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I've been to ten Tableau Conferences (including one in EMEA) and this year will mark my eleventh. As Tableau Conference 2018 approaches, I can’t help but think back on my personal conference story.
It all started at the second Tableau Conference in Seattle, Washington. A relative amateur to Tableau at the time, I walked into breakfast on the first day and saw 400 complete strangers. Most were quietly eating alone or in small groups, but one particular table in the front of the room was excitedly talking, laughing, and actively discussing Tableau. I sensed that this was the alpha table, so I walked up to the table and introduced myself. They all knew each other from the first conference, which I had unfortunately missed, but they made me feel at home right away.
That day, I realized what made Tableau special, the community and the people. The people are the reason that I keep coming back year after year.
Ten years later, I call everyone at that table a friend. Though we usually only get the chance to see each other once a year, we remain in contact via social media, email, and regular calls to catch up on each other’s lives. These folks are the legends of Tableau: the first partner, and author of a key book on Tableau, the expert who answered more forum questions that any other individual, the BI leader for a prominent school in the UK, the Judo blackbelt, the shorts-wearing, UK-based entrepreneur who created a global footprint, the social media guru who built an incredible personal brand with Tableau, the generous, genuine, faithful, quiet community leader, and several others.
Each year, the conference gets larger—but the heart of conference hasn’t changed. The learning is excellent and the customer stories help you realize that you are not the only one facing challenges and successes. The social events, the venue, the vendors, the speakers, the food…all of it is second to none. The sum total of the event creates an environment where we have the opportunity to learn, validate, share opinions, broaden relationships, catch up with old friends, and meet new people who have similar passions.
Here are my tips and tricks from a Conference veteran.
Over the years, a few main principles have guided how I approach the conference. If you get only three things out of the conference, my advice is to focus on the following:
Though I have learned most of these the hard way, I can assure you that the following tips will make your Tableau Conference experience even better!
In short, be safe, make good decisions, and meet as many people as you can to get the most out of this wonderful conference! Click here to register for Tableau Conference 2018. If you’re a newbie—or if you just have some questions, ping me on Twitter @lewandog. I hope to see you in October!