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Broadening Your Audience

I spent this week speaking at two conferences that may not be familiar to my usual crowd:
Techwell StarEast Testing Conference in Orlando, FL
Interop ITX Data Conference in Las Vegas, NV

StarEast Testing Conference

Techwell’s event is attended by testers and had over 2000 attendees at the Hyatt Regency Orlando’s Convention Center. This is a huge convention center and I won’t lie- I did try to first register at the Mazda event and then the KPMG event. One of the attendees in my session admitted she was crashing my talk from the KPMG conference and I was pretty psyched that I’d stolen an attendee from another event, (is that terrible of me to admit? )

The attendance for this session was packed and I was really thrilled with the interaction of these testers during my presentation. They asked questions, nodded enthusiastically when I discussed what tools would best suit a DevOps solution from beginning to end that included the testing team. I had numerous conversations after my presentation with the attendees, some to ask further questions and some just to say what a valuable presentation it was for them to attend.

I also was able to speak with some existing Delphix customers that are in a testing team that were experiencing some challenges and get them support assistance where they’d previously been one step separated, so Delphix wasn’t aware that their network challenge hadn’t been addressed by their infrastructure team and can now follow up.

Interop ITX Conference

Interop ITX was at the Mirage in Las Vegas. It was a long, 4 ½ hour flight from Orlando to the destination, but well worth it. I’d been asked to submit an abstract by Karen Lopez and I was really happy that I had.

As I’d just been in Las Vegas the week before to speak at Collaborate and am not a gambler, the 24 hrs I was in Vegas was more than enough for me, but the Mirage convention center gave me a great break from the loud and annoyance of the Vegas strip.

I also got to visit with Gwen Shapira, a fellow Oakie who works at Kafka, who I hadn’t seen in over a year. It was awesome to visit with her and then got to have Kitty, (Karen Lopez) ambassador my session as the Data and Analytics track lead this morning.

I greatly admire both these women in technology and visiting with them reminds me just how awesome the women are in my field. My session at Interop ITX was also well attended, especially considering it was the last day of the event and I was happy to have a few questions ensuring me that people were still able to absorb knowledge after days of technical content being pushed at them.

I presented on similar topics at both these events even though the audiences were quite different. We’re finding that with all the talk of DevOps, rarely is data included in the equation. Companies begin on an agile and DevOps methodology and then find they can’t meet the development cycle requirements because the data is holding them back. This is due to two factors:

1. Data Gravity– everyone’s need of the data, which both pulls them in like a gravitational pull and the sheer weight of data, which creates its own gravitational pull, making it difficult to escape from.
2. Data Friction– Everyone wants the data now and in their own way and in their own environment. The DBA, Data Scientist, Developer, Tester and Analyst are all fighting on how to get the data where it needs to be and on their schedule.

No matter the focus audience of my talk or the tools we discussed, the overall goal was for people to embrace:
1. Virtualization of data sources- relational, flat files and big data.
2. Masking of non-production data to eliminate 80% of the data scope for General Data Protection Regulations, (GDPR) and other critical data regulations.

So what should you take away from this post:
1. Consider submitting talks or attending these events. There is so much these audiences could learn from data experts.
2. No matter the technology focus, it all comes back to the data and everyone and I do mean everyone is having the same challenges.

Provide them with some options and solutions. I know you’re up to it.

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