Data Viz Thoughts .|: #Datafam & Analytics Community Thanks You and Tableau

Adam Mico
Adam Mico
Nov 28, 2019 · 64 min read

Introduction by Adam Mico

I shared my love letter to the community here and it received an unexpectedly incredible response.

I was very humbled that my story had an impact on people in our community and was even shared to people outside our family. Following this, I wanted to collaborate with as many people as possible to celebrate how exceptional you are.

Included below are some of the sharpest minds in the world of data analytics and it’s my absolute honor to share their stories with you.

The esteemed are listed in alphabetical order (by 1st name) to highlight our lack of hierarchy and the genuine selfless desire to lift the whole collectively (which allows for actual inclusivity).

Stats Breakdown (because we’re all nerds)

There are 79 contributors on this blog post representing 15 countries and 4 continents and over 16,000 words (or approx. 200 per person).

The Question

Each person was given the following question to answer:

Can you explain what personal and professional imapct Tableau, the datafam (Tableau community on social media) and the analytics community has had on you?

The Community

Adam Green .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United Kingdom

I did Eat, Breath and viz Higher Education (HE) — I now Eat, Breath and LOVE to viz AND coach others to develop data visualisations in Tableau. The Tableau Public community has been instrumental in helping me and others develop in Dataviz. Tableau and its community is a very strange and wonderful thing. May it long continue. P.S. I am also occasionally found vizzing Non HE data sets too…

Alex Varlamov .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Russia

Two years ago I didn’t know how Tableau and Tableau community would change my life. I’ve been using at least 4 BI tools since 2013 and it was only BI tools with standard tables and diagram (and not more). My first try with Tableau was in 2015, but the start up company I was with couldn’t afford to buy it and I tried to explain how analytics can increase income. The second birth of Tableau was in 2017 when my company and I (as a chief engineer) started to choose a new BI tool from Big3 BI to achieve a new level in analytics. By that time the company where I worked had data from over 800 speed cams and we’ve been exploring car traffic flows to reduce mortality rate and forecast traffic jams. Also we needed to make up new KPIs and control it. My team worked with a lot of tools and used maps services for analytics tasks. I prepared dashboards by myself and it was so interesting. During 2 months we’ve been testing the BI tools and there were limits of other tho BI tools but Tableau made all my tasks and there is no limit for it. I falled in love by Tableau.

In February 2018 I created a Twitter account to take a part in a Mapbox competition. The competition was amazing. Also I knew about MakeoverMonday activity (community weekly viz project) and watched vizzes made by community members. My favorites were Filippo Mastroiani, Mike Cisneros and Ken Flerlage — it seemed to me this is not impossible to create such amazing visualizations. But I made the decision to participate in MakeoverMonday. I sent my first submission in April 2018 and my first feeling was… fear of criticism. To my surprise my viz got good reviews. It should be noted how nicely Eva (Murray) and Andy (Kriebel) hold viz reviews and how members of the community support each other and explain how you can improve your viz or change something in it. Feeling the huge support and warmth of Tableau community you literally feel how wings grow on your back and you are ready to flight without any boundaries. There is an amazing feeling. Exploring other vizzes or blogs you can find new approaches, new techniques, new designs. I don’t remember who tweeted ‘you should put something new in each your next viz to be better today than yesterday’, probably it was Andy Kriebel. That was my motto and I tried to use new techniques from blogs, new types of charts that I never used previously, new colour schemes. It was beautiful time! I remember brilliant Andras Szestai’s works, elegant Lindsay Betzendahl’s vizzes, interesting Ann Jackson’s dashboards and Mike Vizneros’ masterpieces.

Data visualization in Tableau became my hobby. I participated also in #SWDChallenge, #SportsVizSunda and #VizForSocialGood.

There was a huge surprise for me when my viz was shortlisted by Kantar Information Is Beautiful Award. The second surprise was presenting my work for #VizForSocialGood an TC18 by Chloe Tseng. I received a lot of notification in Twitter and followers. …And my Twitter account was suspended! Thank you Twitter! I was ruined of course and started to write posts in Linkedin about my MakeoverMonday visualizations. Having a lack of community communication I created a new Twitter account, then Josh Tapley inspired me started his amazing weekly review and David Velleca who mentioned me as #TableauFF.

I forgot to mention I started my new career with Tableau as self-employed person who developed dashboards for my previous company as a contractor and consulted with them. Being a manager (pm and chief engineer) for 7 years I’ve been receiving tons of emails, answering to million calls even at weekends I started to hate it. I took a decision to change the nerve-racking job as a self-employer with Tableau related activity. It was after 1 month of participating in MakeoverMonday. Pretty bold decision, isn’t it? I felt the community support at that time and was inspired by power of Tableau; that’s why I have no hesitation to make the step.

This January I started to work as a Tableau developer for a mobile gaming company. The recruiters found me and made an offer which was difficult to refuse. That is wonderful but they said me ‘we have seen your tableau public profile and we have no questions about your qualification’. That would be impossible without Tableau community. Really! I glad to work remotely now for the company analyzing petabytes of data from almost all countries, making Tableau webinars, doing some server issues, taking ideas from Tableau community and sharing it.

I’ve been working for 4 days for the company when in my task tracker appeared a task ‘Attend the TC19 in Berlin’. This was the biggest dream task ever and I performed it! The conference in Berlin was a breath of fresh air where I met a lot of wonderful members of community, found new ideas and inspiration!

I receive more and more questions from community members after publishing new vizzes and it is so wonderful how community members turn into from rookies to teachers who share their experience.

As a conclusion, Tableau community totally changed my life. Now I combine my hobby and my work, I have more time for my family and for datafam, in community we open new horizons, find out new ways for data visualizations breathing by Tableau. The big thing is when you never met with community member personally but it seems you knew her or him all your life.

Ann Cutrell .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

Thanks for the invite. Adam, your story is an inspiration to putting oneself out there. Truth is, Tableau Public terrified me. Yet, it was here that I discovered the safe ecosystem of the Tableau community. This has been a fabulous year for me because I finally feel connected to passionate people, willing to help others on their journey, as a result of this community.

Tableau | data analytics is my alternative career. By training, I am a registered pharmacist and enjoy practicing on a part time basis. I revel in the challenge of keeping up with new drugs and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with helping others. The pharmacist pay is better; however, there was some attraction to learning Tableau and deviating my career path that motivated me differently than my paycheck. It was an intrinsic motivation likely elicited by age. Yes, I feel like the outlier mark of the scatter plot when attending TC, where the median age reference line would be equal to one of my children. I’m there because I truly believe data is the solution to our U.S. healthcare crisis−which is a total mess. We outspend and under-perform many of the world’s developed countries and it is humiliating. I’m fueled by the possibility of contributing to positive change in the lives of real people.

I have been using Tableau since I got a degree in Medical Informatics seven years ago. As a consultant, I teach data literacy skills and Tableau to other healthcare professionals. When I teach, I say that data is a team sport. Few individuals, especially in healthcare, know everything about getting, cleaning, exploring, and explaining data for solving problems. It takes a team. Up-skilling clinicians with data knowledge, including data visualization skills, fosters a work environment that assures all talent can sit together at the table and communicate effectively with the common ‘data speak’ language. The Tableau community has been remarkable in my undertakings. When I ventured outside of my comfort box by participating in #ProjectHealthViz, I was taken back with the support of the community, especially Lindsay Betzendahl and Kevin Flerlage. I feel ready to pay it forward with impactful healthcare vizzes and upping my participation with Pittsburgh TUG!

Anna Dzikowska .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Poland

Thanks to Tableau and community I believed in myself, in my skills and was encouraged to take next step in my career. ;)

Tableau changed my life. I changed jobs, found balance work- family and believe that I can achieve a lot thanks to dedication and hard work. ;)

Anna Foard .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Once that school year ended I focused on becoming proficient in Tableau and long story short, I now train businesses, analysts, and executives on how to use the tool. I use my stats background to simplify those complex, intimidating concepts — because adults digest just like kids (and I’m used to teaching kids).

I truly enjoy being a teacher in this new space. Adults have been thrown into the data world without training (just like the teachers in my district) and it is really a rewarding feeling when you’ve helped someone overcome the lack of confidence with data.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the Tableau community. I found them early, starting with Andy Kriebel and the Information Lab. I began participating in Makeover Monday (first from the sidelines), Twitter, got my Tableau Public account up and running. I was telling everyone this year at TC how humbled I am that i, this teacher, have been welcomed and encouraged in this community.

I’ve had to lean on their blogs, books, and tutorials to learn the tool. Now I’m able to return the favor by offering any help I can with statistics concepts through my blog, webinars, and any offline help I have the ability to give.

It’s a community that pays it forward. In talking with my friend Mark Jackson he noted that it could have been something else — the community has the early participants to thank for this positive, helpful environment.

Bona Wang .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

As part of the application process to join The Data School, I was required to pick up and learn Tableau very quickly. Whilst I dived in confidently, I very quickly realised I was no where near the level I would need to be at if I wanted to earn my spot. What took me by surprise was the amount of community content there was for guidance and the extent of the reach from the datafam.

I frequented MakeoverMonday, where the community showed me just how many different approaches you could take to each data set and blew me away with the level of creativity and innovation in these visualisations. There are so many parts to what I know about Tableau that I learnt from the community that it would be impossible to even credit each individual. I’ve now landed my dream job as a part of DS14 at The Information Lab, and I would have never got here if it wasn’t for the community.

Brad Werner .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

Tableau and the DataFam community have undoubtedly changed my life for the better.

After briefly being introduced to Tableau through a small work project, I became hooked. Although I have no formal IT background, after getting involved in the community, I knew I wanted to make this my career. Participation in community projects like #MakeoverMonday and #WorkoutWednesday helped me achieve this goal, as I am now an Analytics Consultant at an amazing Midwest company, DataDrive.

The generosity from this community has given me the opportunity and the platform to grow my skills, meet lifelong friends, and find joy in a new career that I did not think was possible. Thank you to everyone for your support. It means the world to me.

Brian Moore .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I can honestly say that joining this community has completely changed my life. I have been using Tableau for a while but about a year ago I got to a point where I felt stagnant, unmotivated, and devoid of creativity. I wasn’t learning anything new and I was just kind of going through the motions. It was affecting my job performance and more importantly, my job satisfaction. I needed inspiration and that’s exactly what I found in this community.

It’s been about 8 months since I sent my first datafam tweet and I am now more motivated and inspired than I have ever been. Not only have my Tableau skills grown dramatically in that time, thanks to all of the incredible feedback, support, and resources shared by the community, but my creativity has grown ten-fold. Seeing some of the insane things that these people can do with Tableau is so inspiring and has made me really push myself creatively, in hopes that I can give even a sliver of that inspiration back to the community. But the biggest source of inspiration in the datafam is not the amazing work that it produces, but the amazing people that comprise it. This is the most supportive, welcoming, generous, helpful, warm, and absolutely brilliant group of people that I have ever encountered. A year ago I would never have thought about entering a data viz competition, or becoming a mentor, or blogging, or presenting at a conference or a user group, or really even sharing my work publicly, but today it’s such a huge part of my life. This community has given me the confidence to do all of those things, but more importantly, they have inspired me to want to give back to the community and help whoever I can. My only hope is that I can someday give back half as much as I have gotten from this absolutely incredible group of people.

Bridget Cogley .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Website .|: United States

Honestly, I can’t begin to answer this question fully. The professional part is perhaps answered in snippets throughout my blog. Here’s perhaps the real story you’re interested in.

I saw myself in the mirror for the first time about 4 years ago. Prior to that, I would’ve believed you if you said I was a vampire. You see, I didn’t see myself reflected anywhere, that few people shared my thought processes, goals, desires, and ways of being. Want a test of this? Open your silverware drawer. Now, how are the forks and spoons laid out? The vast majority of people put them tops up, some bottoms down, but I’ve only met one other person (Kelly Martin, BTW) who did half up, half down (if this is you, find me on Twitter ASAP!). There’s logic to this puzzle, but it highlights a key thing: I’m odd.

What I’ve found is I exist in the world. I’ve found friendships and camaraderie that I didn’t realize existed. The depths of some of these bonds will never find words and are best understood in action. I was with Kelly when she died. But before she went, she made sure you folks knew, so I’d have some people to lean on. It’s extreme on all angles, but it’s real.

Christian Felix .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

For me, the Tableau community has been a tremendous source of growth, creativity, and encouragement. The community has inspired me to expand my thinking on what is possible with Tableau and to actively seek to push my own creative boundaries. It has allowed me to ‘rub shoulders’ with some amazing people that I never would have interacted with otherwise and to journey with them into new areas of growth and visual exploration. It’s truly a welcoming community that I feel blessed to play a small part in.

Christina Gorga .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I never thought I would make long lasting friendships through a tool I use regularly at work. In 2016, Michael Cristiani opened me to the Tableau community through a series of virtual “meet cutes” including Bridget Cogley. Not only was I completely hooked on the versatility and speed at which I could impact my daily work but I also found a group of collaborators and friends I could confide in the ups and downs in work life as well as tackling challenging stakeholder requests for dashboards. Nothing is ever impossible for the Tableau Community. When my Tableau family has career successes everyone supports one another. When we experience job and personal losses, we all come together and lean on each other. That’s a testament to the values we have invested in making Tableau more than just a BI tool. It is a culture and different way of thinking about work.

Danielle Oberdier (Dikayo Data) .|: Twitter .|: Website .|: United States

Please check out her special podcast where we discuss many things including this blog post here!

David Napoli .|: Twitter .|: Newsletter .|: United States

As an instructor who teaches data analytics and visualization (covering Tableau along with other analytics tools) and consults in the same areas (with efforts that span from data modeling to data management to reporting to statistical modeling to visualization implementation and creation), Tableau and the associated community is one of several I am honored to be accepted by and have the pleasure to be both inspired by and continue my own learning journey from on nearly a daily basis. The perspectives this community brings is vast to say the least, and the broad spectrum of industry experience brought forward and the awe-inspiring amount of intellectual curiosity and visual creativity on continuous display compels one to not only join in, but challenge oneself intellectually as well to further one’s own analytics capabilities and give back to the community in a similar way.

The sharing and caring on display in the Tableau community is clearly evident, and the character of the people that make up this community are one of my inspirations to give back through my newsletter. I fully realize a newsletter pales in comparison to the efforts and visual creations many within the community put forth for others, but I thoroughly enjoy pulling together those analytics and visualization resources and creations that I feel others should be aware of and learn from, and share those to “spread the wealth” on a daily basis. It is the least I can do to give back to such a wonderful community.

Diego Parker .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

As an International Relations student I wasn’t really expecting to have a career in data analytics and even when I came to the realisation that I enjoyed working with data, I didn’t expect someone to offer me a job in it. I moved to the UK in 2018 without a plan and after couple of months without being able to find a job I asked a friend about which skills he thought were useful in today’s job market. He said Tableau. This is when the Tableau community came to play and as melodramatic as it sounds, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration saying that it has changed my life. I was lucky enough to find The Information Lab which led me to the MakeoverMonday community and eventually to the wider Tableau community. It was through the support and teachings of the community that I eventually managed to get a job at The Information Lab, which not only gave me a career but also some friends.

Today have found in the forums a platform to volunteer and give back to the community by helping people solve day-to-day Tableau problems. These may not involve super-fancy Tableau dashboards but are the kind of problems that can make the difference between someone having to do overtime or being able to go home to their families. The gratitude you feel in the community forums it is a drive to keep learning and improving your skills in Tableau every day.

Dinushki De Livera .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

The Tableau and datafam community is the only reason I have an active Twitter account. This group of people inspire, educate and support me and sometimes, they don’t even know it. I love exploring visualizations produced by my fellow Tableau lovers and never fail to learn something new. So, Thank you to everyone that publishes, tweets, comments and shares their knowledge with the public, keep doing what you’re doing, it’s undoubtedly helping or making at least one person smile.

Elissa Fink .|: Twitter .|: Former Tableau CMO (current CMO Advisor).|: United States

Other than the obvious incredible luck I had in finding and then joining Tableau for an incredible career trajectory, I’ve felt the deep impact of this community. It’s reminded me and kept me clear on the reality that business is not just about the business — it’s just as much about the people. And when I say people, I mean seeing your fellow employees and customers fully — not just as one dimensional objects that are plugging into your work responsibilities. It’s the richness of getting to know them beyond colleagues (fellow employees and customers) with a common interest. It’s learning and appreciating all their other interests like the causes they support, their families, their outside interests, their life aspirations. Because at the end of the day, what you’ll remember are the joys which stem from the connections you’ve made and the successes you’ve shared. Now that I’m semi-retired that’s what I remember. It’s the people that were a huge source of it all.

Ellen Blackburn .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

The biggest impacts from the tableau and analytics community has come from two places. The first is The Data School, where I started my journey with Tableau, Alteryx and analytics. Fronted by @_tombrown and amazing Head coaches @VizWizBI and @Datajedininja, there’s a culture of personal and professional development where you’re continually inspired to learn; everyone has a huge willingness to learn and support others — it’s a great place to work. The second lies within the wider tableau community. There are many individuals who pour hours of personal time into community projects to foster the skills and knowledge of those around them (the likes of Makeover Monday, Workout Wednesday, Project Health Viz, amongst others). That passion, alongside the support the community provides in regards to feedback, encouraging participation, and celebrating the work of others, has kept me motivated to create and share content and further develop my skills.

Eva Murray .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: Germany

Tableau has literally changed my life. It has taken me from being a cog in a corporate machine to becoming a change-maker, to having an impact and driving projects and initiatives.

Had you asked me 7 years ago what I would be doing right now, I never would have expected to end up where I am. But you know what? I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to work with data and with people every day. I get to share insights and my passion for this community. I have the privilege to help people work with data, gain skills, improve their own job opportunities, change their careers and ultimately change their lives. That is extremely rewarding.

My day-to-day work involves speaking with nonprofits about using data to achieve their missions. I also speak with sports clubs as well as traditional businesses about using data and analytics to improve what they do. I have gained many friends through the Tableau community — people I love spending time with and who continue to challenge and inspire me to get better and never stop learning.

Frederic Fery .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: Australia

I love tableau because:

  • Tableau is changing student’s life (more below)
  • It also allows me to connect and inspire the new generation of data professionals It is a great software
  • I can use my curiosity and found out what is hiding in the data I like the company values and I LOVE the Tableau community (online and the real one too, see below)
  • I like the support Tableau provides to Education sector (free for students, staff…) — To see more, check out his linked in article here

Gary Collins .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

Working with Tableau has enabled me to become a better version of me, by being able to work with data in a way that was above my previous skill level.

The Tableau community has enabled me connect with ‘my kind of people’, those who are encouraging, supportive and get excited about the things I love. There is no ‘I’ in this community only ‘we’: ‘we’ all encourage each other and get better together, ‘we’ all learn and share, and ‘we’ will all change the world of insight, one viz at a time! Blogs and twitter have enabled me to learn from some brilliant minds, innovative thinkers and data artists who I would never have otherwise met. Thank you to you all.

Hesham Eissa .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

Tableau changed my life, I have been trying to find my THING for 28 years and never found it until I found Tableau. Now I have an answer when someone’s asks me; Do you have a hobby? Are you into Arts? What you do outside work? What is your passion? The answer will always be Tableau.

The support from the community was a factor in my journey, but most of the credit goes to Kevin Flerlage, I would never be able or have the courage to post something on Twitter unless for him, given that I’m kind of an introvert. Also MakeoverMonday helped me step up my game and taught me a lot.

Hunter Hansen .|: Twitter .|: Blog .|: United States

By rights I shouldn’t even be #datafam at all. Among the titans and luminaries in this space, I scarcely contribute to Tableau Public, I’m long overdue for a #MakeoverMonday, and I’m woefully bereft on the Zen and magic that our data viz wizards possess in abundance.

But it’s more than data — it’s a fam. Even though I’m more an business Tableau user and can’t share proprietary work, I *can* share encouragement, stories, things that “data people get,” and more. I’ve given little, yet gotten much from this encouraging, uplifting, humorous, and caring community — on both personal and professional levels.

Ivett Kovács .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Hungary

This is the most selfless, honest and supportive community I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone shares their knowledge, put energy/time to create amazing vizzes and helps each other without an expectation of receiving anything in return. I am happy and lucky I can be a part of the Tableau community. I get so many friends and yes, I can say that they are my friends. When I travel I can meet other Tableau users in other countries and I feel that I am not alone. I owe a lot to these people, to you. You inspire me and push to bring me out of my shell.

Jacqui Moore .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I used Tableau for a few years before being introduced to the community. Of course, I had found the forums and some blogs which helped my improve my skills and solve problems in that time. However, when I was introduced to the larger community my inspiration and skill improved by leaps and bounds. It took a little while longer before I felt confident enough to put my work out there. Once I did, I again experienced a new kind of growth. And now, being a more active part of the community, interacting with and meeting people in the DataFam, and taking part in the local Boston TUG, and other initiatives I feel a renewed energy and sense of growth. The Tableau community has helped me in different ways at different times in my journey and has been career, and life, changing. The DataFam is such a wonderful, supportive, and collaborative community of like-minded individuals.

Jeff Plattner .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

On February 6, 2016 I reached out to Tableau Zen Master, Ryan Sleeper, for advice on how to improve my Tableau skills. Among Ryan’s tips were to follow the Tableau community and start a Tableau Public profile. These opened up a whole new world I had no idea even existed and my life has completely changed because of it. Today, I work as a Data and Analytics Consultant and for the first time in my career, I can say that I love going to work every day!

The datafam community is a constant source of knowledge, inspiration and encouragement. Its willingness to share infinite amounts of knowledge has helped me learn and grow in this space faster than I ever could have imagined. And in doing so, I’ve began forming the foundation of friendships that I feel will last a lifetime.

Joshua Smith .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

The datafam is kind of like that perfect soil. Prior to joining the Tableau community, I had a strong regional reputation. I’d done plenty of speaking and consulting at big brand companies. However, I wanted something besides a reputation — I wanted a place to belong. I was like a tree trying to grow in infertile ground. But, like a maple seed, I “whirlybirded” my way into the perfect soil of the datafam (Bridget Cogley was the “wind” that put me there). I found people who were more interested in community than competition, in ideas rather than absolutes, in the potential of people and product rather than the potential of a person. This perfect soil contributed to a transformation in my career, but also in the way I interact with others. I no longer tolerate the cut-throat corporate competition; instead, I chase community.

Karen Hinson .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

Using Tableau is honestly one of the things I like most about my job as an analyst. It has helped me become a better communicator… I have learned how to take incredibly complex information and boil it down to the basics, to highlight for others the “main idea” in the data. Becoming a Tableau expert wasn’t easy. I’ve invested a ridiculous amount of time learning all sorts of Jedi tricks and have struggled along the way, but people in the community have bent over backwards to help, encourage and support me. Members of this community share a unique bond based on a common passion and energy for data visualization and a respect and admiration for each other’s skills and expertise… I’m so grateful to have found my place in this group of data nerds!

Kasia Gasiewska-Holc .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Poland

Tableau and datafam had and continue to have an enormous impact on me and my professional career. To put it quite simply, I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for Tableau.

Before I was introduced to Tableau 2 years ago, all I knew was that I wanted to work with all-things-data but the tools I’ve been using thus far didn’t make it all that easy. Tableau was a real game-changer in that respect. In just a couple of months, I became quite proficient with it. After learning the basics, I finally had a chance to move from simply analyzing the numbers to utilizing more creative and advanced visualization techniques, that are just as important as the analysis and numbers. That turned out to be a massive career boost that allowed me to really grow professionally.

The best part of the process was becoming a part of this huge datafam community, connecting with people who were always eager to help, give a piece of advice when in doubt and, most importantly, inspire and motivate to do things BETTER. I think without that constant nudge from the community I would most likely have settled for status quo, not being reminded that there’s always room for improvement. That being said, I believe my journey is still just the beginning of what’s yet to come and I can’t wait to learn more from all individuals who create this amazing community!

Kate Brown .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Her thoughtful response was blogged here. Please visit Kate’s blog review her response.

Kate Schaub .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

Thank you for asking this question! However, it’s not an easy question to answer, so, in order to best answer it, I need to go back to the start of my Tableau journey.

I started using Tableau at work just over 4 years ago. At the time, I had never heard of it, but my supervisor said it was the latest and greatest tool for data analytics. I was tasked with overseeing our environment and learning the ins and outs of creating vizzes in Tableau. However, we didn’t have the budget for official training, and we had no idea about the conference, yet. Let me tell you, my first few vizzes were pretty rough. It was all ‘Show-Me’ and unicorn vomit for colors! Anyways, over the next few years, I did what I could to learn Tableau own my own using videos, blogs and the endless knowledge of Google. Then, the time finally came, and I had the opportunity to attend my first conference 3 years ago and have attended each year since. My first two conferences, I crammed in as many sessions as I could, trying to absorb as much new information as possible, but the people I met were almost a side note. It wasn’t until TC18 that I finally realized there was an entire community surrounding Tableau and that it really wasn’t just another “tool” to use at work.

During TC18, I attended a session by Mike Cisneros about “How and why to get started making public data visualizations.” That session got my wheels spinning about what I might want to do to get more involved in the community, especially through Tableau Public, and how I could use the skills I had to do more. Fast forward to Fanalytics at the end of the week and Andy Kriebel had me sold on creating a Public profile, getting involved in community-led projects, and improving my skills. On my way home from the conference, I created my Public profile, and haven’t looked back. Since then, I’ve been participating in numerous community-led projects and each one has proved to be invaluable in helping me learn and improve my skills, which translates directly to the vizzes I create at work. My knowledge and skills in Tableau (even if they’re nowhere near the level of others in the community) have allowed me to move up within my workplace, and, for that, I will forever be grateful. And, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the connections and relationships I’ve made just by being an active member of the Tableau community.

The datafam really is the greatest part of the community. Sure, it’s a way to network, but it’s also a one-way ticket to incredible friendships with other members, all around the world. Before I found my way to the datafam, I really felt ‘stuck’ in being limited creatively at work, and not having many Tableau users around me. Now, I have a vast network of friends, connections and support system that are only a Tweet away. Tableau, like any software, inevitably could come and go, however, the relationships I’ve built, just by sharing a common interest in Tableau and data analytics will last a lifetime!

Katie Wagner .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

The Tableau community, lovingly known as the #datafam, makes what others may feel is just “work” an exciting part of my world. I adore sitting in the front row of Tableau Conference, cheering at the top of my lungs for new features and exciting announcements. I feel an immense amount of inspiration from so many who dedicate their spare time to encouraging and teaching others. I’m very grateful to those who’ve helped me to feel included and look forward to welcoming many more into the #datafam.

Ken Black .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Please check out Ken’s very inspiring blog (with video) covering his work with Tableau and being given the same honor of Zen Master that his data heroes had earned prior to him. This is not original to the question, but covers so much of what I find exhilarating about this community.

Ken Flerlage .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Wow, what can I say about the Tableau Community?

The fact is that I probably wouldn’t even be here without the community. I began using Tableau because I had started a job at Bucknell University and they used Tableau (thus, I needed to learn it!). Around the same time, I had been playing around with the idea of starting a blog where I’d ask some sort of question and use data to answer it. This blog would need some visuals, so what better way to learn Tableau than to use it in my personal projects. But, at the time, I had no idea this community existed. I would create something in Tableau then tweet it, hoping that someone somewhere might show a little interest. But then something crazy happened — I won viz of the day! I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it was so exciting to be recognized for something I had created. Then, shortly after that, Josh Tapley reached out to give a compliment on something I had created. Then Ben Jones, then leader of Tableau Public, also reached out with some kind words. Then, about six months into my Tableau journey, I was surprised to be named as a Tableau Public Featured Author. Josh, Ben, and the Tableau Public team probably don’t realize what these recognitions meant to me, but I was (and still am) incredibly thankful. They both validated my efforts and introduced me to the incredible Tableau Community. From there, I really started to engage with the community. People like Adam Crahen and Jonni Walker, though maybe not realizing it, acted as mentors to me. I discovered projects like Makeover Monday and Workout Wednesday. I started diligently reading the blogs of Andy Kriebel, Andy Cotgreave, Eva Murray, and Ryan Sleeper. And I learned so much from downloading and dissecting the work of Pooja Gandhi, Rody Zakovich, Matt Chambers, Adam McCann, Curtis Harris, Chris Love, Jeffrey Shaffer, Shawn Levin, and so many more. This community is seriously amazing. Want to create something, but have no idea where to start? Chances are there’s a blog which deals with it. If not, tweet about it or post a question on the community forum and I guarantee someone will try to help you. Want to see how someone created a visualization? Just download it and take it apart. And if you’re still confused about it, just reach out to them — 99% of the time, that person will be more than willing to help. Having discovered and fully engaged in the community, the pace of my learning accelerated significantly. The truth is that I can’t even imagine where I’d be without it. Never in my life have I seen a piece of software evoke so much passion in people and I want to thank each and every member of the community and encourage you to keep doing the incredible work that you do.

Kevin Flerlage .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

My relationship with my brother grew exponentially. He moved away 20 years ago and we all but lost touch. We now talk every single day. 99% of our conversations are related to Tableau and 1% are related to “other”, but we still talk numerous times a day. Tableau brought us back together. It has changed my professional life and my personal life and I am forever grateful.

Klaus Schulte .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: Germany

Thanks to Tableau I discovered my passion for working with data in general and data visualization in particular, and also the ‘hacky’ part of me. I’m one of those ‘data people’!

Thanks to the #datafam I discovered a new way of learning and sharing knowledge within a community. I’m part of the #makeovermonday generation and Eva Murray and Andy Kriebel have been role models for me since I discovered #makeovermonday 2.5 years ago, with their passion for the topic and their willingness to help others.

Lindsay Betzendahl .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

I’m sitting here pushing keys and deleting letters. Going back and forth between thoughts and feelings and struggling to put them into words. As someone who was once a poet and once a therapist, the use of words to convey those little sparks within usually comes naturally. Perhaps it’s because the Tableau Community (aka the datafam) is something that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before and therefore is so complicated to explain.

Tableau, without a doubt, changed my life. Full stop.

Upon discovering Tableau 5 years ago, I changed career paths from being a behavioral health clinician working in quality management and process improvement to becoming a data visualization expert. Tableau allowed me to provide innovative solutions to my company while at the same time giving me space to be wholly creative, imaginative, passionate, happy, and energetic.

What came next, honestly, was not expected. I didn’t imagine that discovering a fantastic visualization tool would lead me to finding some equally fantastic friends. How can a software foster and support community, family, and friendships?

I don’t know the exact secret sauce, but, what I do know, is that by jumping in head first into what is fondly known as the Tableau data fam I have found more than just solutions to my Tableau questions. I have found friends. People I enjoy laughing with, being creative with, collaborating with, and discussing challenging topics. People I can think about visualization needs with, consider the impact Tableau can have on other companies, communities, and environments, and find so many elements that bring us together.

To answer the question: Tableau has changed by life and the data fam has made it whole. We may not ever met or we may only see each other once a year, or a few times intermittently in those 365 days. Whatever the frequency, our passion for Tableau is consistent and that is so energizing.

That’s what Tableau and the data fam mean to me. Cheesy, perhaps, but so genuine. You guys are FANTASTIC! Tableau, thank you for all you do to foster community, creativity, innovation, and fun!

Lindsey Poulter .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

I discovered Tableau as an intern who was caught in the crossroads of whether I should pursue a numbers based field like accounting or a creative field like web design. During my internship, I taught myself Tableau completely through free community created resources and realized that data visualization was the field I had been searching for. Tableau helped me find what I was really passionate about and I have since spent the last four years in various Tableau developer positions. I give full credit to the community for where I am today. Initiatives like Makeover Monday helped me practice, build a portfolio, and create my own definition of what I consider a good viz. The community has constantly mentored and supported me, offering up encouragement to start a blog and share my ideas. Tableau is more than just a software to me, but instead a vessel for fulfilling my passion and making life long friendships.

Lorna Eden .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United Kingdom

The community has helped shape me into who I am today. I love to give back to the community in every way I possibly can! Being an Ambassador has really helped me push myself to do more and more for our beloved community. The #DataFam is literally an extension of my family! I have connected with some many people through the data fam and community that I now speak to on a regular basis and confide in them! It really is a true Family Community!

Luca Urzi .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Italy

It may sound odd, but since I started using Tableau few months ago… my life changed: I always liked data analysis and data visualization, but, coming from a web development background, it took a while before I decided to move in this field. I was thinking: “”Will I be able to start from zero again, learn to master a new software and transform the passion I have for data in something meaningful?”” — I didn’t know the answer earlier in 2019, but now I do, and I am so happy to have taken the risk! Since I started using Tableau, I feel like I can express my creativity and my curiosity for data whatever I am working for a client or I want to work on a cool dataviz during my free time! When in the office, working on a new dashboard always feel like “entering a playground” and, at the end of the day, I am like: “Wow, the time has flown!” … So I definitely feel less stressed if compared to my previous jobs and this means that my overall mood has improved.

The datafam community plays a very important role for me: not only I can learn from all the amazing dataviz created by tens of outstanding content creators… but I can also rely on meaningful and qualified feedback by people sharing my same passion. It’s great to see how the community is always on your side by supporting your creations and helping you to understand the quality of your work. Some of the community members are a great source of inspiration for me, and interacting with them makes me really feel like being part of a group… Which is very rare in a world where competition seem the “fuel” for everything.

I have been also surprised by the quantity of people willing to start using Tableau and contacting me by private message to get an idea on how to proceed after they saw my data visualizations. This makes me proud and, at the same time, motivates me to support whoever is in search of some help with Tableau. In my small way, this is the contribution I am giving to the community, with the hope that it will be continuing growing month after month!

Luigi Cicciari .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I took some time to think about my answer because I was flooded with many thoughts and emotions. At a top level, Tableau has given me a skill set to help bring clarity out of data chaos. Tableau the software has helped bring many wins to my agency. However, this was not my biggest win. While tableau has had an impact on my professionally, the Tableau datafam has had a profound effect on me personally — I have been a Tableau user for quite some time but have held myself back. I have witnessed the support the datafam has provided from afar, but for the most part kept to myself. In the last couple of months, I have endeavored to step outside of my comfort zone. I started to do this to hone my craft. I spend my days creating the typical branded KPI dashboards, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to be creative. With this I started participating in #MakeoverMonday, #ProjectHealthViz, and #SportsVizSunday.

I certainly have been getting a lot of practice. But I’ve also gotten a lot more out of it than I could imagine. In October I submitted my first #ProjectHealthViz submission. The topic was Autism & Developmental Disabilities. After I tweeted out my initial work, Lindsay Betzendahl reached out directly with tips and suggestions. After I made some changes, I republished my work and shared with everyone. What happened next help me appreciate the datafam even more. As some of you know, I have twins that will turn 9 on Christmas Eve. My daughter, Gabriella, is on the Autism Spectrum. I had hoped working on this dashboard would allow me to learn some new things as well as educate others. My immediate goals were accomplished. More important than the constructive feedback was the many messages of support I received. My viz was just okay. But what I got back in return from the community was what you would expect from family. What we have as a datafam is truly special. It goes without saying that the work produced by all of you is world class. However, this only scratches the surface of what datafam truly means. Everyone that I’ve encountered sincerely wants to help. Sincerely wants you to improve. Sincerely wants you to do well in life. The way many of you live your lives is inspiring. As talented as you are professionally, you are even better people. Without the data, you are still family.

I think this quote sums up datafam the best:

Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.

— Brad Henry

Luis Garcia .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

The #DataFam has had a huge impact on myself and my career. I always tell people that what sets Tableau apart from the rest of the BI tools is the huge community of people willing to help you succeed via Twitter or in person (shout out North Texas TUG). Earlier this year I was able to land a data analyst role by showing off some of the knowledge I had built by participating in the #MakeoverMonday and #WorkoutWednesday projects. Now that I’ve been in my role for a couple of months I have been able to leverage blog posts by Zen Masters to make our dashboards better. I can’t say thank you enough times to everyone who contributes to the community.

Maria Brock .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

How can I express in a few sentences how much the community means to me? Being in the community means being in a family that continually supports and loves one another. Learning Tableau and joining the community has changed the direction of my entire career for the better: I cannot wait to continue to grow and learn from the datafam as we strive to do good with data!

Mariona Banyeres .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Spain

Tableau opened my eyes to the fact that in professional dataviz there’s plenty of room for creativity and self-expression. I like to tell the (true!) story that the very first time I opened Tableau desktop, a corner of Ken Flerlage’s Word Usage in Sacred Texts was showing — the beautiful packed bubble chart. It was the Viz of the Day, and I was hooked!

The Tableau datafam, on the other hand, is the reason I started putting my work out there in the first place. Last year, after lurking for a while, I shared my first viz on TW (an IronViz submission) *very* shyly, and people were so encouraging! It never ceases to amaze me how such a large, vibrant community can yet remain so welcoming.

Mark Bradbourne .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

I think the better question for me is how hasn’t the Tableau Community affected me. I first brushed the community in 2012 by using the forums, but at that time I was blissfully unaware that the community existed. I thought it was really cool they had such an active forum and it reminded me of the old BOBJ Board for users (Pre-SAP purchase of BusinessObjects.) so I started to answer some questions I could as well as continue to ask my own questions.

Fast forward to October of 2016, when I learned I was being laid-off but I had a couple months’ notice, so I started examining what I wanted to do. I’d been in management for a few years, but was still technical and leading Tableau activities, so I decided to focus on Tableau and pivoted back to being an individual contributor. I drove in to the community (having learned about it at TC15) and began dabbling with MakeoverMonday. I got a new job as a Tableau developer and continued to leverage the community to learn. MakeoverMonday accelerated my learning like nothing I’d ever done before, and with the help of the DataFam it really started to click.

I entered my first IronViz feeder in which 4 folks from the UK acted as my coaches and gave me a ton of great feedback. I fell deeply in love with Tableau, but hated the job I was in so I switched jobs and became a Tableau Evangelist, literally and figuratively. I volunteered to help lead the Tableau User Group in Cleveland, I became VERY active on Twitter and continued to find new ways to use and learn Tableau including Viz for Social Good, Data for a Cause, and I continued to do MakeoverMonday (continually now for nearly 3 years without missing a week). This passion was evident to others, which lead to the honor of being named a Tableau Social Ambassador, being included in the MakeoverMonday book, being asked to help technically edit Visual Analytics Using Tableau (by Alexander Loth), numerous speaking engagements and eventually being hired by Tableau directly. It’s been an amazing ride, and I owe a great deal of the success and happiness to the Tableau Community.

Michael Sandberg .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Tableau has provided me a quicker, more intuitive way of explaining data to my business partners. Growing up in the world of MicroStrategy and Cognos, getting to the point where we were truly discussing the data versus building components or prepping the data to discuss has significantly decreased. Tableau offers a wide variety of data visualizations (or has the ability for me to create my own) to convey these results. I can quickly set up a Skype meeting with my business partners and analyze and data mine the data in real-time. They don’t have time to waste. I sometimes only have a short window to discuss this data with them. Tableau makes that possible.

The Tableau #DataFam reminds me of winters growing up in the Midwest. After playing outside in the cold and snow for hours, we would come in and have hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. After drinking this, my body was warm, and my tummy was full. The #DataFam community is like that. I can reach out to any one of them around the world, ask a question or ask their opinion, and they are more then happy to help me out — they are mentors, advisors, friends, and comrades. It warms my tummy just thinking about them.

Michelle Frayman .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I have had the amazing opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share a passion with me but also have so many other things I can learn from them. I love that we come from all walks of life, span many ages, locations, industries and can still come together as one big family. I have yet to meet anyone who was not friendly and inclusive.

The data family has helped keep me engaged both in and out of work. I have a new passion for work that I have not had in many years. So many people have helped me learn volunteering their time by reviewing my vizzes, posting blogs, running community projects, providing inspiration and so much more.

The datafam also keeps me honest and encourages me to be a better person and ensure that I treat my work with the highest of ethics. When a sensitive subject came up there was a quick and valuable response to help people understand how much their work can impact others even if they think it does not matter.

Michelle Gaudette .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

I started my Tableau journey in July 2018 after two months in a new analyst role at the university where I’d been teaching for 13 years. I didn’t think I would meet the deadline we had been given, until I found Tableau. In two hours, I downloaded the trial version and reproduced all the work it had taken me two months to do in Excel. I was hooked! Soon after, I found out that there was a Tableau community on Twitter and had the fortune to follow Tom Brown, who reached out to me and introduced me to the community as his 3000th Twitter follower. That was a pivotal moment in my journey. I’ve since met so many people in the Tableau community who have helped me learn and grow, and 18 months later I’ve been hired as a Tableau Trainer and Consultant for Interworks.

My entire life has changed because of Tableau and the community that makes it such an empowering tool. I never saw myself as a data person until I found Tableau. I’ve now attended two Tableau conferences, become part of the Tableau Data Family, and am joining a fantastic company that will allow me to innovate and solve problems using Tableau, and I couldn’t be happier!

Mike Marr .|: Twitter .|: United States

I remember the first time I saw Tableau at a conference in 2011 and knew I had to find a way to introduce the tool to our organization. Fortunately, there was support in leadership for the product and we started small; five desktop licenses. That small spark ignited a flame that continues to grow. I was fortunate to attend my first Tableau Conference in San Diego in 2012. I remember being in awe the first time I saw an Iron Viz competition and watched Anya A’Hearn be selected Iron Viz Champion in 2012. I was then able to meet Christian Chabot in 2014 and remember him talking with anyone that happened to catch him between sessions in Seattle at TC14. I remember the first time I read a comment from Joe Mako in the Tableau Community and was blown away by his ability to answer people’s questions and dive deep into technical details that helped us all understand how Tableau works. I was, and am, blown away by the Tableau Community as it has grown over the years in technical skill and storytelling ability and how much people share their knowledge and help others along in their data journey. The Zen Masters, Iron Viz Champions, Tableau Ambassadors, and entire #datafam have helped me grow to be a better analyst and story teller with data. I am thankful for Tableau and how much it has changed the way the world thinks about data.

Mohit Panse .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: India

Since this year’s starting, basically 31 Dec 2018; I joined Twitter for MakeoverMonday participation.

Now the data exploration part part of my skill instead of just designing the workbooks as requested in corporate world.

The datafam had a great impact on my visualization journey and their encouragement is really awesome.

Hoping to meet all of you at a future Tableau Conference.

Nicole Lohr .|: Twitter .|: Blog .|: United States

Please check out Nicole’s fantastic new blog post responding to the question here!

Pradeep Kumar .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Arab Emirates

I started my job career 1.5 years back. In my professional life, I work as a Senior Consultant with Beinex, Dubai. I always had a passion about ‘Data Visualization’, where anyone can able to explain any data by means of visualizations which makes it easier for the audience to understand about that particular data.

I wanted to explore my design and artistic skills with data visualization (and it worked out most of the time). Participating in Tableau community projects like Makeover Monday, Project Health viz, Iron Quest, etc had given me platforms to learn, explore and experiment more about data visualization. I still remember, when I was new to Tableau, I participated in Iron Viz. My viz got selected in top 10 which grabbed Tableau Community’s attention towards me. That moment gave me hope and I never missed any of the feeders this year. Fortunately, 2 out of 3 of my Iron Viz entries got into Top 5 list. Out of all these back to back achievements, I have faced failures as well, but the hope and spirit remained as always.

Recently, I had received ‘Biggest Growth’ Vizzie award from Tableau and I feel very honored. I always get excited whenever I start doing visualizations with Tableau. Tableau community has so many amazing people — I get constant support and appreciation from the Tableau Community which really cheered me on to do more and more. I want to take this chance to thank #Datafam who supports me all the time. In simple words, Tableau has personally and professionally changed my life into a fruitful one! :)

Praveen Punnen Jose .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: India

Whenever I say Tableau, I always mean it’s the people. I know it’s a technical tool but the first thing thta always comes to my mind is the people. The care and knowledge sharing that we do is what makes us a family, probably the biggest nerd family. I started Tableau 4.5 years ago. There were very less people ten working on this tech. I found it immensely joyful that (1) I get to learn so much from the best of the best in that era (2) My contributions were considered worthy which usually is something that never happens much in other communities. My turn into UX has been because of the inspirations that I got from the community. My journey in Tableau is something which I walked with the people in my community (well… Virtually for most of the time though :) ), but it is what has made me what i am today.

Rajeev Pandey .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: India

Tableau is my tool of choice at this stage because of it’s agility. It is ultra powerful and fastest growing data visualization tool used in the Business Intelligence Industry. It helps in simplifying raw data into a format which is very easily understandable and that makes Tableau best in the market. If someone asks why I love tableau, the reason would be “Tableau products are transforming the way people use data to solve their problems” and I love being a part of this transformation. I started using tableau from Aug 19, 2015 when my manager at that time requested me to analyse server usage data .With Tableau , it just took 30 min and a complete RCA dashboard was ready. Senior Management loved it so much they pulled me from all other projects that I was into and asked me to become a full time Tableau Developer. From then till today there has not been a single day when I didn’t use Tableau.Then I decided to educate others by giving free webinar, short trainings or via my blog (linked above).

Tableau changed my life completely And awarded me different recognition — Tableau featured author, Tableau most notable newbie, Tableau Monarch and Tableau Public ambassador. The journey so far is not only interesting but also full of data. I have made lot of friends all over the world and it’s all because of Tableau. The best thing about tableau is its data people (#Datafam) and tableau community.I got inspiration from our great tableau leaders who are always ready to help like Andy Kriebel, Ken Flerage, Kevin Flerage , Ivett Alexa Kovács, Toan Hoang (Tableau Magic), Pooja Gandhi and Adam Crahen. These people are pillars of Tableau and in this big world where everyone has a lot to keep them busy, these people are taking out their time to help everyone . #Datafam family treats everyone as their own family, what else you can expect from a family.

Ravi Kumar .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: India

Tableau and the community has etched a very positive mark within me. I really appreciate the selfless support received from the community members. I am always grateful and glad to know that there is always a quick solution to any data viz questions on community forum/ Twitter.

Professionally, it has been a great journey in using Tableau by developing several informative dashboards to influence data based decision making.The quick way to build great dashboards is one of my favorite features of this software. Thanks to several authors and their blogs for sharing their knowledge to build best visualizations by adhering to principles of visual analytics.

Personally, I love using #datascience techniques in solving real-life problems with data (volunteering at NGOs and Charitable Trusts). Data viz is one of my favorite disciplines in data science life cycle, and Tableau has given me an opportunity to use my passion for building effective visualizations. It gave me a new path to explore and have fun in the process. I still have a long road ahead, but the community projects like #MoM, #WoW has helped me a lot; special thanks to Eva, Andy, Sarah, Charlie, Adam, Chantilly and many others, sorry if i missed any of your names, but your feedback is shaping my approach to problem solving; I am forever grateful to that. I would love to take part in several other community projects and hopefully meet the datafam someday. Thanks to Tableau and datafam for giving me a great platform to engage and learn from the best minds in the world of data. The datafam makes my data journey more memorable. I feel being a part of Tableau and Alteryx communities has shown me a way to learn, grow and give back in the process.

Robert Janezic .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I always disliked school and tests. I looked at it as a chore rather than something that would help me. I started to use Tableau at my very first job after college and within a month I was hooked. Something was sparked in me and I found myself day after day spending all my time learning and fostering creativity. I haven’t slowed down since then and have found myself more motivated than ever. Oh and did I mention I got my last two jobs due to Tableau Public, wink wink at anyone looking to get into it.

Rodrigo Calloni .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

To talk about the impact of #datafam community I will do a mad exercise to imagine the World without it. Imagine a World without hundreds of weekly #makeovermonday visualizations… Imagine a World without #TableauTipTuesday or without any #TinyTableauTip… Imagine a World without challenges such as #WorkoutWednesday, #ThinkDataThursday, #ThrowbackDataThursday, #ProjectHealthViz and #SportsVizSunday, #VizforSocialGood #PreppinData… Imagine a World without Tableau Podcasters and Bloggers… Imagine a World without the Tableau! Zen Masters and Ambassadors… Imagine a World without the hundreds of Tableau Forums discussions, ideas and people helping each other in their journey to see and understand their data. (Harder level now) Imagine a World without Tableau Conference, Devs on Stage and… IronViz competition!! Impossible to imagine, right? That’s the impact of Tableau community in the lives of us all. It transformed most of our lives and we can’t even imagine a World without it anymore.

Sam Parsons .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

Discovering Tableau has quite simply been a revelation for me.

Prior to Tableau I had worked in various Finance teams for the best part of 15 years, having left a Product Design degree and a passion for art & design behind. I was working 100% of my time in Excel; sat at my desk my world then was tiny, minute, blinkered and solitary. I thought I was happy and content, but I was only kidding myself. I had suppressed all my natural instincts for being creative, loving design and working with others. Then my world changed.

I started using Tableau.

At first only in my evenings and not at work. I started to develop a Tableau Public profile using Makeover Monday as my training ground. I acted on advice to get involved on Twitter and engage in the community chat. Quickly I found that spark again, I could be creative, have fun, whilst still producing analytics — crucially I could see a pathway for my future.

So I took a chance and applied for a Tableau role — my current role with Dyson! I was lucky — extremely lucky! The exact type of role I wanted came up, one that focussed on Visualisation, with a progressive company and only 20 mins from my house. I presented my limited (10 vizzes) Tableau Public profile during the interview and the rest they say is history.

Life hasn’t been the same since!

I have found a self confidence in myself and my work that wasn’t there before Tableau. I now put myself forward for presenting to user groups, or internally delivering training or presenting best practice. I have found my voice. I have tested my skills through IronViz this year and I try to participate in the community as much as I can. I attended my 1st conference in Berlin and was flown to Singapore to present at an internal conference.

What is more, Tableau has let me combine my passion for Visualisation with my passion for Rugby Union and this has led to new opportunities. I have recently been working for the professional Rugby Union side — The Melbourne Rebels, delivering a Recruitment Analysis tool for them — this is the dream for any sports fan to be involved in the sport they love!

All through this has been the DataFam, who without them I’m not sure I would have progressed as quickly as I have. Everyone is welcoming in the beginning, open to giving advice, they are simply reaffirming — they give you the confidence to push forward.

I can’t name them all here, but two conversations I had early on still resonate with me, first was Sarah Bartlett, who encouraged me to push on after I had my 1st ever VOTD. Then there was Simon Beaumont who has become a source of great support throughout my short Tableau career, early on in my Tableau adoption, I helped Simon with his IronViz entry “Rainforests of the Sea”; where I spent evenings testing the viz as it was being developed and feeding back to Simon. Those evenings live long in memory; because here I was helping someone I had only recently met online and never met in person, but giving up my time to help them out — it was bizarre for someone not used to that interaction! Yet it was one that I learned so much from.

I’ll repeat, without the DataFam I would not have progressed as quickly or enjoyed the journey as much! To see more of my journey, please check out my TUG presentation in London. Thank you.

Samar Khan .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Austraila

I completed my certification almost a year ago, but did not really have time to use Tableau on account of my ongoing tertiary education. I graduated recently and was scrolling down on LinkedIn to plan out what to do next when I came across Adam Mico’s visualisation which was shared by Tableau itself. It was fascinating & after I connected with him on LinkedIn, I came across other people’s visualisations which he interacted with. And that is how I first came to know about makeovermonday & seeing other people contribute, I too did my very first visualisation a few weeks back. I have already learnt a lot from the community and their visualisations than I would have on my own & will continue to do so. I feel more comfortable to be in a data analytics profession than I did before because of this amazing community.

Samo Drole .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Website .|: United States

As a designer working on software tools and dashboards, Tableau allowed me to prototype different chart types quickly while using real data. Later I started using it for building vizzes in one coherent story, and the community played a significant role at this step. Everyone was so nice when I shared my first viz and their feedback gave me motivation for future work.

Sarah Bartlett .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United Kingdom

Being involved in the Tableau Community has changed my life. Not only have I learnt new skills & changed jobs, I have also made friends with passionate, like-minded people from across the world in the process. Before I became involved in the Tableau Community I would never have started a blog and I was terrified of public speaking. However, I actually enjoy both of these activities now & I’m fortunate I have the opportunity to do both on a regular basis.

Sean Miller .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

The #DataFam Impact

When I was new to the Tableau Community back in 2015, I was doing what most do when starting out. Watching from the sidelines. I was on Twitter and I was following people but wasn’t really contributing. Then I followed (again from the sidelines) all the activity of #Data15 and had a serious FOMO. Then in the weeks that followed the conference, I was seeing all the recap blogs and hearing all the encouragement from the veterans to the newly introduced. So I decided to jump in head first. I started my blog and published my first Tableau Public viz in December of 2015. The next month, Andy & Andy started #MakeoverMonday and the rest is history. Throughout my active time in the community, I’ve had countless conversations, critiques, feedback sessions that have been abundantly helpful in professional career. (Nearly) Everything that is created in our public space can be (easily) translated into our professional careers. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without this amazing community!

Seffana Mohamed — Ajaz .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

There are three communities that have impacted me.

First and foremost, it will have to be the @dataschooluk. This is where my Tableau and Alteryx journey has started. They’re the ones who are leading the way on making me want to better than I already am, both alumni and current data schoolers have been great. We all support each other, especially with Andy Kriebel and Tom Brown at the lead.

Second and third would have to be the Tableau and Alteryx community. I’d say the community forums have been great. The judgement-free space has made it easy for me to post questions and get great and quick responses.

Here are two examples: Alteryx & Tableau.

Also, the people on Twitter are very supportive of any and all work that you contribute. Everyone is your cheerleader, and that’s pretty uplifting.

Simon Rowe .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

For me there are two main ways the community has had an an impact. Firstly, by constantly seeing the amazing work that is produced I am driven to continue to learn more about Tableau. The inspiration of new designs ideas and with everyone willing to share their techniques gives me all the help and resource I need to continue my journey. Secondly, the support from the community is a key driver behind me contributing more myself on Twitter. Every time I have received feedback it has been positive, encouraging and has always improved my work. In addition, as a relative new joiner to the London TUG I have received a fantastic welcome and immediately felt comfortable in an environment where maybe I would have been reluctant in the past.

Simone Mangini .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Australia

I used to label myself as just an ordinary and bit incompetent type of person; I could not see myself in a better job or with better pay.

Until the day I had to learn and use Tableau at work, I never thought I could do all the things I needed to do without any programming skills — I was stunned by all the functionalities in one single tool and how easy the basics were (but I would still be stuck in the basics if it was not for the Tableau community)!

People at work value my skills and ideas now and I don’t see myself as a number anymore. I am no guru, but I have something to give and now; I understand data better than ever and it feels amazing!

No cliché but this journey has changed my life forever and I will be eternally grateful to Tableau and the community!

Siroros Roongdonsai .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Thailand

Besides a great software, the most important thing is community. Tableau provides a great community which is like a best friend who have no secret to each other. During past 3 years, I have learnt a lot from friends, Zen Masters and Ambassadors. Everyday there are a lot inspiration from Tableau community sent through my email , Twitter and LinkedIn. Personally, to compete in the business, having a great tool doesn’t mean you will number one, but having fully understanding, practicing on many different use cases are the key to drive. The Tableau community is a great place to practice analytic skills. Whenever , I have no ideas about how to present the data, I normally get good ideas from community. Some problems are solved by peers in community. Strong community make Tableau more lively. In addition, joining community projects like #makeovermonday, #workoutwednesday #projecthealthviz #ironquest #vizforsocialgood #dataforacause cause of a lot of self-improvement I normally get feedback from experts and peers and it definitely make me work more efficient.

Another thing I would like to mention is about the social impact — when I was a student , if I have time do the volunteer work. As we know when we enter to work , the work is always busy. I also though that how can we make the world better with the limited time and found that everyone can be superhero by their careers. Some of inspirational projects like Viz for Social Good, Data for a Cause, ProjectHealthViz are such an inspirational project to reflect the problem in our social. Building a great Dashboard is a way to communicate and raise awareness and remind ourselves to think of the social more. One thing which totally change my life after joining the community for 3 years are the increasing of number of follow in Twitter and LinkedIn. At the beginning, I remember I had only 30s friends on LinkedIn, but now I have already have 1100 people.

At the beginning, I was so worried about this. I got a lot of messages on my inbox. I heard a LinkedIn sounds ringing in my head all the time (lol). Then, I changed my mind and asked myself why don’t we try to inspire other people by our works? It would be great if I can inspire someone like when I was inspired by people in this community and It would be great, if someone accidentally see my visualization and change him/herself to care more about the world and make our social environment better. For my work life, It definitely changed!! It is much more fun, and there are more challenging projects and work and makes my job are more colorful everyday. More than the money, it is the opportunity to join some great projects (which money cannot buy).

Soha Elghany .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United Kingdom

The community reminds me of the fountain of knowledge, it’s a never-ending flowing source of enriching information that offers you the opportunity to grow, learn and advance your skills to a new level. These new opportunity to learn and improve has improved my Tableau and Alteryx skills, which has created opportunities for me to work with amazing clients, create products I never would have been able to dream of and advance my career in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.

Through these opportunities I managed to encounter great people who are my colleagues and are amazing to work with and learn from constantly. It has also allowed me to learn from Andy, who’s been a supportive and patient teacher and given me the opportunity to meet Benedetta — my mentor. Encouragement of putting my work out there from Luisa — who is always there for me to brainstorm with, I’ve also encountered great people in the community that I respect and admire a lot such as Kevin Flerlage, Sarah Bartlett and Ludovic. The Tableau community didn’t just help me concerning my career, it has also given me the opportunity to give back through volunteering my skills I’ve been able to help not-for-profit organizations solve their data problems using Tableau and Alteryx. This is invaluable and unmeasurable being able to support not-for-profit organisations achieve their goals in making the world a better place one small step at a time.

Susan Glass .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Susan’s response was blogged here on her brand new blog.

Swagat Jenna .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Singapore

I started using Tableau without actually knowing the complete benefits of it. It was last year when I thought of entering IronViz feeder 3. With the passage of time, I started to get a hold of the Tableau and the things that can be achieved through it.

Tableau has been the Bread and Butter for me. It gave me a way out from something which I never wanted to do. Tableau has given me the recognition which means a lot for one’s growth and personal development. To put it in a very simple way, I am in love with Tableau.

The amazing visualizations that I see day in and day out really inspires and motivates me to work hard and build something new and something meaningful.

The datafam community has always been an open book of perennial knowledge and support. There is always someone to help me whenever I needed guidance.

People I have never met or even spoke in person, when give suggestions for my betterment, rectify my errors and show me the right way; that is what datafam and the Tableau community has given to me.

I would like to thank each and everyone in the community for their support, help and guidance for where I am now and would only like to make this bond stronger with every passing moment.

Tausif Kazi .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: India

I started my career with Excel Automation and worked on various tools like Cognos and Qlikview. However, I was introduced to Tableau 3 years ago and worked it part-time (along with different tools). I started with full-fledge in Tableau 2 years ago and was introduced to Makeovermonday which was one of the amazing projects the Tableau Community has. I started getting visibility in the community and slowly slowly i started participating and building my Tableau public profile. The turning point of my life was when I interviewed for the first time in Tableau and the interviewer appreciated me on my Tableau public profile.

The Tableau profile gave me an opportunity to get an offer quickly and helped me market my skills. Then it became my habit of participating in #Makeovermonday, #WorkoutWednesday and #ProjectHealthViz. I love to play with the data and tell the story as much as I can. The community helped me to grow daily and now when i see my profile i can feel the difference from the Viz i created first and the recent one. I have come long way in terms of learning and getting visibility for the work i am doing. Due to Tableau, I started socializing. I started my LinkedIn and Twitter account and kept getting feedback and appreciated. This motivated me to do more and changed my life completely. Now, Tableau is a part of my life and i keep coming up with something new in my visualization which helps me to showcase my work and also learn new things at the same time.

I still remember the numbers of followers on LinkedIn and Twitter which was zero and now when I see it has cross the limits. I guess without the Tableau community, this was not possible to me. I have come a long way when it comes to visualizations. Many resources and blogs are available for help to learn and grow. The Tableau forum is also one of the best things Tableau has. I am now part of the community and it makes me feel proud to be connected to some big talents and talk to them anytime if I need anything. Yes, they respond and provide feedback when asked & I always to get feedback for the work I do. I want to thank again to all the #datafam and community members.

Tim Blaisdell .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

Tableau crept up in my life unsuspectingly. I was assigned as the “performance metrics lead” at my position at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). My first question about this additional duty was, “What’s that?” I then was presented some sorry looking graphs on an antiquated platform that hadn’t been updated in years.

It was my manager that first suggested to make the switch to Tableau. We watched an introduction video together and I was hooked. I realized that I really love digging into data to tell a meaningful story. My additional duty has now become my primary. Almost five years later, I am now the go-to Tableau guy in my office, I’ve received multiple incentive awards, promotions, and a National Flight Standards Safety Professional of the Year Award, all based on my work with Tableau.

I was not alone in my Tableau Journey. The Tableau Community has been instrumental in my success. It has motivated, educated, and inspired me to keep improving. In the early days, I would Google Tableau questions, eventually taking them to Twitter, and I slowly discovered the people within the community: Zen Masters, Ambassadors, User Groups and the leaders, the supportive staff, and enthusiastic users. It quickly became apparently that the Community’s passion wasn’t limited to just helping people learn how to use the program. It was also using its love for data storytelling to help with social causes. Following suit, with my friend and fellow military Veteran, Chris Aragao, we are launching the Veterans Tableau User Group to support this unique segment of the population. Unquestionably, I would not be as successful as I have been without the Community.

Toan Hoang (Tableau Magic) .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United Kingdom

As a long time Consultant in the data space, there have been many let downs and broken promises of the democratisation of data. Tableau has not only kept that promises, but helped propagate the message to the forefront of data and business intelligence. Data is an asset, data is for everyone, and Tableau makes this true, and without equal.

The community surrounding Tableau is an indiscriminate coming together of thousands of people with a shared passion and interests. Through the DataFam community, I have been able to learn and grow and, hopefully, be able to give back and support others along the way. This is the crown jewel of Tableau, and it is a testament that through passion alone, so many great initiatives have sprung up.

Vince Baumel .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: United States

There have been four pillars in my life that have proved to be worthy investments of my time and attention. These have each consistently returned more value to my life than whatever energy I put in. The first two perhaps are fairly predictable — my faith, and my family. The more I put into these, the more grounded I feel in all other aspects of my life. The third pillar in my life is, and always has been, the pursuit of music. I’ve been a musician for most of my life, and even attaining an undergraduate degree in music has done nothing to curb my enthusiasm and love for it. As a creative outlet, it has supported me and given me a language when all other words fail. I have been blessed to play a part in helping others find and explore this language, and cannot imagine my life without it.

The fourth pillar came latest into my life, and in some ways has served as a blending of the passion found in the other three pillars. At a time in my life where I was feeling a disconnect from people outside of my immediate family, I found myself in a new job role requiring a skill set in Tableau. Assuming it to be just another software to learn, I was hesitant to jump into the community side of the product — I had been disappointed by software communities in the past (always inextricably linked with arrogance, condescension, and lack of empathy) and had no interest in resurfacing those same experiences. I was fortunate in that my beginning with Tableau was a training led by someone passionate about the community, who instilled this passion as a foundation and qualifier for using the software.

I’ve approached this community in the same way I’ve approached my faith, my family, and music — through humility, empathy, and ceaseless encouragement of others. From this perspective, I have seen others find a voice they never knew they had. I’ve been blessed to help others unlock the courage to speak up for themselves and the issues they care about. I’ve laughed and cried along with friends I had never met in person. Data analytics and Tableau have given me a new purpose and direction in life, and the community surrounding it has given me the lens through which I can accurately see and appreciate just how remarkable it is.

Vinodh Kuma .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: India

I was looking at a career change a year ago and so I tried my hand at different technologies\tools and was part of those communities, but nothing worked out as I was clueless of where to start and where am heading towards. The communities were OK, but it was missing something. That is when 6 months ago I came across Tableau and its community.

In a matter of a week I was able to sense something special which I did not experience anywhere before in any other community — the people were so helpful, they were selfless, there was constant encouragement. They reached out to help you when asked and even when you did not ask. They have your back all the time and that is why they called it a family (DataFam).

In a month I was part of a community which is so diverse I had the opportunity to work with people from every continent and from different companies. Some of the greatest minds in data viz looked at your work, provided feedback. With every feedback response and iteration, your skill visibly improved. People reached out to you and mentored, so you don’t get lost or overwhelmed. The community also includes people at very high positions in data viz world, they are so modest and you can reach out to anyone, anytime and from any part of the world. Trust me there is no hierarchy here. There is no competition or race; everyone wants everyone to grow and they do it hand in hand. After all we are united by our love for Tableau and maybe because we share our success, failure, happiness, skills,friendship, selflessness and care we call it as a “FAMILY” and am glad they took as one of them. Now I can very well say Tableau and Datafam is probably one of the best things ever happened to me and Ihave made some friends for life !!

Wendy Shijia .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: China

My first attempt at Tableau in 2012 lasted only one week, and ended up in frustration. It was like feeling my way through a dark, vast space, and all by myself. My second attempt six years later, though, it was like night and day.

I was lured back to tableau by a great number of amazing works mushrooming from its community. I’d never seen so many quality works uploaded by so many active members in any other software community. It was encouraging and many of my ideas were sprung from them.

After re-entering the community, I’ve met and made friends with many data enthusiasts, at offline meetups in China or on Twitter. They never failed to provide thoughts, comments and technical help. Their patience and generosity of sharing ‘know-hows’ helped me improve my skills.

These aspects gave me a wellspring of ideas and encouragement to create and share my works. Many thanks to Tableau and datafam community!

Will Perkins.|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

I started using Tableau in mid-2015 having no professionally or educational background in BI/Data Viz. I knew what my stakeholders wanted and what was important to them. I learned the basics of Tableau quickly and was off to the races. Before I went to my first conference in 2016, I considered myself an intermediate to advanced user. My stakeholders loved and used my reports and I was helping drive business decisions. After my first couple of conference sessions, I realized I was at the top of Mount Stupid.

Since then, I discovered the Tableau Community, the different initiatives put on to help others improve, and the countless number of free resources (YouTube, blogs, Twitter, etc) where the community is so willing to give their time and brain power for the betterment of all. I have never met so many selfless individuals who start out as strangers and become members of the #DataFam. I have learned many invaluable lessons through them that have helped me get to where I am today. I strive to provide that same type of help and guidance afforded to me with everyone I come in contact with because I wouldn’t be where I am today without the countless individuals who lifted me up.

Young C. Song .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: Australia

From the air we breathe to the technologies we use to connect ourselves to the world, science has been around us for longer than we could imagine. Science education shouldn’t be available just within the confines of laboratory. It should be available to people from all walks of life, should they choose to embrace it. My passion is to deliver these messages using some platforms. Tableau, along with other visualization tools has given me exactly this. The community over the past three years have been very patient and generous with me, allowing me to pursue my passion. So for that, I am very grateful.

Yoshitaka Arakawa .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: Blog .|: Japan

It was and is still difficult to make my appreciation to the community in a short sentence, but my answer is here: It changed my life drastically and gave me a lot inspiration and aspiration + opened me to a lot of opportunities.

Zach Bowders .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

The Legend of Zelda begins with a wizened old man in a cave warning the young hero Link, “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone.” “Take This.”

Tableau as a tool is wonderful. It allows for fast, easy data exploration and can be used to create almost anything you can imagine. But if you’re operating it alone. If you have no community at work and beyond, you’re going to have a very shallow experience.

Joseph Campbell, one of the great thinkers on heroic archetypes wrote:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Tableau is the beginning of a journey. A journey that calls you beyond yourself, to become part of a larger #DataFam where you’ll meet big boisterous personalities, quiet scholars, and data rebels changing the world.
You’ll face your deepest fears and live. Sharing deeply personal vizzes with thousands, conducting demanding technical demos on stage, leading TUGS.
And at the end of your journey, you’ll return and share what you’ve learned. You’ll elevate others and be the helper on their journey, ensuring the heroic cycle continues for generations.

So when the old man in a cave (I’m not saying it’s Andy Cotgreave) says “Take This”, he’s not handing you a tool. He’s handing you a community, and a call to adventure.

You’re my data hero.

Zak Geis .|: Twitter .|: Tableau Public .|: United States

Tableau has meant more to me than any piece of software should. Finding Tableau, and then the community that came with it, has totally impacted my life. Before starting with Tableau, and data visualization in general, I didn’t have a driving passion in life. Tableau gave me that and so much more. It gave me something interesting, something driving, and something defining. It gave me my career. Today, I lead the delivery of the Tableau platform for a very large company. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without it. Tableau changed my life. It led me to close friends, amazing mentors and awesome experiences. It helped me to grow into the person that I am today. I will always be thankful for that.

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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