JOIN 2020 Recap: Bringing the digital data conference to you
JOIN, whether in person or “@Home,” is about bringing the Looker community together. It’s a time to highlight the latest product updates, share tips and best practices, and ultimately inspire one another to solve problems and create opportunities with data.
While JOIN was a little different this year, I’m grateful that the switch to a virtual format allowed us to engage with our broader, global community. We hosted speakers from Santiago to Toronto, San Francisco to Tel Aviv, and many places in between. I joined from home in San Diego, California.
The switch to digital also allowed attendees to participate in live, interactive sessions, and learn at their own pace with on-demand content. If you didn’t have time to attend everything you hoped to last week, don’t worry. There’s still time to catch the on-demand sessions which I’ll outline for you below.
Let’s start with the keynote
2020 has been a year of change for everyone. One positive shift here at Looker has been our transition into Google Cloud. This has brought a new look and feel to the Looker brand, and it’s strengthened our capacity to continue on our mission — to empower people through the smarter use of data. Our commitment to supporting our customers — on multiple clouds and multiple databases — remains steadfast as ever.
Releasing new product features to help you deploy all kinds of data experiences in your organization is one of the best ways to demonstrate that support. Some of the latest product updates you can try out for yourself include a native mobile Looker application, general availability of our new dashboards, updates to our Slack integration and the Extension Framework for developers, additions to the Looker Marketplace, and, of course, numerous updates to continuously improve the administration and user experience of Looker.
Hacking connections into a digital world
To create opportunities for networking, discussion, and skill-building, three of our four days of JOIN were dedicated to live interactive sessions. Among the activities were opportunities to connect with Looker experts (including one-on-one meetings with our Department of Customer Love), gather in groups for Women in Tech and Data Circles of Success, as well as virtual workshops and our popular Hackathon.
I’d like to call out our two-day virtual Hackathon for Looker Application Development, which brought together 100+ developers from 14 countries. The participants received hands-on support from experts (including Looker software engineers) and were the first to preview unreleased developer tools. Thank you to everyone who participated. It was incredible to see what you built on the Looker platform.
And a huge congratulations to our winners for the Best Hack and Nearly Best Hack awards:
Best Hack: Natural Language Looker Querying using the GPT-3 AI by Italo D’amota
Using the OpenAI GPT-3 APIs, this hack allows users to ask questions in “human-friendly” terms and get auto-generated Looker Explores in response. Natural language has the potential to help everyone in an organization experience data.
Nearly Best Hack: Linking Looker by Bytecode IO
This hack delivers a zero downtime deployment using a new Looker Extension Framework utility. It can help manage multiple Looker instances by comparing and updating code and content across those instances. The Linking Looker hack provides an interface within a source Looker instance (for example, dev or staging) that checks aspects (such as content or permissions) in a target Looker instance (such as production) for differences and errors prior to deploying LookML.
Delivering Data & Answers to People
Sessions in this track focus on ways to ensure data is accessible, understandable, and actionable for the people who need it to do their jobs.
- Clorox’s tips for delivering data ‘on demand’ across an enterprise
- Mercado Libre’s journey from web analytics to insight delivery
- Qventus shares how they built a “PPE Demand Planner and Post Acute Care Utilization Tool”
- Put your data in COVID-19 context
- Get the most out of your Google Marketing Platform data
- How to bring data to your people — from alerts to mobile
- How to select the right data display
- Set your users up for success
- Leverage product metrics to drive retention and growth
Data Leadership Strategies for Industries
In this track, sessions highlight leaders across industries to share the trends they’re seeing and the strategies they’re following to successfully lead their organizations with data.
- Comcast’s data modernization story
- How Commonwealth Care Alliance uses data to react to COVID-19
- Cisco’s Chief Data Evangelist’s advice for building a data culture at scale
- Farfetch's entrepreneurial approach to unifying around data
- Jobvite’s experience consolidating multiple BI tools across the enterprise
- Contact Center Insights revolutionizes contact centers with AI
Product Tips: Get a sneak peek into the latest GCP innovations with What’s New and Next in Smart Analytics — including a demonstration of the latest industry solution.
Efficient Model Development
Learn about features to help strengthen your analytics foundation and optimize query performance, enabling you to collaborate and extend your core data model to new parts of your business.
- AppysFlyer shares tips for efficient data modeling and analyzing dozens of petabytes of data
- MandM Direct shares how they created a sophisticated alerting system
- Sunrun shares their experience and advice for providing governed data at enterprise scale
- Learn about the Looker IDE (development environment)
- How Looker fits in with machine learning workflows (with BQML)
- Manage multiple Looker instances
- Optimize queries with aggregate awareness
- The benefits of Looker’s transformation capabilities in comparison to traditional ETL
Data Application Platform
Did you know you can build data applications with Looker? This track highlights cost-efficient strategies for accelerating data application development and driving revenue with the full spectrum of Looker developer tools.
- Fox shares best practices on building data products
- Why GoSpotCheck builds custom data applications to rapidly solve diverse problems
- How Wix quickly ships and iterates custom data experiences to empower millions