Shop Talk: What Coalesced at Coalesce?

November 11, 2022

In this bonus episode, Eric and Kostas talk shop around experiences at the Coalesce conference in New Orleans.


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Eric Dodds 00:05
Welcome to The Data Stack Show shoptalk Kostas, we have talked with people who built amazing data technology companies like Netflix, Uber, and LinkedIn. But you and I actually don’t record our talks about data very much. But we actually talk about data together a ton. And so Brooks had this amazing idea of just recording some of the conversations that you and I have before and after the show about data and our opinions on it. And really, this has been my favorite things that we do. So welcome to shop talk. It is where Costas and I share opinions and thoughts on a personal level about what we’re seeing in the data space. And it really is simple. We ask one another a question, and the other one tries to answer it. So without further ado, here is shop doc. Welcome to The Data Stack Show Shop Talk where Costas and I talk about all things data and share our personal opinions may be too much. So Costas, it’s your turn to ask the question to me. So what’s been on your mind this week?

Kostas Pardalis 01:13
Yes, my, my work was very easy this time, because I have to ask you about garlis. You’ve been there. Yeah, they were. I wasn’t there. And I wouldn’t know when everything. But first of all, I want you to tell me, when do you think about New Orleans? Because I think it’s happened in your leads. Right? Have you been there before? Yes.

Eric Dodds 01:32
I’d never been in New Orleans.

And it’s a cool city. I mean,

Eric Dodds 01:43
it’s about what I expected. There are so many bars, you know, I mean, it’s just the cities like, littered with so many bars. And even though it was the weather was pretty good. You could tell that it’s a pretty human place. And yeah, I mean, my favorite part, this is gonna sound probably really appreciated people who’ve been to New Orleans, but this sort of historic, like French Quarter district was cool. You know, there’s this the architecture school, you know, the sort of historic nature of it. Evening, and really good food. So yeah, oh, yeah.

Kostas Pardalis 02:19
Tell me more about the food wasn’t your driver, but was like, because, man,

Eric Dodds 02:24
so many things. I mean, the sort of seafood, there’s good, we went by this one place, and they sort of had an outdoor grill. And they were grilling. Oh, yeah, just just right there. And so you know, super fresh. And, you know, it was really cool. That was kind of a had a really cool vibe. Lots of voodoo in you know, Voodoo seemed everything

Kostas Pardalis 02:48
to do some like how to, like destroys your competitors with voodoo. I

Eric Dodds 02:54
got into one of those shops and ask, we did go by what is apparently one of the oldest burgers I one of the longest continually open taverns or pubs in the United States. Okay. And it was it was kind of like a bar.

Experience. Below

Eric Dodds 03:19
the it was kind of cool. I mean, you know, some history there. So

Kostas Pardalis 03:24
that’s nice. Cool. All right. So let’s talk about the conference. What happened there? I know that like the book assaults, DBT are like pretty good in community and community events. So I’m very excited to share of like, what they’ve managed to come up with this year. And what’s your experience with it? That was like our first one, right? Like you.

Eric Dodds 03:46
Yep. Last year, it was all virtual. True. Yeah. Because of cold leads. Yeah, right. Yes. Last year was all virtual. It was amazing. That was one of the best conferences we’ve been to all year, you know, we’ve been hitting the road pretty hard. And yet, I would say one thing that really came across to me was that it had a much more intimate feel. And part just because, you know, wasn’t, it wasn’t as large as some of the other conferences, nationally, the like vendor Hall, I think they did such a good job with that you really felt like you could, you know, walk through and really have meaningful conversations with, you know, a lot of the vendors there because it just, it had a more. The conference didn’t feel small, it just felt intimate, if that makes sense, which I think is really hard to do. And so their team, their team really did an excellent job on the event that really was pretty incredible. And from, you know, vendors standpoint, it was they just were so helpful and so supportive. So that was really cool. So I would I mean, just from that I would recommend people going I think, one one dynamic that I noticed a lot and I’ll caveat this I believe I sang, I spent a lot of time talking with people giving demos. And so I didn’t actually get to go to that many talks. You know, which was unfortunate. I did get asked a lot of people about the talks. But one thing that I think was a really big difference that I noticed was that there seems to be really, like meaningful conversations, you know, so people would spend a lot of time at, you know, a certain booths just, you know, talking about whatever data problems are trying to solve. And I mean, of course, of course, it’s the classic, like, you know, you have vendors there who were trying to like get leads and develop pipeline and all that sort of stuff. But at the same time, there, it just felt like, there were longer form conversations that were maybe less geared towards just trying to get the email and like moving on, if that makes sense. Which was really cool. Like, that was just that was a really cool dynamic. Yeah, those are my initial thoughts.

Kostas Pardalis 06:00
Yeah, makes sense. I mean, I was, I felt like, I was discussing that with someone like today up all three exams, and like participating, waiting, reinvents Mike, my cousin, other bees.

And, yeah, like,

Kostas Pardalis 06:14
the guy was like, asking, like, how to navigate lakes outside the band, right? Like, because, like, you’re invincible. So like, massive rides? Like, it’s not like huge. And, like, Okay, what I told him, he was like, dude, like, you don’t want to go there like to attend the session, like, the sessions aren’t going to be like, available on lady, right? Like, if you will just one like to listen to what’s new, and like, what’s horrible, like, whatever, like, you can do it, like from your guts, right? But you don’t really have to go there. Like, what is important with these events, like connecting with people. Now, obviously, like, doing that, at the scale of like, reinvent is one thing, right? Like, it’s, like, tough, like a company of different scale compared to something like always, but making sure as like, the organizer or sunset event that like, people actually do that. I think that’s like the true silence and how you like, you know, like, truly assess if it was a successful event, it’s not, like, did people go there, like monads to make like meaningful connections? And okay, like, at the end, we’ll go there, because we have a job, right? Like, if somebody were to go into those, it’s like a theme park or NC right.

But stimulating, let’s

Kostas Pardalis 07:29
say, this kind of direction, I think it’s not easy, first of all, and it’s very interesting to hear like, and thus, my next question, like, when do you think that like the DBT team did well, that actually shield people to do their acts in meaningful ways? And good enough level? Was it like they did it not? Right?

Eric Dodds 07:54
I think there are a number of a number of things. So even just the way that they chose to lay it out, there was a lot of space that made it easy to, you know, sit down and chat or walk around and talk with someone or sit down, you know, sort of on a couch or something like that, and talk with someone. So I think that they did a good job of just physically laying out the event, if that makes sense, which I thought was really good. The booth areas are actually pretty big. You know, at some conferences, it’s like, really small, it’s just like, a six foot table or whatever. And, like I said before, there’s a dynamic of people spending like a good amount of time, at a booth, because there was plenty of space there for people to kind of congregate, you know, some people had, you know, chairs or a table, some people have standing tables, one company, pecks pad, they actually built a diner, it was amazing. Like, they had booths, you know, and it felt like, Oh, we’re kind of going into a diner. And so it was a very approachable feel. And so I think that just made it made it way easier to connect. So just lots of space to do that. And so that I thought that was really well done. I think the other thing was that there were like, the timing was done really well. You know, like when things opened, and when things kind of closed down. That rhythm felt really good. You know? So it’s like, okay, you know, you’re sort of in the conference, call all day. And then, you know, things kind of, instead of going like later into the evening, like things kind of shut down early. And then you know, there are a bunch of sponsored parties or whatever within walking distance. And so you could kind of go to those and connect with people. So I just thought they did a good job of making it flow well, in providing plenty of space for people to connect without feeling like we’re just standing in between all these booths and like trying to have a conversation. Yeah, that was really cool. Oh,

yeah. What about you mentioned,

Kostas Pardalis 10:05
like, six on your menu, like a very, like, unique and, like, interesting idea about like the bulls. You know, I find events like as the marketing playground where like marketing doesn’t really sign like you can tell like the second one because a good like monitoring based on like, what they do with it will not advance right? Excluding rather second Starburst who obviously had the best boots like there’s no link. Yeah. Tell me about like a few vendors that you were like positively, let’s say surprised by like, the idea of the lane demanded there to make it like a fun experience for people to go next to them. And,

Eric Dodds 10:48
you know, one of the companies sigma, which is, you know, sit in the BI space, they did this interesting thing, which, you know, may not be right for every company, depending on, you know, their product or their demo or whatever. But they had wireless headphones. And so if there was a demo going on, you know, you could sort of jump in and put on wireless headphones and participate in the demo without, you know, someone having to speak really loud, or, you know, they just, that was a really interesting idea, right, because it created a way for you to, you know, almost, you know, just silence a crowded room. And like the focus on what someone was, was talking about, which I thought was really interesting. And, you know, I mean, you know, it’s hard to see like, exactly what’s going on, but it also made it seem like people could sort of like join ad hoc if they wanted to write sci fi and be like, Oh, that’s interesting, or, you know, in a safer q&a. I thought that was really cool.

Once the,

Eric Dodds 12:00
you know, there were several booths with interesting hands on activities, you know, so, like, at one booth, I think they were, you know, folding origami? Right. Which is kind of a cool thing. And I thought that was interesting. You know, based on like, being able to talk to someone while you’re, you know, something, I think the company was data fold. So, you know,

Kostas Pardalis 12:24
I would absolutely love it’s delightful. Yeah, yeah. So

Eric Dodds 12:27
sorry. You know, I think those were some really interesting ideas. I mean, who knows, like how effective they were. But I think that, you know, I think that was, I think does really stuck out to me.

Kostas Pardalis 12:37
Okay. And like, in terms of white Bendel’s, did you see anything like, new and interesting out there as part of the like, because, okay, like DBT is, let’s say, like a very core part of whatever we call like the modern data stack. So you usually get like, around like vendors that they associate themselves one way or another, the modern data stack more or less. So what’s new group? Like, what’s new you shoulders, like? What’s exciting in the space?

Eric Dodds 13:05
Well, this is gonna sound funny, but the biggest thing I noticed with vendors is how many of them have been on the show, which was really cool. So on some level, this is a cheap answer to your question. But there wasn’t anything brand new. And actually, the reason I was familiar with a lot of the companies there was just because we’ve talked to people from those companies on our show, which was really cool. So that was really fun. I think one of the other really fun things was that there were a couple of companies there that we had on the show, I think in in like way earlier stages, and then they had a boots, you know, because we think back to man, I can’t believe it’s already almost the end of the year. But, you know, if you think back to the beginning of the year, you know, at least at RudderStack, and I think you have to have been on the data conference circuit all year long. And so Netta plane was one that was cool to see. I mean, we talked with Kevin a really long time ago, you know, and then and, you know, so that was really cool. The Select star was there with a booth, you know, and so it’s, it was really cool to see some of those companies, you know, which I think for a lot of people like you know, those are like somewhat new and they’re kind of coming to market and you know, they probably haven’t heard of him but so that was cool. I don’t know. Like I feel a little bit like an insider because of the show which was, which was pretty cool.

Yeah, yeah, I totally agree. And Okay, one last question.

Kostas Pardalis 14:46
Well above like announcements from the boutique, like what’s new? What’s was like the big news for them on the live event.

Eric Dodds 14:56
This is so hypocritical of me, but I don’t actually be Because I didn’t go to the session, because I was pretty busy the whole time. But I will, I will say, you know, one thing that I noticed, and actually, I thought about this a lot, and I was like, you know, at some point, we need to talk about this on the show. But one of the things that really stuck out to me talking to the practitioners who were rolling through there is that people are still trying to solve the same problems, right, and there’s so many new tools that they have to solve those problems. But that was really interesting to me, and just such a great reminder, you know, I mean, a lot of companies are still just trying to get all of their data into a single data store. You know, and for really large companies, that’s super hard, even just culturally inside the organization, you know, regardless of the technology, right, then other companies are, you know, we’re trying to, you know, sort of finally, build that complete view of the customer that we’ve been working on for some companies years, you know, yep. You know, so that was really, that was just such a great reminder to me that it was these people were so excited, because they’re like, Okay, we, you know, in many ways, I think, you know, looking at, you know, many of them being users of DVT, or evaluating that, you know, adopting modern warehouses, I mean, of course, there were lots of people there who were like, we’re, we’re trying to get off of on prem, you know, and move into the cloud even. And so it was a great reminder that, you know, as advanced as all these tools are a lot of the core things that these data practitioners are working on, are, you know, really common problems across every company. And so that was just a good reminder of, you know, when you talk about solving data problems, and all these advanced technologies and everything, a lot of times, the actual user thinks about things a lot more simply than us data marketers try to, you know, try to spin and all of our fancy marketing speak. So that was a big takeaway for me.

Kostas Pardalis 17:09
Just to add like to what you were saying, Eric, the two, I think big things that came up, like from TBD on the event was once like the semantic layer that they announced, which should be available, which is okay, like a big addition, like the products. And the other thing. I think there was like a little bit of shopping and presentations around. Python supports DBT. Which, Yes, yep. Which is also like, Why did nursing? Yeah, it’s very interesting, like to see FAO like, even like, the product, like the beauty that’s not like the traction it has like, it still needs to aggressively innovate and iterate on the product, which is super, super interesting. And I think like, at some point, we should get someone from TBT on the show, like this guy’s Yeah. About the new fees that they’re building and talks about, like their journey, I think it’s going to be super interesting. So let’s do that.

Eric Dodds 18:08
I agree. Well, and also, here’s some free advice. I was talking to a bunch of attendees. And one thing that I heard multiple times was that people really loved hands on problem solving. Those are the sessions they kept talking about. Yeah. So free advice for anyone who submit to talk next year. All right, well, we’re definitely overtime on this one. Checkout coalesce, it was an amazing event, they did a really good job integrating the online and in person audiences, by the way, you know, there was live q&a via their Slack community. So it was a really, really cool event, whether you were, you know, joining virtually or in person. Next year, I’ll try to go to more sessions so that I know what the docs, you know, cost us we learned so much from the data leaders that we talked to, but I learned so much from picking your brain. And actually your questions really make me think really hard. So I appreciate shop talk. I think it makes me a sharper think.

Well, it’s,

Kostas Pardalis 19:10
it’s fun. What I think it’s good to just Seaton Chartio Boggs, the stuff that we experience. And yeah, I think like, I felt like people enjoy it. That’s why I’ll keep asking for people to reach out please do is da pork. Like, you can’t do that. Like, send an email. Yeah, let us know how you feel and like, what are your opinions with, like, your experience with the show? So please do that to me, and then we can keep the copy?

Eric Dodds 19:45
Of course. Okay. And of course, we try to take the same types of questions to, you know, data leaders from all sorts of companies, large and small, so definitely subscribe to the main show, if you haven’t yet. tons of really good episodes. snare and a tons of really good thoughts from data leaders really around the world. So definitely subscribe if you haven’t and I will catch you on the next shop talk