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Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

A cavalcade of stars join us live from Day 2 of Inspire 2018 in Anaheim, California. Brought to you by the Formula tool.










BRIAN: 00:06 

Live from day two of Inspire 2018 in Anaheim, California. This is Alter Everything, a podcast about data and analytics culture. We're joined by a cavalcade of stars to discuss their conference experience. Let's get started. 



BRIAN: 00:28 

All right. So I'm here with Baba Brinkman. How are you today, Baba? 

BABA: 00:31 

I'm doing all right. Yeah. 

BRIAN: 00:32 

Awesome. So how's the conference going for you so far? 

BABA: 00:35 

Pretty awesome. We started out with some excellent Doors cover band action on the stage there, which can definitely wake you up. You expect to walk into a sleepy hall and you end up rocking out with some psychedelic organs, and mass visuals, and stuff. So yeah, it was good. 

BRIAN: 00:52 

It was pretty sweet. 

BABA: 00:52 

It was a good reception. Yeah. 

BRIAN: 00:53 

Very cool. So I think we need to have the introduction to the audience for you. So if you give us a little bit about who you are, what you do, that'd be great. 

BABA: 01:01 

Sure thing. So I'm originally from Vancouver, Canada. And I'm a rap artist. I rap mainly about science, and technology, and complicated ideas. So I've got a whole series of shows that are rap guides to things. I'm currently performing off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse doing the Rap Guide to Consciousness, which is all about how the neurobiology of the brain adds up to our perceptions and experiences. But there's a whole section of the show about Bayesian predictive coding. Because that's one theory about how the contents of our conscious experiences get filled in via hypotheses that the brain generates and then confirms or disconfirms through the senses, which obviously, overlaps with a lot of the predictive analytics and data analytics industry. So I guess Seth Greenberg from Alteryx, he saw my show and thought I would be a good addition to the conference. So I'll be kicking some rhymes on the main stage tomorrow morning. I guess I'm the Doors of tomorrow. 

BRIAN: 01:59 

You are the Doors. 

BABA: 02:00 

And then I'm going to be doing some freestyles at the VIP jam tonight as well. 

BRIAN: 02:04 

Very cool. Very cool. So we will release this at a point where we are not spoiling it. So what have you picked up so far? What are you trying to pick up so that you can put your rhymes together? 

BABA: 02:14 

Well, I think I kind of understand the general concept of what Alteryx is designed to do. But it just is such a malleable product that so far, I've encountered five or six use cases from the presentations this morning. And the claim is that it can make anybody's job better. So right away, I'm like, "All right. What can it do for a boutique rap artist that caters to the geek audience?" 

BRIAN: 02:39 

An all-new undiscovered use case for us. 

BABA: 02:41 

Yeah. Exactly. So if it could analyze some of my Twitter API or see what kind of social media engagement I'm getting, what strategies. Because I'll tell you, to be honest, my main challenge is really about marketing and connecting with new audiences. I think the people that come across my music and come to my show get very excited. They're like, "Oh, I didn't even think hip hop could be about this stuff." And I really do try to take deep dives into the technical side of the science and the tech. But the problem is that people hear about it and they can't imagine how it would be good. You know what I mean? 

BRIAN: 03:11 

Right. Right, right, right. 

BABA: 03:12 

It's like, "What?" 

BRIAN: 03:12 

You got to experience it. 

BABA: 03:14 

"Some white guy from Canada rapping about science?" Just the default assumption is that there's going to be something cringeworthy in it. And the goal is to reach across that skepticism gap. And also just how do you make people aware that there's something like this out there? Because a lot of people are hip hop fans. But they actually like to be more intellectually stimulated by the lyrics and stuff. So if Alteryx could help me analyze the social media and marketing landscape and figure out how to connect with audiences, I'd get pretty excited about it. 

BRIAN: 03:44 

Very cool, man. All right. Well, so I think we need a little rapping here. Can you throw something down for us? 

BABA: 03:49 

Sure thing. So I'll do a little-- I'll do a little bit from my Bayesian rap. And then you throw some concepts at me and I'll do a freestyle. Even though all we have is the conference ambiance in the background. We don't have any beats in house. But so the Bayesian rap goes, let me show you how to be a good Bayesian. Change your predictions after taking information in. And if you're thinking I'll be less than amazing, let's adjust those expectations. So wait. What's a Bayesian? It's someone who cares about evidence and doesn't jump to assumptions based on intuitions and prejudice. A Bayesian makes predictions on the best available info and adjusts the probability because every belief is provisional. And when I kick a flow, mostly I'm watching eyes widen and maybe because my likeness lowers expectations of tight rhyming. And how would I know unless I'm rhyming in front of a bunch of blind men dropping placebo-controlled science like Richard Feynman. Is it because of my looks or the fact that I talk like I'm mad for books? Either way, in the ecosystem of rap, I’m the platypus. So my patron saint on stage is Reverend Bayes. Just watch as I update the predictions in everyone’s brains. So let me show you how to be a good Bayesian. Change calculations after taking fresh data in. Those predictions that your brain is making, let's get them onto solid foundations. And if you're thinking I'll be less than amazing, let's adjust those expectations. 

BRIAN: 05:12 


BABA: 05:12 

There we go. 

BRIAN: 05:12 

That was nice. That was awesome, man. People are going to love this when you bust this out on stage. 

BABA: 05:17 

Probability theory in rhyme. It's necessary. And then tonight, my sets tonight are going to be all freestyle. So I have no tracks, just beats. 

BRIAN: 05:26 

No tracks? 

BABA: 05:26 

And the audience will throw stuff at me. I'm not sure how we're going to do it. In the past, I've done it with a whiteboard or they just shout at me. Or maybe they'll be tweeting hashtags that'll show up on the screen. And I just have to improvise on whatever they say. 

BRIAN: 05:39 

Okay. So do we want to try one here? 

BABA: 05:41 

Yeah. Hit me with some concepts that you want me to work into a rhyme. And I'll freestyle it. 

BRIAN: 05:44 

Let me see here. One of the things we talk about all the time here is about the thrill of solving. It's that moment when you solve a problem. Something like that. How do you feel when you get that thrill, right? 

BABA: 05:55 

Sure. Okay. That's it? You just want me to-- many different angles on that? 

BRIAN: 05:58 

Yeah. Let's see what you got, man. Yeah. 

BABA: 06:00 

Okay. Yeah. Check it. All right. Don't try to freak out, man. But I'll show you the thrill of solving a freestyle rap. That's how I kick it, so the mood improves. Every time I kick a lyric, it's a Rubik's Cube. Can't you see these are freestyles that I blaze? My listeners are like rats navigating a maze. They're like, "Oh my God. I just found the cheese," when I'm ripping my probability Bayesian steez. See? That's the way that I rip it. People are loving me. Every single second is the thrill of discovery. They're like, "Damn, listen to this white guy rhyme." Suddenly, in this moment, I'm feeling like Einstein. Yeah. Check it. All the freestyles I bust, make my audience feel like they are Elon Musk taking it to the spaces with SpaceX. That's the way that I take dull stuff and just replace it. This is Alteryx. It's not my fault I'm pissed. I'm just chilling right now, taking all these alcoholic sips of the data that I'm coming into the room to figure out. That's the thrill that you talked about. Trying to figure out all the puzzles, and the riddles, and the things around us that are totally confusing and don't ground us. See, what I'm saying? This is freestyle rap. And that thrill of discovery is nothing less than orgasmic. 

BRIAN: 07:10 

Wow. Dude, that was sick. I know people on the show can't see us. I am smiling ear to ear right now and bobbing my head. This was unbelievable. So I got one more for you. I got one more. So we talk about something we call visualytics, which is-- everybody knows you have data. You have the numbers floating around. But how do you-- what does it mean when you look at data and you see it in front of you? Everything you look at is data. Maybe that's a cool concept. 

BABA: 07:37 

Okay. All right. That concept is about to get captured. I'm a rap nerd, but I confess also a graph nerd. See what I'm saying? When a freestyle I'm blazing in your mind, it's like real-time data visualization. Come on, listen up. You'll see the visual lyrics. But really, it's a verbal version of visualytics. You got to visualize it and really analyze it to find stuff in it that produces mad surprises. Come on, let's just be true with this. Humans are naturally very visually intuitive. So there's a way that you could explain it with numbers. But no. Showing people with colors, that's how you work wonders. [inaudible]. 

BRIAN: 08:17 

Bam. Pow. Wow, man. That's awesome. So the last question I have for you is-- I'm just thinking about-- I'm sitting here listening to you do this. And I'm trying to wrap my head around how you do it so quickly. And here, we talk about workflows. How do you put-- how does that happen in your head? How do you do that? 

BABA: 08:36 

You think Alteryx's software is fast? 

BRIAN: 08:40 


BABA: 08:40 

What kind of cognitive power does it take to flip rhymes real-- I just practice a lot. Basically, it's a mix of having catalogs of rhymes that you can quickly draw from. Because I've read the dictionary [inaudible] and thought my way through a lot of rhymes. And just the instincts of it. And then also, obviously, you do have to-- I can't sleepwalk through it. I got to be focused and thinking quick. Actually, the best analogy for it is really like over time, sampling like CD players used to do. Reading a few seconds ahead. So if it skips, you don't see the skip. That's what my brain is trying to do. I'm like-- 

BRIAN: 09:14 

So the word that's coming out of your mouth-- how many words ahead are you in your head? 

BABA: 09:19 

How many words ahead? I think in seconds, not words. Because I don't really know what the words are going to be. But it's more like I know the next concept or the next sound that I'm trying to make my way to. And then I'm just trusting my instincts to fill in all of the words that'll get me there. And it'll make sense. And sometimes, when I go back and watch a video of a freestyle or listen to it, I'm like, "Ah man, I'm just talking gibberish right there." But as long as it lands on something that makes sense, that's what really matters. I think it's kind of a mix of the Daniel Kahneman thinking fast and slow. You're slow thinking destinations while fast thinking routes to navigate there. 

BRIAN: 09:55 

That's so cool. Well, hey, man, where do people go to get more Baba Brinkman? Where can they find out more? 

BABA: 10:00 

You can type in It's on Twitter. It's on Facebook. And also my series of records-- my brand is the Rap Guides. So if you type in rap guide to into anything, Spotify, iTunes. Online, I've put out eight different rap guides to various subjects at this point. And if you're in New York, come check out the live show. It's four nights a week off Broadway. 

BRIAN: 10:21 

So if I study up over the next year, can we come back and do a battle? 

BABA: 10:25 

Yeah. Totally. 

BRIAN: 10:27 

Let's do this, man. 

BABA: 10:28 

Do a battle tomorrow if you want. But no, you take a year to go back and train. Go to the Shaolin Temple. And then next year, people can throw us concepts and we'll throw down. 

BRIAN: 10:36 

Very cool, man. Hey, thanks for doing this. And enjoy the rest of the show. 

BABA: 10:39 

My pleasure. 

BRIAN: 10:39 

All right. Take care. 

BABA: 10:40 

Nice to meet you. 



BRIAN: 10:45 

Okay. So I'm back with a couple of our awesome user-group-leader-type people. So why don't you introduce yourselves? 

KAYLA: 10:52 

Hi. My name is Kayla Kurtz. And I'm am with Precision Dialogue, an RRD company. I've been using Alteryx since 2013. And I've been running the Chicago User Group for the last year. 

BRIAN: 11:04 


ANTHONY: 11:05 

All right. Great. My name is Anthony Wright. I'm the director of strategic marketing and analysis for Quanex Building Products. We supply window and cabinet manufacturers across the United States. And I've been using Alteryx for about four years along with Tableau. So I love coming to the conferences. And I actually host the user group in Houston, Texas where our corporate office is. 

BRIAN: 11:27 

Okay. Great. So I see three years on yours. I see one year. So you're fresh. Let's start with you. How does this feel? Or this is your second one? Or this is--? 

KAYLA: 11:33 

Yeah. This is my second one. Yep. I really love the whole Alteryx convention. It's wonderful. The Solution Center is by far my favorite piece of the puzzle. I bring all my problems. I compile them actually. And I sit down with one of the ACEs or one of the specialists over there. And we work through all of our issues. It's wonderful. 

BRIAN: 11:55 

Very cool. How about you? What have you been up to? 

ANTHONY: 11:56 

Well, I love coming to the conferences. For me, it's about seeing other companies in different industries and how they solve their problems utilizing Alteryx. That means the most to me. I have a very simple forecasting approach for displaying our forecast for windows, and shipments, and things of that nature. So I love seeing other companies deal with their complex problems and how they apply Alteryx to use that. 

BRIAN: 12:26 

Okay. Great. So how do we feel about the keynote this morning? How did that land with you guys? 

ANTHONY: 12:33 

The music was kind of loud. 

KAYLA: 12:35 

It was excellent. The Doors cover band was excellent. When we first got those initial tickets, I was like, "What's going on here?" The Doors opened, but it's a cover band. It was excellent. A lot of the points that Dean made really hit home. And I'm excited for what's up and coming in the Alteryx world. 

ANTHONY: 12:53 

Yeah. I loved some of the new features that they're going to bring out. The caching of the workflows. 

BRIAN: 12:58 

That was a crowd-pleaser. 

ANTHONY: 12:59 

Oh my God. 

KAYLA: 13:00 

Yep. I agree. 

ANTHONY: 13:02 

It's amazing. So I love how you guys are constantly upgrading the platform and keeping it fresh, keeping it relevant. And it's great stuff. 

BRIAN: 13:09 

Yeah. Well, I've got to tell you, it's funny. I feel like every company's always going to tell you, "Oh, we love our customers. We want their feedback." But at Alteryx, we really take that to heart. And I love those kinds of features. And I also love the Nick Jewell demo. The new aligning tool, which is such a small thing. It's not some big headline feature, but you can just tell when he showed it, the whole room gasped. And there was this huge excitement. So I love stuff like that. So that's great. So what else you doing the rest of the week? What does your plan look like? 

KAYLA: 13:40 

Well, actually, we're doing a ad hoc user group meeting here for the Chicagoland area. So just promoting to people that haven't joined the group yet. Letting them know what it's about. Also speaking on a panel about the user groups. There's a group of five of us that will be presenting our experience, our best uses, how we get people to volunteer their time and share their experiences with all of us. That's how we learn. We learn from each other. And just getting people motivated and comfortable with the tools. Everyone has their own skill sets. Everyone has their own strengths. And just working together really in the user groups to help everyone with their issues. So. 

ANTHONY: 14:25 

And our user group, we've been strategizing. We were just talking today that, "Hey, we need to do an Alteryx for Good project together as a user group." And that would be the best way for us to learn from each other, and see some of the different skill sets, and also have it as a bonding experience for us to work together and utilize data for good. And I have connections with demographic data providers that-- I think they would love to participate in that type of a project. And so there's no reason why we're not utilizing these skills to actively help benefit some non-profits. So I love the opportunity that would present. But that's our year goal this year-- is to, as a user group, find an Alteryx for Good project in Houston and apply ourselves. 

BRIAN: 15:15 

That's awesome. Yeah. There's just sort of this indelible connection between the Community and the user groups in Alteryx for Good that I think is just wonderful. And we had Mark Frisch up here yesterday. 

KAYLA: 15:26 

Love Mark. 

BRIAN: 15:26 

He won the award for some of the Alteryx for Good work that he had done through user groups and things. So thank you guys so much for doing that. That's awesome. Great. So where do people go to find out more? Are you on Twitter? Are you on the Community? Where should people go? 

KAYLA: 15:41 

The Community is the best resource we find. We're also on LinkedIn. Otherwise, I have a very large presence online. The Chicago User Group. Just find me. My email address is on there. My phone number's on there. You have questions, comments, scathing rebuttals, anything. 

BRIAN: 15:57 

We're all going to Chicago. 

ANTHONY: 15:58 

Yeah. Definitely look in the Community. You can find our user group and where we're meeting. We're actually meeting this month. So it's a great time to connect. And you can find me on LinkedIn as well. 

BRIAN: 16:07 

Very cool. Well, hey, thanks for doing this. Enjoy the rest of the show. And we'll see you around the next few days. 

ANTHONY: 16:12 

Great. Thank you, Brian. 

KAYLA: 16:12 

Thank you very much. 

BRIAN: 16:13 

Thank you. 



GARTH: 16:20 

Hey everybody. This is Garth, standing in for Brian. He went to grab lunch, I think. But I think reality he's sleeping in his hotel room. And I don't know if he's ever coming back. So I am here with John Swift and Ben Edelman. Guys, how you doing? 

JOHN: 16:36 


BEN: 16:36 

Yeah, we're doing great. 

GARTH: 16:37 

Awesome. Great to have you up here. I'm just going to get right into it. Tell us a little bit about your time here. What have you enjoyed? Maybe a little bit about yourself. Wherever you want to start. And maybe Ben. Why don't we begin with you? 

BEN: 16:49 

Sure. Yeah. I've been an Alteryx user for going on three years now. This is actually my third conference. And really excited to be here. I always love the trainings. I took three of them yesterday. Got some instruction on parsing, which I've desperately needed for a while. So I'm very excited about that. 

GARTH: 17:05 

Awesome. And John? 

JOHN: 17:07 

Yeah, later he's going to have to show me that parsing trick. 

GARTH: 17:09 

Nice. People helping people. Wonderful. 

JOHN: 17:12 

Yeah. That's really what we're doing, right? It's the whole reason we're playing with data. But for me, yesterday, there was a lot of predictive stuff dealing with some R scripts and some of the tools that plug into that. 

GARTH: 17:27 

Any aha moments for either of you guys? Or awesome, I'm glad I finally have that answer, or have that direction, or whatever? 

BEN: 17:34 

Honestly, that's my favorite thing about Inspire. It's the stuff you pick up that you didn't even know you needed to know. And last year was the-- you could do an input macro. And it blew my mind and it made everything 10 times faster. And this year it was one little thing about how to import tab delimited files that I-- super, super helpful. I do it all the time. And now I have an efficient way to do it. 

GARTH: 17:56 

Awesome, awesome. 

JOHN: 17:57 

Yeah. Our organization has a lot of different groups that need help with data. And they often come to us. So it's a lot of cases where I don't know how to do it. And I don't have time to learn it when I'm in the middle of the thick of things. And coming here is great because I've had 100 ideas for how to do things for other groups that sometimes, I just need to teach them what I'm learning here. And sometimes I need to show them how to do it and do it for them. But there's a lot of solutions that I didn't even know were solutions. 

GARTH: 18:32 

Yeah. Right, right. That's actually a good point and maybe a good way to segue into the next question. You come out here and you learn a lot of maybe new ideas, some new tips, some new tricks. You get familiar with one of our new products. Whatever the case might be. What is it that-- John, we'll go with you-- what encouraged you to come out here? I see that you don't have a button. So you're a first-time Inspire attendee. 

JOHN: 18:58 

Yeah. I wanted to go last year, but life got in the way. So-- 

GARTH: 19:01 

Oh, it turns out that happens sometimes. 

JOHN: 19:03 

Occasionally, things pop up. 

GARTH: 19:04 

Yeah, I've heard about that. I've never happened to me because I'm always here, all day, every day. So life never gets in my way. I have to be here. Anyway. 

JOHN: 19:14 

I've been using it a couple years. So I was really excited about the chance to get out here and get some actual, formal training on how to do some of the things that I've always wondered about. And sometimes we fight through not really understanding what the tools are for. And so we'll try the wrong tool, and another wrong tool, and eventually, stumble on something we think works. But it takes 12 hours to run. And then I'm learning all the little ways to cut that down to 12 minutes instead of 12 hours. So yeah, it's great. 

GARTH: 19:48 

Cool. Ben? 

BEN: 19:49 

Yeah. It's really, really helpful at Inspire with just the people you meet and kind of get to talking about the different problems that you encounter. You get a whole bunch of different perspectives, and grow your network, and generally have a really good time. 

GARTH: 20:10 

Yeah. We can probably sit here, the three of us, and talk about the things we've learned, the problems that we've solved because we attended a session. Some work problems that were solved that just hours or minutes ago-- whatever. And we're excited about it. Putting the technology aside, part of this podcast is just to understand the people. Who is involved in our Alteryx ecosystem? And we know the tools they care about, because you're part of this ecosystem. But what else is interesting for you? And so with that being said, anything exciting you're looking forward to in this conference? Anything that you're just like, "Forget about the technology." Anything you're looking forward to? And it doesn't even have to be part of the conference. 

BEN: 20:55 

So full disclosure, I lead the DC user group. And so they're a fantastic bunch of people. And I'm going to be on the user group booth for a little bit tomorrow. And I'm really looking forward to that. And hopefully, we'll sign up some more folks for that. And we meet every quarter. And it's just so neat to interact with people outside of the conference that love Alteryx just as much-- because not everybody can make it. So I could bring a little bit of Inspire back. 

GARTH: 21:22 

100%. And it's a great way to see some friends you haven't seen in a year and whatnot. 

BEN: 21:26 


JOHN: 21:27 

Yeah. I think for me, probably, the thing I'm most jazzed about is being able to bring it back to the office and share with the other two dozen users that are sitting around me that weren't able to make it out. And be able to help them solve their own problems. 

GARTH: 21:46 

So you bring it back and rub it in your-- rub it in their face that you got to go and they-- I'm picking up the underlying message. 

JOHN: 21:51 

It's not Vegas, but we might not tell all the stories. 

GARTH: 21:54 

That's right. That's right. You and Mickey, you've got a shared secret. I got it. All right, guys. Well, I appreciate your time. It looks like we've got some food for you. So that's good. And we can't wait to [have?] everybody hear your wonderful answers on our podcast. 

JOHN: 22:11 

Thank you so much. 

GARTH: 22:12 

You can come out tomorrow. 

JOHN: 22:12 

Hey, thanks for having us. 

BEN: 22:12 

You got a new subscriber. Yeah. 

GARTH: 22:14 

Yeah. Thanks, guys. 

BEN: 22:15 




GARTH: 22:19 

I am here standing with Steve Ahlgren. And I'm going to leave it at that. I'm going to let Steve do a little bit of an introduction of himself. And Steve, how are you doing? 

STEVE: 22:27 

I'm doing great, Garth. How you doing? 

GARTH: 22:28 

I'm doing fantastic. So tell us about yourself, who you are, and why you matter to us, and why you're here. 

STEVE: 22:34 

Yeah. Sounds good. So who am I? Well, I'm a structural geologist by training. So I have degrees in computer science and geology. And I was fortunate enough to leave my PhD before I finished it. And I found myself in the oil and gas industry. And then six years ago, I came to Alteryx because I was-- I'll be honest with you, I was a little bit bored in my last job. I haven't been bored since. 

GARTH: 22:54 

Well, it sounds riveting. But okay. I get it. 

STEVE: 22:57 

Yeah. I needed a new challenge. And I'll tell you, what really sets Alteryx apart for me in my career is that-- and I see every day at Inspire-- is just we change people's lives on a daily basis. And that's what really fuels me as a developer. 

GARTH: 23:08 

Absolutely. And as a developer, I have had the pleasure to work with Steve and actually watch Steve for many years. So tell me a little bit about what you're doing right now and exactly who you are in the organization. And what I'd really like people to hear is just-- I want people to get introduced to the people that make the product. The people that make the reasons to drive-- I don't know how many people are here today at this conference. But the product that we make is why people are here. 

STEVE: 23:39 

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So I'm a principal developer in the back end, the engine. And my responsibility largely was Server. So I took over Server before the 8 release, which would be about 2012. And brought Server forward through a number of releases. And gosh, since then, Garth, I've done Kerberos integration. I did our HDFS I/O, worked a lot with Hadoop. Just recently, we led the Spark Direct project to bring Spark to the mass. 

GARTH: 24:06 

Got some big applause today. 

STEVE: 24:08 

Yeah. It was good to see. And it was really an honor for me to be onstage in Inspire UK last fall talking about Spark Direct to clients. And that was a really cool experience. 

GARTH: 24:18 

Yeah. And in addition, I think Steve's being a little humble here. But he is a true mentor here in the organization. People from all parts of the development stack look to Steve for advice and guidance on all sorts of-- there's few people that know as much about our product as Steve here does. So it's always nice to have him around or in the office. That being said, I'm going to stop pumping your tires because you hear that all the time. Let's turn it back to your experience here and what kind of conversations you're hearing with our customers. Because you and I are both spending some time in the Solution Center and having unique and fun conversations. Is there anything new or anything fun? What's going on? 

STEVE: 25:03 

Yeah. That's a great question. What I'm hearing this year is a lot what I hear in previous years. This is my sixth Inspire. And a common theme I hear is-- I heard it three times yesterday. Three clients yesterday said, "This trip has already paid for itself." And that was by 10:30 yesterday morning. 

GARTH: 25:18 

Yep. Yeah. The conference hadn't officially begun. 

STEVE: 25:23 

Yeah, exactly. Just in the training session. So I love to hear that. And today, the problems are around a lot of data prep and blend problems. We're still seeing the same challenges, which is disparate data sources. How do I get all my data in one spot? How do I land it in my system of record? Lot of new-fueled interest in Hadoop and Spark, which excites me a lot. But the same problems in Spark. Mainly, how do I use it? How do I democratize it? So I'm really pushing the-- I'm really pushing the concept of making Spark easier to use, which means creating a workflow, getting your data in one spot. And then publishing it to a gallery. So it's just a run button away from orchestrating a cluster in the back end. 

GARTH: 26:01 

And that's the challenge, isn't it? Because we think about all of these environments that we're trying to deliver to our customers to make it easy and intuitive to get from point A to point B. And what we are really doing is we are abstracting away all of the hard problems that we've worked through and solved. The engineers, meaning, have worked through these hard problems to make the experience from the user side that much more enjoyable. So it's really important to me that we highlight people like Steve, because it looks great and feels great. And it's fun to use. Parts of our product. But it really is important to understand that the people behind those experiences. The problems that they were smart enough to figure out that others couldn't. So Steve, I'm really glad to have you here. I'm sure in the future, we're going to try and have you on a longer full episode of the podcast. You're actually on our list. You didn't know that. But we're going to bring you back. 

STEVE: 27:03 

I know it now. 

GARTH: 27:04 

And I want people to learn more about Steve Ahlgren, and who he is, and why he matters to us, and why he should matter to all of you. All right, Steve. Thanks. I appreciate your time. 

STEVE: 27:12 

Appreciate it, Garth. 

GARTH: 27:13 

You bet. 

STEVE: 27:14 

Yeah. Thanks, man. Have a great Inspire. 

GARTH: 27:15 




BRIAN: 27:20 

All right. So we're back with Bill Abt and Neil Ryan. How you guys doing so far? 

NEIL: 27:24 

Feeling good. 

BILL: 27:25 

Yeah, great. 

BRIAN: 27:26 

Yeah. What have the last couple days of the conference been like for you? 

BILL: 27:29 

Well, yesterday was a long one. That's for sure. Did the, I guess, what is it? Alteryx BUILD Hackathon? Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Didn't know what to expect. Sometimes I come here, have too much fun. But I figured I'd have a little-- try and be a little more productive. And I think yesterday fit the bill. It was a great collaboration. Met some new people from all over with a pretty diverse skill set. And it was pretty cool to watch us all come together and produce a presentation that at least got us into the finals today. And that was fun. A lot of fun. 

BRIAN: 28:08 

Very cool. So Neil, tell us a little bit about Alteryx BUILD. 

NEIL: 28:12 

Yeah, sure. So BUILD is our first ever hackathon that we ran at Inspire this year. I helped plan it. So when Bill says that he didn't know what to expect, I knew a little better than him. But I still didn't really know what to expect because it was our first one. I didn't know how many people would show up. I didn't know what kind of stuff they'd build with their projects. Because we wanted it to be open-ended. We wanted people to build what they're passionate about. But turned out great. We got over 100 people participating. Bill and his team met at the hackathon and worked on a project to benefit a non-profit. That is going to help them out immensely, I think. I've been IMing with the person who works there. Water for People. And I showed her a picture of the stuff you guys were working on. She's super excited. So she can't wait to her hands on your presentation, start using what you built for them. 

BILL: 29:15 

I'll tell you, yesterday, we wished that she was here so we could have bounced a little more guided questions to help us down the right path. But yeah, amongst our team, it was really interesting, if you think about it. To have people that are analysts at heart. Everybody that's here really has a passion for Alteryx generally. And to have seven or eight people focusing on their work for eight hours, that's valuable. And that's actually pretty cool what we-- the questions that we were asking. And it's too bad we can't come together as a-- we could do some consulting work for these guys probably. So. Yeah. They should come next time, I would say. 

NEIL: 30:03 

Yeah. That's a really good idea. 

BILL: 30:04 

There's a recommendation. If they're going to donate their data-- because I have a feeling we had a few recommendations for them that they could have seen right away how we hit some barriers and didn't know which path to go down. So. But yeah, it was learning for everybody, I think. 

BRIAN: 30:23 

Very cool. So Neil, tell us, what were some of the winners? Have they been announced yet? And what does that look like? And what were some of the-- we had some pretty cool prizes, right? 

NEIL: 30:33 

Yeah. So there were a lot of projects submitted at the end of the day yesterday. And we had to narrow it down to the top three last night to give the top three a little time to prepare to present today. So top three all were rewarded with a new custom Alteryx hoodie. The top prize, the grand prize was free passes to next year's Inspire as well as some real nerdy swag that, Brian, you helped come up with. So they both picked a custom Alteryx mechanical keyboard. So super heavy. Very clicky. I hope they're not hard typists. Because they're going to annoy whoever's sitting next to them. 

BRIAN: 31:18 

Well, that's the point. You've got to get the loudest keyboard to establish dominance in the office, right? 

NEIL: 31:22 

Oh, I see. I see. 

BRIAN: 31:25 

Very cool. So where do people go to find out more about BUILD? 

NEIL: 31:28 

So that's a good question. Well, first of all, you, of course, go to the Alteryx Community. Right now, it's under, I think, the culture and events area of Alteryx Community. You'll find more information about some of the teams that formed ahead of time. Because they were swapping around ideas before the event. And we will definitely be doing some blog posts coming up about the top three projects. Because I think everybody deserves to see what these people came up with. Because it was awesome. 

BRIAN: 32:08 

Very cool, very cool. Well, hey, Bill, I want to pick on you for a minute. I noticed you have something kind of coveted, which is the five-plus year badge on your badge there. 

BILL: 32:18 

I wear it with honor. 

BRIAN: 32:19 

You wear it with-- so what number is this for you? 

BILL: 32:21 

This is actually my seventh. 

BRIAN: 32:22 

Your seventh. Okay. 

BILL: 32:23 

I just literally just figured this out a little while ago. I went through the cities of, yeah, I was here, here, and here. But yeah. This is number seven. 

BRIAN: 32:32 

Okay. So how does this one ranking so far for you? 

BILL: 32:34 

Well, everyone is a lot of fun for one thing. Always somehow walk away with something unexpected sometimes. So this is my seventh one. I am a self-proclaimed, unsolicited ambassador for Alteryx. So that's kind of-- I definitely am an advocate for the tool. But yeah, it's strange. I always seem to meet new people and come away with something useful from these conferences. Again, Inspire is the absolute best name. Because that's really what it does. But yeah. No, it's bigger and bigger. That's for sure. So yeah. They all have their charm. But this one's right in line with all the other ones. A lot of fun. 

BRIAN: 33:20 

Very cool. Well, hey. Thanks for coming back for seven times in a row. I appreciate that. 

BILL: 33:23 

I'll be here for eight too. 

BRIAN: 33:24 

You'll be here for eight? 

BILL: 33:25 

Oh, absolutely. 

BRIAN: 33:25 

And nine? And 10? 

BILL: 33:26 

And hopefully, I'll bring more people with me. 

NEIL: 33:27 

Yeah. Let's do that. 

BRIAN: 33:28 

Very cool. Well, hey. Thanks, guys. We'll have links in the show notes to BUILD so people can go check that out. And yeah, it'll be great when we can see some more of that work out there. It'll be awesome. All right. Thanks, guys. Have a good one. 

NEIL: 33:39 

Great. Thank you. 

BILL: 33:39 


BRIAN: 33:40 

All right. Bye-bye. 



JOSH: 33:47 

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