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  • Writer's pictureMonica Kay Royal

DATAcated Conference 2020

Today I attended a data science conference, hosted by Kate Strachnyi on LinkedIn Live

The structure of this conference was 4 hours of 10 minute ‘lightning’ talks, which was the best amount of time for the speakers to share some really great insights

Plus, Kate was able to provide an event that was jam packed full of various experts in just half a day! 📆

This event was so fast paced and exciting, I felt inspired to write a full review.

The 4 hours were broken into 4 tracks

Data Governance & Wrangling

Data Literacy & Visualization

Data Strategy & Leadership

Data Careers & Networking

Strictly according to the amount of notes I took, Data Career & Networking was my favorite track, followed by Data Literacy & Visualization

Scott Taylor - The Data Whisperer was the first speaker. This was at 7am my time. I was nervous that I would not be awake enough at the start of the day, but Scott started off with his energetic personality and puppets. Great way to start the morning! The biggest takeaway from his talk was to “Provide VALUE to your RELATIONSHIPS through your BRANDS at SCALE!”

Cassie Kozyrkov was up next. It is always a pleasure listening and reading her content. She has such a way of explaining complex topics in the most relatable fashion. My takeaway from her talk was that you do not want to use inherited data, that is an act of desperation. She then gave an analogy of that being similar to borrowing a toothbrush, ew. LOL

Christina Stathopoulos talked about the importance of SQL and how it is not going anywhere. Yesterday on LinkedIn she posted a poll asking about the pronunciation of SQL. This got the audience super active in the comments section. S-Q-L, sequel, or squirrel 🐿 HA!

Ben Taylor closed this track by sharing some embarrassing stories. I learned that he lost a few teeth in a rock climbing adventure. This is where the theme of teeth started, pointed out by Scott in the comments section, hehe. He shared a few key points:

🔑 Z to A, mission first, data second

🔑 Storytelling for the win

🔑 Continuous learning acceleration

But the biggest takeaway for me was: Always assume the data is bad

Kirk Borne introduced the next track. He is another very high energy individual that the crowd enjoys very much. He shared a few of his favorite desk items, one of which was a rubber duck. He said “if the data quacks, it much be data”. Another crowd favorite was the data science concept of data profiling being described as “first date with your data”. He ended his talk with some great advice, in that the best way to learn something is to teach.

Jordan Morrow was the second speaker for the Data Literacy track. I think this is when the comments section started to go wild with everyone submitting ‘data literacy’ in support of such a wonderful topic. He shared some wonderful insights here and guidance to becoming data literate by stating that you must first define the why and what you are trying to accomplish. Only then can you create a strategy, which requires the right tools to be able to close the gap. He ended by sharing the 3Cs of Data Literacy:



Critical thinking

Mico Yuk and Anna Ria talked about data visualizations and how you can standardize your dashboards and reports with ‘The Analytics Design Guide’ from BI Brainz. They gave us a glimpse into the guide, which provided some great tips into structure, colors, and storytelling.

Ajay Khanna shared why analysts are getting trapped in the reporting hell.

1) Manual time consuming reporting process

2) No easy way to answer 'why' questions

3) ML/AI not accessible and consumable to business teams

Bernard Marr talked about the importance of a user's knowledge of data in order to be successful in their usage of self-service tools. And also the importance of having access to real time data, especially since things change so rapidly. He gave an example which incorporated smart toothbrushes, possibly to remain on topic with today’s tooth theme. By this time, others in the comments section have caught onto the theme and it might have become a drinking game.

John Thompson continued the Data Strategy & Leadership section by talking about how to manage advanced analytics teams. He has even written a book on this topic, “Building Analytics Teams”, which illustrates the fundamental concepts of building and managing a high-performance analytics team, including what to do, who to hire, projects to undertake, and what to avoid in the journey of building an analytically sound team.

Omri Kohl is the Co-Founder of Pyramid Analytics which is a complete analytics platform that utilizes existing data sources. He emphasized the role of trust in enterprise analytics and talked about the benefit of having an Analytics Center of Excellence.

Ryan Muething is a Data Analyst at Fivetran, which helps organizations into the leading edge of a data-driven culture. He shared some interesting stats, the most memorable being that 90% data sources are unreliable in the last 12 months.

You might have noticed the lack of notes on these last two speakers here, this was the point where I had to grab a snack because I could barely hear over the sound of my stomach rumbles. Good thing I have wireless Samsung Buds so I could still listen in while making my trip to the kitchen. Freshly energized, I was ready for the last track, my favorite track, Data Careers & Networking

Danny Ma, the king of memes and sharing free Udemy courses, was the first speaker. His talk was my favorite one of the day, I was at the edge of my seat the entire 10 minutes. He shared an acronym for success in data science, just three letters: U-A-C. The best part about his talk was that he explained these through a story and not all at once. This made the audience start up again in the comments “Can you guess what ‘C’ stands for”, so much engagement! His story went something like this: “You must have an understanding of what the end user wants, and have the artisan ability to make the right product out of the right tools (the ones that will be the best for the job) and be curious because this is what leads us to want to improve and learn more which drives you forward.” His parting words were to believe in yourself, and you will make it.

Sarah Nooravi gave us some fantastic tips on networking like a pro during a pandemic. Some advice that she has gotten throughout the years is be genuine, be ok with rejection, don’t be afraid, attract attention, do something controversial, help yourself gain exposure, and reach out to as many people as possible. While these are all great, she had some additional tips to share from her perspective. She said that networking should be done in a way that gets you to your goals. Therefore, you must first define the goal, and then you are able to define the strategy. My favorite takeaway was ‘ABC’, always be connecting and not all common sense is common practice.

Lillian Pierson spoke to us about landing your first data freelancing client. There were five steps she shared for success, 1) Identify a dream client 2) Define an offer 3) Set up on social 4) Brand up and 5) Engage. My takeaways here were that Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for B2C clients and LinkedIn was the best for B2B. Also, when thinking of your dream client, think outside of the data community. We are not hiring each other for our data skills.

Debbie Berebichez closed out the day with a personal story on how she became the first Mexican woman to graduate with a physics Ph.D from Stanford University. This was such an inspiring and well told story. She started by telling us how she first got into STEM and what roadblocks and helpers she encountered along her journey. She was told that the ones that succeed in the end, are ones that get up after a fall. She shared 4 attributes that are critical for success: curiosity, resilience, perseverance, pay it forward.

🏆 Huge kudos to Kate for hosting such an amazing conference. The turnout was great, the engagement and interaction was on fire, and the knowledge shared was beneficial and inspiring. I hope that this becomes a yearly event. 🤓

Happy Learning!!

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