Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Excellent Tableau Conference Adventure (so far)

It was an inspirational day at TC 2014. Better than I expected, or deserved.

I sat in on Jonathan Drummey's "Extreme Data Blending" session, and was amazed at the depths he's plumbed in ferreting out the mysteries of how data blending works. Even better was the clarity of his presentation, making the complex and esoteric seem familiar and graspable. I'm now much better equipped to employ data blending to good effect than I was a day ago.

Sadly, I missed Joe Mako's "Flowing With Tableau" session. Although I got there 20 minutes or more before it was to start the line was already far longer than would get into the room, and many people were left bereft. This was a disappointment, as Joe's and Jonathan's sessions were the two I most wanted to attend. I remember the first Joe Mako session I went to, some years ago, to see this fellow I felt I knew from his Tableau forum support. After the session I went up an introduced myself, feeling like a little boy meeting Wayne Gretzky (I'm Canadian), and to my surprise Joe was a friendly in person as he was online.

I also had the great pleasure of meeting Richard Leeke, whose mapping work I've been borrowing for a long time, and Noah Salvaterra, who's blazed across the Tableau firmament creating astonishingly beautiful and illustrative works with Tableau that almost seem impossible, or at least dark magic.

At one point I was in the company of these four, and Zen Master Ramon Martinez, whom I had the pleasure of working with at the Pan American Health Organization some time ago. I felt a little bit of an interloper, hugely lucky, and something of a fanboy in the company of the smartest, most clever, and most generous members of the Tableau community.

It's easy to get lulled into the day to day routine. When your work is steady state, and constant, there's the tendency to become comfortable with the familiar, and the allure of the interesting puzzles to gnaw on dims. After this conference, after seeing the remarkable things I seen people do, people whom I have the utmost respect for, I'm energized again and looking forward to pursuing new and interesting avenues. There's a lot of Tableau left to cover, and there's no time to waste.


  1. Hi Chris, I'm just reading your post. If you're interested, there's a summary of Joe's flowing with data talk here:

    And a summary of the Jedi Calc Tecniques lab here:

    Jonathan's was the best. Impossible to take notes. We'll have to wait for his book.


  2. Thanks, Keith. I got in to see Jonathan's session and as always came away hugely impressed and humbled.