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  • James Smith

Tableau Conference Berlin Review

Back to reality after 4 days in Berlin. I return with the same feeling that I had after London & New Orleans in 2018 - inspired, new projects floating around my head & in need of a good night's sleep!


Berlin was the second conference at which the Sports Viz Sunday team had a session. In NOLA '18, Simon, Spencer & I presented in one of the story points theatres at relatively late notice. Simon threw together a deck highlighting all the great participation we had seen to date combined with a section on why sports & data go so well together.


The talk itself appeared to go well - sporting our clubs' jerseys & armed with some American Football stress balls, we were happily surprised to see a queue to get into the session & delivered the content without any major hiccups.


SVS Team after New Orleans

The feedback, however, was mixed. Those who hadn't heard of Sports Viz Sunday spoke of not having learned much from the session while others enjoyed seeing the inspiring vizzes but wanted to know the thought process behind them or how the technical parts worked.


With that in mind, roll on Berlin. We knew we had more time to prepare, a longer session and a much bigger room. We set about designing the session based on the feedback we received from NOLA, with an end goal of making it interactive, full of Tableau tips and a fun session to attend. Again, credit to Simon for coming up with the quiz show style idea 'A Question of SportsVizSunday', a twist on the BBC game show Question of Sport (see below for some budget photoshopping & Sue Barker with a beard).



Simon & I met in a pub by Waterloo station to hash out the details and format of the session, settling on 2 halves of hands-on sessions split by a 15 minute half time Q&A featuring some SVS legends. I would run part one, an exploratory analytics style challenge with 10 questions on the Women's World Cup data set (our current monthly challenge). Simon would host the Q&A panel, while Spencer would run a Workout Wednesday style challenge in the second half.


We tried to make the challenges open to all abilities by including easy, moderate & hard questions in each round. We also wanted people to collaborate and meet fellow sports fans, so we created too many questions for one person alone to answer within the given time - that way, we encouraged people to work in teams on their tables.


As promised, the answers for Round 1 are all now on Tableau Public (https://public.tableau.com/profile/sports.chord#!/vizhome/SportsVizSundayTC19BerlinAnswerBook/TCEurope19-AQuestionofSportsVizSunday) and the answers to Round 2 are detailed here in Spencer's blog (https://spencerbaucke.com/2019/06/19/sportsvizsunday-tce-wrap-up/)


The three of us are delighted with how the session panned out this time & are happy that the session feedback corroborates that. There are still plenty of things we can do to make it a smoother ride & we are hoping to take these learnings into a session in Vegas in November.



A special shout out to Jordan Scott & Caroline Yam for their tireless work in supporting all the community initiatives. To all of our panel guests: Sam Parsons, Lorna Eden, Klaus Schulte and Neil Richards. To all our engaged attendees & the people that said thank you or came for a chat after the session - we love being a part of the community through SVS but it makes all the prep & late night data cleansing worth it when you get a simple thank you! Finally, to Spencer Baucke, the great man himself, for all the hurdles he had to jump to be with us in Berlin, a pleasure enjoying ein (or zwei) stein with you. See you in Vegas!

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