Viz Whiz Tournament Update

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  Tableau runs an annual all-company data visualization tournament, called Viz Whiz. Wilson and I did a shock-jock style tournament preview of the Sales and Customer Solutions organizations this past December. This episode is a followup discussion of what we’ve seen so far. We wanted to feature some of the great vizzes people created for the tournament. Here are a few of the vizzes we mentioned on the podcast: Cameron Ford: Cameron’s view is a very fun approach to Tableau Story Points. Story Points are a unique feature of Tableau that no one seems to be really sure about the best way to utilize. Cameron’s the Story of Liam is a great example of how data visualization can be used to tell a story. You are both walked through the important analysis he did to prove his argument, and are also encouraged to explore and interact the view for yourself. Is it conclusive? No. There are some severe causation/correlation problems with the argument. But it’s an argument I’ll bet you’ve never heard made before that at the same time makes perfect sense when you hear it. Joe Clarke: In the podcast Wilson and I alluded to the concept of presentation […]

Makeover Monday: Americans’ Savings

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This week’s Makeover Monday challenge comes from an article entitled 62% of Americans Have Under $1000 in Savings, Survey Finds. Go ahead and take a look before reading further. You’re back? Great. Welcome. There are obviously some problems with the charts provided as part of the article. We can debate the efficacy of pie/donut charts to clearly tell a story, but the thing that struck me most was that there are 4 charts that all tell the same story. I appreciate that the author rethought whether her initial viz, or subsequent iterations, would be right for each progressive breakdown of the data. I think that in some cases, especially the male/female comparison later in the article, might call for a slightly different look at the data. However, a great way to make the story simple and clear, and allow for comparisons across the many dimensions explored in the article, lies in a more consistent approach. For my version of the viz, I used a stacked bar similar to the second viz in the article. Each rectangle in my stacked bar represents one of the savings amount categories represented in the article’s stacked bar as well as in the donut chart, […]

Andy Cotgreave

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Andy is a very recognizable guy in the Tableau community. He’s a tremendously active vizzer, a data enthusiast, and an all-around cool guy. We talked about the Tableau style, and whether or not it exists. That carried into discussions of what we’re each doing to help Tableau’s internal and external communities improve at data analysis and visualization. You can find Andy’s blog at You can find more information about the Makeover Monday series at (Andy Kriebel’s blog).

Makeover Monday: Technology Purchase Intent

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Andy Cotgreave and Andy Kreibel recently kicked off a series on the latter Andy’s blog entitled Makeover Monday. In it, they select a data visualization from the web and attempt to transform it into a more meaningful analysis. Andy C. informed me about the exercise last week and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at it myself. I am nowhere near the data viz expert that either of these alphabetically superior men are, but it’s quite intriguing to see how my approach to a data set will compare to a couple of experts for whom I have a great deal of respect. The prompt for this week’s exercise is the following viz: Are Consumers Bored With Technology? published in Business Insider two weeks ago. My approach was to try to tell the same story highlighted in the article, but use better data visualization practices to make the conclusion more clear. For example: I like the cute icons the author used – it makes the viz more memorable. However, I thought a more straightforward approach would help the discrepancies in the data stand out more. The result is a decidedly less infographic-y approach. I also limited myself to an hour […]


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This was a tricky topic. Wilson and I were inspired by an article written by Bronson Shonk, a colleague of ours, and posted on, entitled Are you as Tableau-Smart as a Tableau Consultant? We find the idea of what it means to be “Tableau-Smart” a really fascinating one, especially considering the increasing amount of literature out there intended to teach people techniques for achieving various goals in Tableau. The challenge with this is illustrated by Bronson’s follow-up article, entitled How to Create a Tableau Application. Wilson and I are of the firm opinion that analysis and the presentation thereof is separate from application development. So for most of this episode (from minute 5 to about minute 40) we talk about what the difference is between being skilled at analytics and being able to develop an application, and why those concepts get conflated. Then we start pontificating (literally pontificating – there’s a quote from the Vatican in there) about the best ways to present analytics in a best-practices world, with some interesting references to Robert Kosara, Edward Tufte and BBC-sensation Andy Cotgreave. Name drops galore. -CS

Planning and Architecting Tableau Server

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  The install of Tableau Server may only take 45min, but what happens after the install? We spent 2 whole hours (!) discussing what makes sense to maintain after the install of Tableau Server and the key things to monitor to ensure a healthy Tableau Server deployment. Also I made wild analogies of Tableau Server and Charles discussed Jackie Earle Haley’s performance in the movie, Little Children*. -Po *Editors Note: the discussion of Little Children was edited out because of some…unsavory references. -CS