So You Want to be a (Tableau) Zen Master

So You Want to be a (Tableau) Zen Master

As usage of Tableau grows there’s a question that comes up more and more often: How can I become a Tableau Zen Master? It’s quite natural that people would ask for that question, and since we Tableau users are analytically-minded we tend to start looking for something like a checklist.

I’ve been thinking about how to answer this question for several months now. I think I have an answer, and it’s not a checklist. Please know that I’m not writing or speaking for Tableau the company here, just using my own insight and what I’ve gathered from conversations with others both inside and outside Tableau.

One part of being a Tableau Zen Master is demonstrating excellence in one or more areas of working with Tableau, and towards that I published Getting Good at Tableau. Another part is helping the Tableau community, and Steve Wexler has published a great series of posts on that (1, 2, 3). And another part is a way of doing and being, and to communicate that I put together the following presentation (with a little help from my wife, as you’ll soon find out):

If you find this helpful (or not), please let me know!

15 thoughts on “So You Want to be a (Tableau) Zen Master

  1. Chris Gerrard

    Personally, I feel that the kind of person who’s asking “how can I become a Zen master” is on a path that other than the one that the Zen masters I know trod.

    Becoming a Zen master shouldn’t be the outcome of a particular set of achievements, but the recognition of a way of being that’s not self-oriented, but directed towards being of service to one’s fellow Tableau community members.

    Jonathan mentioned several of the aspects of Tableau mastery above (I haven’t watched the video yet, this is my initial reaction). He misses an essential element: the quality of the person really matters. Jonathan is himself an exemplar of the essence of gracious, unfailingly helpful, uncritical qualities that are the hallmark of the very best. He, Joe Mako, and Ramon Martinez, are the Zen masters I know best. Each of them is cut from the same cloth, always willing to go far beyond the pale to help others learn, understand, and advance their abilities.

    In my view, it’s easy to spot the Zen master. S/he’s the person who’s never too busy to help, to explain more than just the “here’s the knobs to twist”, who never runs out of patience. These are the people who, more than any other element, have made Tableau successful through their tireless efforts.

    So, for those asking the question, rather than trying to become a Zen master, perhaps one’s good path is to become a better student of Tableau and servant to the Tableau community.

    1. Jonathan Drummey Post author

      Hi Chris,

      I think you’ll be happily surprised by the video. What I chose to leave out of the text of this post (that you with your insight noticed) is what’s in the presentation. 🙂


  2. Gregory Lewandowski (@lewandog)

    Finally had a chance to watch the video…well done my friend!!

    You have succinctly and clearly lain out the essence of why I love the Tableau community.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! Many will benefit in their quest to become a Zen Master; but all will benefit in learning how we can be better members of an already fantastic community!!


  3. Stacey

    Great post! Wondering if you could put up links for the pages you referenced in the video – I tried searching for a few with no luck.

  4. André Mafei

    Great video! I’m starting to work with Tableau now and your overview of the community and other things was very useful, especially the book tip, just bought it. Thank you very much!


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