#MakeoverMonday Week 44 Diary

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My first #MakeoverMonday Live came last week at Tableau Conference in New Orleans. It was an awesome experience that I’m happy to have been a part of!! As far as #MakeoverMonday’s go, in the past few months, I’ve been trying to do a better job of time-boxing myself to a one hour limit, which helped me in being more prepared for the Live version, than I would have been several months ago. So, moving forward my goal is to combine staying around that time limit while implementing the following format…For those of you who have ever read or listened to sports writer, Bill Simmons, he is a favorite of mine. I was a big fan of the NBA Draft Diary columns he used to write. In his articles, Simmons would watch the NBA Draft and simply record his thoughts, as the draft unfolded. Here’s an example…and of course, being a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, it just happened that I clicked on the 2009 draft, one that haunts Wolves fans everywhere to this day. YOU’RE WELCOME GOLDEN STATE!!!!!!!! Anyway, in 2009 Simmons writes;

MN1MN2MN3

Ok, so you get the point. I’ll set the timer, work through the week’s project and record some key moments as we go. With this week’s data set bound to be a fun one, why not get right to work?!!

9:11pm – Since seeing Eva’s tweet about the poopy data set, my mind instantly began thinking of ways I could work in an Austin Power’s reference, “Who Does Number 2 Work For?” Unfortunately, I didn’t come up with anything great, but hopefully somebody else does. While looking over the data a bit, it became clear to me that the aim should be to call out those people whose hand you should think twice about shaking. For the record, it blows my mind that people choose to NOT wash their hands after using the restroom, it’s just absolutely disgusting!!

9:18pm – With the decision made to call out those who fail wash their hands 100% of the time, I grouped all other responses together. This way I could incorporate some easy to understand bar charts while having just two bars for each gender, as opposed to six. One bar would represent the percentage of females/males in which you should feel confident shaking their hand, while the other would represent those where you should think twice. Reason behind this decision is if you aren’t washing your hands 100% of the time after using the restroom, I do not want to shake your hand!!

9:24pm – With the decision made on how to display the data, I was still left with three locations. In an attempt to make my visual simple and clean, I decided to focus on only the “While at work” location, as I felt it made for an interesting, albeit disturbing story line…that their are likely co-workers among you who failed to wash their hands after last using the restroom. Here’s the final bar chart, displaying the percentage of co-workers who always wash their hands. Simple and to the point…80% of females wash their hands all the time after going number 2 at work, making it ok to shake their hands. For the men, 77% do the same. The only calculations I made this week were simple text calculations that I would use to label the left side of my bar charts.

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9:33pm – Probably 60-70% of my time with this viz was spent searching for and editing the two icons below, that indicate the act of shaking hands and giving knucks/fist bump. Taking a quick look back through my Tableau Public profile, I noticed that I really don’t use icons often, so this was a fun change of pace, but also fairly time consuming. For those of you who may be newer to #MakeoverMonday and Tableau Public, two great resources for finding icons are flaticon.com and thenounproject.com. For more on fonts, colors, etc. be sure to check out The Tableau Assistant Directory from Rebecca Roland.

10:08pm – Closing in on one hour, I finally had my icons edited through the use of PowerPoint and placed on my dashboard with the final visual looking like this.

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10:34pm – After adding a title (I took Eva’s comment, below, to heart!!) and some text to explain the viz, I tacked on the typical info on the bottom, including the source and it was time to save to Tableau Public…after a handful of tweaks to get the formatting to display correctly on Tableau Public, I was finished. One hour and twenty-three minutes, from start to finish, not too bad for my first #MakeoverMonday Diary.

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Click here for the final product…Thank you for reading!!

Reflections from a Tableau Conference Newbie

The 2018 Tableau Conference (#TC18) in New Orleans, earlier this week, was my first conference and wow what an incredible experience!! As a first-time conference goer, my aim was to avoid being overwhelmed, as many had mentioned on Twitter that it can be quite the overwhelming experience for newbies. Pre-conference blog posts from the likes of Sarah Bartlett, Curtis Harris and Mark Bradbourne were very helpful in giving me an idea of what to pack, how to plan and as far as my mission, the main goal was to keep it simple and not try to do everything. Heading into #TC18, in addition to attending some sessions that would have a direct impact in my day to day work, I had two basic objectives; 1) meet as many of the amazing people, who have inspired me throughout my journey, as possible 2) establish a plan of attack to begin improving my technical skills in Tableau. Having a chance to reflect a bit on my flight home, it feels like I did a decent job of accomplishing these goals, but definitely left room for improvement. Below, I’d like to share some thoughts on these objectives, what I learned and what I could have done differently.

OBJECTIVE #1: Meet Amazing People

Heading into #TC18, I had a good idea of the people I wanted to meet in person, whether it was to simply introduce myself or pick their brain and/or thank them for their incredible work and for being an inspiration to me. I mean let’s be honest, this list could have included hundreds and hundreds of people in the community, but again, in an attempt to not become overwhelmed, I decided to focus on a smaller group of folks. Did I meet all of these amazing people? Unfortunately not, but I learned from my missteps.

Time flies when you’re having fun. I arrived in New Orleans late Sunday morning and was scheduled to fly home Thursday morning. So, four days sure seemed like a long time, but it went by in a flash. The New Orleans Convention Center is an enormous facility and with 17,000+ people roaming its halls, I learned that if I wanted to meet somebody, I needed to just go say hi!! Was it awkward? Sure, some moments were more awkward than others and at times I was really nervous, but keep this in mind…you may not get a second opportunity to make the connection, so if you see somebody you’d like to meet, don’t hesitate and go say hello. I met a lot of people this week, but could have met so many more had I understood the urgency of making the connection the first time it presented itself.

What could I have done differently?

  • Attend all sessions 15-20 minutes early to ensure a seat in the first two rows, as well as time to chat with others prior to the session
  • Leave a few gaps in my schedule. Since this was my first conference, I sort of felt obligated to have a session on my schedule at all times. However, given the fact that many sessions are recorded, some of my time could have been better spent hanging out in the Data Village, specifically around the Tableau Zen Master lounge and Tableau Ambassadors area.
  • Hang around after sessions and introduce myself to the speaker(s). I did this a few times and was able to meet some amazing people who have been a big inspiration to me, but wish I would have done more of this earlier in the conference.

OBJECTIVE #2: A Plan to Improve Technical Skills

I was fairly certain one session would help me in this area, more than anything else I could have tried cramming into my schedule; #WorkoutWednesday. I attended this fantastic, hands-on session by Luke Stanke and Ann Jackson and guess what? I forgot my freaking computer at the hotel!!! An idiotic move no doubt, but in reality I still got out of the session what I set out for; confirmation that #WorkoutWednesday is indeed the single best resource to begin improving my technical skills within Tableau. I happened to run into Luke a day before the session and expressed to him that I had intentions of getting involved in #WorkoutWednesday, but to this point had been scared off, because I felt my skills were not strong enough. What he (and Sean Miller during an earlier discussion) ensured me, Ann Jackson only reiterated after the session on Wednesday, when I was fortunate enough to chat with her. Ann said that nothing else has helped her improve her technical skills in Tableau more than #WorkoutWednesday.

What would I have done differently?

  • As they say, better late than never, so it is time to get involved as soon as possible. There are only so many hours in the day for personal Tableau time and while I really enjoy spending time designing dashboards, participating in #MakeoverMonday and building fun vizzes with my own sports related data sets, the best thing for my development is going to be to roll up the sleeves and get involved in #WorkoutWednesday. While #WorkoutWednesday should have been a 2018 goal, getting involved will sit right at the top of my list of goals to accomplish prior to #TC19.

Now that #TC18 has come to an end, there will be plenty of sessions to watch online, but there will also be many new friendships to look forward to for years to come and I simply cannot express how thankful I am for that!! On Sunday around 4:00 pm, I walked into the New Orleans Convention Center, excited to be part of the Tableau Community and thrilled to be attending my first Tableau Conference…On Thursday morning, around 11:00 am, I boarded my flight home completely blown away by how truly amazing this community is and inspired to do whatever it takes to become a better member of it.