Tableau Software: Rewriting the Story of Data Visualization

Feeling like a Storyteller fan

When I was a kid, I sat every afternoon, exactly to 6:00 PM a clock to watch another episode of a great serie created by Jim Hanson in 1988 called: “The Storyteller”, where an old man (John Hurt) and his funny talking dog (Brian Henson) recreated the best fabbles around the world, and I just saw and heard that with a great entertainment, that time passed quickly, and I began to count hours to see the next chapter in the next day. John’s voice was very quite and full of kindness, and every child in that time loves all stories told by the great storyteller.

You should be wondering why I began in this way. That has a single answer: I get the same feeling when I see a great infographic or a data visualization created with great tools like R in combination with ggplot2, the great matplotlib library from Python, or the amazing Tableau platform, because for me, the work of a Data Scientist is just one:

“To tell a great story behind numbers and facts with annoying graphics to say more than simple words and sofisticated statistics methods. To make it simple: You have to be a great Storyteller like John.”

But how do you do that quicker and easier? How do you build great data visualization in matters of seconds? Like I wrote before: Time, united to your mind, are the most important resources that you have, and you have to use them wisely, so I have an answer for you, my friend: Use Tableau Software. So, you should be wondering the 1 million question: WHY? Keep reading.

Why Tableau?

Because this amazing team of fellows have developed an easy-to-use platform to create remarkable visualizations in just seconds using a wide range of Data sources like RDBMS like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MPP-based like EMC Greenplum DB and HP Vertica, and even Hadoop ecosystem like Pig, Hive and HBase (In Tableau, you have a great number of Data Connectors).

But not just that, you can use APIs to read data from Excel files, .csv, Google Analytics, and many more cool options. The new version of the platform: Tableau 8, was released recently, so, you can visit its official site to read about the large numbers of new features and improvement to the platform, or simply, you can see the video that describes what’s new in Tableau 8 in YouTube.

Call to Action

But my friends, if you actually want to become in the first choice in the Data Visualization field and you want to solidify your roots on it, you have to take notes from your users about a native version of Tableau for Mac OSX. It would be a disruptive move in the hard and challenging Analytics field.

But I will go beyond: You have to make it right this application, so I will help you with some ideas how to build a Rockstar team with an amazing combination of UX experts, Design masters and amazing iOS developers:

  • For iOS development: I love two great teams here: Tapbots (creators of Tweetbot, the amazing Twitter client for Mac). Paul and Mark are an amazing duo who can be very good for the team for its expertise in User Interface for iOS applications, with a marked attention to the little details, and a great vision about Design. And the other team is Incept Development, who have an incredible experience in iOS applications, with a key focus on iPad-based apps. You can their apps here. But you need a leader for this, and the best guy for this role is Loren Brichter (@lorenb). Mike Matas published in a tweet that he was working in the new Facebook Home, but you can ask him, and make to good offer to him. This is a kind of aggresive hiring, but these are rush times, and you need do your move quickly like a shark.
  • For UX expertise: You have the amazing guys of EffectiveUI. Just see their amazing work and decide for yourself. Or if you can hire some UX experts, I let you some names here: Glen Lipka, Mervin John Singh, Michael Zuschlag, Denis Baranov, and
  • (Denis lives in Washington, DC, thinking a relocation package to Seattle.)

Please, use a Single Sign On system

My fellows, this is a suggestion, talking like a Tableau customer. Why I need two accounts for the same site? If you build a secure and reliable SSO platform, we can use just one account for Tableu’s site and for Tableau Public.(jaSIG a very good choice if you can do it in your own, or if you use AWS, you can use SSO Easy or Simplified)

Create the “Olimpo of Data Visualization” for just one hour

What about if you create a panel with several well known Data Visualization experts to discuss the Future of this amazing field in the next Tableau Customer Conference 2013 in September?

I will put you the list first:

And now the questions:

  • How do you see the Future of Data Visualization?
  • Which is your approach to build a Data Visualization platform or How to become facts and numbers in a remarkable story with a great visualization?
  • What key features do you want to see for a completed Data Visualization platform?


Yesterday, I sent an email to with all these ideas, so, you can decide my friends what to do and how to act quickly but wisely. Thanks a lot for your time to read this and best wishes for the whole team at Tableau Software

Marcos Ortiz

Marcos Ortiz