Alexander Arvidsson

Alexander Arvidsson

Star Wars fan extraordinaire

Linköping, Sweden

Alexander is a principal solutions architect at Data Masterminds. Nobody really knows what it means to be a principal solutions architect, but he spends his days helping clients of all shapes and sizes to take better care of and make more sense of their data.
He has spent the last 25 years poking around with data, databases and related infrastructure services such as storage, networking and virtualization, occasionally emerging from the technical darkness to attend a Star Wars convention somewhere in the world.
He is a Data Platform MVP, frequent international speaker, podcaster, Pluralsight author, blogger and a Microsoft Certified Trainer, focusing on the Microsoft data platform stack.


Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • sql server
  • Azure SQL Server
  • Azure
  • Azure Data Platform
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Power BI Dataflows

The Audience Conductor - Using Senses and Emotions to Improve Your Presentations

Technical presentations - deep knowledge, good content and a slick slide deck should do it, right? What if I add in storytelling elements to tie the whole thing together?

Those are indeed the ingredients needed for a good presentation, but there is something more. Something that very few technical presenters consider. Something ephemeral, something hard to grasp.

That something is the glue that binds a great presentation together I'm talking about emotional investment, and in essence - how to conduct your audience like an orchestra.

By choosing the story and how that story is delivered, we can influence the emotional state of our audience. By engaging multiple senses and attaching emotions to a story, we can make the entire presentation much more memorable.

This session is a bit of an emotional roller coaster as I show you how to create both highs and lows by choosing what story I tell and how I tell it.

Come spend 75 minutes learning skills you didn't think were part of the technical presenter's toolbox - but turned out to be essential to make your point stick.

Making Data Matter - Combining Data, Visual Storytelling and Presentation Skills for Maximum Impact

A friend once explained her experience with a "data driven company" like this: "we collect millions of points of data every day, we clean it, we analyze it, we make it actionable - and then we implement whatever is the mood of the day".

Power BI is one of the most powerful tools for data professionals and business users alike. It makes it possible to create amazing reports providing deep insight into just about any data. This insights this tool unlocks can drive decisions at every level - but do they?
Why is it then, that in this age of "data-driven decision making", that so many decisions are still based on "gut feeling"?
One of the reasons is that we still like to think that data will drive decisions on its own.

The challenge is using Power BI to efficiently communicating said insight.

Efficiently communicating data means not only being able to clearly and concisely visualizing it, but also being able to explain why the data matters to your audience - in a way that is engaging, interesting and relevant.

This, in turn, require knowledge of how to write a compelling story that is engaging and relatable for your audience, as well as presentation skills to help bridge the gap between data and people.

By making the data and the story matter to the audience we can align feelings and hard data, essentially influencing decisions and improving business outcomes.

In this full-day workshop, you will learn the skills to take your ability to communicate to a whole new level - using Power BI as the tool of choice.
We will start with an overview of the fundamentals of visual communication in order to make the foundation of our data storytelling as clear, concise and understandable as can be.

We will then discuss how to craft a relevant and relatable story to build on top of our data. We will learn how, through a clear message with a clear structure, to apply classic storytelling techniques as suspense, surprise and conflict to a technical narrative.

Finally we will explore how to improve your presentation skills to enable you to bridge the gap between the data and people to really drive your point home.

Come join me to level up your Power BI communication skills!

Lipstick On a Pig - Remaking a Power BI Report in 20 Minutes

You've been handed a report that could best be described as "visually suboptimal" or simply - "terrible".

You would like nothing more than to spend the hours it deserves in a bid to make it much more clear, concise and useable, but the simple fact of the matter is that nobody wants to pay you for spending those hours.

But - sometimes closing your eyes, groaning inwardly, and passing the report up the chain just isn't an option either. Something needs to be done, but it needs to be done quickly in order to make the report at least useable while not costing a fortune.

This session will show you some quick things you can do to turn a really bad report into something decent - it won't be perfect, but it won't take very long either.

Learning to Listen - Making the Most of Mentoring

Mentoring someone in the community is one of the most profound experiences imaginable. You will get to influence and guide someone who might have several decades worth of experience but has never been involved in the community, someone that is just getting started on their journey, or might be anywhere in between.
You are an established technical expert, a renowned speaker, a firmament in the communty - certainly you can teach your mentee everything they need to know? While you may very well be able to, but that might not be what your mentee needs. In fact - it was never about you.
On the other side of that coin, being mentored by someone in the community can be both exciting, scary, frustrating and challenging - but if everything works out, it can also enable you to take the next step in your career. On the surface, handling mentoring as a veteran in the industry may bring different challenges than as someone who is just getting started, but fundamentally it all comes down to the same thing: trust.
In this session, a mentor and a mentee share their views on what it means to be a mentor and a mentee, talk about the challenges they both face in their respective roles and in their respective lives, and explain the importance of listening.

Hands-on Lipstick on a Pig - Improving a Power BI Report Step by Step

You've been handed a report that could best be described as "visually suboptimal" or simply - "terrible".

You would like nothing more than to spend the hours it deserves in a bid to make it much more clear, concise and useable, but the simple fact of the matter is that nobody wants to pay you for spending those hours.

But - sometimes closing your eyes, groaning inwardly, and passing the report up the chain just isn't an option either. Something needs to be done, but it needs to be done quickly in order to make the report at least useable while not costing a fortune.

This session will walk through every step how to turn a really bad report into something decent, discuss how to prioritize content and why accessibility is not only useful but vital for good report design.

This session will not only show you what can be done but also explain why it not only may be done, but also why it really should.

Not my Problem(?) - Azure Networking 101 for Azure SQL Server DBAs

The unofficial scapegoats of the IT world has always been "the network" or "the database". The traditional way of doing things on-prem has unfortunately added to this divide - either you're a networking specialist or a DBA, and very rarely will the same person do both jobs.
As an on-prem DBA, chances are that you never had to think twice about which network the database was in, what kind of endpoint was used for the traffic or how the firewall was configured. In Azure, things can get rather complex pretty quickly - especially when working with the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) version of Azure SQL Server. That is why it is important to have a solid understanding of basic networking in general and how it relates to the platform as a service in particular.
This session will walk you through the basics of networking, explore the concept of virtual networks and firewalls, and explain the use of endpoints - all from the perspective of how they relate to Azure SQL Server. We will be looking at both how the technical components work, and also why one would choose a specific design in favor of another.
If you've been reluctant to fiddle with the networking settings of Azure SQL Server, then this is the session for you!

Boring is stable, stable is good – best practices in practice

Have you ever wondered why there are so many, sometimes contradictory, best practices for SQL Server on the internet? Have you considered creating your own but didn't know where to begin? Then this is the session for you.
Everybody is talking about best practices, and like standards, most everybody has them. But why do they look like they do, and why would you use a specific set of "best practices" that someone has put together? This session goes through my set of best practices that I've accumulated over 20 years of DBA work, disassembles each and every one of them to see how they came about and discuss why I still use them - or don't.
There are no such things as the "ultimate" best practices, but I aim to provide the attendee with as much food for thought as possible in order to let each and everyone decide on their own path forward. The session covers primarily SQL Server 2012 to 2016, with SQL Server 2017 and 2019 thrown in for good measure.

SQL Server hates you(?) - what the DBAs never told the developers

Have you had performance tank despite the code working fine in another environment? Maybe heard that some SQL is bad but not why? If so, this is the session for you!
This session will start with a walkthrough of some of the basic settings in SQL Server and how they affect you as a developer. It follows with key tips on what settings to change, why some code will wreak havoc on your performance and how isolation levels matter (and why NOLOCK can be an exceptionally bad idea!) The session is led by a 20-year DBA veteran who decided to try to help developers understand performance issues by seeing things from his perspective.
If you want to explore how default settings kill your performance, investigate why harmless SQL might not be quite so harmless and gain insight into how isolation levels affect function and performance, then this session will provide you with the tools to think outside the box and incorporate database engine knowledge into your developer prowess!

Building an Empire - Implementing Power BI Step by Step

Trying to implement a BI project can be extremely tedious, take unreasonable amounts of time and in the end turn out to be something that the users didn't want.
This session goes through how to use Power BI and dataflows to iteratively build a BI solution - starting from the absolute beginning with just an excel file, moving to combining data from several data sources, and finally explaining how to use Power BI dataflows and shared datasets to deliver maximum analytical power to the right users with a minimum of wasted time. You will walk away with new ideas how to start and grow your BI projects as well as an insight into Power BI dataflows and its uses.

Alexander Arvidsson

Star Wars fan extraordinaire

Linköping, Sweden