First of all I’ll like to thank all the Tableau Public team for inviting me to speak today. Today I want not only to show some of the visualizations and analysis I made using Tableau Public, but more importantly how Tableau Public has been a turning point in my day to day
Who I am.
Where I come from and where I work.
What engaged me the most about Tableau Public is how easy is to open a public dataset, analyse it, visualize it and share it with others. I consider myself a curious person. I like to understand the world we are living in, the society. Analyzing public data from census of different countries, population structures and changes over time, politics, environment, habits… it’s something I really enjoy. This was very difficult for me in the past: Using Excel and PowerPoint, the tools I was used to in my job as Market Researcher, weren’t good enough for this. It takes days or weeks to analyse properly a dataset with these tools. And the ability to find insights, ask new questions and continue investigating is slow and boring. But is not only a matter of satisfying my curiosity. Being able to share visualizations and findings with others is also a key point. And that’s why Tableau Public makes a big difference.
Now the problem is not that I want to do something that takes a lot of time that I don’t have. Now the problem is that I want to analyse and visualize a lot of different data and I don’t have enough time for all of them! And it has become the best way to continue learning, improving and sharing my passion about data. And Tableau Public was one of the main reasons why this happened. But how has Tableau Public make such a big difference from a “I want to but I can’t” situation to a “I’ll spend my Sunday playing with data” one? Two main reasons explains this change.
The first one. Tableau Public has been one of the best way to enhance my skills.
And not only my Tableau skills, which should be obvious. But also my data analysis skills and my data visualization skills. For me Tableau Public has been not only a very good way to learn Tableau, but also to think in a more analytical way and improving my communications skills, focusing on the key messages you want to communicate with a visualization. Discovering data sources that I want also to analyse, getting ideas for analyzing data from a different perspective, etc.
How has Tableau Public make all this? The first way it’s by reverse engineering dashboards from other Tableau Public users. So it’s as easy as downloading a workbook you like and learn how the user built it. The reason to download a workbook could be anyone like a calculation that you may not know how was created, a chart you really like, a particular design that you want to use in the future...
The second way to enhance your skills, and as important as the first one: use as much as you can the great community Tableau has: from the official Tableau and Tableau Public blogs, asking questions at Twitter or saving dashboards for future review and making sure you have a look every week to some of the Tableau blogs from users around the world. The amount of knowledge, inspiration and ideas you can get from the community is huge.
But of course, miracles don’t exist. Willpower and effort is necessary as for anything. The more you can practice, the more visualizations you can create, the better. Practice is the only real way to improve doing something. Think about your hobbies, the things you are interested in and look for data sources about them. Don’t forget to have also a look and learn to use additional tools that can save you a lot of time getting the data from websites where is not available to download in a nice way: Import.io or ParseHub are two good free options. Alteryx, an excellent software for data preparation and data cleansing has become the perfect ally for Tableau.
The second main reason why Tableau Public has make such a big difference for me is to be able to share my knowledge.
Basically because as Andy Kriebel told me one of the first days I joined The Information Lab, the best way to learn something is to teach it. And I started to find very satisfying to help other people learning Tableau, and giving some advices, and of course sharing my vizzes, and discover people interested in the same topics than me, and people that can learn something about the world we are living using my visualizations.
So for me, giving back to the community what the community gave me started to be also a priority. And i decided then to start my own blog in Spanish: makeadifferencewithdata.com when I saw that there were no Tableau or Alteryx blogs written in Spanish. Don’t care if any other person has already explain how to do something already: First, because each person explains things in a different way, and maybe the way you explain it it will be useful to some people that doesn’t understand that well the explanations of other blogger. And second, because teaching and written about something is one of the best ways to internalize it. The more you share your knowledge and teach others, the better you will use Tableau and more confident you’ll gain.
Apart from blogs and vizes, have a look also to Tableau Foundation and specially the Service Corps: a volunteer network of Tableau experts eager to help non-profits do more with their data. Where organizations can request a session with the volunteer to scope a potential project and try to make a difference with Tableau Public even further.
This two reasons act also as an iterative process: the more you improve your skills the more you want to share your knowledge. And improving how you share it will make you also try to continue improving your skills to have new things you can do, teach and share.
Live examples of 2 of my Tableau Dashboards in Tableau Public and a couple of tips from them.