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Inspire 2019 | Buzz

Stay up-to-date, connect with peers & share your experience!

2019 Grand Prix Europe & Challenge Index

@jarrod & @patrick_digan, whilst trolling the rest of of us #TeamHorizontal folks, do make a good point... the best way to train is to be comfortable with what you're going to be asked to do up there. Keep in mind that you will NOT be asked to solve an impossible problem... The goal is to have everyone on stage be able to solve it in a reasonable amount of time, with nail-biting photo finishes even better! (I can attest to the positive benefits of adrenaline in this exact scenario haha - a countdown clock can be an incredible motivator!). 


If I were to prepare a Rocky-esque training regimen for the next Grand Prix, I think it would have 3 elements:


1. Weekly Challenges (in case you haven't yet picked up on this hint from literally every other response to this question so far). If you haven't gone through as many Weekly Challenges as humanly possible before the Grand Prix, you're missing out on a key training resource. For me personally, I actually didn't spend a lot of time practicing before the Grand Prix - @Garrett , I'm with you on this one: just wing it!! - but in the dismal Round 2 that I didn't finish, it was absolutely affected by a Predictive training I had taken earlier in the day. I was trying to copy exactly what I'd learned that morning instead of thinking through what the problem was actually asking, and because I reacted robotically instead of critically thinking through it, I ended up trying to solve the wrong thing. You can actually overtrain if you're too focused on memorizing every little thing. What's far more important is that you know how to pause, think through what the problem is asking you to do, go find the answer if you aren't quite sure, and then methodically tackle it one element at a time. a.k.a. READ THE QUESTION.


2. Get used to the physical environment you'll be in on stage, particularly if you are used to working in a quiet home office.  Try solving a few Weekly Challenges in a noisy and crowded location with headphones on (a good playlist is excellent motivation - I can still recall which songs on my playlist got me amped up on stage, and at one point during the Grand Prix, I even remember singing along while I was solving). @BenMoss is totally right about having one of your favorite beverages to help with the nerves - a little liquid courage goes a long way. (Just keep your beer a little farther away from your keyboard than I did on stage... Oops.) Try out the standing desk like @PhilipMannering, get used to working on laptops & monitors that are not your own, and practice shortcuts like @BarnesK recommends to speed up your game - there are some pretty sweet features now with things like Cache & Run that could give you that 1 or 2 second advantage. Put a giant clock counting down in front of you. Ignore everyone as they walk by your table in Starbucks and wonder what on earth you are doing while your buddy stands behind you waving a checkered flag... the more random physical elements you can introduce to your practice routine ahead of time, the less they will fluster you on stage.


3. Introduce unexpected challenges to your problem solving practice to get used to those curve-balls - try building an entire workflow without hitting the Run button until you've added all the tools to solve it, so that you get used to thinking about your whole end-to-end solution... or build a workflow without using the most obvious tools, such as coming up with aggregated amounts without using a Summarize tool. These might not be things that actually come up during the Grand Prix, but they DO help you learn to react & adapt to unexpected situations, and to think through several ways to solve the same problem. This can be super helpful when you are blanking out on stage on something that might seem like it should be obvious... if you're used to solving things in several different ways, you'll be far less likely to suffer from Solver's Block.


Most important advice I can offer, however, is to HAVE FUN. Don't overthink it - you're up there on stage for a reason, and it's because you're a badass analytics machine. So get out there and show 'em how it's done!!


Cheers - and good luck!!!




Alteryx Certified Partner

@Garrett Guilty. That's basically what it comes down to though. Cheating by putting in lots of hard work and preparation.