The Conclusion of the #Tableau Data Zone (Part 3)


As the great Paul Harvey used to say: “The rest of the story”.

Here is the timeline:

  1. May 30, 2014 – I wrote Part 1 of the Tableau Data Zone
  2. June 6, 2014 – I wrote Part 2 of the Tableau Data Zone
  3. July 7, 2014 – Rich Roll Published His Podcast #94 With Slomo
  4. August 29, 2014 (Today) – At 5 am I am raking grass on a cool morning when I started listening to Podcast #94. Upon finishing, I went inside and I wrote this story.

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Why I Am Writing Another Story About Being in The Tableau Data Zone

Until today, I never heard of the man they call Slomo. I still don’t know much about him because I haven’t finished listening to the #94 podcast and I only have seen the first few minutes of this beautiful documentary on him. It only took me a couple of minutes to realize that what I was trying to describe in #1 and #2 above are exactly what Slomo is describing in #3 above (episode #94). Sometimes it is best if someone else tells your story in their words, so that is why I am writing this post.

Right in the beginning of the interview, Slomo starts talking about watching Michael Jordan play basketball. It is exactly what I was trying to describe in #2 above when I discussed Walter Payton and then Michael Jordan. For whatever it is worth, the state of being in the “Tableau Data Zone” is what Slomo is talking about in #3 above. The thing that blows me away is that Slomo also refers his state of awareness as “being in the zone”. For me, I realize that I am in the “Tableau Data Zone” when 4 hours of work is completed in what feels like 1 minute of time. On these days, I arrive at work and one minute later I leave for lunch. It is amazing to me how that can happen and how frequently it does happen.

The man they call Slomo

The man they call Slomo

Why I Love Tableau Software

When you achieve the “Tableau Data Zone”, things like this happen (I have to be intentionally vague in this story):

The timeline:

  1. May 14, 2014 – I get 1 year of data to “analyze” from a prospective client. I process the data in a few hours, produce a 10 page presentation, and then nothing happens. Poof, out of sight, out of mind.
  2. August 28, 2014 – I get a phone call from a co-worker asking me to be on a webex in 20 minutes with that prospective client to discuss the findings from #1 above. Of course, I haven’t even thought of what I did in #1 for over 3 months.

What Happens During the Webex

The potential client begins looking at the results. By the third slide, he is asking questions like: “How do you do this?”, “Did you write this software?”, “Can you do this with all of my data?”, “Can you use my big databases?”, and the questions just kept coming. Of course, all the questions are answered with a “Yes”. His enthusiasm is readily apparent, his comments are joyous, the insights he is gaining about his business are transforming the way he sees his business. He says, “You are simply looking at our data without pre-conceived notions of what it should look like, and so I conclude that you are showing me the truth about our business and it doesn’t match what we think is our biggest problem!”

By the last slide he asks, “You are showing me results for this condition. Can you show me results for another condition?”. At this point, I tell him to give me control of the presentation. I launch the Tableau dashboards I did three months before and he is simply floored. He says, “I have never seen our data displayed like this.  I have money right now in my budget to do more of this. I want to do it right now.”

That is what Tableau software does for me. Quite simply, it allows me to stay in the “data zone” and to see things in businesses in which I am not a subject matter expert. For me, all data that I analyze holds a story and Tableau empowers me to tell the story.

That is it. I promise that this concludes this series of being in the Tableau Data Zone.

If you don’t like reading, you can listen to me read this article by clicking the audio player below.

2 thoughts on “The Conclusion of the #Tableau Data Zone (Part 3)

  1. “I see myself as the tip of an iceberg of consciousness” – I recently saw SloMo (the watched it again and again as I had my wife, child and parents all watch it with me). I hadn’treally thought of how it could relate to working with Tableau – but … “flow” is a good thing, however and where ever you find it.

    • I agree with you. Today was one of those days for me when I worked for 6 hours in Tableau and it seemed like minutes. That is what I call being in the Tableau Data Zone (TDZ).


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