“Winning” The Power BI Demo Contest

7 February, 2014 (15:29) | Power BI, Professional Development | By: Mark V

First things first. According to the official rules, I did not win. My video did not even make it to the Top 15 Semi-Finalists. Not even close. The number of votes I got was laughable compared to others. But it was never about the votes for me. I never really had any illusions of winning the contest. However, this contest had #winning all over the place for me anyway. I shall explain.

#winning : I got to play with some really exciting tools. From Power Query to Power Pivot to Power View to the Power BI Team Site I played with for my demo, I had a total blast.

#winning : Holy crap is Power Query awesome! Even the base options in the tool’s ribbon makes common things really easy. I only dabbled a tiny bit with M (Officially: The Power Query Formula Language), but that was really cool as well. I will certainly be delving more deeply into Power Query and M.

#winning : I went from never having done a video to recording and editing a video I can be proud of. I used Camtasia Studio (got a 30-day free trail) and LOVED that software. I watched about 30 minutes worth of training videos and then went to town. That was a great experience I would love to repeat. One day I shall get my own license and make some videos… ideas are already churning.

NOTE: Techsmith, the maker of Camtasia Studio, has not compensated me in any way for saying these things. I have used their SnagIt software for years and love it. And I loved using Camtasia Studio as well. This is my own honest assessment.

#winning : I feel the need to mention Power Query again.

#winning : I learned my DAX needs some attention. After posting my video, i got a Tweet from the mighty Dan English (Blog|Twitter): “I think all three of your DAX calcs i would have done differently:)” This turned into a little back and forth discussion about how I could have done them differently. And it was not just about the awesome DIVIDE() function that I only remembered after submitting my entry. As such, I have recommitted myself to really digging deeper on this exciting expression language. I want to thank Dan for sparking that again.

NOTE: I beg you not to be afraid of posting your work for fear of embarrassment. The feedback we get from others helps us grow and improve. When I post my work/code, I have learned NEVER to say “This is the BEST way” when I do so. I leave it open to others to provide different suggestions. I sometimes flat out ask for exactly that. This is on purpose and part of what keeps me learning.

#winning : The mighty Paul Turley (Blog|Twitter) included my demo in his list of his favorites. See his Power BI Contest post. That was a great compliment from someone I have long respected.

#winning : More Power Query.

#winning : My entry got 218 views. That is a paltry sum when compared to others, to be sure. But from my perspective, that is 218 people who may not have seen my work otherwise. That is 218 people who may choose to come to a session of mine at a SQL Saturday, PASS Summit, or other event at which I speak. That is 218 people who may not have known I exist before that have now been introduced to me via something I am really proud of.

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi having just gotten under way, I remembered a swimmer in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Eric Moussambani represented Equatorial Guinea in the 100 Meter Freestyle. His two competitors both had false starts and were disqualified. Eric swam alone and put in a time that, while more than double the fastest times for that event, set a national record for Equatorial Guinea. That race, at the Olympic Games, was the first time he had been in an Olympic size swimming pool. When he finished, the crowd cheered like mad. He was interviewed afterward and asked how he felt. He replied, “I’m happy.” Eric’s definition of #winning was different from that of the others. I would encourage you to watch this video about this race and Eric’s #winning attitude. I am not comparing myself to Eric. Rather, I am calling attention to the idea that the only way to really lose is to stop learning and stop having worthwhile experiences.

I really want to encourage you to jump at opportunities like the Power BI Demo Contest. There are great experiences waiting for you. There are great learning opportunities waiting for you. And don’t be afraid to create your own definitions of #winning.

Comments

Comment from Dan English
Time February 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Very nicely stated Mark, congrats on the submission, keep up the great work and thanks for everything you do for the SQL community:) Oh and I need to mention power query does rock!!

Comment from Mark V
Time February 8, 2014 at 10:05 am

Thanks, Dan. I appreciate the support. :)

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