Powerdobs heading for Mechelen

Powerdobs heading for Mechelen

This week the 15th edition of dataMinds Connect took place in Mechelen, Belgium. This edition was a great succes! With 600 participants, 42 sessions an 6 pre-con tracks the event was fully booked with both participants and speakers on the waiting list. And … Powerdobs was there. We joined the event with a small group, collected all the good stuff and summarized it in this blog.  

The Powerdobs crew heading for the entrance


It all started on Monday with a full day of pre-conference workshops. David & Nicky had the pleasure of attending the precon session ‘Making Data Matter’ by Alexander Arvidsson. This was a different kind of session than the usual Power BI training. The session wall centered around all the theory and skills necessary to communicate effectively with Power BI and create effective, actionable reports with a story. To be honest the session was not even centered around Power BI, even though Alexander mentioned it frequently. We walked through the psychology of visualizations, how our brain works and also how to fool it to bring home your story ?. Great stuff and big compliments to Alexander.


On Tuesday the rest of the Powerdobs crew drove in as well for the start of the regular conference. Some 600 data enthusiastic people joined the event to explore all the content available that day. Our highlights below.

The guys outside the cube


The opening keynote was presented by nobody less then the “Guy(s) in a Cube” Adam Saxton & Patrick LeBlanc. The key take away of theis session was that good engagement with business users is crucial for the success of a BI project. Harvard University researched this and found that users become 4 times more productive if we free up their data to them, enabling the Rhythm of Data. Next to that they made clear that the only good technology for BI and Analytcs is to be found in Azure and Power BI.


There was a full house at the keynote The Rhythm of Data:

Packed room for the keynote


Mara Pereira and her audience

After the key note one of the 1st sessions was by Mara Pereira: she shared her own reporting design tips and a framework she created. Good stuff, providing nice structure to the unstructured process of gathering specs.

Mara Pereira’s report design framework


As a nice follow up of Mara’s session Pamela Paterson talked about gathering requirements from stakeholders in a ‘remote MS-Teams world‘, and how to take into account the techniques. Also very practical and usefull given the fact that the current reality is that many sessions are remote supported these days and that chosing the right channel, techniques and tools is crucial for a succesful meeting.

Full room for Pamela Paterson

Should we build our data platform solution like this?


On the Azure side Paul Andrew surprised us with a great presentation. He explained the extensive capabilities of Azure in a great way, step by step he took his audience by the hand in designing a strong Azure Data Platform Architecture.


And Alexander Arvidsson was back on day 2 as well. After 19 earlier presentations on this topics, he did his last presentation on ‘data masterminds’, showing many examples of ‘mis-represented visualizations’ which tell the ‘untruthful story’. As this was his last presentation on this topic he gave his audience some nice reading tips (see below).

Reading tips from Alexander Arvidsson





Ben Watt




In a packed room with lots of people standing in the back, Ben Watt showed us how to go about testing and validating your Power BI dataset and DWH sources in SQL. He compared DAX output to SQL output with python dataframes. The session was too technical for some of us but very useful for most, with some Powerpoint and many demo screens.


Marc Lelijveld was one of the closing speakers where he took us on the Application Lifecycle Management solutions for Power BI, ranging from a small user specific solution with Onedrive, to an enterprise grade solution with Azure DevOps pipelines and Deployment Pipelines.



Huge compliments to the organization for a great Dataminds Connect 2022!


Nicky van Vroenhoven

Microsoft Data Platform MVP, Blogger, Speaker