It’s my last week at Oxford University and as a Data Studio blogger. From next week, I cross the divide and become a Tableau employee. So far, my Tableau journey has been a blast, and I wanted to look back at my life as a Tableau customer.

I’ve been at Oxford 4 years, and looking through my notebooks, I found my first written note about Tableau. Turns out this was in prep of a business case to convince my managers to purchase one license of Desktop. Below is what I wrote. The key points are still totally applicable to anyone looking for a great visual analytics tool – speed, good quality visuals, ease of use, and sharability. Looks to me like Tableau has stayed true to its mission for the past four years (click the image for a slightly bigger version):

A page from my work note book, sometime in 2007

Since those early days, we evolved pretty quickly and expanded across the university. I soon realised that I wanted to become more involved in the user community and organised the first UK Tableau User Group in July 2009. 40 people turned up and this event seems to have gone down in folklore as the first ever Tableau User Group. Andy Kriebel claims he organised a meeting of Tableau users prior to that one! Either way, Andy K and I were early user champions, and it’s been a thrill to be at the front of the tidal wave of Tableau growth in that time.

By November 2009, Tableau was beginning to become a hobby as well as work – I was finding data online and using Tableau to visualise this. In that monthI made my first comment on the Guardian Data blog (these ancient days were Before Tableau Public).

I had also started putting vizzes online at a posterous blog. This blog never really took off but after meeting Mel at the user group and other Tableau events, I started blogging here at The Data Studio. The floodgates opened and over the last 12 months it’s been an absolute pleasure coming up with new ways of using Tableau and doing exciting things with public data. I’ve managed 50+ posts, about one a week.

What have been my highlights? A few things stand out.

Cycling to work is a great way to generate ideas, and it was on rides to work that the ideas for bar charts in tooltips and lollipop charts (three posts!) came together. I love seeing them out in the wild.

Pouncing on topical public data is great fun, and I was delighted that I got my viz about London’s Cycle Hire scheme embedded on the Guardian Data Blog. It was a tactical dashboard design – I don’t think it’s the best dashboard one could have made, but the data was hot and many people pounced on it the day it came out: being first was possibly more important than being best in terms of exposure for this blog and for Tableau.

Along the way I’ve also had a bit of fun making 3-d pie charts and Christmas trees

For the more complete list of my blog posts, click here. Did you have any favourites?

Leaving the University of Oxford and this blog behind was a tough decision, but I’ve now got the opportunity to continue doing what I love all day every day – I can’t wait. Talking of my Oxford colleagues, I had a leaving presentation yesterday and they presented me with a card decorated with the following dashboard – clearly I have taught them well! Click the image for a larger view:

I also need to thank you all for reading  – your feedback has been fantastic and it’s been a hoot to meet you online or at conferences and geek out over data viz. Rest assured, that will continue once I’m embedded in Tableau!



Add Yours →

Hey Andy,
I wish you the absolute best of luck with your new role and I’m sure you’ll be very successful!
Tableau know a good thing when they see it, and they’ve made the right decision to bring you aboard as the ‘voice’ for the users.
Best of luck and I hope to see you soon,
Jen Stirrup

Hi Andy,
I hope you leaving the User side of Tableau does not mean “The King is dead”. But it means “Long live the King” for you are truly a person held in high regard by the TS users. Joining Camelot and taking your seat at the round table only seems like a natural way of progression.

I wish you all the best and I’m sure you will keep blogging you seem to have the bug.

See you in LasVegas
Marcel Bosboom

Although you’re leaving the Data Studio, I hope you continue to share your Tableau experiments and expertise through another medium!

Maybe we’ll see it in the forums? Or perhaps you’ll revive your other blog? Either way, don’t go silent on us!

Andy, all of us at The Data Studio want to thank you for the invaluable contribution your blogs have made to our site and to the whole Tableau community at large. I know you’re excited about the new position – I’m sure you’re going to have a blast.
Here’s wishing you every success and happiness with the new venture – we’re looking forward to seeing you at the Tableau customer conference in Vegas in a few weeks’ time.


Whilst I’ll miss your blog posts, it’ll be great that we continue to work together in one form or another. Tableau did well getting you onto their team.

It’s been fun bantering about who had the 1st user group meeting, but either way, both of our group are seen as the standard bearers for groups around the world. ATUG continues to meet monthly and we’ve yet to run out of content (touch wood!). Thank you for presenting to our group today.

Best of luck!
Andy K

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