I was at a blogging conference the weekend before #data14 and the organizer said we'd have an information hangover. I didn't feel the hangover the next day from the blogging conference but boy, did it hit me the next few days after data14. I must have booted and rallied between conferences...or something like that (since that kinda makes me sound well versed in the ways of drinking). Anyway...I found my head swimming with ideas and just the sheer magnitude of a conference this size. I want to give a massive shout out to the folks who organized the conference! There are always going to be hiccups but the positives totally outweighed the negatives. I'll touch briefly on the challenges I had during the conference, which were primarily logistical. I was surprised by how much I was impacted by having an unstructured lunch break. I didn't want to miss any of the sessions and I always seemed to miss the items in grab & go. I had the expectation to fill every slot. However, then reality set in I was super bummed that I couldn't attend Joe Mako's session on Flowing with Tableau. So that was a day I actually ate lunch and tried to put pen to paper with the ideas that were swimming through my head. I was bummed when I couldn't get in to sessions that filled up even before keynotes were finished. At least there are session recordings so I won't miss the content.
Every session I attended was very good! It was so hard to choose which sessions to go to. I think my hardest decision was between Facebook Jeorpardy: Hack Edition and Making a Viz that Stops Traffic. In the end, I chose to stop traffic. It was such a great session and reinforced some of the principals I employ and gave me new ones too. Plus, anytime you have Lt. Jim Dangle and Godzilla, you know it's going to be good.
I loved the Zen Master Tips & Tricks! A couple of takeaways from this session were:
- How to filter without losing context (Mark Jackson)
- Google interface shapes when adding custom shapes
It was also the first time I heard Craig Bloodworth speak. He presented tips on using server API. He sounded a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher to me. Maybe it was his accent. Joking! Actually, what he was presenting was interesting and it's amazing that there are folks that just figure this stuff out. For now, I have the reference in the event I need it.
Another session I loved was presented by Marc Reuter called 10 Tips to Becoming a Jedi or 5 things that Mark really likes. A two major takeaways for me from this presentation:
- The summary card is underutilized. Personally, I'd like to see how we can incorporate it where it makes sense as I think it gives people a better sense of the data.
- The trellis chart. This looks difficult, but I can see how we could incorporate it into our work products. Plus, I think it's neat, so I want to try it at home.
I also went to the Tableau Like a Sith session. It was a major production. Over my head, but there were a few things that I thought I might try at home/work.
• A hack to downgrade the version.
• Mapping images to IDs and using table calcs to set the images.
• Though this isn't really sith-like, the helper calc of '1'.
I'll probably watch this recording again just so I get a better sense of what's going on and to see dancing bobba fetts.
I found Robert Kosara's talk interesting as well. There are a few points that I recall from his talk.
- Stories are a way to engage the reader further.
- There are three layers when it comes to data storytelling.
In an effort to make progress on my goals, I attended a session by Bethany Lyons on table calcs. It was Jedi level and it hurt my head (though to be fair, that was her objective). A couple of key takeaways from this one:
- Graph the intermediate calculation to see what's actually happening
- Base table calculations on the data item versus table down/across/etc
- Restarting the sort was magical too, I just don't know how to describe it (but I'll look it up later).
Then there was the light and fun Iron Viz. I 💗 this session so much because you can see the various headlines that come out of the same data set and you really get to see the contestant's analytical or creative nature. Preparation is also key! The contestants have the opportunity to look at the data set in advance. They can sketch it out, practice building it, but when it's game time, it's just them, the data, & their sous vizzers. It really exemplifies the many ways that Tableau can be used.
In addition to the great sessions, the keynotes were awesome. Dr. Tyson was funny but Tableau definitely saved the best for last, in my opinion. Dr. Rosling was fantastic! If you didn't think or say,"Yes!! Using data to make a meaningful global impact! Using data for good, that's what it's about!" or something similar, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. Kidding. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. Least that's what I'll tell myself as I ponder our friendship. I love fun vizzes, but I get super excited when I see folks using visualizations to make the world a better place. I didn't want Dr. Rosling's talk to end. And I love his sense of humor!
Another fantastic aspect of the conference was the networking. That's where you get to put bodies to headshots. I finally met the Pauls, Jonathan Drummey, Chuck Hooper, & others in person. And I have to mention the #womenindata meet-up. It was great to hear from women & Jonathan about opportunities and experiences about women in data. I really hope we can continue the conversations post-conference! It was also a great networking opportunity, which was one of my goals for the conference.
While I could go on forever about the conference, even I'd get bored with hearing about it! So I suppose I'll write down my goals for the upcoming year.
- Be a newbie advocate. This was borne out of the newbie session that Matt & I presented at conference. So anything I can do to help folks out as they use the tool is a win win. It helps them and I also solidify my understanding of whatever the topic may be. I've already got some things in the works, so stay tuned! I am so super excited about it that everytime I think about it, I want to work on it.
- Similar to being a newbie advocate, I also want to help people become data viz leaders.
- Continue to build my social media presence in other channels, such as video.
- Make progress on understanding data blending and table calculations.
- Publish four visualizations per year on Tableau Public, with one-two being focused on health or social issues.
I've got my work cut out for me and I wouldn't have it any other way! I love the energy of the tableau and data viz community and I hope to make meaningful contributions. You'd make me the happiest girl in the world if you engage with me over twitter, hangouts, my blog, or on the Tableau Wannabe Podcast!
Oh and while I'm getting to work on these goals, check out my little scrapbook I created with photos from Destination Data!