Ten Takeaways from My First Tableau Conference

  1. I would like to see more awareness of Viz for Social Good and Data for a Cause.
  2. Hugely diverse participants means you may have to talk to dozens of people before obtaining good benchmarks / idea exchange.  On the flip side, it also means good exposure to issues you might not be thinking about.  Goal for next year is to both talk to more people and also reach out to more people in advance of and during the conference and/or organize special interest meet-ups or the like.
  3. I was able to confirm several mistakes we are making at work.  Take away is to inform my management of this and recommend they attend TC18 to discover this and other things for themselves.  I am also going to share the Designing Efficient Workbooks white paper with requirements developers.
  4. Was able to confirm that (as I expected) I was able to pick up valuable nuggets of information, even in intermediate classes (especially when presented by developers).
  5. There are so many things I either wouldn’t have thought about or taken the time to think about without being immersed in the conference environment.
  6. There is no way I would spend as much time watching or selecting what was important to me if I was merely watching recorded sessions.  It is simply not the same.  It will probably be challenging just watching the recordings of the sessions I missed due to conflicts, let alone trying to consume all this information without a focus on doing so.
  7. Technical sessions were outstanding, as expected.  I picked up much new info across the spectrum of data prep, calculations, development productivity and workbook efficiency.  And Jedi sessions were even better than expected with the (expected) bonus of gaining additional insights into how the Tableau machine works.
  8. So many serendipitous little nuggets even as obvious as ability to install Desktop on a second PC (thanks to a completely unrelated discussion with Michael Mixon), which is actually more important than you might think because of freedom from pain of Tableau Public “unexpected error” problem.
  9. Download and load schedule data into Tableau to more easily see and filter session info.  I decided to do this around the midpoint of Day 1 but wish I would have done so earlier and also would have helped any pre-planning, although I deliberately avoided too much pre-planning and also wasn’t expecting problems with Jedi level sessions and since I wasn’t attending hands-on sessions.  And I didn’t end up having any availability problems.
  10. Intentional spontaneity paid off big, as expected.  For example, I saw a Tweet from Jen Vaughan inviting people to join her at Top Golf.  Not knowing Jen (or even what Top Golf is, for that matter), I signed up immediately without hesitation.  Turned about to be a great and fun bunch of folks who were also very knowledgeable about and experienced in Tableau.  Same goes for Andy Cotgreave’s meet-up at Eye Candy.  And meeting with Olga and some fellow Data For A Cause participants for breakfast.  Good times!