I bought the first ticket to Tableau Conference 2019. Here's 6 reasons why I keep coming back.

Mark Bradbourne, Tableau Ambassador, was the first to register for Tableau Conference 2019. He explains the 6 reasons he keeps coming back year after year.

I attended my first Tableau Conference in 2015 in Las Vegas—a veritable newbie amongst a sea of what would become my #DataFam, but I didn’t realize that at the time. On the first day, it was just another tech conference but by the end of the week, it became much more.

A month before TC18, I explained to my boss that I’d be buying my own ticket to TC19 as soon as I could. Why? This event has become so important to me. I see it as a personal investment in my own development. For me, it has become a source of inspiration, motivation, and long-time friends. So as soon as Tableau opened registration, I hopped on my phone and registered while walking to my next session.

There are endless reasons to attend Tableau Conference and everyone has their own list. This is my list of conference moments and opportunities that keep me coming back. Hopefully it will help you convince your boss—or someone else you know—to make the investment in the magic of TC.

1. Learn inside and outside the classroom

My first conference I was all about the hands-on training. Where else could I get that much training, along with all the other things that come with a tech conference? It was an unbelievable opportunity. Later, I found out that they even give you the materials to download and follow along and practice on your own or with your team back at the office.

Regardless of what path you choose along your conference adventure, you can’t help but learn. Whether you are in the classroom or in the hallway talking to a new friend who has experience in the one thing you need to learn—it’s all there.

2. Recharge your work life

I can’t lie to you. Just between you and me, work can be draining! While Tableau Conference is exhausting because of the pace and the action, it is recharging to the soul and gives you renewed energy that you can bring home. Your mind will swim with ideas of what’s possible at work, what you can bring in to your environment, and what you can do with your own career path. No other tech conference has ever given me that feeling. After TC I return to work refreshed, ready to go, and burning to tackle the next challenge.

3. Network with new peers and old friends

One of my favorite elements of Tableau Conference is the networking. There is nothing better than what has become a reunion of sorts with people I’ve met over the years. The best part is that this group of people continues to grow every year and I get to meet and mingle with the newest members, share our experiences, and keep that conference feeling going throughout the year. This sentiment carries on to Tableau User Group meetings, the Community Forums, and social media. The network connections become your feedback loop, your learning partners, and in some cases, your new employers and colleagues!

I’ve been in this business a long time; 20+ years in the data world. It wasn’t until my first Tableau Conference that I felt like I had found “my people.” I want to know how their family is, how they are truly doing, and if I can help them… it truly is a family and I love every one of them.

4. Get inspired by the pros

If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than the experiences you will have at Tableau Conference. The Viz Gallery, highlighting some of the amazing work that was published on Tableau Public over the course of the year. Makeover Monday live or meeting your viz idol and having a casual talk in Data Village! Oh, and did I mention Iron Viz?

Imagine a room of 15,000 people going nuts for three people creating data visualizations. Now open your eyes and watch IRON VIZ! There is really nothing like it. Watch three contestants building world-class vizzes on stage. You’ll find yourself cheering on your favorite (or quite frankly, all of them) and getting wrapped up in the spectacle and competition. All these things and more are waiting to inspire you on your Tableau journey.

5. See what’s next with keynotes

Between the Opening Keynote, Devs on Stage, and the Data Village where you can interact with the Tableau development team, it’s hard not to get excited about what is coming next from Tableau. In 2015, I remember seeing the Viz in Tooltips feature during Devs on Stage and nearly losing my mind at the possibilities. This past year, I think I lost count on the number of times my jaw hit the floor and my mind was blown. Ask Data, Data Modeling, Zone Toggling, Parameter Actions…the list goes on and on. But the one thing that is for certain—if you are at conference, you are first in line for what’s next.

6. Prepare to be surprised and delighted

This is the one thing I can’t tell you about, but there is always a surprise in store when you attend a Tableau Conference. At TC18 in New Orleans, how about kicking off the Welcome Reception with a full-blown Mardi Gras style parade with beads, bands, and floats! What’s going to happen in Vegas? No clue, but I will tell you this, it will be amazing.

You also get these bonuses with your TC ticket

  • Interaction with Tableau employees: Whether it’s Tableau Doctor appointments, breakout sessions, casual conversations in Data Village, or a chance meeting in the hallway, Tableau listens to the customer. At their heart, it’s all about helping people see and understand data. It’s just that simple.
  • More content than you could possibly see in a week: You’ll go home with a list of things you may have missed during the week, but you’ll be excited to know that a lot of TC sessions are available after conference. You can binge out on TC content long after the main event.
  • One amazing Data Night Out: Last year it was at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Trombone Shorty and more football fun than you could squeeze in during the course of an evening. Food, drinks, fun, and a celebration of data and data people.
  • A new TC countdown: Sadness, yes, you heard me, sadness. Generally, when it’s over, there is a little sadness (at least for me) as many people in my #DataFam aren’t anywhere near Cleveland, Ohio where I live. I have to wait until the next chance meeting or the next Tableau Conference. Your first conference will spark an internal countdown for the next year.

Keep the excitement going all year by getting involved with the Tableau Community

You are the next blog post, podcast, Viz of the Day, and maybe even the next Iron Viz Champion! You are the next Tableau guru in your office, the next Tableau Doctor, User Group leader, and mentor or mentee. Where you go is up to you, and the experiences you have at Tableau Conference can become your guiding start, your inspiration, and your jumping off point. What’s next it truly up to you.

So that’s it. That’s the story of how what I thought was a simple tech conference became something so much more—a catalyst for change in my life, both personally and professionally.

My challenge to you is to dive in! Register for conference today, and make sure that you can write your own list next year on why you’ll be coming back again.