Category Archives: Announcements

Get Some Pointers on How to Use Tableau (Or Not) Thursday, April 27 in SF

This Thursday, April 27th I’ll be speaking at the San Francisco/Bay Area Tableau User Group at Mapbox’s brand new headquarters on How (Not) to Use Tableau. The talk is based on my experiences helping users and organizations get the most out of Tableau and has something for everyone – tips for brand-new users, dashboard developers, managers, trainers, Center of Excellence/BICC staff, and more! You’ll even see what this has to do with dataviz:

And maybe even see some of my childhood Lego collection as part of a lesson on data’s a registration link, I hope to see you there!

#data16 Makes 5: My 2016 Tableau Conference Preview

In about 42 hours I’ll be getting on a plane to Austin, TX for the 2016 Tableau Conference, the highlight of my Tableau year where I get to meet, learn from, and celebrate with 12,000 dataviz geeks and a couple of thousand of their enablers (the lovely and talented Tableau employees who make it all possible). This year will be my fifth Tableau Conference and it hasn’t gotten old, I’m in a new role this year as a consultant and trainer at DataBlick so my focus is a little different. I’m certainly going to learn some more, I’m also networking [plug-alert] hey, did you know that you can hire DataBlick to help you do awesome things with Tableau?[/plug-alert], but most importantly I’m getting the chance to serve the fantastic Tableau community by cheering on some great work, showing off some cool projects and hopefully inspiring others to get involved, and helping other users. Here’s a list of some anticipated highlights of my week:

  • All week
    • Meeting people, making new friends, finally getting to see friends who I’ve never met in person, talking about my favorite piece of software, and whatever seems important.
    • Handing out new business cards! We did a redesign at DataBlick and for our website and business cards we have caricatures of ourselves, here’s my totally Zen’ed out Tableau fanboi pic:
      We’re running a contest for whoever can collect all 5 (or 6!) of them, check it out at link. And we’ve got some other swag that I’m really looking forward to handing out, including some presents for the Tableau devs.
  •  Monday
    • Hackathon: One of my #TCMemories from last year’s conference (pic below) was the Web Data Connector Hackathon, seeing dozens of customer developers building out new connectors was fantastic, I’m excited to see even more development that builds out the Tableau ecosystem.
    • Data+Women Meetup: I’m really happy to support the fantastic work and community-building that has been happening with the Data+Women effort.
    • MakeoverMonday: This runs concurrently with Data+Women so I won’t be there. 🙁 What the Andy’s (Cotgreave and Kriebel) started and what the community has collectively created is amazing! Did you know they just won an InformationIsBeautiful award?
  •  Tuesday
    • Healthcare & Life Sciences Meetup. Andy Dé who leads Tableau’s work in healthcare will be facilitating this, I’m looking forward to meeting other healthcare users there. And as I’m one of the leaders of the Tableau Healthcare User Group I’ll be networking to find speakers for our next meetings!
    • Keynote – Tableau Vision. Like it or not Tableau will be having some amount of a culture shift with the new CEO, I’m looking forward to seeing what they say in public and reading the tea leaves.
    • Tableau Labs (they run all week). I used to work in software development and I love that Tableau gives us the opportunity as users to talk directly with the devs about what’s coming, what we like, and what we need.
    • Data-Driven Alerts Come to Tableau. As one of the developers of VizAlerts I applaud Tableau for continuing to build out native alerting functionality and I’m looking forward to Zac Woodall’s presentation.
    • Supporting Eradicating Malaria in Zambia by 2020. I’ve been a volunteer on the #visualizenomalaria project with the Ministry of Health in Zambia, PATH, and the Tableau Foundation and it’s really inspiring. In fact some of the code I’ve contributed to VizAlerts has been to meet requirements for Zambia. Jeff Bernson, Anya A’Hearn, Allan Walker, and I will be sharing our stories and pointing out ways that you can get involved in this or other projects.
    • Devs on Stage. As much as I can point out the flaws in Tableau the developers know them better than me because they are living in that, and there are many fantastic things too. This is the devs moment to shine and a chance for me to cheer them on and appreciate them for what they’ve built that has changed my life, I’ll be down in front and making a lot of noise.
    • Elections! Besides the general elections the *really* important election for me is at my daughter’s awesome school where she (at the age of 9!) is running for school president, they’ve done a whole election theme where she’s had to write and give speeches, produce media, participate in debates, get interviewed, etc. (Yes, I’m a proud papa). If you see me staring at my phone Tuesday afternoon it’s because I’m updating my Facebook feed for the election results.
  • Wednesday
    • Healthcare User Group. I’m facilitating this lunchtime group where we’ll have another meetup and Nicole Webb and Marina Chakhalyan of Adventist Health will be presenting a great story on a workforce dashboard. I’m told that this user group will fill up, so get there early!
    • Jedi Chart Types. Chris DeMartini and Adam McCann are going to describe how they build their stunningly beautiful network graphs.
    • VizAlerts: KPI-Based Alerting, Burst Emails, and More for Tableau. Matt Coles and I will be  presenting VizAlerts 2.0 and a whole series of demos of use cases for VizAlerts and where it’s applicable (or not). We’ve also got a special audience-interactive demo (and contest!) planned.
    • Use Tableau Like a Sith. Unfortunately this is scheduled at the same time as my VizAlerts session so I can’t be there but I’ll be there in spirit. Plus DataBlick has something special in store for the Sith-lords in training.
    • Data Night Out. I have so many great memories of making new friends here and catching up with old ones, it’s always a highlight. Here’s a shot of a few thousand folks at #data15, plus a few crazy ones heading out on an aerial tour of the party:
  • Thursday
    • Zens in the Community. I’ll be in the Tableau Community area for an hour to meet whoever shows up, I love to hear what people are doing and encourage them to get more involved.
    • Tableau Zen Doctor. One of the responsibilities of being a Tableau Zen Master is that we spend some time in Tableau Doctor helping users, for me helping other users on the Tableau forums, over email, over screenshares, and with HelpMeDataBlick has taught me so much that I’m grateful for the opportunity to do that in person.
    • Bill Nye. The USA only seems to have room for a couple of public scientists at a time, I’m thankful we got to see Neil deGrass Tyson (twice!) and now Bill Nye.

And there’s all the ones that I won’t get to see in person but will be watching on video afterwards, sessions by Doug Grindel and Alan Eldridge and Bethany Lyons and Jock MacKinlay and Maureen Stone and Craig Bloodworth and Jewel Loree and Michael Kovner and Amanda Pype and  Mark Jackson and Matt Francis and Heidi Lam and Andy Kriebel and Melanie Tory and Jeffrey Shaffer and so many more…it’s going to be a great week.

If you want to connect with me during the week, look for me on Twitter @jonathandrummey. Also Keith Helfrich and Chris DeMartini have put together a time-suck of a #data16 Twitter network analysis viz at, it’s totally fascinating! Tweet #data16net to let them know you are looking at it!

See you there!

#data15 – What I’m Looking Forward To

Fellow Tableau enthusiasts Joshua Milligan and Andy Kriebel have done their posts on what’s up for next week’s Tableau Conference, here’s what I’m looking forward to:

1. Hanging with my Tableau Tribe

I’m the only hardcore Tableau user at my day job (though we’re hiring! ) so getting to see old friends and make new ones each year is a highlight. If you see me, please do say hello!

Tableau Zen Masters 2012

Would you believe I’d never met these guys until a day or so before this pic was taken?

2. Devs on Stage

Toys! Toys! Shiny new toys! Though the Tableau Zen Masters do get the occasional sneak peek into what Tableau is developing, this year Tableau has been extra-quiet about what they will be revealing at the keynote on Tuesday morning. What will we be seeing? I don’t know! And I’m super-excited!

3. Tableau on a Shoestring: Successful Deployment on a Tiny Budget

That’s my session, I’m looking forward to it for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m looking forward to being finished with it — doing the kind of genuine & real writing that I do is like shoving my hand down my throat to rip out my heart and other juicy bits then putting them down on display for the world to see. The outcome is always worth the effort for me, though. Second, I’m looking forward to sharing some lessons learned, both things that went well and mistakes I’ve made.

I don’t have the budget that Matt Francis does for promoting his session (this is Tableau on a Shoestring after all), so here’s my teaser:

I hope to see you at #data15!


PS: If you’re not going, check out the Virtual Conference where some sessions will be streamed, and you can watch last year’s sessions (many of the Tableau employee sessions are repeated from year to year) at Tableau Conference Television.

Can I Help You??

This post is a shameless plug, if you’re looking for Tableau tips you can use the links to right.

About every 10 days (SD ~7) I get an inquiry from someone around the world looking for Tableau talent. I’ve occasionally taken on an engagement, mostly I’ve had a list of consultancies and consultants I’ve forwarded inquirers to. Now my name is on the list and you can work with me: I’m joining DataBlick on a part-time basis.

You can get one-on-one or group training & support from me on whatever Tableau topics that I’m knowledgeable about (calculations, structuring data, making the transition from Excel to Tableau, table calculations, conditional formatting, LOD expressions, etc. etc.). If you’re wondering what I might be able to do for you, here’s what one long-time Tableau user said:

I sat in on Jonathan Drummey’s “Extreme Data Blending” session, and was amazed at the depths he’s plumbed in ferreting out the mysteries of how data blending works. Even better was the clarity of his presentation, making the complex and esoteric seem familiar and graspable. I’m now much better equipped to employ data blending to good effect than I was a day ago. — Chris Gerrard, Tableau Friction

And if I can’t deliver what you need, I know some good people and would be happy to make a recommendation!

I’m available from 5-7pm Eastern on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and 5-7am Eastern on Fridays — great for folks in Europe, Africa, and Asia. These are short-term engagements: Maybe you’re stuck on a specific problem, or need help building some Tableau skills, or maybe you want to help your team do some targeted training. If you’d like to set up a standing appointment for a regular review, I can do that too. Other folks at DataBlick are available for longer engagements, the appointment-based structure we’re calling Help me, DataBlick! is trying out a new & different way of assisting and supporting Tableau users and several of us have hours available.

Why DataBlick?

The simple answer is who wouldn’t want to call Anya A’Hearn, Joe Mako, Noah Salvaterra, and Chris DeMartini co-workers? Early in my career I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who told me to be around people who were smart in ways that I’m not. Every single one of the DataBlick team does amazing work and has changed the ideas of what’s possible in Tableau: Anya creating astounding designs; Joe rethinking the interaction between data, Tableau’s inner workings and the viz that we see (plus setting an incredibly high bar for kindness and generosity in the Tableau community); Noah building amazeballs visualizations; and Chris finding new ways to build network graphs. And besides their boundless creativity, they all have a couple of traits that I much appreciate: the stubbornness to stick with a problem to see it through and come out the other side with new learning and the desire to share that learning with others. I’m grateful to have them as colleagues!

The more complicated answer involves a spreadsheet with the family budget and the 10 year projections for our daughters’s college expenses. [If that’s not something you think about, then please consider yourself lucky!] I’m still at my day job and will continue blogging and writing about Tableau. Working with DataBlick supports my family and enables me to help other users (like you?) get to know my favorite piece of software (ever!).

If you’d like to set up a session with me or one of the other DataBlick consultants (I’m available starting today) you can book an appointment in 1 hour or 1/2 hour increments.

Getting Good at Tableau – the Screencast

A recurring question in the Tableau community is “How do I learn Tableau?” I’ve tried to answer that question a couple of times now in a presentation that I gave in-person in July 2014 at the Maine Tableau User Group and then a revised audio-only version earlier in November when I was a guest on the Tableau Wannabe Podcast with Matt Francis and Emily Kund

Here’s the full presentation as a screencast:

And the Getting Good at Tableau pdf (45MB).

This is my first screencast, any feedback is much appreciated!