There are many reasons why Tableau Conferences are amazing: the keynote, sessions, IronViz competition, Data Night Out… But the very best thing is definitely the people.
That’s why I never regret skipping a session just to hang out and chat.
That’s why I never regret staying too late every night to share drinks.
The sessions are recorded. The time you spend with the people isn’t.
And from all those conversations, I wanted to highlight two things dreams that could really become true one day and one topic that blew my mind.
TUG On Tour
The Tableau User Group is what puts the community together outside of the main conference. TUG leaders from all the different cities are doing an amazing job to find new content, speaker, and business case.
With Marian Eerens (@M_Eerens) and Eugenia Kis (@talva_cz), we started to think that it would be quite cool to make a Tableau User Group On Tour. Visiting all the nice cities, learning from the different TUG leaders, and having a chance to connect with different communities and cultures.
What do you think?
Because DataDuo is already a thing.
Something I definitely want to do after this Tableau Conference Europe is starting collaborating with more people. The discussions with Amanda Patist (@amanda_patist) and Ivett Kovacs (@IvettAlexa) convinced me that it’s the right path.
September 2015 – A new chapter in my life, I’m starting my professional journey by joining Actinvision as a Data Consultant. There are two reasons why I decided to join them: – they were a recent and energic start-up focused on data in Strasbourg – they were the only company in East of France to use Tableau, and the founder, Olivier Catherin, was famous in the community for creating a way to build a Sankey Diagram
After two weeks of intense training on SQL Server, Alteryx and, of course, Tableau, I published my very first visualization on Tableau Public“A small story of music”(inFrench) and started my first mission as a consultant with the Council of Europe.
With only four original tweets and two Tableau Public vizzes in 2016, I was clearly not the biggest contributor. However, I learned a lot. The number of Community Forum articles and blogs I read and Tableau Public visualization I downloaded and studied was massive. For that, I have to thank you, the Tableau Community. I never thought to find a software-related community so willing to help and share.
Professionally, I also had greatchallenges and experiences. As my skills in Tableau grew, I was able to travel to Bordeaux, Lyon, Zurich, Singapore, and Sydney to teach and help clients around the world.
2017 – Compete
May 2017 – My first participation in the new Iron Viz Europe competition with the Beer in Europe visualization. At this time, my only will was to explore new ways of using Tableau. Working for clients is challenging, but often your creativity is limited by corporate design rules (let’s not mention the “Just make a big table, please” requests). Little did I knew that five months later I’ll be on the big stage in Las Vegas.
A funny viz about beer isn’t enough to make it to the Iron Viz final. However, the fallouts were bigger than expected. Tableau selected it as Viz Of the Day, and Eva Murray decided to print it on a gigantic poster for the Exasol bar at Tableau Conference London.
Boosted by this, I decided to start sharing my experience and knowledge in the local Tableau User Group, EuroTUG.
June 2017 – Let’s try the big Iron Viz this time, with Nelson Mandela’s moto in my mind: “I never lose. I either win or learn”. For this feeder, I decided to go wild (as the theme suggested), to focus on the storytelling, and add lots of easter eggs and interactivity. I still find it hard to believe when I take a look at other submissions like Russell Spangler’s one, but the 3rd July 2017, I won my ticket to the Tableau Conference and a spot on the final. My first known competitor, Joshua Milligan, is a Zen Master with thousands of followers (I had not even one hundred). Scary, incredible, but freaking amazing.
October 2017 – A few MakeOverMondays and Tableau Public vizzes later, here I am, at Mandalay Bay, the French outsider who has to tell a story about the US Housing Market in twenty minutes in front of thousands of people at the Iron Viz final, next to Joshua Milligan and Jacob Olsufka.
One thousand followers, two local newspapers articles (here and here), and dozens of pictures with strangers after, what should I do now? Share.
2018 – Share
January 2018 – Tableau gave me the opportunity to present a webinar to share the secrets behind building a dashboard in twenty minutes and, the same night, I spoke at the TUGParis.
The first half of the year was punctuated by several other TUG presentation, many tweets (if we compare to the previous years), blog articles, and other events like the Big Data salon in Paris and the CMIT forum.
May 2018 – The first change in my professional life. I decided to quit Actinvision and join Ogury, as a Business Analyst. My role and focuses are entirely different: I’m no longer a consultant, and my job is to use our data to build studies (of course, using Tableau) for our clients. My focuses are on the story-telling, the simplicity, and the user experience.
October 2018 – Since I joined Ogury, I only published one new visualization, my resume, but no blog article, no webinar, no presentation… and yet I’m telling you that it’s the year of sharing! The past five months, I was working on the biggest and most difficult challenge I’ve ever had. It’s a project 100% focused on sharing, and it was finally finished the 1st October 2018.
I give you an appointment next Monday, the 8th October 2018, to discover the result and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
The IronViz Feeder contest. What a great event!
Like always you can expect the best in terms of creativity and skills. But also, like always, a lot of people won’t participate.. for the wrong reasons.
I participated to two IronViz feeder contests, one with my Beer viz and one with my Safari viz. Today it’s time to share what I learned.
So let’s bust some myths about participating (and maybe even winning) an IronViz Feeder contest!
Myth 1: You need to find a great dataset
It’s very hard to find a great dataset. For the IronViz Feeder, you may even spend more time finding the data than creating your viz. But if the MakeOverMonday project proves us something, it’s that you can always create a great viz, no matter the complexity or size of the dataset. One dimension and one measure is enough to start building something.
You want to see the awesome dataset I found for my winning entry?
It doesn’t exist.
I create my own dasaset by copy-pasting data from tables or pictures I found on different website:
It was long. It was not perfect. But it worked!
Myth 1 : BUSTED!
Myth 2: You need a great idea to start
Participating to two IronViz feeder contests taught me that your final result will probably be far from your first idea. And that’s a good thing. Tableau is the perfect tool to enhance creativity and to let you build at the same speed as new idea comes. But you’ll only find new ideas in one way: start vizzing.
Back to my Safari viz. The first pitch was: you are a biologist and, in order to complete your training, you are kidnapped and abandoned in the middle of a forest. Based on the data you collected, you need to find in what kind of forest you are and in which country. I even found a beautifulwebsite with all the data in order to do that.
But you know what comes next.. I started to build my viz around forest covers and from sheets to sheets I build a totally different dashboard, with a different story and with different data. But that’s ok. More, that’s good. Your story will create itself, bit by bit, and at the end it will look totally different, but probably even better than what you imagine.
But don’t forget the most important: fill the “Sheet 1”
Myth 2 : BUSTED!
Myth 3: You need dataprep skills
Having a data preparation tool is great. In my professional work I use Alteryx very frequently. Funny that I’ve never opened Alteryx to create my two entries! Excel was good enough for both.
Of course if you want to create very complicated visualization, Excel will not be sufficient. But trust me, you don’t need to create complicated things to win. Only your Tableau skills matter.
Bar charts, line charts, maps and shapes. Those are the only four (basic) marks type I used. Yes it doesn’t looks like your every day Tableau, but absolutely no data preparation was required. Only tableau tricks, and a few floating elements.
Myth 3 : BUSTED!
Myth 4: You are not good enough
If you are afraid of what people may think about your entry, you clearly don’t know the Tableau community enough!
The only thing you’ll lose if you start participating to the IronViz Feeder contest is the fear of participating to the next.
What you’ll gain on the contrary… Lots of advice, compliments, encouragements, new skills and, I’m sure, a new viz on you Tableau Public page that you’ll be proud of.
And who knows, even if not selected, you viz may have a great story…
Myth 4 : BUSTED!
I hope this post gives you all the confidence you need to participate. Again, you’ll not be disappointed. And if it wasn’t the fear that slows you down, I hope those few advice will help you to create a viz.
A month ago, I participated in the IronViz competition. Here are some thought and advices for future competitors. This article is a short version with only my answers. But don’t hesitate to look at the full interview with Jacob and Joshua answers.
How did you prepare for the competition?
Tristan: After winning the IronViz Safari feeder, I started to participate in MakeoverMonday (by Eva Murrayand Andy Kriebel). It helped me build a dashboard and a story with new data every week, and sometimes data that I found not interesting. Once I received the Iron Viz dataset, my main goal was to find a story and build a dashboard around it. I had some key things in my mind as I built it: make the story interesting and make sure the public wants to use it. Jade Le Van, my sous-vizzer, helped me during that process with great advice. In Las Vegas, she also helped me to repeat the complete process of creation and speech. She tried to distract me by speaking, playing music or even putting her smartphone flash on my face so I will feel “in condition!”
What was your first thought when you received the dataset
Tristan: “Je suis foutu,” meaning “I’m screwed” in English. How I, a young French, could compete against two Americans with a completely US-centered dataset about home values. But I love data and I love challenges. So I started to use my condition as a force and I built I dashboard with things I could understand, simple and engaging. A dashboard that even I could enjoy using.
Some tricks to share?
Tristan: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And definitely use the Pause Auto Updates button! Every drag and drop issues a query and with nine sheets in my dashboard, I couldn’t afford to wait a few seconds after every move. So I hit the pause button and I knew exactly where to put all the dimensions and measures in rows, columns, filters, colors,… After placing all elements, I hit again the play button and just wait for one query. That was my game changer but there are many more things to gain seconds. It needs a complete article!
Tell us more about the day of the competition, how did you feel on stage?
Tristan: I usually don’t sweat the stage. Lots of people noticed that I was quite zen about it. Truth is I wasn’t afraid about 20-minutes dashboard creation. I repeated a lot and I was confident about finishing it in 20 minutes. The speech part however… If it had been in French I would have probably enjoyed it much more! I spent the day before the competition in my room, repeating the speech. Again and again. A few minutes before being on stage, I was really nervous about that speech. And then Elissa Fink came and told me “Don’t be ashamed of your French accent, we loved it” and voilà, you know the rest!
Would you do something different now that the competition is over?
Tristan: I: came in Vegas Monday afternoon, after a 16 hours long trip. And left Thursday, just after lunch. I missed a lot of people and cool things happening during the TC. IronViz was probably a bit too much in my head. I should have allow me to spend more time enjoying being for the first time in United States with the best community!
Any advice for future competitors?
Tristan: For the feeder, just do it. Even if you think it’s not good enough. Do it. And if you are not selected, ask for advice and start again. Worst case scenario, I just became better in Tableau! If you are selected for the final, enjoy it as much as you can. It’s an awesome event and like Curtis Harris told us a few second before the beginning, something you’ll never forget.
What are your best memories?
Tristan: Winning a competition is great, but you are always alone when you win. Even if there are hundreds of people saying congrats and wanting to take pictures with you, you live it alone. And for me the best moments are always moments that you can share. So being in the green room, all (ironviz contestant, sous vizzers and MCs) equally stressed, equally anxious and a bit lost, all sharing events in your life to try to think about something else.. That was my best memory. Second best was, without doubt, the Data Night Out and our little trip in Vegas with the great David Freifeld!
Iron Viz contestants, sous vizzers, and MC’s in the green room moments before the competition
Data visualization is one of my many passions. I do dataviz for my job (data consultant) and as a hobby. A hobby that brought me to Las Vegas, where I participate and won the IronViz competitionin front of more than 10 000 people. It was my first Tableau Conference, my first time in the US, and it was crazy.
But I couldn’t have accomplished this alone.
A new adventure
Many people helped me, with their blog, when I started to use Tableau. And they still help me or contribute to my evolution. I learn something new everyday. Thanks to them.
By starting this blog, I want to give back, to help people who begin in Tableau like I was helped two years ago.