Data Viz Thoughts .|: Thank You #DataFam

Adam Mico
Adam Mico
Nov 16, 2019 · 8 min read

A Tableau-centric weekly blog about the viz making process, #datafam member interviews, #DataVizThoughts Viz of the Week + entertainment for introverts (consisting of a music morsel & a binge bite).

Thank you — My Thoughts on YOU!

I’ve never been so pleasantly and continuously overwhelmed in my life (normal mode is just ‘whelmed’).

In August, Toan Hoang (of Tableau Magic) nudged me to join the Tableau Community on Twitter. Previously on Twitter, I lurked, but it wasn’t of enough interest… regardless, I trusted Toan and decided to sign up and give it a test run. The community opened up right away.

Little did I know that in three short months, I would have a massive community of supportive friends that shared my interests and genuinely cared about other.

The real me is quiet and a bit of a hermit. I avoid nearly all social gatherings and have little desire to talk to anyone except about work functions. People respect my work and results it offers, but have very little personal interaction because I guess it’s clear that I’m not really open to it. Most of that is because of having Asperger’s and being neuro-diverse also means I have very little to relate to/with anyone (we’re wired in a way where it’s very tiring to fake interest or even understand the trivial-ness of small talk). For the next 12+ years, I was genuinely resigned to be a worker bee, vacation once or twice a year, play with vizzes to share with no one & binge watch anything that looked good on Netflix, but then YOU came into my life. (1)

Before I was part of the Twitter community in August, I had seven followers on Tableau Public and happily just helping with Tableau Magician’s FaceBook group. In the 3.5 months I’ve been part of the datafam, my entire outlook has changed. I’m still the similar guy at work but slowly inching toward sharing some of the magic I feel from YOU.

In February, I will be helping launch a private work TUG. On Tuesday, I will be speaking at a separate (private) TUG event.

Back in August, when I volunteered to speak in November… I had next to nothing to talk about. Your unwavering support, inspiration and motivation changed so much of that for me and I have no idea how I will fit my presentation in the time I have.

This week was a test for me. What would I think of all the #datafam @ #TC19 and would the naturally extroverted conference repel me or challenge my instinct to isolate?

At that event, I saw what I felt was family. I was truly happy and energized by the amount of fun each of YOU had and desire to share in that with everyone. Then the unthinkable happened… I became a small piece of the conference.

I never looked at the Vizzie nominations. Award presentations or anything like that generally was something I was apathetic about (see above). I had no idea I was nominated, and nobody shared that — I guess people knew ‘I knew’ because I’m hyper-vigilant about so many things.

It never occurred to me that I had any real impact and was just a guy in the crowd and nothing more than a Twitter handle. (2)

Then I received notice I won ‘Notable Newbie’.

Credit: Sarah Bartlett

… and after winning I saw the list of nominees.

Credit: Tableau, Matt Francis and Emily Kund

My 1st thought was how can I be considered with these group of talents, (already) legends and amazing people. I was elated, but it was so difficult to accept. In my head, I thought there must have been groans when I won and how did people who I personally felt were as deserving if not more deserving felt about it (this is a VERY foreign thought process for me, but it happened). However, friends shared my win on Twitter publicly and privately… but my skepticism persisted. It was not until Tableau published the video (3) and I heard excitement when my name was announced that I knew it was genuine. Even more shocking is what I found out next…

This lil’ blog was nominated with the greatest teaching talents of Tableau and data analytics.

Credit: Tableau, Matt Francis and Emily Kund

All the people I greatly admire and many of them I followed and stealed from (I mean borrowed) long before I was part of any community were listed along with me. I could not believe it! Toan was on that list and I lost to Kevin Flerlage — one of the best people in all facets that the community has to offer. Besides Kevin and Toan, Lindsay Betzendahl, Ken Flerlage, Dr. Klaus Schulte, Lorna Eden, Sarah Bartlett, Ryan Sleeper, Steve Wexler and Lindsey Poulter (4), but are all data and community superstars and many are friends to me — it’s like being a music fan and seeing your name with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and The Breeders…. It’s crazy! I won’t mind if this blog loses to them every single year — just being a footnote in that conversation is more than enough for me. (5)

I learned one universal truth about recognition…

Moments of recognition have significant value and emotional impact if you are being recognized for something that drives you.

You may be thinking to yourself… hmm… Asperger’s Adam… how did you get ‘the feels’?

The strange thing about Asperger’s (at least in my experience) is that when I get the feels… they tend to be more focused… it makes up for all the apathy that forcibly leeches on to my being. The lack of passion elsewhere just oozes out of the pores when the feels driver pierces me with Cupid’s Arrow. In a sense, since I’m so passionate about the community and the tool that transformed me from being a barely adequate trainer of Unemployment Law to a data superstar at work and sort of an online social butterfly.

Our community is the 1st place in my nearly 45 years that I felt I truly belonged. It’s my desire to pay forward what this community paid me & since I am so in love with you all… you’re going to be stuck with me.

But what makes this community so special?

It starts from the top. Tableau is a community-focused company. They’ve enabled an environment that enthusiasts can flourish. They foster a community program with non-employees being the face of the social brand rather than dense rhetoric from isolated marketing teams (their company is also engaged and its more than on a faux/superficial level). The Ambassadors and Zen Masters the company selects based on community nominations for these roles are accessible to newbs and seriously looking to facilitate your comfort and promote a ton of events that not only make you better with the tool, but to bring you into their family. Of course, they also create the best vizzes, training material and blogs you will see about data anywhere.

Put it this way… when I started this blog a couple months ago and had very little following on social media, Awkward Adam felt comfortable asking some of the biggest stars of our community to interview for it. I knew they would say yes because they are here to selflessly help you succeed. There aren’t too many communities (especially on the internet) that would disregard the (silent but deadly) tier system to help one another out — it’s amazing to me and something I love contributing to.

If you happen to be a lurker like I was and stumble onto this blog. Please join the #datafam community on Twitter or on Tableau Magicians on FaceBook. If I can feel welcome and be impactful there… just imagine what you can accomplish & go ahead — I even welcome you to @me. (6)

The Tableau ❤️ will continue next Saturday as I have a exciting community blog planned for you and stoked to share.

Music Morsel

Credits: Tableau, Robert DeLong and Rodrigo Calloni

We Are Data People became the undeniable anthem of #TC19/#data19. It’s not generally my type of music, but even my cold heart of frosted aluminium foil couldn’t help but be ecstatic for the joy it brought people in our #datafam!

Binge Bite

Tableau has very generously released 200 conference videos of keynotes and sessions. This is a must save and watch for those of us that couldn’t make it to the conference and to those that did but couldn’t get to a session because of a conflict. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I have for Tableau for doing this for us! Thank you! (7)

Footnote

1) Thank you Hunter Hansen (@InsertKABOOM) for blogging about autism and our experiences, so I’m no longer afraid to share that I have Asperger’s.

2) The ‘Twitter handle’ reference was completely lifted from Rodrigo Calloni (@tableauing).

3) To be honest, I did ask Zach Bowders (@ZachBowders) if people were happy or just saying it… he said they were excited. He’s always been truthful with me, but I still had doubts. Also, Maria Brock (@vizzingbrocks) an inaugural Student Ambassador and a co-nominee (and my 1st blog interview here) gave it to me straight and really helped me realize that I shouldn’t be sheepish about the achievement and by doing so, it negates the vote of people that supported me. She is my son’s age and has such wisdom to go along with everything else.

4) Tableau Wannabe Podcast’s Emily Kund (@emilykund) and Matt Francis (@Matt_Francis) deserve many kudos for organizing and facilitating the Vizzies annually at the Tableau Conference. This is a community awards show for the community and it has a huge impact on so many people. Thank you and

I have helped facilitate much smaller award functions and the effort that goes in to this event must be enormous!

5) Zen Masters aren’t eligible to win a vizzie because they are otherwise recognized, but can be nominated. This excluded Ken Flerlage, Dr. Klaus Schulte, Ryan Sleeper, Jonathan Drummey & Steve Wexler from award consideration.

6) I’m @AdamMico1 on Twitter.

7) There will not be a Viz of the Week this week, but it will resume next week.

Adam Mico

Written by

Adam Mico

Geeked out on data vizzes, music + pop culture. Views are very much my own. #DataVizThoughts

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