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.

  1. San Jose. I have never been to California, so it will add another US state to my list of “Been There.”
  2. Day 1 Keynote by Amir Netz (T) and Kamal Hathi (T) of Microsoft. These gentlemen are both brilliant and great speakers. I actually had the honor to sit down with Kamal for an interview at the 2013 PASS Summit in Charlotte, NC. That was a great experience.
  3. Day 2 Keynote by data visualization expert David McCandless (W | T). I consider myself a student of data visualization. The field fascinates me, and I am excited to keep learning more.
  4. Panel: Has Big Data Killed the EDW? This session is a panel discussion with five speakers for whom I have immense respect: Joseph D’Antoni (B | T), Josh Fennessy (B | T), Karen Lopez (B | T), Lynn Langit (B | T), and Stacia Misner (B | T). There is just so much hype around Big Data. And whenever anything new comes along, there always has to be people screaming about some other thing that has to be “dying” because of it. I am looking forward to hearing the views of these excellent data professionals.
  5. DAX from the Field: Real-World Case Studies. This session, by DAX expert Alberto Ferrari (B | T) looks really exciting. I have to come out and say it: I love DAX. I really do. And I fully realize that my DAX needs improving if I want to keep taking my skills forward. This session by Alberto will be a great way to do that.
  6. Health Analytics: Quality and Effectiveness of Healthcare with Power BI. Tom Lawry (B | T) is the Director, Worldwide Health for Microsoft. This looks to be a great session as it combines healthcare AND Power BI. There is just so much happening in the healthcare industry as it related to data and BI. I love the tools in Power BI. This session has Awesome written all over it.
  7. How Microsoft BI Helps the Grameen Foundation Improve Lives. This looks to be an outstanding session by Grameen Foundation Senior Business Manager Jason Hahn (T) and Marc Reguera (YT | T) of Microsoft Finance. I have viewed many of Marc’s Microsoft BI YouTube videos, and they are great real-world examples.
  8. A Master Data Management Case Study: MDS and DQS. The concepts involved in Master Data Management are so important to successful BI. This session from the mighty Josh Fennessy (B | T) looks to be jam packed with great information from his experience.
  9. SQLFamily. There are so many friends I have made through PASS events like the Summit, BA Conference, and SQLSaturdays. And often, it is only at these events that I get to see some of these friends. That is one of my favorite aspects of going to events like this. The People are AWESOME.

That wraps it up for now. If you are attending the BA Conference, I would love to meet you.