The countdown has begun to our—and, we assume, your—favorite time of year: Tableau Conference. We are pumped to spend four, unforgettable days with you, the Tableau Community, in sunny Las Vegas. Over the course of the week, there are 609 breakout sessions, meetups, training workshops, keynotes, parties, and other activities, to thrill your brain, delight your senses, and inspire your love of data. This powerful data celebration is something you have to see to truly understand.

If this will be your first time attending, you may be curious about how to make the most of your TC19 experience. We've gathered a list to help you prepare for this unique celebration of data and data people like you. Read on, or watch the webinar, for pro tips on using the mobile app, what to pack, getting around, what's new this year, and more. Also sprinkled throughout are tips from returning conference attendee and Atlanta User Group Leader Ambassador, Andy Piper (@TableauPro). Andy has tried-and-true advice, for making your Tableau Conference experience even more memorable.

Schedule your days using the TC19 mobile app

Download the Tableau Conference app: The mobile app is your go-to guide for TC19. The app has the most up-to-date details about breakout sessions, how reserve seats in sessions, how and where to watch keynotes, maps of the convention center, and the ability to schedule Braindates and appointments with Tableau Doctor (more on those below), and much more. Download and explore the TC19 mobile app.

Build your schedule: Explore hundreds of sessions and activities to hear directly from customers, partners, Zen Masters, and other data experts, to grow your data skills, and interact with your #datafam.

In the app, tap the star next to your desired sessions to build your custom schedule before you even leave for the airport. This year, you can reserve a seat in all scheduled sessions so you can arrive in Vegas and exhale, knowing that your TC19 agenda is complete. When making your schedule, be aware that several time blocks are set to end one minute past their actual duration (e.g. a session ends at 10:31 instead of 10:30) to help you from overbooking and prevent mistakes in registering for back-to-back sessions you can't physically attend. Make sure you show up five minutes before the start of a session to hold on to the seat you've reserved, otherwise, it may be given up to someone patiently waiting in the standby line. As for hands-on trainings, only one can be booked per time slot and require pre-registration.

Want help with your schedule? Schedule Scouts are on point to help you navigate the TC19 mobile app and conference agenda. Find the exact locations of Schedule Scouts in the mobile app.

Prepare by packing, planning, and participating now

What to pack: Attendees sport everything from casual to business casual clothing, but wear what makes you feel comfortable—which includes comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot. TC19 is the perfect place to rock a Tableau t-shirt. Don't have one or want to pick up a new tee and other souvenirs? Swing by the Tableau Store in Data Village. Data Night Out is also your chance to show off your best data gear.

Although Las Vegas may be sunny and dry by day, desert nights dip down into the 30s and 40s this time of year, so pack a jacket. These additional layers will also help you inside the convention center, since they are typically chilly. If you plan on doing sun salutations or participating in the fun run, don't forget your activewear and sneakers as well.

You'll also want a small bag or backpack to carry items like paper and pens for note-taking, a backup charger for your electronics, and a refillable water bottle. Some attendees choose to leave their laptop at home, but that is personal preference. You won't need one if you've registered for a hands-on training since laptops are provided unless otherwise specified.

Prepare by booking trainings and one-on-one appointments: Regardless of whether you're in a session, there are endless opportunities to learn at TC19. Supercharge your Tableau skills by attending a one- to two-hour, hands-on training or a full-day, training workshop (for an additional fee). These trainings require advanced booking and fill up fast, so book a spot in the mobile app if you haven’t already. Have data ailments that only a Tableau expert can cure? Sounds like you need to schedule a Tableau Doctor appointment. If you have a quick question, you can also pop into the Minute Clinic or swing by the Walk-in Clinic when it’s convenient for your schedule.

Join the conversation with #data19: Get ready by getting social with the Tableau Community on Twitter, by using the hashtag #data19. Follow Ambassadors, User Group Leaders, Zen Masters, among other Community champions to hear insider tips for all things TC19.

"If you use social media, use it to your advantage by seeing if someone you follow (and/or someone who follows you) would be willing to meet up over coffee or an ice cream to further discuss what you’ve last corresponded about."

Getting around TC19

Navigating the convention center: Register and pick up your conference badge, which is your all-access pass to sessions, keynotes, the Welcome Reception and Data Night Out. Ready to mingle or grab a bite to eat? Make your way south to Data Village, the hub of Tableau Conference. You’ll have all of your conference meals in Data Village with the option to grab quick snacks. For current information about locations, including sessions and keynotes, check the TC mobile app. Pro tip: Items are pinned on the venue maps in the app.

Shuttle information: Give your feet a rest and ride the complimentary shuttles with routes between TC hotels and the conference center. You don't need to be a guest of the hotels where stops are located to ride, but you will need your conference badge to hop on at any of the stops. View the shuttle times and routes on the mobile app. You can also use the shuttle to go to and from Data Night Out at the Palms. For security reasons, bags will be subjected to search, so we advise you bring either a small bag or no bag at all to reduce your time in line. And don't forget your badge—it’s your ticket to get into Data Night Out.

Data Village: As the hub of Tableau Conference, you'll likely spend a fair amount of time in Data Village when you're not in your sessions. In Data Village, you will eat meals and grab snacks, watch keynotes and sessions on the Data Cubes, visit the Tableau Showcase booth to speak with Tableau developers about the features they've built, get tips from experts at Aha! Central, and more. You'll also be able to check out the Data Pool, record a testimonial at the Tableau Testimonials booth, meet with sponsors, and learn about the non-profit organizations Tableau has partnered with to build a better world with data.

Grow your data family

Meet people and share knowledge with Braindates: We're bringing back the highly-popular Braindates. These small meetups of two to five people allow you to expand your network and share knowledge about any topic of your choice. Dive into the app to find a topic that you want to discuss or be brave and propose your own topic.

Andy Piper has this to say about Braindates: "These sessions are not only a great way to practice conversing with someone, you are also talking with an expert in a shared topic of interest so you’ll learn something too. Bring a business card with you and share it with the host. The host of the session may even be able to introduce you to others at the conference who share that same interest or could assist you further."

Community and User Group meetups: With the hundreds of activities and events planned over the week, you'll have numerous ways to meet and connect with other data people. There will be the exciting Fanalytics session, Makeover Monday LIVE, Workout Wednesday LIVE, Data + Women, and so many more opportunities to grow your data family.

Andy Piper wants more introverted attendees to know that "[y]ou’re not alone. Take comfort in knowing that you won’t be the only introverted data enthusiast at this conference. There will be thousands of just like us who often shy away from social situations. I’ve found the Tableau Community to be extraordinarily inclusive and supportive group of people that want their fellow users to thrive and be their best. Be genuine. Be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else but you."

Industry and role-based meetups: Don't miss the chance to network and share best practices with other people in your industry or field. Look for meetups scheduled on Tuesday and Friday for Healthcare, Financial Services, Marketing Analytics, Education, State and Local Government, among others. Browse the dozens of options in the mobile app or in the web schedule builder.

See you in Las Vegas!

If you want the skinny on what’s going down at the conference, check out one of my three "TC19 Newbie Session (for Newbies and Oldies)" on Tuesday to hear tips on how to make the most of your four days and how you can connect with industry peers among other data people.

If you aren't able to attend in person, you can still get in on the action by tuning into our Livestream Wednesday, Nov. 13 through Friday, Nov. 15. Be notified of when we'll be broadcasting Opening Keynotes, Iron Viz, Devs on Stage, 11 of our most popular sessions, and—new this year—Tableau Conversations, so register for reminders so you don’t miss a moment.

For more information, check out the "Know Before You Go (Part 2)" webinar, emails from the Tableau Conference team, and keep an eye on the mobile app. Join the conversation and let us know why you're excited to attend TC on Twitter with the event hashtag: #data19.

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