So how is it that Wake knows so much about data? For starters, he began using Tableau when he was just 7.
It all began while he and his mom were making a pie in the kitchen. Wake began thinking about everyone’s favorite pies. He likes apple, but his grandpa likes chocolate while his mom prefers coconut.
“And he said, ‘I wonder what the most popular is.’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, but I bet there’s a way to find out,”’ says Lindy.
Lindy seized the opportunity to show Wake how to ask and answer questions of data. And as an academic researcher herself, she wanted to answer a question of her own.
“I also wanted to see just how intuitive Tableau was for the business user. We always talk about it in the community, in the self-service conversation. And I thought if a 7-year-old can do this, anybody can do this,” she says.
They hopped on Google and came across a Schwan's survey listing people’s favorite pies. But in list format, the answer wasn’t so obvious.
“He read the survey, but he didn’t get it,” says Lindy.
So Lindy helped Wake pull the data into Tableau. And she walked him through the steps as he dragged things into view and clicked around the Show Me box.
In just minutes, Wake could see the insights that had been hiding in his data.
“When he put the data in the visual format, he immediately got the answer,” says Lindy. “I think that’s the power of visual data literacy.”
Wake saw that the most-loved pie is apple pie, his personal favorite. To visualize his finding, Wake chose a bubble chart, and, with his mom’s help, added custom shapes of pies in Photoshop.
“He was able to take this boring file and transform it into a buffet of pies. And I think that’s how he fell in love with the idea of telling delicious data stories,” says Lindy. “It took something boring and plain-text, and brought it to life in a real way that was much more engaging for him to work with.”
And since that first pie chart, Wake has learned to visualize data on his own.
"Sometimes my mom helps me with ideas, but I do all the work by myself," says Wake.