Finding our next big problem: Why we need you at Coalesce
I recently re-read my January 2020 post announcing the first-ever Coalesce. Pre-pandemic, just coming off our huge $1.5m seed round, with 4k members in dbt Slack—the world looked different back then. But what I wrote then still rings true to me:
It’s communities that are responsible for the unbelievably fast rate of innovation in the way that software is written. The migration from waterfall to XP to Agile, the migration from bare metal to virtualization to cloud to containerization — each of these implies changes in the way that software is built. To take advantage of these shifts, practitioners need to be constantly evolving, constantly learning, and the field needs to go through this process together.
Communities act as the primary transmission vector for these (and so many other) new software engineering practices. Communities determine what’s exciting and how it gets used, what new practitioners learn, and where investment dollars flow. And in turn, they give participants professional development, a sense of identity, and a way to give back.
What we—data practitioners—have lacked for so long is the kind of communities that have driven this kind of progress in software engineering. But no longer! If you, like I, have observed massive progress in our field over the past few years it is in no small part due to the emergence of this community.
Coalesce is where data practitioners come to surface the things we’ve all felt in silos. Maybe to find answers for ourselves, but more often to find consensus as a profession. To know that we’re not alone in facing these challenges and we won’t be alone in solving them. Over the past three years, we’ve done just that. We’ve catapulted the modern data stack into prominence, we’ve erased the lines between builders and analyzers. And we revolted when they came for Kimball! (Anyone else remember this session? 😂😂)
But there remain so many unsolved problems—problems that require consensus to solve. The MDS is still too brittle, too opaque, too immature. Years ago we were full of the optimism of the youthful; today we recognize the responsibility that comes with having tens of thousands of organizations and millions of individual humans depending on our workloads.
And this is exactly where we should be. This is progress. This is what moves our profession forward, away from the stasis which ruled it for decades. I’m excited about the new set of problems we face, and I’m more convinced than ever that it will take the entire community to solve them.
On a more personal level…
I’ve really missed meeting the dbt community in person. Meetups, while exhausting for me as an introvert, were absolutely the most electric part of the early dbt journey. The positivity, shared sense of identity and purpose, and sheer helpfulness of these events was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
It’s been such a sadness for me to miss those personal interactions over the past 2+ years of pandemic, and I’m just so excited to get together in person again. I’ll be at the main hub in New Orleans, Drew will be at the London hub, and Connor will be in Sydney, and each of us is just over the moon to get to spend time IRL with you.
Yes, I’ll be giving a keynote. Yes, we’ll be making some genuinely exciting announcements and I’ll have some musings to share about the future. But I’m planning to get that out of the way early in the show and then firmly don my practitioner hat.
My personal goal for Coalesce 2022 is to plant myself in a chair and just bear witness to all you wonderful people, finally, together again. And to learn from all of the amazing work you’re doing. I cannot wait.
If you want to check out more information about what to expect at Coalesce 2022, you can do so here.
And if you’re ready to dive into the agenda, speakers and registration check out the Coalesce page here.
See you in October.
Last modified on: Nov 29, 2023