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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger ( and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

PASS Business Analytics Conference: the ultimate networking

I went to the PASS Business Analytics Conference last week, and had an absolute blast.  I presented two sessions, and attended many more, and was also part of the live blogging panel at both keynotes.  I learned a lot, but the best part about attending the conference was all the people I met.

Many years ago, when I would attend conferences, I would just go back to my hotel and not bother meeting anyone.  Big mistake.  Over the years I have seen the value in meeting people.  So, I make it a point to pre-arrange as many breakfasts/lunches/dinners/beers/coffees with people I would like to meet.  Since this was a BI conference, I tried to meet every BI expert in the industry, and nearly did so!  Not only did we share great insights into the wonderful world of BI, but I shared personal stories with many who I now consider friends.  And I look forward to meeting up with everyone at the next conference.

Below are all the people I met (43, and I know I missed a few names – sorry!), with many of them taking the time out of their busy day to chat with me, including a number who I shared a meal with.  How many people did you meet at your last conference?

Thomas LaRock
Douglas McDowell
Mark Tabladillo
Artus Krohn-Grimberghe
Peter Myers
Drew Minkin
Rod Colledge
Rob Collie
Mark Ginnebaugh
Bill Graziano
Karen Lopez
Josh Fennessy
Chris Webb
Kevin Kline
Jen Stirrup
Adam Jorgensen
Paul Turley
Craig Utley
Marco Russo
Brian Mitchell
Brian Walker
Rob Kerr
Scott Stauffer
Amy Lewis
John Hoang
Stacia Misner
Erika Bakse
Julie Koesmarno
Hope Foley
Neil Hambly
Devin Knight
Dan Clark
Angel Abundez
Bob Bloem
Ted Krueger
Greg Kramer
Bob Phillips
Aaron Nelson
Jason Thomas
Jorge Segarra
Todd McDermid
Dave DuVarney
Wendy Pastrick

More info:

PASS Business Analytics Conference Day 1 Takeaways and PASS Business Analytics Conference Day 2 Takeaways

PASS Business Analytics Conference Keynote Day #1 and PASS Business Analytics Conference Keynote Day #2

PASS Business Analytics Conference Summary

Day 1: PASS Business Analytics Conference, The Art of Analytics and Day 2: PASS Business Analytics Conference, New 3D Mapping Analytics Tool for Excel and Day 3: PASS Business Analytics Conference, Analytics in Action

PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) Recap

PASS BA Conference Key Note Day 1; “FUN has its own ROI”

PASS Business Analytics Conference–Recap

PASS BA Conference: Interview with the PASS Board


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