As a student of Tableau, I’ve had the privilege to see how this amazing software has transformed the lives and careers of many people. This article gives some examples of this, not in my words, but in the words of people who have been transformed and from others that have seen the transformations.
This article is short but contains links to a lot of great information.
When I wrote the first article in this series, I had no intention of offering any justification of what I said in the 41 seconds of that video. After watching the video a couple of times, I decided that I should go a little deeper and frame my argument that learning to use Tableau is a transformative activity.
Even though I offered no proof of my statements, comments received on that article have given me the motivation to go one step further in discussing and providing additional support to my supposition that Tableau is transformative.
How This Article Was Created
Being a bit of a Tableau historian (if there is such a thing!), the Tableau database in my brain has been accumulating a time series of personal transformation stories that are not only inspirational, they are the proof of my assertion.
There is no way that I can capture all of these stories because there are too many of them. However, I can get started on the first chapter of the book that should be written one day (“The Book of Tableau”) by providing a sampling of the stories as written by the people who have been positively impacted by Tableau.
Before I begin, let me also make the following offer to anyone reading this article. If you have a personal transformation story that has been written, send me a link to your article and I will be very happy to add you to this list. Although I would love to do the research to uncover these stories, I don’t have the time to find them all!
The New Generation
There is a whole new generation of Tableau wizards that are shaping the future and one day I’ll be writing about how they have been Tableau transformed (even though some of them already have been). There are people like Ken Flerlage and Alexander Mou that are blending math, art and Tableau in new ways but follow in the footsteps of people like George Gorczynski. There are people like Chris DeMartini, The Data Duo of Pooja and Adam, Rody Zakovich, Matt Chambers, Chris Toomey, Bryant Howell, Ann Jackson, Brit Cava, Sarah Bartlett, Mike Cisneros and so many others that have expressed their tremendous artistic and quantitative skills in the Tableau platform. There are even one-named icons like Jonni that have provided inspiration for all of us. Watching this diverse talent base arrive on the Tableau scene over the past few years has been inspiring, to say the least.
On a more personal level, the people I work with like Ben Pope, Gary Roll, Craig Jackson, Chadd McNicholas, Jordan East, Katrina Botting, Nathaniel Worrell, Matt Davis, John Nguyen, and Brooke Loehrig and many others have all shown me great skill and passion in Tableau. I really wish I could showcase their work because it is awesome! Their careers are currently undergoing Tableau transformations. It is only a matter of time before they realize it.
Identifying Likely Candidates That Have Been Tableau Transformed
One easy way to identify people that have been Tableau transformed is to look back in time to identify the people that were experiencing Tableau Big Magic and writing about it. Since it takes some time to elapse before a transformation can occur, this is a good way of doing this.
In this article from three years ago, there were a number of people identified (Figure 1) as being top Tableau bloggers based on a specific metric. If I could ask each of these people if they have been Tableau transformed, I would say that most would agree that they have experienced career transformations due to Tableau. You will see a few of these characters showing up in my list of favourite Tableau transformations that is shown below.
Perhaps more interestingly is the list of people shown in Figure 2. From a predictive analytics point of view, these were the people I identified as being in the category of the top performing 2014 (Newly Arriving) bloggers. By quickly scanning that list, there are a few people that have been Tableau transformed. Do you recognize any of these names? Andy Cotgreave, Jeffrey Shaffer, and Steve Wexler (The Big Book of Dashboards Trio), Josh Milligan, Jewell Loree, Matt Francis, Mark Jackson, Paul Banoub, etc. I could complete that list and uncover additional Tableau powerhouses, but I encourage readers to look at Figure 2 for themselves to see when the Tableau transformations began.
Of course, there are other people that are world-class Tableau users that are not even on this list. Probably my favourite Tableau user of all time is one of these people. His work is so extraordinary and consistently excellent, that I can only dream of creating the types of dashboards that he has made. Maybe I like him so much because he is scientifically oriented and he uses Tableau in a fairly straight-forward manner, much like I do. Regardless, this man is humble and ultimately talented. His name is Ramon Martinez.
Another way to do this is to look at the accurate work of Paul Banoub and his “Two-minutes with” interviews. He has interviews with the following Tableau superstars. These interviews are great because they captured key moments in time, possibly even before these people were Tableau transformed:
- Paul Chapman
- Kelley Martin
- Peter Gilks
- Emily Kund
- David Napoli
- Chris Love
- Matt Francis
- Anya A’Hearn
- Matt Lutton
- Ryan Sleeper
- Dan Montgomery
- Mark Jackson
- Nelson Davis
- Carl Allchin
Some of My Favorite Tableau Transformation Stories
It is my hope that the list shown below grows significantly. For now, these are the stories that have remained with me over time (in no particular order).
- Andy Cotgreave – Tableau fever – May, 2010 and Greener pastures – June, 2011
- Ben Jones – Headed to the Pacific Northwest – December, 2012
- Andy Kriebel – Giving back more than you take – March, 2015
- Ken Black – Finding the dream job and leaving the comfort zone – February, 2015
- Ryan Sleeper – Going Solo and fulfilling a vision January, 2018
- Dan Montgomery – Going to work for Amazon a few years ago
- Allan Walker – Recently going to work for Mapbox
- Anya A’Hearn – Starting Datablick and building a powerhouse team a few years ago
- Johnathan Drummey – Going to work for Path in Late 2017
- Russell Christopher – Jan 2017 Singapore to Seattle Tableau Journey
- Bridget Cogley – The development of the insightful, funny, clever and impressive Tableau Fit Blog and working for Teknion Data Solution in April 2016
- Michael Mixon – October 2017 Introvert and Jan 2018 Starting work with Pluralsight
- Jonni Walker – Starting work with Tableau Public in 2017
- Bora Berean – Leaving Tableau For A New Challenge – January 2018
For people that haven’t experienced the allure of Tableau, let me give you a few insights that have happened recently at my house.
I have a son that is studying business analytics in college. I get to see the curriculum that is being taught. The courses include topics like Excel graphics, pivot tables, R studio, etc. So far, there has been no Tableau training.
Last night, we were working on creating histograms, frequency distributions, box and whisker plots and a few other things in Excel. To check his work, I opened the data file in Tableau and in a few seconds, had reproduced his work and I showed it to him.
A little while later, I heard him say from the other room: “This is ridiculous, I’m not going to do this!”. He was referring to the manual creation process needed to make 40 histograms. I yelled back, “Yep, I understand. That is why I stopped using Excel 10 years ago for work like that and I learned Tableau instead.” I feel his pain because he is having to do it the hard way.