#MakeoverMonday – 3 Gifts I Have Received

I’ve always seem myself as a visualization purest; a disciple of Few and Tufte. A hater of pies and gauges. A crusader for the data-to-ink ratio…

You know the types… a**holes ūüôā

I’ve been using Tableau on and off since 2011 (version 6 or 7?) and fell in love almost instantly with is ease of use and beautiful visualization capabilities. It is no surprise that Tableau is among the leaders in the space, and I can speak from experience having used most of the major players over my 20 years in Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence work.

I started dabbling with Makeover Monday¬†towards the end of 2016 as I was looking for something to help me improve me Tableau skills and honestly break out of a rut in regards to data visualization. Oddly, I didn’t start with the current week when I started. One of the things I initially struggled with was that I didn’t feel connected to the data sets, so it was hard to force myself to find data stories in the sets provided.

Gift #1 : #MakeoverMonday has pushed me out of my comfort zone in regards to what data I  look at and how I approach data analysis

This was my first #MakeoverMonday submission, based on the shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub.

I had somewhat of an attachment to this event, as I have gay friends in Orlando who were effected by this event.

I did a few more throughout the end of 2016, finally getting up to date and working with the current week of the program, missing a few around the holidays, but at that point I was hooked. Even though I hadn’t really spread my wings yet, I was getting more comfortable with sharing my work, and working with feedback.

Not one for new years resolutions, I decided to make one for 2017. I was going to participate in every #MakeoverMonday and continually push myself in what I was presenting. I even try to blog about what I’m doing, even thought I’m not really breaking any technical barriers with what I producing.

I just finished week 21 of 2017, and it’s funny because on Saturdays I start “jonesing” for the data set. When the data set gets published on Sundays I immediately download it and start looking for stories, and I might start prototyping with what I want to do, maybe make some notes for Monday morning when I really start working at the viz. I’m not ashamed to admin that sometimes mid-week I find myseld needing a fix and I’ll go back in the 2016 archive of data sets and find one that I haven’t done and throw it out on Twitter and a #throwback.

Gift #2 : ¬†I’m more methodical with the planning of the viz, how it’s presented and the “small details” that go in to some of the great vizzes I’ve seen in the #MakeoverMonday community. Even more, I have a OneNote notebook where I take notes of things other people have done to add to my¬†repertoire¬†for future vizzes.

The best part of the #MakeoverMonday project is by far the people. From Andy and Eva and their efforts to run the program for the betterment of the Data Visualization Universe to the Zen Masters who are so willing to give tips and talk through ideas and questions, to the people like me; the learners, who ask questions and want to be better. One of the things I am looking forward to most this year is the Tableau User Conference in Vegas so I can meet a ton of these awesome people in person.

Gift #3 : Camaraderie among some great data visualization artists who want to help you learn 

So, if you find yourself reading this, and you’ve been on the fence about participating let me encourage you to “Just Do It”. What you’ll learn, the people you come in contact with and the fun you’ll have challenging yourself to be better are so worth it in the end.

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