The spirit of Tableau is our customers. We build software for the everyday person. By listening to and engaging with our community, we not only build better software, but ultimately a better company.
From this community, a select few have risen above all the rest in their mastery of the product, their willingness to share knowledge and most crucially their desire to help us improve the Tableau solutions of tomorrow. They are, at the same time, our biggest advocates as well as our harshest critics. We are lucky to have them.
Each of these people have demonstrated, in his or her own way, the zen of Tableau.
Selecting a Tableau Zen Master
Tableau Zen Masters are nominated by our Tableau community and our team members. Zen Masters are selected for one year based on their contributions from the previous year.
What does it take to become a Tableau Zen Master? We look for people who excel in the following categories:
- Have they shown a deep understanding of how Tableau works? This can apply to all aspects of Tableau’s products. They might create beautiful dashboards on Tableau Public, maintain Tableau Server, write Web Data Connectors, or run a Tableau Centre of Excellence.
- Do they develop innovative, effective new ways to use Tableau?
- Do they help others be better Tableau users?
- Are their answers to questions correct and clear?
- Are they Tableau evangelists who share our mission? Also, are they confident to constructively tell us when we get things wrong?
- Do we find them engaging with others on our Community Forums, Tableau User Groups, Tableau Public, Twitter, and elsewhere?
- Do they contribute useful, popular ideas on our Ideas Forum?
- Do they share tips and tricks that even our brightest developers hadn’t considered?
- Do they add to the community by offering help to people of all expertise levels?
- Do they help bring Tableau and its mission to new communities and geographies?
Current Tableau Zen Masters
Few people are pushing Tableau visual design as far as Adam. His designs are beautiful and inspiring. Not only that, the beauty is not used just for the sake of it. He combines technical mastery with beauty to make engaging dashboards. His Beatles viz broke into the mainstream and was featured in media around the world. He is a regular speaker at events, works with the Tableau Foundation, and helps our dev team build the future products.
There might not be anyone in the community doing work as advanced as Allan right now. Responsive dashboards? Animations on Tableau Public? Device-specific dashboards using just CSS? Check. They may not be tricks we all need to use, but this level of mastery, developed through extensive collaboration across the community, shows true mastery of the product.
Andy Kriebel is one of the most prolific Tableau bloggers on the planet. He uses his expertise to help all levels of Tableau users, whether they are beginners or advanced. He’s been helping people improve their visualization skills for years, and this year’s #MakeoverMonday project has been one of the biggest social data projects of the year.
Anya is one of our behind-the-scenes Tableau wizards. You may know her work on the projects such as War Games, but it’s in the background where Anya shines. Anya has been instrumental in skill development for the Tableau Foundation. Not only has she done amazing work for non-profits and charities herself, she has enabled and encouraged others to do the same also, such as in her work for Data + Women.
Bridget sees Tableau in a fresh and inspiring way. Effective data communication is more than just putting some charts on a dashboard. There are many more things to consider: layout, color, annotations, etc. Bridget holds our hands and gives us great ideas about how to turn a good visualization into an engaging one.
Web: Tableau Fit
Brit combines an incredible eye for design with a drive to nurture and amplify others in the community. Since attending Tableau Conference last year, she’s started her own blog, kicked off the Data Dare project, and shared her skills across her community. Brit works tirelessly behind the scenes to educate others through Tableau User Groups and Women in Data meetups. Her Airbnb viz was the basis for some amazing work on the touch experience by Tableau's dev team—work not yet released that we hope you will see in the next year.
Web: Data Brit
Great arcs? War games? Network charts? Jump plots? All possible because of Chris. He epitomises all three pillars of the Zen Master program. He’s an expert who collaborates with others to produce these exciting projects. Then he blogs about them and makes complex models easy for the rest of us to use. Soon after those posts, we’ve seen others reusing his techniques—proof of his all-round mastery.
Chris uses his advanced skills not to blow us away with technical mastery but to teach us to keep things simple. This is a vital skill. While we get to see his mastery in his work on Tableau Public, we also appreciates his focus on helping the people who are new to Tableau, or those who just need to do the simplest thing possible to bring change in their organization. He uses his expertise to promote simplicity, not just advanced uses of Tableau.
Web: The Information Lab
Craig’s knowledge of Tableau’s APIs and Tableau Server is among the best. He shares all the tools he builds. He has been a leader in the Web Data Connector space and came second in our WDC competition. He has also worked on other tools for the community, including Yupana, a tool which provides easy metrics for Tableau Server users.
David Murphy, aka Datasaurus Rex, is unique. He’s a leader in the field of people tackling unexpected topics (deaths in Game of Thrones, scoring patterns on TV quiz shows) with Tableau visualizations, video, and humour. In fact, he’s the only person in this field and it’s for this reason he’s a Zen Master.
Web: Datasaurus Rex
Jeffrey is a collaborator who gets his hands dirty in all areas of the Tableau community. His blog, data + science, is a trusted resource for the community. He works with other Zens on complex projects such as War Games and Dear Data Two. Importantly, he doesn’t stick to the complex; he also posts lots of basic tips to help the people new to the community. Jeffrey is also the co-author of The Big Book of Dashboards published by Wiley.
Web: data + science
Jonathan has been at the centre of the Tableau Community Forums for years. His understanding of the product is almost unique amongst our customers, and his ability to transfer that skill into solutions for the rest of us is amazing. Behind the scenes, Jonathan engages closely with the Tableau development team, helping us improve our products. He has also done great work with the Tableau Foundation.
Web: Drawing With Numbers
Josh’s blog posts are entertaining and informative; his focus on thinking of ways to play with Tableau help inform our day-to-day business application of the product. He is a regular on the forum with a host of high-quality, helpful answers. He’s written his own book on Tableau and also mentors others doing the same.
Web: Viz Painter
Kelly’s work with Tableau is the epitome of beauty and functionality. Her work shows us how we can take inspiration from left-field places (Star Trek, anyone?) and use that to create meaningful, attractive and most of all functional, pieces of work. We always enjoy seeing a post from Kelly appear in our news feeds because we know it will make us see the world of Tableau in a novel way.
There aren’t many people who can run a BI centre of excellence, maintain an enterprise installation of Tableau Server, and create dashboards of quality so high they wouldn’t look out of place in a print magazine. Mark does that as well as speaking at events and working closely with the Tableau development team to share his ideas and experience.
Matt is the most followed author on Tableau Public. He’s an Iron Viz competitor who builds advanced workbooks. Not only does he have a great eye for design, he is also a leader in sharing ideas about hexmaps in Tableau. Matt has helped Tableau develop ideas around the future of storytelling. Matt has been instrumental in the Reviz project, looking at data sets with new perspectives and encouraging creativity with Tableau.
Web: Sir Viz-a-Lot
Mike received more votes than anyone else when we sought your nominations. His understanding of Tableau from an IT perspective is vital in our community, and he helps people along with blog posts which are technically advanced but explained in accessible ways. He presents and contributes to many of our IT and enterprise programs and user groups.
Paul has demonstrated expertise with Tableau Server through the series of blog posts he has written this year. His willingness to share what he has learned and encourage others to push the boundaries of their work has been influential in the Tableau community. Paul also regularly speaks about setting up a Centre of Excellence, what works, what doesn't, and what people can do to make Tableau successful at their organizations. Paul also does a great deal to nurture and support other members of the Tableau Community.
Web: Viz Ninja
Pooja’s contribution excels in many areas. On the Community Forums, one contributor stands above all the others: Pooja. In #MakeoverMonday, only a few users have created consistently advanced, effective and varied makeovers; Pooja is one of them. This dedication and attention helps inspire and grow our community.
Web: Data Duo
When we choose Zen Masters, we seek humble experts who share their expertise in order to further others. Few people capture these traits so well. It’s not so much Robert’s skills (which are great) or his blog posts (which are great) that impress us; it’s his understanding of the real-world challenges of bringing about a data revolution in an organization. His perspective on this is one we should all strive to adopt.
Web: Adventures in Viz
Robert is an all-rounder. One week he might be tackling technical features such as getData() which allows the coders among us to embed Tableau anywhere. The next week he’ll be using Tableau to create comic strips that communicate data stories. Along the way, he’ll write thought-leadership articles on thinking with data or creating new ways of showing KPIs in your organisation. Finally he has made it into the Iron Viz finals this year; proof of his design and storytelling skills.
Our Community Forum is the place people go for help from experts. When they get there, they’re likely to find Rody, a huge contributor, answering hundreds of question helpfully and correctly. Creative skills? You bet. Go check his Tableau Public page for some great examples. Imaginative tips? Check. Rody’s blog is full of great ideas to do things a little differently, but effectively, in Tableau.
Web: Growing Up Data
How many blog posts has Ryan written this year? How many people have been helped by his clear, helpful approach to explaining the easy, and not-so-easy concepts of Tableau? We don’t know the exact number, but it’s large. Not only does Ryan write super blog posts, he runs one of the most active user groups in Kansas City and builds stunning visualizations on Tableau Public.
Shawn is synonymous with the Tableau Forum. For years he has been the biggest, or one of the biggest contributors. He’s answered more questions and encouraged more people to get involved than almost anyone else. He has contributed more than 30 ideas, and is consistently pushing Tableau to continue improving. There are few people who have used their expertise and knowledge to selflessly give others the help they need whatever level of skill they have in Tableau.
Web: Shawn's Community page
Steve’s blog, Data Revelations, is still the leading place for people wanting to work with survey data. But it’s more than that: Steve writes intriguing thought leadership pieces covering the challenges of bringing visual analytics into an organization. Steve is also the co-author of The Big Book of Dashboards published by Wiley. When not visualizing data Steve is band leader and bass player for the NYC Motown band The Top Shelf.
Web: Data Revelations
The white-hat hacker of Tableau Server, Tamas breaks Tableau Server so you don’t have to. His extensive knowledge of Tableau Server and its APIs allows him to manipulate Tableau like no other person. Fortunately he uses these skills to build and share incredible tips for the Server admin community. He strives to help customers and advises the Tableau development team on ways in which we can improve our products.
Yvan was the winner of our Google Data Challenge. His workbooks are stunning and inspiring. He is a passionate advocate of Tableau in France, contributing to the community, and also organisations such as UNICEF. He’s also found time to write for the Tableau Public blog, passing on his intelligent advice to the rest of us.
Web: Yvan on Tableau Public
Former Tableau Zen Masters
Richard LeekeWeb: blog.equinox.co.nz