Press the play button below to listen here or visit the show page at

After attending the Global Azure Bootcamp with my son, I decided to drop in and see what bargains there were at the nearby Toys R Us.

I have fond memories of going to Toys R Us when I was a kid. However, I’ve noticed a distinct decline in the store over the last few years. Given the state of their business, I know I am not the only one to see this once great retailer fall from grace. It was a weird feeling walking through a store I had fond memories of and picking through its carcass like a vulture feasting on roadkill.

Naturally, the pundits will point the blame of Toys R Us at Amazon, but is that fair? Is it accurate?

Well, kind of.

Jeff Bezos recently talked about his “one character” emails that forwards to his senior managers when he fields a complaint from the public. These emails not only strike fear into the hearts of the most senior executives at the online retailer, they also spur these leaders to act immediately to resolve the customer issues. What killed Toys R Us wasn’t Amazon: it was Amazon’s relentless commitment to customer service against large retailers who’ve grown lazy and content.

Now that consumers have a choice, they will choose to do business with those companies that provide the best customer experience.

Ok, But How Does Data Fit into this?

It does indirectly. From the article: [emphasis added]

So those customer complaints gives him front-line insights. If all of his data say one thing and a few customers say something else, he believes the customers. 

“The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right. There’s something wrong with the way you are measuring it,” he explained.

Naturally, as a data professional, those two phrases caught my attention. In fact, I see this as a failing in more than one enterprise: the assumption that the BI dashboard knows all.

It might, but it very well may not. If the data tells a different story from what’s going on in the field, then is the field wrong or is the data incomplete?

Put another way: If the map says that there’s a road and there is no road, is the map wrong or is reality wrong?

Clearly, reality is the ultimate arbiter and if you’re business is retail, then your reality is customer perception, not what the pretty graphics on your KPIs say.

Frank and Andy talked about doing a Deep Dive show where they take a deep look into a particular data science technology, term, or methodology.  And now, they deliver!

In this very first Deep Dive, Frank and Andy discuss the differences between Data Science and Data Engineering, where they overlap, where they differ, and why so many C-level execs can’t seem to figure out the deltas.

Press the play button below to listen here or visit the show page at

Show Notes

Yes, Andy and I are still alive and we’re doing well.

2018 has started off like gangbusters for us both. Andy is going full bore in his consulting business and I’ve been big into Big Data, between delivering five online courses on Hadoop for WintellectNOW.

There is a new episode in the hopper and it will be out soon.

If you’d like to learn how to make the most of Azure Government, then check out these free courses I’m delivering in the DMV area.

  • Reston – Feb. 26 – Feb. 28, 2018; 8:30am – 5:00pm
    Register here
  • Chevy Chase – Mar. 12 – Mar. 14, 2018; 8:30am – 5:00pm
    Register here
  • Elkridge – Mar. 26 – Mar. 28, 2018; 8:30am – 5:00pm
    Register here
  • Reston – Apr. 2 – Apr. 4, 2018; 8:30am – 5:00pm
    Register here
  • Reston – Apr. 23 – Apr. 25, 2018; 8:30am – 5:00pm
    Register here

On that note, here’s a little ear worm for you:

Recently, Andy and I had a chance to chat with Amanda Lange, technology evangelist at Microsoft, games journalist, and data aficionado.

Press the play button below to listen here or visit the show page at

Show Notes

Press the play button below to listen here or visit the show page at

Show Notes

Frank and Andy talk with Kira Wetzel about girls+data, running, Harry Potter, and the stream of consciousness.


Sponsor: – Get a free audio book when you sign up for a free trial!

Sponsor: Enterprise Data & Analytics

Notable Quotes

  • Frank’s home improvement (2:15)
  • Kira’s LinkedIn profile (4:00)
  • Girls and Data (4:30)
  • Data Point: Girls and Data at SQL Saturday Charlotte (5:12)
  • Tableau (6:00)
  • SAP = “Say a Prayer” (9:30)
  • Tourist-y stuff (12:00)
  • “Quaint” (13:00)
  • “Data found me.” (13:30)
  • TI-99, Q*bert, and BurgerTime (16:40)
  • Girls and Data (18:45)
  • “Try your vegetables” (22:00)
  • Andy is right here… (22:15)
  • Shoutout to SQL Cruise (Now Tech Outbound)! (26:15)
  • Richmond SQL Saturday is 24 Mar 2018 (29:00)
  • Running, sleeping, and eating (30:30)
  • Girls on the Run (31:20)
  • Technology is literally changing the world everywhere you look. (32:05)
  • VR Vacations (33:55)
  • A stealthy Microsoft Store visit… (35:45)
  • Running calms the mind. (38:15)
  • @girlsanddata (39:00)
  • Stream of Consciousness and the Harry Potter question, again (41:00)
  • Kira listens to Data Driven (42:45)
  • Is “novitiate” the name of a young wizard? (44:00)