchange of ideas since we don’t have a defined schedule and there is certainly no PowerPoint! You are welcome to join us, participate in the discussion, and please feel free to live blog and tweet the Unconference as you go along.

Why attend the Unconference?

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