dataMinds connect

The 3×3 take-aways @dataMinds Connect

Block 10 and 11 October in your agenda Microsoft fanatics. dataMinds Connect 2022, the IT-event with a specific focus on the Microsoft Data & AI Platform, is almost here!

Usually, you can count on us to guide you through the program with our tips on which presentations you cannot miss out on. But for the 15th edition of dataMinds Connect, we thought we’d shake things up a bit and let you in on how to get into the ‘dataMinds Connect state of mind’.

And who better than one of our senior Microsoft BI consultants, SQL geek and part of the dataMinds crew, Iny Willems? Here’s what she has to say:

This year I was lucky enough to be part of the initial process of selecting the 42 sessions, out of more than 400 (!!) submissions. Do you have any idea how hard it was to ‘not-select’ 90% of those submissions? Hard!

Personally, I never know exactly which sessions I will follow (and which ones I’ll sadly have to skip). Some decisions just need to be made on the spur of the moment, based on the mood of the day.

Therefore, I can’t really tell you which sessions “to definitely follow” because the sessions that would work for me might not work for anyone else. My session choice is a bit like my taste in music… eclectic, and then some. I’ve had so many roles over the years and experienced so many sides of the (SQL) story that it’s hard to focus on just one track. Also, my level is not the same for each scope, but I do know I’m going for at least 1 level 400 this year. I can’t wait!

So, there are 42 sessions to choose from and I can only attend 6 of them… Which ones do I pick? How to choose? Darts? Aaargh… Too many choices! But what if instead of starting from the beginning of the Agenda and reading everything left-right, top-bottom, I start at the end? As in:

  • what do I hope to get out of this conference?
  • what do I expect to gain, gather or reach?

Well, that’s about the only constant for me when going to any conference. Since all good things supposedly come in threes, I always aim for 3×3 take-aways:

  • 3 new insights
  • 3 affirmations
  • 3 points of attention


First and foremost, I go to dataMinds Connect to learn! To learn about all the new stuff Microsoft is releasing and working on. To gather knowledge on existing tools, technology, and methods… that might not be new as such but are new to me.

I enjoy learning about the inner workings of SQL Server.

  • What happens under the hood when I launch a query?
  • How can I use that knowledge to (over)optimize my queries, and make everything faster and more efficient without losing track of readability? I’m a consultant.. there’s always going to be someone that arrives later on the project or when/after I leave. So, yes, readability is important.


By the time it’s Tuesday evening – the closing of the dataMinds Connect event – I want to have learned 3 things I didn’t know before. Doesn’t need to be something big, just something. For example:

  • a setting in Power BI desktop that I didn’t know about,
  • a new keyword,
  • a new function,
  • another way of using an existing keyword,

Really anything will do!


Aside from learning new stuff, it’s also nice to hear explanations about things you’re also working with and where the speakers share your ideas or opinions, affirming my belief that “Yes, I’m doing something right. It’s not just me that thinks like that, I’m not alone!”. And if the people “up there”, on the stage, are saying what I’ve been saying as well, then there must be some truth to it. That’s the second list of 3 I look out for.

Points of attention

And the last list of 3, is undoubtedly the most unpleasant one, but probably the one I’ll eventually learn from the most… The items where the speakers completely or partially disagree with me. Oh no, now what? Am I doing it wrong? Should I just go find another job? Panic! – or not!

These points of attention present new ways for me to improve myself. Nobody is perfect. And I’m not ‘Nobody’. And as somebody, I can learn and change if need be. Some changes are even welcomed with wide open arms. (Thank you for STRING_AGG() and TRANSLATE() BTW!!!!)


So, I didn’t exactly help you in choosing which Microsoft Data & AI sessions to follow, because that’s something only you can decide.

Regardless of your personal choice in sessions, I am convinced that each session you do attend will bring you knowledge that you didn’t have before. Sometimes a bad session teaches you more than a good one. Not everyone is a born speaker and not every born speaker brings content that is relevant to you.

The key is to enjoy the experience, learn, get smarter and stay open-minded enough to allow your mind to wander outside of the box-around-the-box.

So… have you made up your mind yet? Or… in the process of making up your mind?

logo dataMinds Connect

Check what’s on the schedule and make sure to get your ticket. Tickets available until 4 October. Or… until sold out.

Iny Willems

Microsoft BI Consultant & SQL geek at LACO

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