Well, it’s over. Tableau Conference 2016 has drawn to a close.
The free food, casual celebrity sightings, and concentration of geekiness ends for now. In my previous blog post after day one of the conference – I discussed some of the major announcements (they were tremendous, as our president-elect would put it). As a first-time attendee and stereotypical millennial, it was absolutely thrilling to attend a conference in Austin, Texas focused on all things Tableau software and adhering to the principals of “work hard, play hard.”
Based off everything I’ve heard from more seasoned conference goers, Tableau has a tradition of putting on an exceptional show. To add to that, this year saw the most attendees of this annual event at around 13,000 people. So if you have not attended this conference before or recently, I’d love to walk you through what makes it so special and worth your effort to attend next year’s conference in Las Vegas.
The format of the Tableau Conference is one that allows you to confront your blind spots in knowledge head on. Classes are self-selected via a mobile app with an endless amount of sessions (more than 150 on day one) over varying skill levels. If you have a specific issue or question outside the scope of these classes, there are also “Tableau Doctor” appointments you can set up to walk through the matter one-on-one with a knowledgeable representative.
You know that feeling when you hear a solution that you’ve been trying to find for months? Your head falls back and your eyes go to the ceiling, asking how much time you could have saved if only you knew that. Yeah, that feeling happened about once or twice an hour, four days in a row.
I can safely say that this week has been the most rapid week of actionable learning that I have ever had. Returning to Delphic HQ on Monday, I have a brand-new bag of solutions for existing or upcoming issues and requests.
If you work in analytics, love data, or are remotely interested in the subject, you will have tons of like-minded company. Conversation flows quite easily in an environment like this. Not only does this make for a welcoming setting, but it opens us up further learning.
As with most programs, there are always multiple ways to do the same thing in Tableau. If you don’t get to hear how others solve problems, you wouldn’t ever realize your full options or potential shortcuts for faster, more accurate use. Additionally, others at this conference have likely been where you’ve been. They essentially are future you, sent back in time to spare you the headaches. Heed their warnings.
Lastly, this is a collection of incredibly interesting people. In one night, I had casually met people from the IMF, Apple, and Spotify, as well as Tableau itself.
This may be surprising, but that isn’t a normal night for me.
And of course, plenty of fun
Last, but very much not least, Tableau Conference is extremely fun. Let me step back for a second and acknowledge I’m very much aware that’s an incredibly nerdy sentence. But, I’m telling you, Tableau goes to exhaustive lengths to make sure attendees enjoy this.
There are free concerts, speeches, parties, and food throughout the entire week (if you’re curious or skeptical, Google “Data Night Out”). Just to highlight the entertainment provided, this year’s special guest speaker was Bill Nye. The band Walk the Moon played live the night before. Domo, a competitor to Tableau featured complimentary Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida performances in the city as well. Again, that is not typical for me in a week.
Everything about this conference was enriching. I would highly recommend considering next year’s event. If you have further questions about some of the announcements this year, see the full list here.