Data Breakfast with the Analytics Family! Data Syrniki, and Pancake Charts

A cutting board of pancakes in the shape of data visualization charts, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Observation: The way to people’s hearts through analytics is through their stomachs!

This spring, while traveling around the world, I visited the capital of Russia. To celebrate this occasion, my team and I decided to gather everyone we could and organize an in-person meetup!

In recent years, personal meetings have become much more valued, likely due to the echoes of pandemic isolation and the increase in remote work and teams.

My visit was spontaneous, so the event planning was quite urgent—my assistants and I organized everything in just three weeks. We already had experience with collaborative cooking at events, and it always left a pleasant impression (and fullness).

To keep it simple and not too time-consuming, we decided to have a joint breakfast!

Three people in a kitchen, looking down at a pot while their food is cooking.

The plan was to gather the entire team from different cities and countries in one place, but due to the spontaneity, almost no one could make it, unfortunately; however, we managed to gather all the local analysts and those interested in analytics! I posted an announcement about the event on my blogs and social media, enticing the analytics community with data-syrniki and pancake charts (which at the time seemed like a playful word game)! In the end, more than 30 people signed up!

The most challenging part of the organization was finding a suitable venue—it had to be cozy, and it also needed to have plenty of stoves! A kitchen? A restaurant? A cooking studio?It turned out that there weren’t many suitable places in the area (literally three), and I visited a couple of them before quickly settling on Jamie Oliver’s Cooking Studio, which was located on the second floor of a building in the middle of a meat and vegetable market! It was quite an atmosphere. Walking to breakfast hungry, surrounded by the sight of meat being chopped with bloody cleavers! Oh…

A smiling woman in a kitchen dropping flour in a bowl.

At first, the venue owners were afraid of the large crowd and decided to split us into two groups, but then the head chef decided to let everyone in together. We drank tea and coffee while waiting for our turn, but everything was so warm and welcoming that the venue even treated us to champagne for any initial inconveniences. The wonderful chef taught us how to make syrniki (cottage cheese pancakes), giving us a master class!

A group of people in a kitchen making pancakes.

And everything seemed to be going perfectly—discussions on analytical topics, networking, and meeting new people. Some were cooking, while others were chatting. But we are BI analysts, and at some point, someone came up with the idea to make syrniki dashboards!

The idea was so well-received by the guests that several teams formed and they organized a competition for baking dashboards! Bar charts, pie charts, and line charts were created, along with real, not just playful, pancake charts and data syrniki! The teams assembled extremely appetizing dashboards from them! And then everyone went to enjoy eating them together!

Two people in a kitchen, one mixing batter with an electric mixer and the other drinking wine. Both are looking at each other, talking and smiling.

While people were relaxed, full, and defenseless, I gave them a lecture about the future of BI analytics and the prospects of the profession! The incredible Anna, a member of my team, prepared a hilarious analytical quiz for the event, which we used to wrap up this delightful gathering! 

The quiz included some humorous questions. Try to answer a few of them (right answers are at the end of the article!):

  1. What does the term “Data Lake” mean?
    A. Literally a lake where water is stored.
    B. A system for cooling data in a data processing center.
    C. A centralized repository that allows you to store unstructured and structured data in their original form.
    D. A type of culinary sauce used in taste preference analysis.
  1. What is the “Chocolate Chip Model”?
    A. A complex mathematical model for market analysis.
    B. A method for evaluating the distribution of chocolate chips in cookies to ensure each piece is perfect.
    C. A new algorithm in machine learning for image processing.
    D. A term in analytics describing variations in data similar to the distribution of chocolate chips in cookies.
  1. What is a “Bread Maker”?
    A. A device for baking bread at home.
    B. A new algorithm in machine learning for generating reports.
    C. A tool in Excel for managing budgets.
    D. A plugin for Power BI that optimizes planning processes.

I consider the event a success; everyone enjoyed it, and I myself gained a lot of pleasant impressions. Among the useful outcomes, I even acquired a new client (remember the path to the heart!). 

I also received a recommendation that for the next event like this, we should bring children to introduce them to data from a young agethrough pancake-charts and data-pancakes

It’s a great idea, by the way!

A baking sheet of pancakes in the shape of data visualization charts.

Here’s such a data-breakfast with champagne and cottage cheese pancakes!

All photos were taken by the wonderful photographer Xenia Matushkina, thanks to her for these great shots.

P.S. Oh yes, the quiz answers:
1-C, 2-B, 3-A (but I’m sure you all answered correctly!)

Enjoy your meal! 

And remember, data-pancakes are the way to any analyst’s heart!

Alex Kolokolov head shot
Alex Kolokolov

Alex Kolokolov has been working in the business intelligence industry for the last 14 years. His passion is dashboard design and development. He is a founder of Data2Speak Inc., an agency that provides BI services and trainings. He is author of books Dashboards for Executives (2019) and Make your Data Speak (2023). He is organizer of the international dataviz conference and award “Make Your Data Speak“.