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Let's Start at the Beginning

In my previous post I mentioned starting at the beginning and for me, the beginning was in 2016 when my co-founder Dinushki DeLivera sat down with me and I saw Tableau for the very first time. I was HOOKED!

It took me 2 more years before I was ready to publish a Tableau Public viz. I was working with the greatest mentors but I had massive imposter syndrome and really didn't want to publish something I would later hate... That's funny.

I have had so many conversations over the years with people looking to grow their portfolio of work and develop their skills and the conversation comes up about deleting work that may no longer represent their skill level. I am here to say, NEVER DELETE your work. It is an amazing exercise to reflect on the work I created over the years and not all of them stand the test of time but what they all show, GROWTH! I have continued to learn so much over the years and you need to be able to reflect.

The best part about a first viz, it levels the playing field. They say, we all start somewhere, well, that is absolutely true. Can you imagine a day where the folks you might idolize today in the community posted their first viz rather than some of their more recent work?

I say all of this to say, "Comparison is the thief of JOY". Don't let someone else's story write yours. Ok, now that we have a lengthy intro, let's talk about my first beauty, 'IMDB - The Office'. Can we talk about that name? haha. I have no idea why I named it IMDB, why not just 'The Office'?

This thing is ugly to look at! Haha. Sorry. This was 2018 when I published. Imagine a time before Kevin and Ken Flerlage's 'Tableau Chart Templates'. I built this prior to transparent sheets hit. This viz came at a time, I was trying to viz what I love and I LOVE THE OFFICE. The idea came to mind when I started following the amazing art of Marisa Livingston. She posted the drawing of The Office characters and I immediately had an idea.

This viz came at a time where asking for permission to use artwork was still a honored step. I waited for some time for a response before starting work. In fact this step stopped a few previous ideas in the water because other artists refused or didn't respond. I gave all the credit and love to Marisa when I posted.

Looking under the hood on how this was constructed, it started with loading an image in as a map background and then plotting in x and y all the coordinates to create the tooltips and interactions for the other charts. Today, I would have tackled this completely different. This might just been a fun exercise to do a remake of this viz. Maybe 2023?

The concept was an interactive viz to help us get to know each character. I also at the time was going through 'The Big Book of Dashboards', as I was working for the one and only, Jeffrey Shaffer. I remember seeing a visual for IMDB data and it hit me, there is my data! I had a concept, art, and data!

The moment I added the highlight action when you hover over a character was the moment I realized the power of Tableau. I mentioned I LOVE THE OFFICE. Fun fact the main character leaves but the series continues on for a while longer... What was the impact on ratings as they tried to recreate the show? The IMDB rating drops off and not a single episode scores as high until the last where he makes a cameo appearance.

The Sankey at the bottom, it's ridiculous and not in the best ways but again in 2018 so much was playing and figuring out how to do that in Tableau. I saw one in my Tableau Public feed and became obsessed and thus, I had to figure out how to do it. This was a time that I was staying up late at night watching YouTube videos just trying to learn more and faster. I was reading blogs, every word to just hang on the ideas. I was so proud of this ugly Sankey. Was it the right visual, not at all. Did it tell the story? Not one bit, haha. But it was so FUN to figure out how to create! Holy cow the math it took.

The idea was look at all these award nominations on the left and the result on the right... A bar chart would have been very clear here.

What was crazy the top of the viz is created with little to no calculations. I did all the data prep in Excel because I didn't know how to write calculations. The Sankey was an entire separate set of data sources and I followed a set of instructions for the math and calculations. In the end, I learned SO MUCH and even though it is ugly, I STILL LOVE THE OFFICE.

If you are looking for further ways to engage with our amazing Tableau community check out this wonderful blog post, 'Why & How to Connect with the Tableau Community'.

Here is how I want to wrap this up, be kind to yourself. I recently was posting show me your #vizfails because I want to normalize learning rather than the perfection of the complete.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!


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