In the past few months, we delivered an increasing number of sessions online. It did the job as a replacement for in-person events, but we did not particularly enjoy the lack of interaction among other limitations. We want to provide our entire audience with a better experience of online technical sessions.

What is the problem?

We miss traveling to meet our students and mentees… So we want a live session to be interactive, even if it is being streamed live! But online sessions do not provide the level of interaction that we would prefer. We do not receive many questions from the audience, and in general, there is a very low level of interaction – to the point where it is hard to justify why the same session should be delivered again and again instead of being recorded and delivered only once.

Why is this happening?

The technical session probably already contains a lot of content that people want to be able to absorb. This content requires attention, and it is not easy to ask questions while listening to what is being said. It does not seem to be a problem with the delivery platform: we tried almost all the conference tools available, and the choice of user interface did not have any impact. The problem is consistent; even though there are differences between the tools being used, they do not affect the overall interaction that much.

That is the kind of energy we want, and a clue that we needed to rethink the content!

Did we try something else?

One possibility would be to record the session in advance and answer people’s questions online during the delivery. We tried this approach in a few online conferences. But it forces people who are asking questions during the session to also look at the chat window, and that is distracting.

There is also another problem with this approach: the recorded session usually does not come with “empty” moments designed for questions, so the whole thing can end up being messy.

At the same time, we have observed that Q&A live streaming sessions work much better in this regard. In these events the goal is to just answer questions, without the expectation of a specific topic being described in detail for 30 minutes or more. This format has proven to be a surefire way of guaranteeing interaction with the viewers.

So why not bring together the best of the various formats?

Enter… our idea

We would like to experiment :

  • We prepare and record a technical session – think the usual 45-60 minutes of pure bliss.
  • We publish the recorded session on YouTube, and we also announce the date for a follow-up Q&A live session. We are thinking no less than a few days.
  • The DAX Rookies, Ninjas and Gurus of the world start getting ready for the pure awesomeness that shall ensue. This means preparing questions, either in the comments section of the YouTube video, or to be asked live the day of.
  • The Q&A live session takes place on different channels – see below – and focuses only on the content of the recorded session.

We want YouTube viewers to use the comments section of the video to ask the questions they have prepared. Other YouTube users should use the like button to upvote whether the question is something they may also find useful to see handled live.

As an alternative, we want you to use the chat window to post your questions during the Q&A; we will prioritize questions based on how relevant or helpful to the community they are.

Try, fail, restart!

The only way to see whether this idea can be of use to the community is to try it.

Regardless of whether it is an absolute hit or a total flop, this will be a learning experience for us which should make us better for future events.

Drumroll… Here it goes! We just published the first recorded session on YouTube!!! Here is what it is about, for our first attempt:

Budgeting with Power BI
Recorded Session

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Live Q&A
Thursday, February 11, 5pm UTC

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Budgeting with Power BI

Budgeting is one of the most challenging scenarios in the Power BI arena. For example, you might need to summarize sales in previous years and to allocate the budget forecasts. You must work with data at different granularities and find a way to author DAX code to compute the forecasts at the desired granularity.

When it comes to budgeting, each company is a unique scenario. In this session, you will see common techniques to use when building a budget model with Power BI and Power Query. As a bonus, you see a lot of DAX code and several advanced techniques to allocate values below the granularity of a relationship.

You should watch the recorded video on YouTube at your convenience, before the Q&A session. Post your questions in the comments section, upvote other folks’ questions if they may be helpful to you, then grab popcorn and join us for the live Q&A!