Growth Street organises Europe’s first dbt meetup

Thursday 4 April was an exciting day for data practitioners in London as they gathered at Growth Street’s London HQ for Europe’s first ever dbt meetup.

Our very own BI Analyst, Dom Sventickas, kicked off the night by talking about the changing role of a BI Analyst, and how dbt can help them to adapt and thrive. For the uninitiated; “dbt is a tool to help you write and execute the data transformation jobs that run inside your warehouse. dbt’s only function is to take the code, compile it to SQL, and then run against your database” (Tristan Handy, Fishtown Analytics). It facilitates DRY-er (Don’t Repeat Yourself) code via integrated Jinja templating language, testing the data models to validate if they are working correctly, and enables practitioners to describe the models in documentation. If you are interested in finding out more, these links describe what the tool is, and what role it plays in Growth Street’s BI stack.

Dom was followed by Colleen Mahon from, who talked about how they manage model quality and complexity using dbt. Through the use of layered schemata, the data team are able to define and limit the individual roles of each of the schemata, allowing a more streamlined and less bug-prone structure. Another benefit of dbt, when used in conjunction with github, is that it allows their team easier collaboration, version control, and quality assurance.

Dylan Baker, a freelance data consultant, was next up to highlight how challenging thinking probabilistically can be, and suggested what steps data analysts and data consumers can take to forecast more effectively; essentially training themselves to make more accurate predictions and adjusting faster and more effectively when these prove to be incorrect.

To round off the night, Drew Banin, who’s own Fishtown Analytics develops dbt, talked about the future of the tool. Drew’s vision includes filling the missing links between the base tables and the raw data sources through a new feature, sources, to extend the functionality of the tool; broadening the horizons of dbt and it’s capability through new adapters, including SparkSQL, Presto, Hive, and Athena; and extending test classifications performed in the data warehouse to allow different behaviours should the tests not pass. The night saw over 40 people turnout to hear more about how dbt has helped Growth Street, and other businesses, build scalable, sustainable BI stacks. Thanks to all of our speakers, and a special thanks to Snowflake for the drinks, pizza and snacks. If you’re interested in joining future meetups, make sure to follow the London dbt Meetup group on!

Written on in Product