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Tableau Conference 2016

What a week it's been!

Just over one year ago, I registered for TC16 after a colleague returned from TC15 and describe the experience. I had never been to a conference before, but given that I was supposed to be working in Tableau full time in 2016, I figured this was a good place to start. While I did end up working in Tableau for most of Q1, certain things didn't work out at Shopify for Workforce Management as planned, and I ended up back in a WFM role. I actually went most of the summer not really using Tableau Desktop, and only consuming reports previously built via Tableau Server.

As the conference drew nearer, I actually started worrying about whether or not all the time and money to attend would be worth it. But with the option to cancel having passed long ago, my wife and I had no choice but to try and make the most of it. And if that wasn't worrisome enough, the realization of the effects of an American election while in Texas started to set it. Who would win? Would the country be okay with the choice? Would their be riots? Would we feel safe? What was going to happen?

Given all that, we flew to Austin last Friday, not really knowing what to expect. The trip actually started on a high note as soon as we landed in Toronto and met up with an old friend. What are the odds that a high school friend from my home province is on the same flight to Austin the first time I go to Texas? Crazy! Not only was it great to see her, but it helped us kick off the trip. She even gave us lots of suggestions on what to do in Austin (and if you're reading, thank you!). Arriving in a city where the slogan is "Keep Austin Weird" can be kind of... weird... but having a friend along that had been here before certainly helped ease us into a new city.

Back to the point! I'm happy to say that, while yes Trump won, yes there were protestors blocking main roads in Austin, and yes our generation is thoroughly upset by the result, we felt safe and have had a great time here in Texas. I'm also very happy to say that the conference definitely ended up being worth the time and money to attend. I have gained more knowledge in four days than I could have ever imagined. It has been a jammed packed week, and I have loved every minute of it!

A photo posted by Justin Pauley (@jspauley) on

From the keynote on the future of Tableau, to Bill Nye talking to us about the impact of climate change, every session I've been able to attend this week was more than worth the trip here. I've met new people, learned new best practices and how to design beautiful dashboards, and even how to hack Tableau like a Sith. (There have been a LOT of Star Wars puns this week - I've definitely found my people!) I never would have thought a business conference could be so informative and engaging as this has been.

While the trip may be coming to an end, I'm returning to Canada with a revitalized passion for data, tons of new tips and tricks, and an even stronger love for my job. Many, including my wife, will probably think I'm a bit nuts about my passion for data, but without data and visualizations, how would we confirm new scientific discoveries, or know how to make our roads safer, or even that hope is not all lost. Data drives our modern world, so might as well embrace it. And with the help of visualizations, we can turn complex data into a simple story. Thanks Tableau for an excellent conference. Can't wait to join you again! #Data16

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