Interview with Steve Hoberman on the Upcoming Data Modeling Zone Conference

Robert S. Seiner (RSS): Good morning Steve.  It is always great to interview you for the pages of  This time around you are sharing information about a new, never done before, event.  What gave you the idea to hold a data modeling conference?

Steve Hoberman (SH): Bob, great to see you again. You and I haven’t seen each other in quite a while and I don’t think either one of us has aged a bit!

Good first question! Across both IT and the business in many organizations I see an increase in awareness of how important data modeling really is to software development and enterprise architecture. This might be due to our tighter and more demanding economy, as we have other software development roles such as business analysts, developers, report writers, and so on, doing a portion or all of the data modeling activities typically assigned to a data modeling individual or group, with that individual or group playing more of a mentor or architect role. This means many new people need to know how to build and validate data models. I have seen this happen in my data modeling classes where the audience has gone from pure data modelers and database administrators to a mix including developers and business analysts. There are a lot of people out there who can benefit from a data modeling conference!

RSS: Why is the time right now to hold this event?

SH: With additional business and IT roles needing to know more about data modeling, I see the time is right to establish a data modeling discipline and community, and my hope for this conference is to be an enabler to do just that. Also, in the back of my mind I am thinking organizing this conference is part of my mid-life crisis – some people buy a Corvette, I organize a data modeling conference. Cool name for a conference too, huh? Data Modeling Zone.

RSS: Who is your target audience and what types of professionals do you expect to attract to this event?

SH: This conference is for anyone who needs to create, read, validate, or use a data model. Day one of the conference is a Data Modeling Basics class. The purpose of this class is to level set those new to data modeling who may want to attend the whole conference this year or maybe in a future year. Days two through four of the conference will have both half day and 75-minute sessions geared for beginner through advance data modeling expertise.

RSS: How is the conference going to be different from traditional data modeling education?

SH: The variety of topics available will make this conference stand out, with four tracks planned and lots of opportunities for folks to chat with each other. This conference will also be a lot of fun – we will have events such as a ghost tour of the Baltimore Harbor and evening get-togethers such as the hotel’s famous Crabby Hour.

RSS: Is this a one-time deal or will this be an annual event?

SH: It is my hope that Data Modeling Zone returns every year.

RSS: Are you still looking for speakers and what types of topics are you looking for?

SH: The Call for Speakers has ended, and we received more than double the number of speaking proposals than we have available slots. This is a good indication of the interest in this event.

RSS: When will the line-up be announced?

SH: By early May – we will keep you in suspense until then!

RSS: Where will the event be held and how did you come to decide on that location?

SH: The event will be held November 12-15 at the Baltimore Harbor Waterfront at the Pier 5 Hotel. We will be taking over the whole hotel. I chose this location because Baltimore is both a vacation destination and in the Northeast Corridor, so I can see it attracting lots of people within driving distance, especially from DC, Philly, New York City, and other cities along or near Route 95.

RSS: Why is attending this event a good idea, and what should people expect to get out of attending?

SH: Attending this event is a good idea for three reasons. The first is the personal reason of sharpening your skills. By the end of the conference you will have new skills and techniques to apply to your current projects. The second reason is being part of a grass roots effort to define the distinct discipline of data modeling. The third reason is to stay in touch with the data modeling community.

RSS: Any last words of wisdom for potential attendees?

SH: See you at the Data Modeling Zone. Please visit to learn more about the conference. Registration opens soon!

Thanks for the interview, Bob!

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