I had a lot of firsts last week.
- First time out west
- First time in Vegas
- First time at a Tableau Conference
- First time meeting my Tableau Twitter friends
Those are some pretty cool firsts, if I do say myself. Sidenote: I could have done without Vegas and really wished I had the opportunity to explore the Grand Canyon. All I got was this picture:
I’ve been using Tableau for about four years now but unfortunately have never gotten the opportunity to attend a conference. My expectations were HIGH. I tried to manage them, but how can you do that when you’ve heard about people’s amazing experiences year after year?! That being said, my expectations were not only met – they were exceeded. This was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to.
Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Tyson, it is all about the data:
However, I experienced so much more. I experienced a community. I was surrounded by a few of Tableau’s biggest fans. I even got to meet Tableau legends like Matt Francis!
It’s strange to admit this but the Tableau community isn’t JUST about Tableau. You get to find people who like the same things as you do (maybe running, yoga, religion/beliefs, philanthropy). The community encourages you to become a better person (maybe even an awesome version of yourself – check out the Tableau Wanna Be podcast to validate that statement). It’s refreshing to know that the Tableau community isn’t just a bunch of nerds who sit around and talk about data – all of the time, at least.
I learned Tableau from Mr. Google himself (who introduced me to people like Joe Mako and Jonathan Drummey). But really, I spent a lot of hours behind a computer screen reading many blog posts. It was amazing to have the online community come to life right before me in Vegas. I was no longer hiding behind a computer screen – I got to meet and chat and eat and drink with all of the people that I’ve learned from for so many years.
So what did I learn from #data15? A lot. The more important question, however, what am I going to do with what I learned?
I’ve learned that I’ve learned a lot and that I need to share that. In Nelson Davis’s storytelling session, he expressed how uniquely gifted we are and how we have a unique story to tell. One reason I love Tableau is that it’s such a giving community. I realized that I’ve done a lot of taking from the community and it’s time for me to give back to a community that has given me so much. After #data15, I’ve learned that I have a unique perspective within the Tableau community. I’m a young lady with a heavy analytical background who loves Tableau. It was absolutely amazing going to the Women+Data meetups throughout the conference. The energy was high and it was unlike any meetup I have ever been a part of. Ladies (and men, too!) were having conversations about the barriers they face and encouraging each other. This kind of dialogue needs to happen more often! I hope that I can encourage more ladies to step up, to feel like they belong and that they CAN make a difference.
I’m also super excited about the Tableau Foundation launching the Service Corps!! How awesome is it that you can help change the world using Tableau? I’m currently working with some Tableau rockstars on a project using Tableau to help end Malaria in Zambia by 2020. It’s pretty remarkable that we can use a piece of software to help change the world. You can help those around you, too. I’d love to work on a local project within Atlanta. If you’re in the Atlanta area, love Tableau and have a heart for this community, please reach out to me by emailing me. I’d love to work with nonprofits in the area and show them how visualizing their data can help them help others better. If you aren’t in the Atlanta area, find out ways to reach out to your local community to make an impact. If you aren’t sure how to do this, please reach out – I’d love to help you set up a game plan.
To wrap-up this wrap-up: I actually learned a lot of amazing technical skills that I hope to share in later posts, but I first wanted to share how much this community has impacted and encouraged me. So the most important thing I’ve learned was to encourage more and share more. I hope you join me on the journey!