What happens at Conference gets shared with the world #Data17

The famous slogan from Vegas ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ is not quite true when it comes to the Tableau Conference. There are many blogs already circulating about people’s experience of the conference this year. I wanted to share my thoughts on the annual Tableau Conference.

This year was my Second american conference and boy did it impress. Last year the conference was spread across several different hotels in Austin, this year it was all in one place. Mandalay Bay convention centre. Who would have thought you could fit 14000 people into one place at any one time. Well Tableau can that’s for sure.

Being a part of the tableau community, for me, is what makes conference incredible. Meeting up with people you only interact with on twitter or the community page is great. It really is like meeting up with a long lost family member.

But here are my top 5 memories from the week.

1: Tableau Community Battle of the Tips

This session was organised by Jordan Scott, Paul Chapman and Christopher Scott. This session was a battle of tips between myself and 3 ambassadors (Ann Jackson, Jonathan Drummey and Skyler Johnson). Where we each had to do 2 x 1 minute tips for the semi final and the winners would go on and do 2 x 1 minute 30 secs tips. Ann Jackson was the overall winner and her tips were incredible. The tips we performed on the day have been recorded and will be available soon. What an experience to be involved in this session at conference. It certainly is my number one highlight.

2: #MakeoverMonday Live

The size of this event was much bigger than last year. It was great to see so many people wanting to do a live version of #MakeoverMonday. In this session you had an hour to complete a makeover of a viz. I buddied up with Brian Graves this year (PS if you attend next year bring your laptop). It was cool having a buddy for this session as we bounced our ideas together and learnt from each other at the same time. I found this year’s experience much more valuable because of sharing.

3: Iron Viz

Boy oh Boy, the contest gets bigger every year. I would love to be up there doing what they do. 20 minutes of creating insights in front of 14000 people. It’s amazing how they all came up with a similar story but with completely different outputs.

4: Meeting new people

Well when I say new I really mean people that I feel like I have known forever because of interactions we have had over twitter. Tableau really is just like an extended family you get to see once or twice a year.


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5: Helping Andy and Jeffrey in there speed tipping rematch

Like last year, Sarah Bartlett and myself, helped count the tips. It’s incredible to see how many tips and how fast these two zens can go. Last year Andy won, and this year Jeff won. Sorry Andy but I was #TeamJeff this year. They are both fantastic zens and give back so much to the community.



For me, the whole conference is just an incredible week of learning, interactions and meetups. I love to take the time to go to conference as I always feel so inspired when I come away. The sessions this year were planned slightly different. Having 30 minute breakout sessions were great, but they overlapped with the bigger sessions, which meant having to leave sessions early. I did this for one or two sessions, but could of just stayed at the breakout area. I loved the headphones idea but that did set a hard limit of 50 people in the session.

So above were my overall highlights. But if you didn’t go to conference and you want to know where to start with watching the thousands of videos.

Here is my top 10 sessions to watch or reach out to the speakers about:

  1. Tableau speed tipping rematch: 87 tips in 50 minutes? Andy Kriebel,Jeffrey Shaffer
  2. UBS: Our Tableau centre of excellence: Managing an Enterprise deployment of Tableau Paul Banoub
  3. Welcome Trust: Beyond Drag & Drop: Calculations & functions for the non programmer Matt Francis
  4. Vizzing with Joe: What an 8-year old tells us about deploying Tableau Rob Radburn
  5. JLL: Can Tableau really change your life? Paul Chapman – This was a short session in the story points theatre hopefully this will be available to watch.
  6. The information lab: Top 10 tips when teaching Tableau Carl Allchin – This was a short session in the story points theatre hopefully this will be available to watch.
  7. Your vibe attracts your tribe: The data duo Data Duo, Adam Crahen, Pooja Gandhi
  8. Jedi charts: Creating custom charts Adam McCann, Rody Zakovich
  9. Spotify: Exploratory visual analysis: How to use Tableau to get the most from this crucial stage of analysis Peter Gilks, Tatiana Gabor
  10. Tablueprints: A strategic framework for data visualization Ryan Sleeper


Top 10 sessions I want to catch up on:

  1. Once upon a time…Seven story types (and when to use them) Jewel Loree
  2. From rookie to Rocky: Building your Tableau training program Sarah Nell, Sandlin Seguin
  3. Fantastic Data and Where to find them Drew Loika, Sid Wray
  4. Wannabe awesome me: Good things do come in tiny packages Emily Kund – This was a short session in the story points theatre hopefully this will be available to watch.
  5. Netflix: A series of unfortunate events: Delivering high-quality analytics Michelle Ufford
  6. Beautiful Data: Balancing art and Analysis Michele Tessari
  7. Eye Tracking: What is teaches us about dashboard design Amy Alberts, Andy Cotgreave
  8. The big session on the big book of dashboards Andy Cotgreave, Jeffrey Shaffer, Steven Wexler
  9. Server tools 101: Introduction to Tableau Server tools Justin Mangue, Rahul Motwani
  10. Server tools 102: Take command with Tabcmd Ciaran Flynn, Irina Porodnova


And it goes without saying to watch the keynotes and IronViz

Keynote: Tableau vision

Tableau Devs on Stage

Iron Viz Championship


As I mentioned, when I come back from conference I am so inspired. This year I am going to take some time to set some goals for next year. These include personal and professional goals. I would also like to start a year long project, any ideas welcome also happy to do a collaborative project.

If you have any questions or want to reach out follow me on Twitter @Lorna_Eden

Hope you are as inspired as I am and ready for #TC18 in New Orleans. See you there!

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