Good morning all, I hope I find you well.
It seems that “2 minutes with…” is proving to be quite the premier interview show on the web. We’ve been literally inundated with requests to take part. I might have to employ some additional ninjas to deal with the admin.
We’re switching continents for this episode… He’s an alien. He’s a legal alien. He’s everyone’s favourite Englishman in New York…
It’s Peter Gilks (@pgilks) of Slalom Consulting in NYC.
Founded in 2001, Slalom Consulting are an American business and technology consulting firm and were named as one of the best 50 companies to work for by Forbes in 2013.
Here at VN we are big fans of Peter’s work, in particular his cool Tableau Public vizzes. This recent one will roll back the years for you hardened video gamers. Peter is also a vocal tweeter and has been very helpful with his feedback about this blog and other topics.
Peter Gilks (PG): I’m very well thanks, despite just getting back from seeing the Chicago Bulls lose at Madison Square Garden.
VN: So who are you then and what do you do?
PG: Peter Gilks, Data Visualization Consultant at Slalom Consulting, New York. Slalom are Tableau North American Alliance Partner of the Year 2013.
VN: How did you start using Tableau? And how are you using it now?
PG: I started using Tableau about 4 years ago when I was working as a customer insight analyst at Barclays. At first it was just a great a replacement for coding SQL and draw charts in Excel, but I soon realised the scope of the product and I was hooked! Eventually the product grew within the company and we were lucky enough to get a Server which opened up the possibilities of pushing Tableau dashboards out to colleagues and customers. These days I’m spreading the love to other organisations, big and small, as a Tableau consultant at Slalom.
Tableau Public has also become something that I’m passionate about. I have my own blog which I run as a hobby and I try to do creative things with data. But I also love reading other folks blogs and get a kick out of seeing Tableau Public dashboards embedded in news sites. Where as I mostly make vizzes on fun topics, things like the recent dashboard showing fatal shootings of children in the US that was featured on NBC News really show how powerful data visualisations can be.
VN: How have you seen Tableau make an impact on businesses?
PG: There are a few big impacts I see Tableau making. One is the huge increase in efficiency for business and data analysts – which in turns leads to another that is the discovery of insights which is enabled by the ability to ask and answer questions quickly. Another major impact is the engagement with data from people who would otherwise be disengaged and making more ‘gut’ decisions. I think the aesthetics of Tableau really help draw people in, and enable them to make new discoveries and better decisions.
VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?
PG: The Tableau Community is really one of the best-selling points of the product. It’s such a friendly, welcoming bunch and I enjoy reading various blogs, which are quite diverse in content. I also love the way that Tableau appreciates and encourages the culture of knowledge sharing through things like the Zen Master program. And the Tableau Customer Conference of course is the highlight of the year. Your blog has also been hugely helpful (and fun).
VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?
PG: Specifically in relation to Tableau we should as a user community be willing to help keep the company moving in the right direction through open discussion and constructive criticism. For the BI industry in general, I think expanding the field beyond IT and involving people with other skills and views is the key to success. Lets make BI an enabler for creativity, not a barrier.
VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?
PG: I’m currently getting into home brewing – there is a dry hoppy IPA in the fermenter right now.
VN: Thanks for your time Peter, see you soon.
PG: No problem, enjoyed it.
Hope you enjoyed our latest episode of the interview show that’s taking the internet by storm. I’d recommend that NBC, BBC or Al-Jazeera get in touch quickly as our rates are going to rise.