Alteryx Inspire Europe

What a fantastic couple of days it has been. It started with the Alteryx User Group then followed with 2 days at Alteryx Inspire Europe. I’m going to put down my thoughts and I would love to hear any experiences from other people.

Alteryx User Group

So we decided to kick off Inspire the night before with Inspire Libby Duane and Ned Harding from Alterxy answering our questions about anything we wanted to know, from highlighting the community as both their favourite part of working at Alteryx and their wish for more in future (the 3 wishes idea came from The Wannabe Podcast thanks).
We finished off with a look at Carto from Eric. A hugely innovative product for visualising geographic information dynamically and interactively.

Inspire Day 1

Day one started with CEO Dean Stoecker showing off the “” theme this year. This is a great and empowering theme for everyone in every organisation to get behind.
Dean also delivered the normal inspiring (that’s not a pun, honest) stories from users and companies, showing all the value they have gained by deploying Alteryx. One example I remember was a company (and I can’t remember which now please remind me if you know) processes that took 2 full time analysts weeks became an automated process taking days. Dean also highlighted the the vision of the they have to deliver Alteryx in the future.
He also highlighted the Alteryx For Good program. It is a great program for giving back to the community to to organisations like Connect2Help that the Data School helped out and continues to work with. I’m looking into how to donate my time (I’m probably just blind but I can’t see the link to volunteer on that page) once I find this out I will let you know.
I spent the middle of my day over in the solution centre, talking to people from all over Europe looking at the issues and challenges they were having (like how web scraping competitor information or finding a macro from the community to find all the field titles in a changing XML file)
The day finished of with the Grand Prix. Racers ran through qualifying events to decide who would challenge for the inaugural race. After a dominant opening two races (data parsing and spatial) James Dunkerley was sitting in a very strong position going leading Charlie Archer and Remco Diepenbroek into the predictive races. I had talked to him earlier in the day and this was his bogey event. This last race was significantly tenser. Remco took the last race but James scraping home 10 seconds inside the cut off time secured the title. Congrats James.

Day 2

CsTR3RLWAAEkownThe second and final day of Inspire Europe kicked off with George Matthews (COO at Alteryx) introduced the immediate future of the Alteryx view demos of the newly released Carto connector George showed off new ways of visualising geographic information. Its an interesting product and one that I think I could see some possible uses for alongside the geographic of capabilities of Tableau.
George then invited Nick Jewell onto stage to show of some of the 11 feature that will be coming to beta soon (signup for that now if you haven’t already). The biggest demo for me was the update to the formula tool. The addition of JavaScript tool creation that allows for HTML tools was key here to add the syntax highlighting, auto completion and error highlighting (a tiny line I saw on screen that made me so happy).
The cheesy scripted interaction to show of feature was hilarious for me. While it was cheesy it got plenty of laughs and engaged everyone in the audience so I loved it.
The next session I went to (after more solution centre goodness) was presented by Samantha Jayne Hughes from Sainsbury’s on their journey simplify, automate and accelerate so many of the location purchase processes they were struggling with. There were so many other possible uses for them and I would love to see Samantha present again next year to see how their journey develops.
Tim Harford started the to wind down the conference with a brilliant talk on how numbers and statistics are being used and manipulated to persuade or deceive for a particular point of view. It is a huge shame that something that should be clean and unquestionable is being abused by politicians, media and even charities to achieve the immediate response from people that they want. If you ever get a chance to see him talk I suggest you go.
I didn’t get any photos but I loved this quote that Tim put on screen:

“The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”
-Harry Frankfurt

The final talk for me was from Ned Harding. He picked up a very strange post closing keynote spot where he talked about how the Alteryx architecture all comes together what are the pieces of the whole system that come together in a workflow to make both the designer and the server experiences fast and scalable.
I found it really interesting that one of the biggest challenges the research team is facing when trying to improve Alteryx and make it faster is hardware. By forcing backwards compatibility for things like 32bit cpu (going away in v11) or spinning hard disks (just get an SSD and everything will be better) is limiting the possibilities of Alteryx moving forward. I would love to see an “Alteryx Architecture 101” post on the Engine Works Blog (its probably there I just haven’t found it yet, show me a link if you have it).

Wrap Up

So that was my Inspire. I know there were so many other sessions I didn’t get to. I missed out on all the training sessions (I hope they have been recorded) an
d only saw a couple of customer talks. But I did met and talk with so many amazing people, so brilliant solutions coming from the solution centre and had a few quiet drinks with really interesting people.
I have to tell you, if you get a chance to go to Inspire, either next years Europe conference in Tobacco Docks London or the global Inspire in Las Vegas, go for it. So many great ideas and opportunities and people to meet. You will not regret it at all.

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