I really like how they’ve (gone back) to two separate keynotes for vision and operational changes. I like getting a sneak peek at the roadmap. Of particular interest in the vision section was Maestro. As y’all know, one of my platform issues is data prep to the people. It should be easy enough that someone like me—an LCD— can perform data prep to convey information accurately. This makes me super happy. I want there to be a Tableau Public version of it but pricing hasn’t been determined yet (as we were told in our exclusive on the Tableau Wannabe Podcast with Andrew Beers, which will be uploaded shortly). I also think Hyper tackles problems that people with big data complain about—performance. All in all, exciting stuff on the vision front.
My key takeaway
- Tableau has diversified its product line and tackling big community concerns.
My initial thought is that he’s better on the radio. I was distracted by the (not so fantastic) visualizations in his presentation and old clips that he used. Admittedly, I did not follow directions and kept my phone out while discussing the irony of the data vizzes he used at a dataviz conference. However, that’s not to say that I didn’t learn something from his talk.
My key takeway:
- I spend too much time on my phone. I need to scale back and be present. Something I have been working on.
Tableau Devs on Stage
Arguably, one of my most favorite sessions is Devs on Stage. I love seeing the Devs come out and show off what they’ve created. This year, I noticed that the women represented!!! I was happy to see Steph Dietzel on stage, whom met when I did the Tableau 10 VTUG. Since my first Tableau conference in 2011 to now, I’ve transitioned to a geeky fan girl. What was the sign? I welled up at some of the features—specifically distribute evenly, spacing, padding, and pdf connector. Things that will make my vizzing life so much easier. And it’s greater access to data! Data to the people!
My key takeaway:
- I’ve graduated to a higher level of geekiness.
- Awesome features are coming to the product within a year and I can’t wait to play with the beta.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
The final keynote of the conference was awesome! I might even say it was super awesome! First, I love Bill Nye the Science Guy. I grew up watching him. I love his passion for teaching science. Before I was a dataviz geek, I was a science geek. Exposure to shows like Bill Nye facilitated that. Fun fact, I was pre-med before I was a business major. The STEM is strong in this one. Anyway, Bill Nye was awesome. He addressed the election, which was polarizing in my opinion, but I think most people in the audience were not #teamrepublican. What I love is that Mr. Nye tied everything back to us. Another fun fact: I love interrelationships; it aids in comprehension. He tied election to the likely appointees that will oversee agencies like the EPA, who don’t believe in climate change. He tied that to clean water and why we need it globally and how it impacts women’s and girls’ empowerment.
My Key Takeaways:
- Bill Nye the Science Guy is an awesome feminist.
- Exposure to shows like BNTSG, I might not have been so STEMy.
- Showing interrelationships is a great way to tell a story.
- We can change the world by taking action, which we can do with data.
There were so many sessions I wanted to attend this year. It’s almost not fair. I tried to get into a couple but the room was full before the start time and got turned away. There were a few that I particularly loved.
The ReViz Project with Matt Chambers, Nelson Davis, and Alex Duke
I think I wrote last year that Nelson is an amazing storyteller. That holds true. Matt’s discussion was fantastic. It was raw. He painted a picture that I think we can all relate to at one time or another. And Alex. So many words. First of all, I’m a big fan of Alex Duke. She stepped out of her comfort zone and communicated why she wanted to get involved. Alex has a track record of doing good with data and that came through. She elicited an emotional response. Even though I had to leave that session early, I felt a Braveheart kind of moment, where I was like: Yes! Let’s do this! Let’s viz all the causes! Let’s change the world. Alex presented her six elements of storytelling.
My key takeaways
- Viz to raise awareness. This is a concept I believe in and was confirmed in this talk.
- Everyone has a different perspective on the same set of facts. Three different vizzes for one data set.
- Apply the six elements of storytelling according to Alex Duke.
Databases: The Primer You Wish You Had with Isaac Kunin
In my quest to have #datatothepeople, I wanted to get a primer on databases. I need to go back through and review the recording from start to finish. I liked how the information was conveyed. Isaac discussed the relational databases, joins, and even the fundamental concepts like schema. I want to watch this one again as I got to the session a little late.
My key takeaways:
- You can get to your data through filter queries (removes rows that you're not looking for) or through a calculations.
- A SQL calculation might be best understood by saying:
But it's actually written:
- You can make your database fast through indexing.
- Relational databases aren't going away ant time soon.
Forecasting with Tableau with Josh Weybourne and Kass Kettner
Here’s the deal. I’ve tried forecasting but it didn’t work for me and I had no idea why. WTF Tableau? I have a number, what’s your deal? Josh and Kett made their forecasting talk interesting with their riffs on each other. I’m adding them to my 'speakers I like' list. When it got to the parts about R, I was a little confused, but that’s on me, not them. Right now, I just want to understanding forecasting in Tableau. I don’t need to be fancy yet.
My biggest takeaway:
- You need at least five data points to forecast in Tableau. Whoa!!! This session was worth it just for this knowledge! Four years? Turn it into quarters and then you can forecast!
The three takeaways Josh and Kett want you to know.
- Tableau gives you forecasting superpowers
- Tableau and R make a dynamic forecasting duo
- It’s drag and drop, not pop and stop. (BTW, how catchy is that?!?! I’m definitely stealing that phrase)!
As I mentioned, there were sessions that I just couldn’t get to. The following are ones that I plan to watch recordings of later. If you attended these sessions, let me know if it’s worth a watch by filling out this form.
- Trina Chiasson was really engaging and set the vibe for the event.
- Cathy Banks is great presenter. While she discussed a lot of what I already knew, it was good for those who might not understand why we need to support D+W initiatives.
- Jon Agnone was really informative.
- Chloe and Brit killed it. They are the dynamic duo of D+W. I also appreciate that they gave a shout out to the DC Data+Women group, which inspired them to do something in the Bay area. I love that they started She Talks Data! You all should check it out!
- I was happy that Adam Selipsky showed up and spoke at the meetup. While there was opportunity for his talk to be more relevant (for example: keying in on why this is important as a father), how employing women in key leadership roles is important, or how women devs rock), I thought it was great that he showed up and spoke. To me, I look at it as a culture issue. It sets the tone at the top. Call me Pollyanna, but I think he didn’t have to stop by and talk, but he did and I appreciate that.
- I think there were opportunities for better coordination amongst the data+women meet-up groups and Tableau to acknowledge the framework and collaboration we have developed.
- There was a mention of mentoring, which I was super excited about but it was unclear what exactly it was about. Luckily, I’m a subject matter expert on mentoring and have the mentoring match tool that can facilitate those mentoring connections.
As one half of the Tableau Wannabe Podcast, I'm fortunate to spend my time learning about new products and people in the Tableau ecosystem. Podcasting was so great this year thanks to the support of Tableau employees who ran point for us. We were able to interview managers, executives, media specialist, and learn about a new company. It required a lot of scheduling (always the hardest part), but was so worth it! Thanks for all the listeners who stopped by and reached out to us during conference. It's so great to know that y'all find value in our conversations. Check out iTunes or Soundcloud!
It all started Sunday with meeting some twitter friends in real life! This community has grown so much that it was like rapid-fire discussions. It was great to see so many people come out and support women in data. A huge thank you to Emily Chen who spearheaded this meet up and Eva Murray of Exasol who sponsored drinks at the event. Check out Emily’s blog, Eva’s blog, and Exasol.
The week was full of community connections. I actually hung out with a new crew, which I shall call the UN Crew, comprised of friends from the UK, Germany, and Australia. I got to see old friends and meet new ones like Sarah Barlett, Nick Bignell, Sian Morgan, Lorna Eden, and Nai Louza.
One of my most favorite moments of the conference was when Matt and I announced the winners of the 2016 Vizzies. Thank you so much for everyone who came out and showed the Vizzies love! Check out the slide show (photos by Andy Kriebel).