May 7

Oz’s Memories from PASS BAC 2015


Oz’s Memories from PASS BAC 2015

Before the memories of the PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015 completely fade away, I want to thank the people who made the conference happen. Lots of great folks worked behind the scenes to make the Conference work: Leeza Zelmer, Teresa Cheung, Denise McInerney, Jen Underwood and Jen Stirrup.


It was a pleasure to meet fellow Chicagoan, Michael Pamphlet, Microsoft Program Manager and Customer Insights Driver. Our paths have crossed before, and I really appreciate his mission to uncover more ways to help people get the most from Excel.

Scary DBA, Grant Fritchey & SQLRockStar Thomas LaRock were a blast to talk with. Through our conversations, and the general mood of the Conference, I came away with a solid sense that we’re truly on the same team. Whatever our respective BI tools are, we just want clean, useful data.

And then there were all the great Excel folks whom I was able to meet–many for the first time.

Chandoo wearing Oz's steampunk hat.
It was a pleasure to have Chandoo wear my hat. Maybe some dashboarding magic will rub off on me.


Szilvia Juhasz: the Excel High Priestess. (Wearing my hat)


Minie Park and Dipak Bhudia of Clear Analytics.
Me, Szilvia Juhasz, Rick Grantham and Jordan Goldmeier (Szilvia wearing my other hat)



One thing that sticks with me is Mico Yuk‘s keynote presentation. MicoYAs she closed, she urged us to do more communication with pictures. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. Draw a picture on a napkin, take a picture of it and send it to your client.”

Sometimes when processes fail or a solution isn’t making sense in someone else’s mind, or we even need to get something straight in our own mind, it helps to step and draw or make a diagram. Words and numbers are don’t easily translate a story and the level of drama that does or doesn’t exist.

Mico told us that we know this already. We know how much pictures can articulate. So, let’s do it. Mico has given us permission!

Here’s a drawing I used to envision where and how data gets messed up. It starts somewhere out in whatever we call reality. Data is collected and converted into data which eventually shows up in the form of a report. Before the reports, there are definitions, business rules, and interpretations and other filters. They are all opportunities for data corruption.


real world

Again, thanks to everyone who participated in the PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015. I hope our paths continue to cross, and we keep up the battle against crap data.



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About the Author

Oz is an Excel MVP, author of "Guerrilla Data Analysis, 2nd Ed." He's a lover of bowties and ghost pepper sriracha. Oz operates out of Portland, Or where is mission is to make data analysis accessible to those who cry out, "I don't even know where to start!"

Oz Du Soleil

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