The Beginning

Let me set the stage. It’s a humid summer day in Pittsburgh, PA. Slumped over his office chair is a sleep-deprived, caffeine-filled college student. The sun shines through the window and glares off the monitor. On the screen are some boring bar charts in Excel.

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Yep – that was my life at one point. As an intern, I would compile survey data and create some above-average charts in Excel. That’s about as good as I thought it could get. I would tell myself, “Don’t stress, Eric. You’ll get a job. Everyone uses Excel…” I feared for my future.

Enter Tableau.

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“Wow. Where have you been all of my life?” I said to my monitor as I reviewed my very first Tableau dashboard. I was in awe at what this tool had allowed me to create. The flowing layout and the visual appeal. The story it told. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Being introduced to Tableau as a student changed my perspective on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was the driving force in getting me my first, real-world job.

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Fast forward to June 2018. It’s my first day at Populytics. I ride the elevator up to the sixth floor. I reach for the door handle and WHAM! I face-plant against the glass. I guess it takes a week or two for a new employee’s badge to work. Luckily for me, my day-to-day job has me working in Tableau majority of the time. Whether I’m building new dashboards, redesigning and updating old ones, or coming up with new concepts, I am always in my element. Tableau all day, every day.

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I’d soon come to find out that I would have the opportunity to attend the 2018 Tableau Conference in New Orleans, my very first Tableau Conference.  I. Was. Pumped. I started to prepare for TC18. I filled my schedule with hands-on and break-out sessions, I checked out the vendors that were in the data village, and I began connecting with the Tableau Community.

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My first Tableau Conference experience was something I will never forget. The opening reception and the Data Night Out were absolutely incredible, so much so that I’ve had a hard time explaining them to family and friends. The Makeover Monday session with Eva Murray and Andy Kriebel and the Speed Tipping session with Ann Jackson and Lorna Eden had me engaged and on the edge of my seat the entire time.

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But what really hit it out of the park for me was the Fanalytics session. Tableau definitely saved the best for last. I have never felt so welcomed by a community of strangers with all different backgrounds and levels of experience. I felt so inspired after hearing talks from Vince Baumel and Lindsay Betzendahl and how they’ve gotten to where they are today. TC18 introduced me to a community like no other.

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To all the people I’ve mentioned in this post, to all the amazing friends I made at the conference, and to all those I have yet to meet, this blog is a direct result of the impact you’ve had on me and will continue to have on me.

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Thank you and until next time,
Eric

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