CoolData blog

24 October 2011

DRIVE-ing to the coast

Filed under: Training / Professional Development — kevinmacdonell @ 10:34 am

I’m about to head to the airport for a day’s travel across the continent to Seattle. The occasion is the inaugural D.R.I.V.E. conference, Oct 26-27. DRIVE stands for Data, Reporting, Information and Visualization Exchange, and I will present a session on the nature of data used for predictive modeling. The general message is that although “insight” data looks like the same stuff used for reporting, business intelligence, and other “everyday” uses, the way we think of it has to be totally different.

But today’s post isn’t about me. It’s about the team of reporting professionals at the University of Washington who have taken on the task of pulling together a conference from scratch. No professional group is behind this, no vendor – just university and nonprofit staff people, pursuing excellence in their field. How often does that happen?

It’s a great opportunity to meet other practitioners who are keen on becoming more aware of the value of their institutions’ data. As an extra bonus, I will be traveling to Seattle a day early in order to meet with fundraising staff at the University of Washington, some of whom will no doubt be up to their eyeballs in last-minute conference stuff.

And guess what — the conference is sold out. I salute them!



  1. I don’t know if you’ll see this comment before you get here but, there are a lot of excited people in our office waiting to meet you. Thank you for the very kind words, too. See you tomorrow!

    Comment by Joel Larson — 24 October 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    • Thanks, Joel! I’m waiting on the runway in Halifax. See you all shortly.

      Comment by kevinmacdonell — 24 October 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  2. Wow, wish I had heard about this! If you’d like to meet up while you’re in the area for dinner, don’t hesitate to holler!

    Comment by Jen — 24 October 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    • Hi Jen – Sounds good, but are you not based in Texas? (By the way, everyone, Jen was CoolData’s very first subscriber, in 2009.)

      Comment by kevinmacdonell — 24 October 2011 @ 4:53 pm

      • Actually, I’m in the general Seattle area now (moved after I finished grad school). Specifically in the Bellevue area (and stationed in Redmond for my current consulting gig).

        Comment by Jen — 24 October 2011 @ 5:54 pm

        • Hi again, Jen – I did see your reply but this week was wall-to-wall busy. Sorry we didn’t connect. If your Redmond gig is an extended one, make sure you look up the DRIVE conference for next year! The organizers are planning to create a blog or some other type of forum to keep interested people up to date on any plans for a second go at it. The first one was great.

          Comment by kevinmacdonell — 28 October 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  3. I’m curious what your talk will touch on. Orthogonality? Transformations/Centering/Rescaling?

    Comment by Brock — 24 October 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    • Gracious no. The scariest word I might use is “regression” and even then only in passing. This conference is about data in general so I will be talking more about soft skills and attitudes than about techniques. It’s more philosophical than technical.

      Kevin (waiting to pass through US Customs in Toronto)

      Comment by kevinmacdonell — 24 October 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  4. One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended was on parents fundraising, also put together by a volunteer group. The programming was exceptionally strong and, without the overhead cost of a professional organization or event planner/manager, the conference fee was affordable for small budgets. We even overnighted in dorms instead of hotels! Kudos to the organizers of the D.R.I.V.E. conference!

    Comment by Cindy Manshack — 25 October 2011 @ 8:44 am

  5. Hi Kevin,

    I’m curious how the conference went – I hadn’t seen any comments on the list-servs from attendees. It was the same day as the APRA-Upstate NY conference that I attended so I wasn’t able to attend.

    Comment by Peter Erhardt — 3 November 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    • Peter – It was excellent! Since returning to work I have not had a chance to write about the conference, but I have several things in draft form just waiting for some free time to materialize. A diverse group of 80 to 90 attendees included people from IT, IM, Annual Giving, prospect research, reporting, advancement services, data analysis, etc. Just a great mix of people. Conference organizers at the University of Washington intend to create some sort of forum (a blog perhaps), which I will promote when it appears, so stay tuned.

      Comment by kevinmacdonell — 3 November 2011 @ 2:13 pm

      • Great – I look forward to seeing information about it on here or on the blog. Thanks for the update.

        Comment by Peter Erhardt — 3 November 2011 @ 2:16 pm

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