I was just watching John Rauser’s keynote “What is a Career in Big Data?” from last weeks Strata Conference New York and I have to say it’s an amazing talk. I would highly recommended it to anyone who does any type of data analysis, including any type of performance analysis.

I found many of the “critical skill” points John made to have a strong correlation to performance analysis work as well. Some quotations that really stand out to me:

On writing:

“[writing]…it’s the first major difference between mediocrity and greatness.” [10:39]

“If it isn’t written down, it never happened…if your writing is so opaque that people can not understand your work, then you may as well never have never done it.” [10:50]

On skepticism:

“If you take a skeptical attitude toward your analysis you’ll look just as hard for data that refutes your hypothesis as you will for data that confirms it. A skeptic attacks the same question from many different angles and dramatically increases their confidence in the results.” [11:40]

The main reason that I wanted to highlight the critical skills of writing and skepticism is I see (read) way too many blog posts from Oracle users that fail on both of those skills. The writing simply fails to clearly communicate the issue at hand, what analysis was done and what data was used to draw the conclusion. Many blog posts also are written without any level of skepticism–they simply “report” their findings and fail to question their own work for accuracy. I hope this talk inspires you to raise your bar when it comes to performance work. Enjoy!