TCOT London – My review

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Let me say it right at the start: I’m a sucker for Tableau conferences. Give me a data lovefest any day and I’ll be happy. Tableau people are my kind of people, so naturally I arrived in London full of excitement and anticipation.

The conference didn’t disappoint and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many old friends as well as new people along the way.

Here are my highlights in chronological order:

Makeover Monday live & Meeting the community

It’s always fun to meet with fellow Tableau and dataviz enthusiasts, but what’s extra special is to meet people I’ve been talking to online for several weeks or months and to finally shake their hand and hear their voices in real life.

Last week I got to meet a number of MakeoverMonday participants and it was every bit as fun as I expected.

And of course we ran a MakeoverMonday live session, which I blogged about on our website.
I never used to like presenting to audiences, but with MakeoverMonday it’s a different thing, because I feel very passionate about the project and the community, so talking about it is easy.

Here are pictures of some of the people I caught up with…


#data17 welcome reception

At the end of day 1 it was time for the welcome reception, which was held at the conference venue. It’s always a good opportunity to network, catch up with everyone who’s arrived by then and to get a good look around the venue before it gets busy the next day.

And there was, of course, a little party after the party. Great hanging out with the Exasol team and I’ll be honest: I did rather enjoy swapping the jeans for a green dress. Branding on point.



Keynote – Visualize No Malaria

Day 2, which was really the first full day of conference, kicked off with a keynote by James Eiloart. I’ve heard him speak a number of times and it’s always engaging and inspiring.

I was excited to see Jeff Bernson on stage as well. Jeff works for PATH who run the Visualize No Malaria project with the support of Tableau Foundation, Alteryx for Good and other partners, including us. Exasol.


After hearing about the project early last year, I was delighted to bring Exasol into the mix as a technology partner and have worked with my colleague Johannes (pictured above) to support PATH with our database technology.

It was a very nice surprise to see our names during the presentation listed among others who volunteer on the project and we look forward to hosting Jeff as a speaker at our Exasol Xperience conference in Berlin in a couple of weeks.


Podcast and Party

Of course! Data Night Out is always a highlight. I love a good party.



My Tuesday was filled with meeting people, rehearsals, recording a podcast with Emily and Matt, tweeting and meeting with partners and customers.


The rain did annoy me a bit because it made the venue tricky to navigate at times, but by the time the evening came around, all was forgiven.

I actually don’t have any pictures from the evening except for some printed photo booth ones that are at home. Suffice to say, it was a great evening, another chance to meet lots of people, have a laugh, check out the different areas and games and then kick on at a random bar that we travelled to by train.



It’s not a Tableau conference without #rundata and once again we met up bright and early (well, 7am) to go for a run together. There were 6 of us going for a jog and it was a beautifully sunny morning for a scenic lap of the Thames…


We did even take a #runfie (run selfie) along the way… I somehow got a headstart that makes it look like I’m smoking everyone. I was. Not really. But yeah.

The even better run selfie came from Matthew though and made me laugh out loud – literally. This is genuinely hilarious!

After #rundata it was time to get ready and head to conference for more sessions and the one I was personally most excited about and looking forward to…



It was an absolute honour and privilege to share the stage with the contestants and sit at the judges table with Andy Cotgreave, Tableau’s Technical Evangelist and Andrew Beers, Tableau’s Chief Development Officer.

When I was firsted offered the gig, I was really excited. I was just as excited when I walked on stage that afternoon, but of course really had set in and seeing a room of 1000 people looking to the stage does get a bit intimidating.

I even had a reserved seat in the first row!


Was I nervous? Hell yeah! I’m not up there talking about my hobby or how I found the party, I’m there to judge three outstanding contestants on their vizzes. In front of everyone.

I was lucky to have my Tableau friends, including Andy, Sarah, Paul and many others sitting in the front row, giving me some encouraging smiles. Cheers guys!

Makeover Monday has given me plenty of practice when it comes to critiquing Tableau vizzes, so I tried to continue doing just that.

It was fascinating to watch Athan, Jon and David create their dashboards within 20 minutes. I really enjoy seeing others use Tableau, checking out their tricks and shortcuts and also how they tackle a data challenge. Seeing the story come together, the colours, the context, the layout. That is really really cool.

And having Sophie Sparkes and Louis Archer comment throughout the session was hilarious, plus I enjoyed watching the crowd’s reactions and support for the contestants.

David was a well deserving winner. Congratulations once again!

IronViz and being a judge on it was definitely a standout moment for me. Thanks to Sophie and Louis and of course Andy and Andrew.


And thanks to my colleagues at Exasol for not just supporting me in all of this but for also creating awesome t-shirts for everyone to get into the IronViz spirit :-).

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