Gearing Up for Tableau Conference 2015


Gearing Up for Tableau Conference 2015

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This has been a strange year for me. After the success of Tableau Your Data!, Wiley was keen on a second edition. I thought writing an update to an existing book (the first one required a year) would be a piece of cake. Tableau doesn’t make it easy, as they continue to add a host of new features and improve the user interface. Tableau 9 generated about 150 brand new pages and significant revision to nearly every chapter. It’s taken six months, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The book is nearly ready for production (you can pre-order here).

This is really the first day in months that I’m taking the time to think about the 2015 Tableau Conference, or TC15, which is only days away. I was a customer/speaker at the first two conferences in Seattle (150 and 350 attendees at those). This year’s event should have between 11,500 and 12,000 people in attendance. Pretty incredible.

There will be a waterfall of activity, fine customer presentations, Zen Master talks (speaking of, my congratulations to InterWorks’ Robert Rouse) and too many sessions to name. I’ve been to every conference in the USA and many of the annual conferences in Europe, and this year’s conference looks like it’s going to be a good one. But the event is so big now that it is impossible to see everything. Planning is important for you to maximize your potential for learning and developing contacts. Most of all have fun!

Below are a few activities you won’t want to miss. As a Terabyte Sponsor, InterWorks has some great stuff planned as part of the conference.

What Sessions to Attend?

First, one of our team members, Will Jones, created an excellent planning resource for the conference. His TC15 Session Planner workbook contains everything you need to find sessions. You can filter by industry, skill level, track types and content type. That’s what I’m using to determine the sessions I’d like to see.

The Keynotes

Every year, Tableau has wonderful keynotes, starting with Christian Chabot’s inspiring talks. Last year, Christian called the Tableau community “data artists” and reflected on the similarities between creating a work of art and performing data discovery and analysis with Tableau. It was a great message that set the tone for the event last year.

Neil deGrasse Tyson will be back to give another talk that will no doubt be funny, inspiring and thoughtful. One of my favorite authors, Daniel Pink is speaking. I love all of his books, but my personal favorite is A Whole New Mind. If you haven’t read it, I think it will resonate.

Of course you’ve probably heard of Sir Ken Robinson. If you haven’t seen his Ted Talk, you must watch it before you leave for Las Vegas.

I’m not familiar with the work of Hannah Fry, but her TEDx talk on the mathematics of love is interesting. In it, she offers her bent on the top three mathematically verifiable tips for love.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's speech at TC14

Above: Neil deGrasse Tyson at TC14.

The Zen Masters

The greatest honor of being named a Zen Master last year was getting to know some of the Zen’s (whom I didn’t already know) better. Zen Masters are passionate about data, art and using Tableau to make discoveries. As a Tableau partner, I found it difficult to keep pace with the amount of output that the Zen Masters generate (and write a book). If you want to see Tableau being used in uniquely insightful ways, go see all of the Zen Master sessions.

Speaking of Zen Masters, I had dinner with Jonathan Drummey in Portland, ME, not too long ago. We chatted for over four hours about Tableau, death, art and books. Zen Masters read a lot. I really love knowing people that understand the obscure references that I make about books. I’m also excited when I can name the references Jonathan was making to me (from books we shared). His Virtual Orrery post still captivates me. Go to his session – it’s bound to be great.

Anya A’Hearn is a magnetic personality. She’s not shy. Her enthusiasm, energy and humor brighten every room. Matt Francis and Emily Kund of the Tableau Wannabe Podcast are another must-see. Check out episode five for my take on the future. I’m sure they will be interviewing people, so go see them. Matt has a great and quirky sense of humor. He’s created some of the best Tableau parodies.

Nelson Davis, Peter Gilks and Allan Walker are all competitors (and friends). They are all brilliant in different ways. Mark Jackson probably knows more about getting the most out of Tableau server of any person I’ve met. He has provided the community with some excellent data on server performance. Joshua Milligan wrote one of the “other” books on Tableau. I haven’t read Learning Tableau only because I don’t wan’t to accidentally plagiarize. Steve Wexler continues to post great content and is a good friend. Noah Salvaterra creates some of the most mathematically sophisticated data art in the world. If you want to learn about the early war stories from a man that knows as much about databases and Tableau, check out Chuck Hooper’s session. And one of my best and early friends in the Tableau world, Andy Kriebel, will once again be giving one of his high energy talks.

That’s not every Zen Master. Go to the list and try to meet all of them from every year.

Chuck Hooper

Above: Chuck Hooper and I posing at last year’s conference.

Some Great InterWorks Clients

We have lots of clients speaking at the show this year. Too many to name and keep this post under 1,500 words. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to pick the one InterWorks client talk that I won’t miss, it would have to be Karl D. Riddett’s of Arby’s Restaurant Group. Karl is a wonderful and positive personality. I’m sure his talk will be great. You can also learn more about his and Arby’s Tableau story here.

Another great session you might want to check out is our session with Princeton University entitled Everybody Wants a Crosstab. InterWorks’ Kate Treadwell will be co-presenting, and it’s bound to be an informative session. It’s Princeton, so odds are that you’ll learn something! Other InterWorks clients presenting include and Consolidated Edison, both of which have some pretty unique use cases. 

Visit the InterWorks Booth

Of course, I’m partial to our booth. We were the first successful Tableau partner and continue to be one of the best as Tableau’s VAR Partner of the year for the past two years. I started the practice in 2008 with the support of the visionary Behfar Jahanshahi. Behfar is a quiet, intelligent and compassionate force behind InterWorks. If you are in the booth, try to meet him or any one of our principal consultants: Brian Bickell, Eric Shiarla, Ben Bausili, James Wright or Kate Treadwell. I can’t mention the entire team (we have 41 attending the show), but if you want to find out more about any of them, search here. Each and every one are wonderfully talented and diverse people, and they’d love to talk to you about your Tableau needs.

Definitely check out our Power Tools for Tableau while you’re there. These tools are changing what’s possible with Tableau on the biggest scale. One of my favorites is an app that lets you manage Tableau Server from your phone: Remote for Tableau 9. Everyone on the team can demo these apps, but Zion Spencer is the man to talk with about Power Tools for Tableau.

InterWorks' booth TC14Above: InterWorks’ booth last year. Our booth is always buzzing, and it will be twice this size for TC15.

Finally, I want to personally thank Dalton Parsons, Jenny Parnell and the rest of our Marketing Team for coming up with the awesome visuals, theme and promotional items for our booth this year. I’m really proud that we have grown from a tiny and great consulting company into a global and great consulting company. Stop by and say hello. I’d love to see you. And don’t forget that the second edition of Tableau Your Data! will be out soon!


See you at the show!

More About the Author

Dan Murray

Director of Strategic Innovations
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