On Tableau Extensions

Hello folks – I hope you’ve all recovered from TC18 in New Orleans? What a great gig that was!

Anyway, this post is about one of the most talked about new Tableau features – extensions. This is a new API that allows users to build their own plug-ins to Tableau Desktop, and do pretty much anything, and it hasn’t taken long for the extensions gallery to grow.

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There’s already a ton of great stuff in the extensions gallery!

In the 6 or so years I’ve been working with Tableau, I’ve not seen any feature generate this much chat, debate and passion – certainly among my people, the server admin / COE community.

So here’s what I think about this topic;

 

What I like about extensions

Game changing functionality

There’s no doubt that extensions will lead to a great boost in Tableau functionality. We’ve already seen some excellent arrivals into the extensions gallery such as Show Me More, Write-Back, DataRobot Insights and Wordsmith. I have no doubt that will continue, and fully expect the brilliant Tableau community to build functionality that we haven’t even realised we want yet.

 

Fills gaps in the tool

We’re all pushing Tableau for more features, right? Well extensions must feel like a get out of jail free card for *some* Tableau dev teams. We kinda saw that with Interworks Powertools, which filled a number of gaps, albeit at a cost. I’m sure some extensions will emerge that take the heat off certain Tableau devs, maybe allowing those teams to switch focus to something else, safe in the knowledge that the extension has saved them a job. And that might ultimately lead to more innovation and a faster evolution of the tool.

 

Empowers the community

Placing such power in the hands of the super-enthusiastic and skilled Tableau community is exciting. For Tableau to create a conduit for us users to be able to feel like part of the Tableau dev world is powerful, not just with what we can create, but it’s also like we’ve been welcomed into Tableau’s world with a big embrace, knowing that any of us can contribute directly to the capabilities of the product, knowing that hey – I made that!

It’s a mark of respect for the Tableau community and a statement of trust from the vendor. Nice.

 

What I don’t like about extensions

Potential data leakage

This is obviously the big one. I’ve downloaded an extension, how do I know it’s doing what it says on the tin? Or at least not doing some extra stuff I don’t want?

At the Tableau Conference Server Admin meetup, our friend Tamas Foldi gave the audience a demo of a fictional extension he’d built. It went something like this. He downloaded the .trex file, installed it, then clicked OK to accept the terms and conditions (which displayed almost no info). The extension actually displayed cat pictures in a dashboard (Ann Jackson would have approved).

All fine or so it seemed. Until Tamas fired up a terminal and showed us that the extension was actually extracting all of the data from the workbook and sending it to some obscure URL. Grim.

evil-demo-01

Tamas Foldi’s demo of an extension stealing data

The above is hard to read so please click here for the higher resolution version 

This is the reality of extensions. Once you click that OK to accept the terms, you’re at the mercy of the code. And who knows what might happen then?

 

I can’t (reliably) turn it off on desktop

Given the security concerns I would wager that most admins would like to disable extensions on Tableau Desktop. This is possible with a registry edit, fiddly but achievable and easily done in the packaging process. Same as many of us did with the annoying auto-update feature. So that covers the vast majority of people in any enterprise, which will no doubt have their desktops locked down to prevent unauthorised software installs.

However, as in Jurassic Park, life finds a way. And some users will manage to install software. Not many, but some. And that’s a risk.

 

Vetting

As far as I’m aware, and confirmed by my chats with the extensions team, Tableau don’t check or scrutinize any of the extensions. It’s a public gallery and anyone can upload. Tableau don’t have to approve.

 

The Tableau UX

So there’s a reason that Tableau doesn’t have speedometers, egg-timers, traffic lights and

Will extensions turn Tableau into this?

other chart junk like other tools. It’s because at the heart of the tool is a dedicated research team that applies science to everything Tableau does. If it’s going into the tool then it better be best practice and have some theory behind it. It’s the same reason we don’t have 3D, despite the massive demand on the forums – it’s just not right.

That may not  be the case with extensions. It won’t be long before we get the first extension that produces chart junk, and then many of our Tableau dashboards will look like shit. It won’t matter how much research Tableau do.

 

Technical dependencies

As stated earlier, some of these extensions are pretty good. So in time I’m sure many of my users will come to love one or more extensions, and get great value from them.

But how can I, as an admin, guarantee that the extension will support that next version of Tableau? What if it doesn’t? I can’t hold back an upgrade just because one third-party component doesn’t work. What if the extension vendor decides to sunset their creation, either deliberately or just by getting bored of it? It’s us admins that will get shouted at.

 

Support dependencies

Some of these extensions will be popular. REALLY popular. And many will also be homebrew creations made by one person and their dog. Are they going to be able to handle the influx of emails and support requests that they’ll get after thousands of downloads? How do we even know that the vendor of an extension is legit? Do Tableau keep the pressure on extension vendors to provide decent support or keep the product up-to-date? I don’t think they’d have the cycles to do that.

 

More vendors to get to know

I’m already the vendor relationship manager for a bunch of companies here. Last thing I need is a whole lot more to worry about.

 

Server defaults are on

Now extensions can be disabled on server. And restricted to a whitelist. What I don’t like here is the fact that the default setting for server extensions is ON. Not cool.

Go vote up Mark Kernke’s forum idea to change that default setting.

 

Paid for extensions a huge potential headache

So here’s a conversation I’ve already had here.

User: Hey I wanna buy this extension, it's great. 
Me: Okay - well we need to evaluate it first.
User: Sure, and if you okay it I need you to put it on the server
Me: Who's paying for that then?
User: Well you are, aren't you?
Me: Baaahahahaha

I’ve caught this one at source, but I’m sure there will be a time when someone has already bought an extension (yes I know they shouldn’t, but…) and then they try to pressure me to pay for it on server.

 

Implementing extensions will take a long time in enterprises

Even for the extensions that we do decide to bring in, there’s gonna be a ton of work for my team.

Off the top of my head

  • Evaluate and test the extension on desktop
  • Evaluate and test on server
  • Penetration test and risk evaluation
  • Add to internal software catalogue
  • Establish vendor relationship
  • Work out commercials and support with vendor
  • Get vendor added to our approved supplier list and internally vetted
  • Package extensions
  • Train team in basic support of extension
  • Organise deployment
  • Ongoing support, upgrades & maintenance

I’m sure there’s more. And that would be needed for each one.

 

What I think might help

Now the server admins have been bantering about this for a while. It was seriously the talk of the town at the TC18 server admin meetup.

admins

A beautiful cluster of server admins at TC18

We’ve not been able to come up with many solutions to these problems as of yet but here are some that we did talk about.

Make them easy to disable on desktop

Not an issue for the packaged deployments, more for the rogue installs. We talked about this a lot. No-one could come up with a solution other than somehow tying it back to the licence key. Open to ideas.

 

Set default to off on server

There’s an easy one. And I hear Tableau are already on the case.

 

Digital signatures

Make this a requirement. Packaged, digitally signed extensions that can be easily hosted internally and therefore blocked from accessing the internet.

 

Tableau approved extensions

I’d like to see an upper-class of extension that has been approved by Tableau. Vendor checked out, support checked, code reviewed etc. Give them a special badge and pride of place in the gallery. If Tableau approve then I’m confident it’s not some amateur outfit.

 

So that’s the deal with extensions. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this feature. It’s very exciting and will undoubtedly lead to lots of innovation and some cool stuff that we haven’t even imagined yet. But we do need to be careful. The problems for the admin community are clear. I’m looking forward to working with Tableau devs, product managers and the wider community to solve them.

Comments invited, as always.

Regards, Paul

 

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A Nod to Diversity

Hello all.

COAUxlAWsAAKkefNothing about Server in this post. This one’s all about people. My people and your people – the Tableau Community. And one of the greatest aspects of this community is the sheer diversity. There are people of all ages, all backgrounds, across the whole globe. People from science and tech, others from healthcare, some from charitable orgs, others from big multinationals. It’s great, and makes for a rich and vibrant community.

 

Women in Data

IMG_3195

It’s the #dcdatawomen

But one of the most compelling groups (for me anyway) is that of Women in Data – aka Data Plus Women, which has been championed passionately by many (but in particular Emily Kund) in the Tableau community, and also has support from other areas such as the folks at Datatech Analytics and Precision Sourcing in Sydney.

There are all sorts of initiatives, all focused on celebrating the achievements of women in a traditionally male-dominated field.

From local meet-ups, to Womens Empowerment Visualisations this community is growing and growing. And it’s now getting some real traction with high-quality events like the #dcdatawomen club.

 

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Women in Data Sydney #WIDSyd

And just this week it was great to see our friends from Down Under getting in on the act with the Women in Data Sydney meetup (#WIDSyd). This has been expertly championed by the folks at Precision Sourcing as well as Fiona Gordon of Optus & Eva Murray.

 

 

 

 

There’s also a much wider focus on Women in IT in general, as demonstrated by the recent Information Age Magazine Women in IT awards in London.

 

Women in the Tableau Community

There are ton of women doing great stuff in the Tableau community. To name just a few – Kelly Martin, Anya A’Hearn, Jewel Loree, Emily Kund, Donna Coles, Jen Vaughan, Sarah Nell, Fiona Gordon, Emma Hicks, Jen Underwood, Cole Nussbaumer, Jen Stirrup, Emma Whyte, Tiffany Spaulding, Brit Cava, Bridget Cogley, Eva Murray, Lauren Rodgers, Michelle Wallace, Brittany Fong & Alex Duke.

I’m bound to have missed some, but these are people doing great things every day that make my life richer and more fun. So thanks to you all.

 

Here come the girls – and guys..

One thing to remember, these events are not just for women. If you’ve got a Y chromosome then you can also attend. It’s all about celebrating female achievement, not a closed club for women.

So if you get a chance to attend one of these events then do so. For example the Data + Women Meetup at Tableau Conference 2015 had plenty of male representation and support.

 

So there you are. A small nod to diversity, and one of the many things that makes the Tableau community so rich.

Cheers, Paul

10 Thoughts from Tableau Conference 2015

Howdy y’all,

What a setting..

What a setting..

Yeah it’s 2am and I’m wide awake. Coming down from a great week at Tableau Conference 2015 in Las Vegas. So I thought I’d knock up a post about how the week was for me.

 

 

Thought #1 – “WTF?!”

Er...

Er…

Turning up for registration on the Sunday, the last thing I expected to see was an 8 foot high poster of my ugly mug grinning out at me. I saw some younger children at the event and they would surely have nightmares at such an image. Then there’s the question of my image rights… Tableau we need to talk about that…

Although it did allow people to get their #picwiththepauls

Francois gets his #picwiththepauls

Francois gets his #picwiththepauls

 

Thought #2 – “Wow it’s so great to meet you at last / again”

TC is all about the people. It was great to meet people that I’ve been interacting with all year. Some of these were existing relationships, and others were meeting for the first time. Too many to name but I was really pleased to finally meet George Gorczynski, Steve Fenn, Mat Hughes, Jen Vaughan, Fiona Gordon, Jon Boeckenstedt, Ken Black ( & Jett) & Mike Moore.

It’s great when I meet someone that deals with Server rather than all you Desktop jockeys. See us Server folk have a secret handshake and knowing look in our eyes. We know what really matters in Tableau!

It was also great to see the new Zen Masters. Especially the British contingent – my pals Chris Love & Rob Radburn. Awesome stuff.

 

Thought #3 – “The devs smashed it”

I was delighted at the product enhancements announced this year. Functionality that is really going to make a difference to the ~4000 users I support.

It will be interesting to see which features really capture the imagination of my user base, but I can anticipate cross DB joining, union &  global filters being very popular, as well as the user home page on server.

We're not worthy..

We’re not worthy..

But I kinda gave my position away as to what made my day in terms of new functionality – yes that pic does show me bowing down in homage to Version Control. In front of 11000 people. Hey I’m not embarrassed, it took all of my self-control to prevent myself from storming the stage and giving the guy a hug.

 

Thought #4 – “Isn’t technology great”

My conference experience was massively enhanced by a couple of tech items.

Firstly the hugely useful Tableau Conference app. I love the way the organisers monitor the number of favourites a session gets in order to determine of the room allocation is suitable for thee demand.

Secondly, WhatsApp. Despite having a crappy name, this app was great for keeping in touch with colleagues and friends. My pals at The Information Lab are always super-concerned with the social aspect of events and set up a WhatsApp group to allow us to sync. Before we knew it there were 50 members and it became the prime method of determining what bar everyone was in or what session people were at. Great stuff.

 

Thought #5 – “Las Vegas – oh dear me”

download

Fabulous? Erm…

I’ve been to Las Vegas once before. Just for a couple of days passing through. I recall not being too impressed back then, and this visit just confirmed my earlier thoughts. While I’m undoubtedly amazed at the imagination and brilliance of the designers that constructed some of the buildings, I’m still left with a feeling of disgust and depression at the underlying tone of seediness and corruption. It offends pretty much everything that I stand for.

I hope some of you managed to take a virtual shower by getting out to the Grand Canyon or surrounding areas like Bryce Canyon which are stunning. That’s Las Vegas for me. You can keep your Casinos.

 

Thought #6 – “Why can’t we just have one big global time zone?”

Jet lag sucks. I propose we have one mega time zone (GMT of course) and stick to that. The rest of the world would have to work in perpetual darkness but you’d soon get used to it. Change your goddam date format while you’re at it.

 

Thought #7 – “That’s the best session I’ve ever seen at a Tableau Conference”

I hope some of you went to the talk by Jeffrey Shaffer & Andy Kriebel entitled “Dear Data Two“. Read the abstract if you want to know what it was about but suffice to say I found this talk incredibly engaging. It covered a huge variety of data viz examples, all done with fun and humour. It was also technical enough as the vizzes were also constructed in Tableau. I loved it. Original, brilliant and emotional at times, this was everything a TC session should be. And told by two natural presenters on stage.

Another stand-out session was “The New Tableau Web Data Connector: APIs, JSON & Javascript for Dummies” by Craig Bloodworth. This was a perfectly pitched run-through of the WDC and gave me real confidence that I could go and build one myself.

 

Thought #8 – “Nice one @cheeky_chappie”

Safety first at Paul's talk

Safety first at Paul’s talk

I tend to hang around a lot with Paul Chapman. No I don’t know why either, but it happens. And it was great to see him absolutely smash it with his presentation “A Single Shade of Orange“. He’s a #futurezenmaster for sure.

He has been ably coached by an expert road crew (myself & Tom Barber) so we take some (most) of the credit for his success.

 

Thought #9 – “I wish I was on that stage”

I’ve spoken at the last 3 Tableau Conferences (2 in London & also Seattle). My application was rejected this year to rightly give someone else a chance. That’s cool.

But I was super-jealous of those that did get the opportunity. Speaking at a Tableau event isn’t like other events (of which I do a few). At TC you’re presenting in front of friends, and people that share your mission. They want you to do well. No-one is watching you and judging, or hoping you don’t do well. They all want to learn from you and want you to rock.

It’s a mega buzz to be up on stage and I’d recommend anyone to do it, even if you feel you’re not a natural presenter.

 

Thought #10 – “This whole thing isn’t the norm”

Code. That’s all Tableau is. Computer code. So why has it changed my entire working life in less than 3 years? I think I know the answer. You see in order to achieve this perfect storm an organization needs to nail each of the 3 pillars

  • Application – the tool has to rock. It needs to be easy to use and needs to be able to make your job easier, not harder.
  • Company – The company needs to be solid. Progressive, innovative and approachable
  • Community – You need a great set of users, with a true sense of collaboration and friendship.

In my career I’ve seen many tools, companies and communities. Most organisations nail 1 out of the 3, occasionally you’ll get a really good one that hits 2/3 – but in 15 years of IT, Tableau is the only one I’ve seen that nails each of these pillars and then some.

It sounds almost cheesy to say it but this isn’t the norm. If you’re a 20-something graduate in your first job using Tableau and you think that all tools and organisations are like this then you’d better wake right up now. This is NOT the normal experience. I’m just grateful I found it at all, mid-way through my career. If you’re lucky enough to have discovered Tableau in your youth then WELL DONE! Enjoy it! You’ve hit the jackpot!

So those are my thoughts on another stellar event. See you in Texas everyone!

Paul

Talkin’ bout a Revolution…

Hello, I trust you’re all ok,

There’s something stressing me about Tableau. It might not be the most obvious but I’ll have a go at describing it anyway.

See I demo Tableau Server all the time. Like daily. To some pretty senior people that I really want to impress. These demos often involve clicking around the server views to show some of the user content. Trouble is some of my user content isn’t that great. It can be badly designed and slow to load – that’s a separate issue that my team is working on.

So I click on the view and then, there it is…..

30x30REV

Spin, spin, spin. Will it be 2 seconds or 20? Will it even load at all? The room falls quiet as all eyes settle on the spinning circle. The audience is almost hypnotised. The tension grows, until the view pops into life (or occasionally doesn’t). It’s the moment I dread as I know everyone is staring at the circle, waiting. Seems like it makes 5 seconds feel like 50.

So here are my issues with this.

  • Positioning – The spinner is bang in the middle of the screen, you can’t avoid it. It grabs your attention and also the attention of the room. Everyone starts watching it whether they want to or not.
  • Information – The spinner doesn’t give any indication of the progress of the operation. I’m not sure how it can, given the nature of the underlying queries but it’s still a problem.
  • Inconsistency – Often the spin rate slows slightly just prior to completion. But sometimes it speeds up again. So I think it’s about to complete, then it carries on. I know it’s just an animated gif but it still seems to occur occasionally.
  • Errors – I’ve had occasions when the connection is lost with the server for whatever reason, but the circle keeps going. That’s very misleading.

I think everyone accepts that applications which perform loading operations will generally have some sort of indicator. But I think the spinning circle can be improved.

facebook_standard_loading_animation

Users blamed the system

facebook_custom_loading_animation

Users blamed the app

The psychology of waiting is certainly an interesting subject. This post refers to a study conducted by Facebook that seems to suggest the type of indicator used can affect how the user perceives the problem. Admittedly the post doesn’t provide an accurate source for this but I thought it interesting nonetheless.

.

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 22.57.05

There are many recommendations to making the waiting game feel less of a drag

There’s plenty of chat on how to make that waiting game feel less of a drag to users. This post from UXMovement.com has a number of suggestions such as

  • Use backwards moving ribbings
  • Increase number of pulsations
  • Accelerate progress, avoid pauses

Also take a look at this article by Chris Harrison. The associated video shows the theory in action and there’s a detailed study of the theories available.

.

I wonder how much thought Tableau have given the format and positioning of the spinning circle as well as the science of perceived performance as opposed to actual performance. I think the consensus is that a progress bar is the best option but I know that won’t happen as Tableau can’t easily know the duration of a query. However, there are plenty of recommendations out there that may be worth considering. Why not make use of every trick in the book to make users feel they’re getting a faster experience?

There has been some chat on the Tableau forums about this (thanks @johncmunoz). It seems such an insignificant component but why not add as much polish to the tool as possible? Anyway, I’m no expert on this so maybe someone who knows the subject can supply more info.

Until then I’ll just think of appropriate 90’s synth-pop as the circle spins.

Regards, Paul

Welcome to the new bloggers!

Hi

Short post this. Just to say how ace it is to see new bloggers appearing on the scene since data14. There were a number of sessions in the schedule designed to encourage people to engage with the community in terms of blogging, twitter etc. And it’s great to see that even in the short time since the conference a number of new bloggers have emerged, as well as some established community members finally starting to record their thoughts.

So keep an eye on these guys. I’m sure their blogs will become must-reads. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone.

Bloggers

 

I’m sure there will be more. Keep an eye out.

Cheers, Paul

Happy….

# Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof…#

williamsStupid line that. Although you gotta hand it to our silly-hatted friend – it’s a catchy tune. And today it captures just how I’m feeling, cos it’s been a rather good week so far. Allow me to explain why…

You see, around 8 months or so ago I was a Tableau fan, but with pretty much no profile in the BI community. So I set about creating this blog (now over 10,000 hits btw) and interacting with the guys and gals on Twitter etc, meeting up for some beers, co-chairing the London Tableau User group as well as the odd viz of the day award – 4 of them to be precise….

And I’d always wondered if it was getting me anywhere. Sure I was enjoying it, but was anyone actually taking notice?

Then this week a whole bunch of stuff happened.

 

Me? Mentioned to the New York Stock Exchange??

So this was super-cool. My good friend @Matt_Francis pinged me a message that started with “Dude – are you sitting down? Cos you’re gonna lose your shit over this”. I wasn’t really sure what that meant as Matt is way more street than I am, but he then pinged me the following article.

At the bottom of page 2 it only had this from the Tableau CEO, Christian Chabot..

chabot_shout

That’s my viz being referred to as Christian’s favourite of the year so far! As featured in a recent post on VizNinja. Who’da thunk it eh? My work getting a shout out from the main man in an earnings call to the NYSE. As they say in Blighty – Cor Blimey! In your face #ironviz! 🙂

Speaking at TC14

Then on the same day I had an email from Morgan W at Tableau. They wanted me to speak at the Tableau Conference 2014 in Seattle. The highlight of the Tableau calendar, this was a really exciting gig and something that I’d set as a career goal. I’d better get practicing!

morgan

Video Nice-ty?

Today I got into work to find another bunch of emails from people at this weeks Tableau Sales Conference in Seattle.

Now I recall doing a customer testimonial video for Tableau a few months ago. That’s where I (and others) went along to Tableau HQ in London and said some stuff about how I’d found their sales team and other aspects of the organisation. They told me the video would be used in “a small internal sales meeting on a big monitor“.

Erm…

tab_sales_conf

That has to be the biggest image of my face ever made so far. What next? Project it onto the Houses of Parliament or something? Good profile for sure, but a tad embarrassing! At least I wasn’t alone with Paul Chapman (@cheeky_chappie) suffering the same fate!

I guess the message from all of this is – if you’re a new blogger, and you think no-one is taking any notice of your stuff, then think again – cos they probably are. And you’ll get some pleasant surprises when you least expect them.

So all in all a good few days. It’s given me a nice (legal) shot in the arm ready for the next viz. Big thanks to all that have given support and encouragement this week.

Regards, Paul

 

Blog on…

So we’re 3 and a bit months in to this whole big, crazy blogging experiment.

I’ve still not quite figured out what this all means to me. You know – what it actually means to me as a person. To my career, to my family and to what I’m trying to do. The truth is I don’t really know what I’m trying to do, something that I was worried about initially. Surely I need a purpose, a strategy, dare I say it even a mission statement? That shit is essential isn’t it?

A few weeks ago I attended the Tableau Google Hangout, where several key bloggers (@vizwizbi, @pgilks, @dataremixed, @jeweloree, @vizbizwiz, @vizcandy ) hosted a session where they all discussed what blogging means to them, their approaches and other stuff around that subject. The key sentiment seemed to be that most of them started their blog for themselves, either as a kind of diary or repository of how they’ve accomplished BI related tasks. It seemed that they all had a fairly freestyle approach, with enjoyment being the key motivation. I expected they’d all be super serious and regimented in their blogging approach, I mean how else can they generate that brilliant content? That certainly wasn’t the vibe though. You know what – they’re just like you and I. They want people to like their stuff, they get a bit upset at the trolls and nasty people, and they all took ages to get started and build the confidence to be able to express themselves in public. And they all get a thrill when the community shows them some love for their content.

All this made me feel that hey I can succeed, and I do have something to offer. Tableau is such a big subject it’s impossible to be an expert on all areas. Pick your niche and be an expert on that, but do branch out and explore new avenues. Give your opinion, and enjoy giving credit when someone else does something superb.

I’ll be honest. I was bricking it when I decided to start this blog. It took me weeks to publish my first post, and then I sat glued to the page stats, praying for those numbers to start increasing. No-one’s gonna read this I thought. And if they do they’ll hate it. Then people did start reading it. And then I got a few Twitter followers. And then a few direct messages. And then some quite nice comments. Then some shout-outs from Tableau Zen Masters…. Hold on… What’s happening here? Then more followers….

So I posted some more, feeding off the feedback and love, growing in confidence all the time. And the hits kept coming.. Then I started getting asked to speak at conferences, and then a couple of job offers. The job offers were interesting, no interview – it was “I’ve seen your blog and I love it, you wanna come and work for me?”.

And that all fuels the fire. The more love you get back, the more enjoyable it gets. And the more enjoyable it is, the more the quality of content improves with your growing confidence. It’s kind of a non-vicious circle. Before I knew it the ideas for content came flooding into my head. I think my list is now over 100 items for future posts.

I’ve recently managed to meet up with a number of the community that I’d only interacted with online. And it felt strange. In a good way. It felt like I was interacting with a community of friends rather than a group of work colleagues. I’m staggered at the togetherness of the BI & Tableau community. To the point that when we did have a minor trolling incident, it came as a real shock to the system, such is the infrequency of encountering such attitudes. 

I’m stunned where I’ve managed to get to in 3 months. Ben Jones pinged me a message saying that if anyone had dropped out of the Google Hangout then I was in line to replace them. That was some compliment. 

I’ve been wondering how to quantify just how much I’m having fun. I guess there are a couple of moments that give me that answer.

The first was a comment one evening from my wife, who remarked “I’ve not seen you this passionate about work in 10 years”. – “Quiet love, I’m about to publish a viz of the best pinball tables!” may have been my reply, but the comment was appreciated anyway. 

And the second was the shoulder surgery that I had a few weeks ago. Now I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to, well when it comes to people slicing me open with a knife! – cos that’s what it is. So I was more than a little apprehensive about the procedure. But when it came to game time my only worry was that I wouldn’t be able to use Tableau for a few days! It really was. And to keep myself occupied in hospital I took along a copy of Dan Murray’s book. You can keep the man away from Tableau, but you can’t keep Tableau away from the man. Or something like that.

That told me I was onto something really special here and long may it continue.

Regards, Paul