April in Chicago beats April in Paris this year.  Why?  Because this April in Chicago is the PASS Business Analytics Conference featuring Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and yeah, gridheads like me too.

I want you to join me there.  PASS has arranged for me to share with you a discount code that you can use when registering for the event.

The code is BAC858BL and it will entitle you to two things:

1) First, you get $200 off the regular conference price.

2) Second, you get to spend time with me, Karen Lopez (@datachick), Lara Rubbelke (@SQLGal), and Thomas LaRock (@SQLRockstar) and pick our brains about data, analytics, business, and whatever else you want to talk about.  I think this takes the form of a breakfast (commonly referred to as First Coffee) but am still awaiting the details.

Those of us that live and breathe data for a living – particularly those of us who tease insight out of data – are finally going to have a place to connect, share, and learn from one another. The “accidental architect” that Thomas refers to on his blog is a role that resonates with me as well, I’ve seen that progression first hand many times over – most Excel Pros are “accidental” Excel Pros for instance.   

You don’t “get there” without understanding all the tools and options available. You don’t get there without leaving your desk and talking with others, sharing experiences, and learning – unless you can get other people to come to your desk of course, which is pure magic and rarely achieved.

For many folks that journey gets a big jumpstart this April in Chicago.

I can’t wait to be there to help get this party started quickly, as C&C once said.

Some Sessions that Caught My Eye…

In response to my last post on this topic, a reader asked me for a list of interesting/relevant sessions to attend.  Since the reader was/is an Excel Pro, I explicitly filtered out all of the backend stuff (including most of the Hadoop-style Big Data sessions). 

Here is the list, and it’s a good one.  I rarely find half this many sessions to attend at a conference.

Advanced Dashboards Using Excel, Excel Services, and PerformancePoint 60-Minute Demo: Microsoft BI Tools on SAP Data
Advancing Analytics at Microsoft Advertising The ABCs of Scoring: Why, How, and Getting a Good Grade
Analytics for Business Strategy From Data to Insight – Views from Microsoft Finance
Big Data Analytics with Excel 2013 GeoSpatial Analytics Using Microsoft BI
Drab to Dynamite! Managed Self-Service BI Using Real-World Data Office as Your BI Platform
Data Visualization with Power View and the Tabular Model Make Cloud BI Work for You
Data Discovery and Transformation Experiences for Excel and PowerPivot Sports Analytics: Big Data in the Big Time
Data Analysis with R and Julia SQL Server Predictive Analytics: Customer Stories
Business Intelligence on Mobile Devices The Essential 8: Narrative Reporting Techniques
Excel Charting Tips