Whether by design or because Tableau ignites passion in the users, my recent attendance at the Tableau conference once again confirmed how incredible the Tableau community truly is for those who participate. This community event is like no other in the industry. It combines business, technical, cerebral and artistic disciplines to bring together thousands of attendees for a week, encouraging them to share knowledge and experiences with others who have the same passion. All of these thoughts, people and events come together to create this amazing Tableau community. It is a week of fanaticism and pure passion for a product which has made a difference in the personal and professional lives of the attendees. Some folks even go so far as to make clothing out of visualizations through a company in Durham, NC named Spoonflower.
But it goes beyond the conference itself, this community is active throughout the year as well. Amazing people take time from their jobs, families, churches and real lives be part of something they love. People from all over the world are running TUGS (Tableau User Groups), data+women events, contests, blogging, writing books, creating training content, creating and participating in events like #makeovermonday, communicating and sharing via Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets. And like myself, people are starting companies with Tableau at the center.
My recent journey in the creation of Lewandog, Inc. has made me pause, and look around at what I have become part of, and then while at the conference, it really struck me how incredibly thankful I am for the wonderful community which has been created.
The Tableau Partners and independent consultants have been very helpful to me. Though I am potentially a competitor, many have taken the time to share their wisdom and experiences, give small business advice, entrepreneurial guidance, provide leads, validate my business model, review my website, and some have even shared document templates which would save me legal fees and hassles. I continue to hear nothing but encouragement from this part of the community.
“Jump in…the water is perfect” is a favorite quote from 1 of the independent consultants.
The bloggers continue to amaze me with the interesting topics they choose to tackle and the depth of knowledge which they choose to share. If you have a question about DataViz or Tableau, you can frequently find a solution from someone who has blogged about a similar problem. People are gracious, respectful in their writing style, and thoughtful in their comments and replies.
As a long time Tableau user (2007), I am proud to call many of the experts, Jedi’s (do you capitalize Jedi?), Zen Masters and Tableau employees friends. These individuals freely share their knowledge, often jumping into calls on their own time to tackle some of the hairiest and craziest challenges. More than a few times, a quick WebEx with 1 of these individuals helped to change my work into something outstanding or solve a problem which had stumped me and my team.
The Tableau employees and executives, as always, are amazing. They make the time to take an interest in your thoughts, life, business, and family. As you walk away from a conversation, you know that your opinions matter. Many are industry experts and are happy to share their knowledge via email, blogs or phone calls.
Tableau, the company, has recognized the value of the community and supports it through social media, marketing and the Social Ambassadors program, which is made up of individuals who act as role models and embody the best of the Tableau community.
Tableau has created something special here. People were passionate from the beginning, but looking back, I believe that the creation of Tableau Public amongst the biggest catalysts for this incredible community, providing people with a platform to share their work and discuss the merits. With the possible exceptions of Apple and Tesla, there are few other companies which have created a fan base with this level of exuberance for a product, and a community who gives back to itself.
At this time of year, it is good to reflect back on those things which you are thankful for, and I am no exception. I am thankful for my wonderful family, and the miracles which we have been so lucky to experience, and I am thankful to all who participate in, and manage any part of the Tableau community, which I am honored to be a member, especially those who have helped me forge my own path with Lewandog, Inc. (you know who you are…)
Thank you all, and I wish you the most wonderful holiday season!!