Give Back & Join a Project

I recently got the amazing opportunity to speak another year at the Tableau Fringe Festival. Quick fact I’ve learned about myself: podcasts and live recordings frighten me. I like direct eye contact, which is hard to do on a recording. Long story short, one of my goals this year is to improve my public speaking skills. With that said, I skipped over some really important points in my talk that I want to make sure are said loud and clear, so I’m writing them in my blog. Hope you enjoy and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

The Tableau Community is filled with many opportunities to give back. I believe there’s three categories within the community that you can give back to:


From my experience, most people give back by staying active on Twitter, Tableau Public or starting their own blog to share their Tableau journey. Another way to stay active in the community is to attend local events to meet new people to bounce ideas off of and share your experience with. The third is really important. Make sure you are giving yourself time to continue to develop and grow. For me, being a part of projects in the Tableau Community has helped me develop my skills the most. Here are a list of some projects where you can easily jump in and get to work:

  • Makeover Monday
    Makeover Monday is led Andy Kriebel & Andy Cotgreave. The purpose is to “quickly take a foreign data set and turn it into a more meaningful visualization.” The data is published on Andy Kriebel’s blog every Sunday. This project is for all levels of Tableau users – whether you are just now getting started or a Tableau vet, this is a great way to stay active creating. I’ve decided to block off an hour every Monday on my calendar so that I’m constantly working with data outside of work. This project encourages quick creation by encouraging the participants to only use an hour of their time.
  • The Reviz Project
    The Reviz Project was started by myself, Matt Chambers, Nelson Davis & we recently talked Peter Gilks into joining us as well. Each month we appoint a leader. The leader selects a dataset or visualization to “reviz” – to tell a different story than what is already being told. After the leader has selected the data and created a viz, the rest of the group will create their response to the leader’s viz by telling another story. The final week the data is open for the community to tell their own story. The purpose of this project is to show that one dataset can have multiple stories and perspectives on how to tell different stories.
  • Tableau Torch Contests
    The release of Tableau 10 is right around the corner…& so are the Summer Olympics! To get the community involved, Tableau has a torch relay of their own. Follow the Tableau Torch as it makes its way around the world here ( Not only is there a torch relay but there is also competitions/events you can participate in, as well. There are 5 rounds you can compete in. Each round focuses on a different new feature that is coming with Tableau 10. We’ve already made it through two rounds (highlighting & formatting) and we have three to go (clustering, mobile dashboards/device designer & custom territories). The winner of each round also gets a ticket to Austin!
  • Iron Viz Feeder Competitions
    What is Iron Viz you may ask?
    Iron Viz is the ultimate battle of Tableau skills. Three challengers are selected based on contests held through Tableau Public. The challengers will face off head-to-head in a 20-minute viz battle in front of a live audience at the Tableau Conference. – Jewel Loree
    The first and second round are complete and the third contest should be announced in the next month – keep an eye on the Tableau Public blog.
  • Monthly Tableau Public Blogs
    Have you recently started a blog and not quite sure what you should blog about? Each month Tableau designates each month to a topic around Tableau. These are great guidelines to expand your knowledge and give depth to your blog. Here are some examples of past months:
  • Tableau Foundation Service Corps
    The Tableau Foundation is one of my favorite parts about Tableau. The Tableau Foundation is a group of Tableau employees and partners who “believe that data can unlock innovation and drive collaboration to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” Tableau offers grants, fellowships and assistance to nonprofits and other organizations that are trying to solve world issues. The Tableau Foundation also has a volunteer-based program where you volunteer your time to help nonprofits get up and running with Tableau. Are you signed up but haven’t received any notifications from Tableau? It’s likely because there isn’t a project available. Be proactive and find a nonprofit in your area that is looking for Tableau talent, reach out to the Tableau Foundation for support and start helping those in your own backyard. This is an excellent way to get a group of people in your community together (maybe from your local TUG) and serve the community.
    I know many of us have crazy schedules and committing to another project is just not feasible. You’re in luck! The Tableau Foundation is working on a project with the PATH Foundation to #visualizenomalaria. Part of the project is getting insights through maps and geographical features. Unfortunately the open street maps for Zambia aren’t as robust as they are in, say, USA or the UK. To get the data we need, we are crowd sourcing. For the next few days, think about blocking off your lunch hour to help map buildings in Zambia. Details on how to do this can be found here.

Please reach out to me if you’d like any help getting your work out there. The Tableau Community is like a tight-knit family that’s supportive, engaging and eager to learn more.


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