Tableau #DATA14 definitely stood out a tad bit among the many tech conferences I have been to. Here is a conference that was sold out weeks prior to the event and this year especially witnessed the largest number of attendees Tableau had seen so far.
It’s almost a week since the conference ended. But I still remain dazzled with the ‘data’ experience, enthusiasm and passion that was in the air. And the icing on the cake was that it was in one my favourite cities –Seattle and thanks to Seattle for such a great weather all week!!
There was so much happening all week. But I am going to list the top 5 reasons why one should not have missed this conference.
1. Key Notes
The keynote speaker mix was quite impressive and each one the sessions was such a treat for the attendees. It all started with the Tableau CEO Christian Chabot who gave us a sneak preview into the key focus area for the product’s upcoming areas. Few of the visual analytics improvements that included freeform calculations, instant table calculations being reflected on the viz as we edit, lasso and radial selections on the UI were all quite impressive. Performance improvements in terms of parallel query processing and persistent query cache are also underway which would be great answer to the slowness experienced while loading multiple viz. I was particularly impressed with the ability to support unstructured excel files and extract data into usable format for analysis within tableau. Project Elastic is another exciting add to watch out for. It is essentially a mobile visualization app that grabs any data and transform them into interactive graphs on your mobile device.
I have to mention the keynote by Dr.Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This was definitely my favorite. His keynote was filled with humor and had the audience laughing throughout while still conveying information related to the data work that we deal with everyday.
Other speakers included Chris Stolte, Michael Lewis (one of my favorite authors), Hans Rosling and Dr.John.H.Medina.
Did I mention about the 400 feet screen at the key note hall. Do look at the pictures…
2. Wide Variety of Sessions
With over 270 sessions, the conference had a mix of topics gearing towards every kind of audience that attended. A few of them provided hands on training while others gave an opportunity to learn what other users in the industry are doing with tableau. Facebook hacker session was a great presentation in a tit tat format using some open source tools and techniques to do the magic in Tableau. The ironviz championship was another fun session to attend. It was a high pressure contest and the challenge to create an amazing visualization in 20 minutes live in front of a data savvy audience was quite a show. Oh. I have to mention …. Most of the popular sessions gets full much ahead of time. Something to note for the next conference. I did miss some that I had picked as favorites on my Data14 mobile app which by the way is very useful to navigate through the conference and not miss any meetups or events happening every minute of the day.
3. Data Night Out
Tableau definitely knows how to throw a party and there couldn’t be a better place than the Seattle needle center to host it. Lots of Food, Drinks and Awesome Music Bands on 5 stages…The view and the weather was perfect for the data night.
4. Community Alley
Community Alley provided the perfect opportunity to connect with data lovers, be it at the welcome reception or the community lounge or the bar chart or even to interact directly with the tableau doctors to get quick questions answered . Photo booth was a favourite stop for most data lovers . If you have seen a lot of recent profile pic updates by the tableaurati with signs saying “Talk Data to me “, “Beauty and Brains” , “ I’m exceptionally data-cated”, this is where it all happened .
5. Location ! Location ! Location!
What’s a better place than Seattle. I don’t need to say more. The title says it all !!

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