In London for the Tableau 6.0 Tour (Part II)

My life sucks.

Here I am, getting old by the minute, reinventing the wheel every single day, forcing tools to do things they don’t want to do, too busy with the boring details and forgetting the whole picture hidden behind them.

Yes, my life sucks. Oh, how I envy that guy over there! He chose the right tool. The nitty-gritty? No worries. Making a chart that takes ages to make? Not him. Just right-click and it’s done. Using shapes to create a map? Laughable. Just point to the geographic field et voila! Managing millions of records? Consider it done.

The end result? A great dashboard and more time for that gorgeous blonde sitting next to him.

I feel miserable.

5 thoughts on “In London for the Tableau 6.0 Tour (Part II)”

  1. I’ll write a more serious post later. Tableau seems to be a great product, but comparing it to Excel is unfair. Excel lets you make some good charts, but if you need more, you need a more specialized application.

    Tableau has some nice mapping capabilities but I’m sure I’ll get very frustrated if I try to use them beyond what they are supposed to do. I will not tell you that Mapinfo, for example, is much better than Tableau, because that would be unfair too.

    So, when you are ready to take the leap, make sure you start using the right tools. Don’t blame the old ones for holding you back.

  2. If i would not hav read your comment I would have came up with some tough questions :)….I am not sure How can I try Tableau as My company has not yet purchased it not would it any time soon…Is their a free version….atb in all your errands…ur site rock…

  3. We can blame the old ones if our employers have a policy of not allowing any other tools to be used.

    Yesterday I looked at one of those “how to improve your slide presentations” sites, and half the recommendations (don’t put a big logo on every slide, choose a good color scheme, avoid rubbish fonts like Arial) can’t be implemented as the company policy for slide presentations says DO to those don’ts and DON’T to those dos.

  4. Jorge, I’m looking forward to your take on Tableau. I suspect that given the amazing work you’ve done with Excel will translate into some spectacular dashboards with Tableau.

    With respect to the mapping capabilities, in my work I’ve always found that while management begs for maps, once we produce them the response is simply “Oh, ok” and then they’re on to the numbers. The maps tend to be a one-hit-wonder. I can see where the features of Google mapping (the zoom and street view functions in particular) would be helpful, especially if your viz is being utilized to provide directions on the web.

    My creativity with mapping is limited by my experience, so I’m counting on you to provide some “aha” examples. No pressure.

  5. Derek: while I understand the rational behind branding in internal presentations, company policies are often created/written by clueless managers that haven’t the slightest idea of what a good presentation looks like. I had my share of those policies, and it’s really frustrating… The same applies to Excel addins, by the way. There are great addins out there but, more often than not, IT rules them out.

    Kelly: it’s very tempting to start blogging about Tableau and many other sexy data visualization tools, but this blog will always be about Excel or, more precisely, about principles and best practices in data visualization that almost everyone can apply using the tools they have access to (I often have to repeat this to myself…). So I guess I have to start a new blog… Don’t tell anyone, but I already have the domain name. About mapping: Tobler’s first law of geography states that “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” If data visualization is mostly about pattern discovery we must not overlook that “nearness”, we must have a tool that displays spatial patterns, but that’s just one of the many dimensions we must add to our visuals.

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