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Speaker Interview with Renee Phillips

Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m a career changer into tech.
How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?
I attend various tech meetups in NYC and meet lots of different people who are using or interested in PostgreSQL but aren’t yet aware of the large and welcoming community we have. Of course, I also founded the inclusive group that I couldn’t find near me. Postgres Women NYC has been holding monthly meetups in Manhattan since April, 2019. We have featured several women speakers on topics about PostgreSQL, including community, extensions, and data quality.
Have you enjoyed previous or FOSDEM conferences, either as an attendee or as speaker?
I was so happy to attend last year in Lisbon that I applied to be a speaker this year!
What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?
My talk is about recognizing and mitigating inevitable problems with data quality, as well as working to prevent avoidable problems. I love this topic because a perfectly tuned database is of little help if the information running through it is not fit for the purpose that its user has in mind.
What is the audience for your talk?
My audience is every user of data. Mindfulness about data quality errors is necessary when designing collection instruments such as surveys or sensors, as well as when loading and transforming data. While data analysts are aware of the need for good data, they may be inspired to take action to impact data collection at their organizations. Finally, database designers benefit from learning about data quality because goals like internal consistency can be harmful if we prioritize repeating data that is inaccurate.
What existing knowledge should the attendee have?
Attendees would benefit from knowing that we won’t be having a deep philosophical discussion about the nature of truth. We will assume that we can get close enough to storing “the truth” for the business or research purposes of our databases.
What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 12 which you like most?
I am really excited about generated columns and stored generated columns.
Which other talk at this year's conference would you like to see?
I am really looking forward to Paul Ramsey’s talk “Everything about PostGIS”.
Which measure, action, feature or activity would—in your eyes—help to accelerate the adoption of PostgreSQL?
We need to increase recognition of technologists in the Global South, Indigenous communities everywhere, people of all marginalized genders, as well as marginalized racial, ethnic, and religious groups. A strong push to hire early career developers will also be critical to the continued growth and adoption of PostgreSQL.