About Big Data Dave

You have stumbled into the blog of a Snowflake, Tableau and Big Data Enthusiast.  This blog will cover tips, tricks, learnings and other material from my day to day experiences working with some of the largest customers, partners and data enthusiasts around the globe.  I have a large backlog of topics to fill, then I will move forward with newer experiences. I will focus on pushing the limits of Tableau, Tableau Server auditing, SQL Integration, Snowflake performance, Snowflake query history, Snowflake tricks and Tableau+Snowflake Integration.

Figure 1: Presenting at AWS re:Invent 2019

Who is Writing the Blog?

My name is David A Spezia and I have had the pleasure of working with/for two great technologies over the last decade, Tableau and Snowflake.  I am passionate about all things data, especially unlocking the story behind the data using Tableau. I was a Field CTO level sales engineer while in London UK for Tableau, as well as the Big Data Product Manager for a stint.  Currently at Snowflake I am on the first team to support Silicon Valley Major Accounts. Throughout my last decade of work for these two great technologies I have been fortunate enough to travel to 30 distinct countries. These are my own experiences, opinions and thoughts, and in no way reflect the interests or direction of Tableau or Snowflake.  In other words, this one is on me!

Figure 2: Map of my travels since January 1, 2012 (size of the circle is the number of nights in that location)

Why Write This Blog?

Data is ubiquitous and organizations large and small, smart and immature all have problems unlocking its value.  I am hoping, in some small part, to advance data literacy within the Tableau and Snowflake communities. I have so many experiences I want to share, and this blog will be a great conduit to share these with others who may be seeking knowledge.

Love 1: Tableau

I still remember in December 2009 when a colleague of mine asked a question.  “David, you like Data, have you ever heard of Tableau?”. We confirmed first it was not French, then downloaded Tableau Desktop, and hooked it to an Oracle Database of all Automotive Customers for one of the Big Three.  The next double click changed my life, Zip Code…30 million customers in one map in less than 60 seconds, jaw dropped, life altered.

Fast forward two years while I was consulting on a customer 360 project for a Detroit bank.  I was working with this great salesperson from Tableau, Beau Mylroie. I said, “Hey Beau, you seem to really like it at Tableau, will you submit my resume?”.  A couple weeks later in March 2012 I joined Tableau as the 3rd Architect in Consulting. What a ride that was. I took my family to London, visited so many places and made deep friendships I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Thank you to the founders and professional services management for taking a shot on this crazy data guy from Detroit.

Love 2: Snowflake

It’s summer 2016 and I am working with a large software vendor in Europe selling them Tableau to front end a product division.  We loaded two fact tables to a Hadoop system with 6 billion and 50 billion records. The cross product from the conformed dimensions between the facts was over 250 billion records.  I stood up 20, then 40, then 60 machines and always ran out of memory in Hadoop trying to join the two facts. I wasted 60 days of time on this project, I wasted time of folks from the Hadoop vendor and other Hadoop accelerators.  I was really trying, a 7 figure deal and my pride was on the line. Then I found Snowflake through a partner in Sweden…in two freaking days I was able to accomplish what I could not in 60 days. I accomplished this on my own, because the software just works. Thank you Thiery and Benoit (yes, actually French) for building this juggernaut of a product.

Fast forward to winter 2019 and I was looking for a big change.  I was just coming back from 4.5 years in London and was struggling to reassimilate to Detroit culture (and winter).  I called my friends at Snowflake and told them I need to be working for this amazing product. April 4th was my last day at Tableau, I flew to San Francisco and started working for Snowflake April 8th.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on my Snowlake account. Time off would have delayed my time to get tinkering, hacking and trying to break Snowflake.

Figure 3: Sums up the above story with some cheek

Strap In

Get ready, I will be blogging about Tableau, Snowflake and maybe some tanks.  Please subscribe or tell your friends if you want to take the red pill and be on this journey with me.  I plan on blogging two times a month for the near future.

I want to thank my friends at Tableau Love (https://tableaulove.com/), Tableau Fans (https://tableaufans.com/)  and the Last Data Bender (https://blog.databender.net/) for being so inspiring.