It is currently 4 am and I am more than a thousand miles from home in a hotel, missing my wife and kids. Annoying interstate traffic is periodically causing me to awaken. Suddenly and old commercial from 1979 pops into my head and this blog post was instantly born. (Warning: to experience the full-effect of this article, you have to be willing to do a little reading!).
Smith-Barney makes money the old-fashioned way: they earn it.
The reason this commercial was successful and why it has stuck with me for 36 years has to do with the delivery, the experience of the spokesman (the actor) and the vocal emphasis he uses to drive home his main point. If you didn’t click that link, you need to do it now. The man says that Smith-Barney makes money the old-fashioned way, by earning it.
The Value of Experience
Just two minutes ago as I was jolted awake by some big diesel truck bouncing down the highway, my brain made a corollary to that commercial that goes something like this:
You cannot buy Tableau experience, you must earn it.
There are a lot of people that have either earned their Tableau experience or are in the process of earning it.These individuals share their experiences to help others learn more rapidly by writing blogs or helping people solve problems by their work in the Tableau community.
Sometimes a thoughtful blog post that is based on real-world experience can grow over time to become something more than the original thoughts themselves. This is the case that I want to share in this article.
The Original Article (Experienced Gentleman #1)
About a half a year ago, I wrote an article titled: Reflections of the Past and a Vision of a #Tableau Future.
The thoughts I expressed in that article were based on my experience using and writing software for various types of mathematical, scientific, and computational applications for over an estimated 70,000 hours of my lifetime. Of this time, I estimate that 16,000 hours has been spent using Tableau in one fashion or another. In other words, I have earned my experience. This extensive experience-base allowed me to visualize and articulate the original article.
The Original Comments to the Article (Experienced Gentleman #2)
After that article was published, a couple of comments from another experienced Gentleman (#2), lead to some interesting dialogue between us and allowed me to expand my original thoughts. To see these comments, you have to scroll down to below the original article referenced above.There were two comments made and two responses I gave. Sometimes I think about those comments and believe they may be better than the original article.
After that flurry subsided, months passed by and this experienced Gentleman was interviewed because he has done some amazing work in his Tableau-based blog. In that interview, he offered some of his perspectives on what he would like to see in future releases of Tableau Desktop. He mentioned examples of software products that were improved and expanded over time and he hopes that Tableau will implement some of the same ideas.
Additional Comments to the Article (Experienced Gentleman #3)
The depth of insight and length of this comment (Feb 4, 2015) make it the most thought-provoking comment I have ever received on this blog.The fact that someone would take the time to formulate such a formidable response was very interesting to me and compelled me to write this piece.
After additional dialogue between myself and experienced gentleman #3 (not published), I found myself with a new friend and new perspectives on the original topic of Tableau’s future. Those outcomes are one of the reasons I lose sleep to write this blog.
With a combined experience base of more than 200,000 lifetime hours of software usage, authoring, and critical software evaluation experience, these three gentlemen have the ability to understand how Tableau needs to change to remain important in the marketplace. Only time will tell how well Tableau does before the next revolution of analytics software emerges in an attempt to overthrow the leaders in the field. So far, Tableau has been doing great, but greatness doesn’t automatically last forever.