This has been a wonderful first year for Tableau Magic. From pushing my limits in creative visualisations, to engaging with members of the community, to providing a platform for helping people along their journey; it has been a real learning curve and, looking back, it has been one of the most rewarding pursuits in my career. So in this article, I will review the last 12 months and give you a preview as to what I have planned in the next 12 months.

Note: It is shocking for me to think that Tableau Magic is only 1 year old.

Genesis

The Tableau Magic website domain was registered on 23-Jun-2014, however, I had no idea what I would be doing with this domain. Would this be the name of my Tableau Consultancy? Would I create a monthly online Tableau magazine? I had no idea, but as the domain was available and not too expensive I thought I would purchase it for future use.

Between 2011 and 2017, I was blogging about Salsa Dancing and wanted to make the switch to technology (the focus on my career). As such, I migrated my Salsa blogs from my top level domain (toanhoang.com) to a subdomain (salsa.toanhoang.com, which still exists today) and then repurposed my top-level domain for technology, specifically Tableau.

My top level blog of Tableau did pretty well as I released a few well-read tutorials on how to create a Sunburst and Radial Bar Chart, to name a few. The scope of my interests continued to expand, however, and my intuition told me that I should repurpose my blog and to detach my Tableau work from myself, so I decided to move all my Tableau blogs into a whole new website. This was the birth of the Tableau Magic website which was initially set up with 5 blogs migrated, links to other websites, and some recommended articles.

The Tableau Magic website was not the only thing created on that weekend, I also created a:

  • Google Plus page (obsolete now)
  • Twitter Handle
  • Facebook Page
  • Pinterest account
  • Slack Workspace
  • WhatsApp Chat Group

and tied this all together with Hootsuite, yes, this was a very busy weekend.

Growth

Unfortunately, the Tableau Magic website launch coincided with a particularly challenging project at work and forced me to endure some very long hours. Thus, the website stayed untouched for months, and only on the first weekend of November did I finally have some free time to explore and grow this website.

At that point, I took advantage of the relative downtime and decided to maximise my evenings and weekends, so I started to write as many blogs as I could and scheduled them for the next time I was busy. As of today, 82 blogs, all written by myself, are published on the Tableau Magic website, with another 40 scheduled or in a draft form.

Note: For context, it takes me approximately 3-4 hours to write a single blog, so in the last 12 months, I have spent around 250 hours on Tableau blogging, not including answering questions and building products. This translates to 6 weeks of full-time work on top of my day job.

When I started, I had no idea how the website would grow, or even if it would remain alive, however, I did decide to track our milestones:

Date Milestone
29th Nov 2018300 Twitter followers.
19th Dec 2019Color Palette Generator Released.
1,000 page views in a single day.
31st Dec 201910,000 page views in a single month.
2nd Jan 2019200 members joined our Tableau Magicians Facebook group.
3rd Jan 2019300 Facebook likes.
7th Jan 2019Our DataTables Tableau Extension was downloaded 2,000 times.
13th Jan 20194,000 page views in a single week.
30th Jan 2019500 Twitter followers.
24th Jan 20198,000 page views in a single week.
25th Mar 2019100,000 page views on the Tableau Magic Website.
30th Apr 201940,000 page views in a single month.
3rd May 20191,500 members joined our Tableau Magicians Facebook Group.
14th May 20191,000 Facebook likes.
31st May 201950,000 page views in a single month.

Note: I use Google Analytics for my website tracking and analysis.

At the point of releasing this article, I am slightly over 200k page views. My next milestone will be half a million page views (I still cannot get my head around the large numbers) and then onwards to 1 million page views.

Popular Articles

Not every article is well read, and to be fair, I never write tutorials that I think would get a lot of eyeballs, but articles that are requested, visualisations that excite me, or something that makes me curious; I always love trying new things and ideas. Here are the top ten articles on the Tableau Magic website:

  1. Radial Bar Chart Tutorial (link)
  2. Sunburst Chart Tutorial (link)
  3. Creating a Tableau Extension Part One (link)
  4. Tableau’s JavaScript API / An Introduction (link)
  5. Tableau Calculation Quiz 1 (link)
  6. The Tableau Magic DataTables Extension / Now Available (link)
  7. Tableau Quick Tip (QT): Curved Lines (link)
  8. Drawing Radar Charts in Tableau (link)
  9. Tableau Desktop Quiz 1 (link)
  10. Data Densification for Tableau Drawing (link)

Note: As this is a new website, the date that the article was published does play a factor in the ranking.

Popular Countries

One of the great things about Tableau is that it is used around the world. For my “A Conversation With” series, I spoke with Yakuri Nagata (Japan), Emily Kund (United States), Merlijn Buit (Netherlands) and many others.

As such, I would expect a global audience, but the numbers may (or may not) surprise you. Here are the Tableau Magic top 10 countries by visitors:

  1. United States (33.57%)
  2. India (21.33%)
  3. United Kingdom (7.86%)
  4. Canada (2.61%)
  5. Australia (2.42%)
  6. Germany (2.29%)
  7. Singapore (2.06%)
  8. France (1.97%)
  9. Brazil (1.42%)
  10. China (1.33%)

Note: I have to admit that being from the UK, this is quite embarrassing. It means I really do need to work more with my local community of Tableau enthusiasts.

Personal Highlights

I personally believe that you can only ever do something well for a sustained amount of time if you really are passionate about what you do. The Tableau Magic project, as I refer to it, has given me some really interesting moments, but here are my personal highlights:

A CONVERSATION WITH SERIES

When I thought about this, I was wondering what value it would bring to the community. Then two things hit my mind, 1) I myself, am a member of the Tableau community, and 2) I would personally like to know more about the other people in it. So, I got in touch with several people that I have chatted to in the past and several people who I know of through their reputations, to see if they were interested in having a conversation with me. Most were more than happy to have a conversation.

This was the birth of Season 1 of a Conversation With series and includes conversations with:

  • Episode 1 / Mark Bradbourne
  • Episode 2 / Josh Tapley
  • Episode 3 / Lindsay Betzendahl
  • Episode 4 / David Pires
  • Episode 5 / Dilyana Bossenz
  • Episode 6 / Yukari Nagata
  • Episode 7 / Emily Kund
  • Episode 8 / Ken Flerlage
  • Episode 9 / Sarah Burnett
  • Episode 10 / Merlijn Buit

These can be found here:
https://tableaumagic.com/category/other/interviews

I was already aware of how open and friendly the Tableau community was, but this really took things to a different level, and further motivated me to give more back. I also had a chance to chat and get to know people that I am sure I will be working and collaborating with in the future.

Note: Season 2 of A Conversation With is in production with a release date of the end of Jan 2020.

TABLEAU MAGICIAN FACEBOOK GROUP

I mentioned earlier that I used to write a lot of Salsa related blogs, and once upon a time, I was also a Salsa dance school owner, promoter and event organiser, yep, everyone needs a hobby. During this time, I mainly leveraged Facebook Groups as a promotional tool and a place where I can spam people; this works as you cannot really teach dance through a Social Media platform.

For teaching Tableau, it is a completely different world, and since starting the Tableau Magicians group I have discovered two wonderful and additional features:

  1. Social Learning Group Types: This is where you can organise your blogs into neat and tidy units for people to learn. I am still getting my head around this, but I think learning programmes are better for learning as opposed to a list of loosely organised blogs.
  2. Mentorship Programmes: I discovered this feature by accident and just started testing this over the last few weeks. It allows members of your group to set themselves up as Mentors and allows you to connect via Facebook Messenger. The pretty neat feature is that you can set up a communication plan that encourages dialogue between mentors and mentees and helps to build that connection. I am still experimenting with this and want to dedicate a lot more time to this in the next 12 months.

Through the Tableau Magicians Facebook Group, I have gotten to know loads of people, and on Facebook, I have answered over 120 questions, the vast majority sent via Facebook messenger. I have to admit that I take a lot of pleasure from seeing people grow and helping people along in their journey.

ZEN MASTER MESSAGES

I have been working in IT for over 15 years now, and while I have trained and prepared many people for technical exams and certifications, the only one I actually hold is a Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner (I was so tired, I actually fell asleep towards the end of the exam, but that is a story for another day). My lack of certifications is one of the biggest surprises to people, especially the people who sit within my Tableau Practice, and for those that I manage and pushing to get their Tableau Certifications. I am sure that one day I will venture out and take the exams, but I don’t even have a driver’s license…

That aside, during the Zen Master class of 2019 process, I received lots of messages regarding me working towards becoming a Tableau Zen Master; some of these messages came from several current Tableau Zen Masters and community leaders. The number of messages was surprising, and it is lovely to be given the vote of confidence by people around you, and from a personal level, it gave me a strange sense of validation that what I am doing is actually helping people and making a small difference.

Note: I still get messages today about this, and while I do find it nice, this is not something that I will ever work towards, if it happens, it happens, but my sole goal is to keep educating people and writing articles that people find helpful, and that I feel there is value in.

Next Steps

I never like to sit still and while I will keep writing tutorials for visualisations, I have additional ideas that I want to explore over the next 12 months; hopefully, you would find some of these ideas exciting.

UDEMY COURSE

This is one of the things that have been requested a lot, so I am going to get moving on this relatively soon. I have done all my equipment checks, planned the courses, and will be filming several courses over the next few weeks.

Note: This will be available at $20 per course.

TABLEAU EXTENSIONS

I have built a Tableau DataTabels extension that is downloadable from the Official Tableau Extension Gallery as well as open-source so that you can deploy my extension internally. I have several additional ideas and items that I have planned, so expect more extensions to be made available within the next 12 months.

Note: All code will be made open-source.

TABLEAU TOOLS

I created the Color Palette Generator and will be looking to give this an uplift so that you can save your palettes for future use. I have also created a Tableau quick designer tool as well as the framework for an automated Tableau Documentation tool. All will be freely available to use over the next 12 months and hopefully will add value to the Tableau community.

Note: At the moment, these are secondary to writing tutorials. But if anyone out there has development experience and wants to help me, please send me a message.

TABLEAU MAGIC WEBSITE SUBSCRIPTION

Over the last few weeks, I have built a subscription section to the Tableau Magic site that focuses more on the field of Business Intelligence, consulting and career development. Building your skills in Tableau is great, but there are additional skills and knowledge required if you want to build your career in data analytics and thrive. So, therefore, this website extension will include articles on:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Data Warehouse, Data Modelling and Data Awareness
  • Enterprise Tableau and Tableau Architecture
  • Tableau Certifications and Interviewing
  • Big Data and merging technologies
  • Personal Growth

Note: I will be launching an annual subscription for this area of Tableau Magic.

TABLEAU MAGIC CONTRIBUTERS

The truth of the matter is that Tableau Magic is solely managed by myself, and as such, there will always be a limit on what I can provide to the community. Over the next 12 months, I will be working with Contributors and allow them to publish their thoughts, ideas and tutorials on the Tableau Magic website. Running a website is not an easy task, and I know that there are people who would love to contribute to the Tableau community, but do not know where to start.

Note: If you are looking to write your own articles and would like to be featured on the Tableau Magic website, please reach out to me.

Summary

The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster journey for Tableau Magic, and I am extremely thankful for the support that the Tableau community has given me; from readers, commenters, those who shared my articles, to those who helped me overcome challenges, a very big thank you to everyone.

I am looking forward to the next twelve months as there will be many, many, interesting things coming, I hope some of you will play an active part in this, and that everyone enjoys this.

Lastly, I would like to give special thanks to my wife, Nicola Lambert, for all the help and support she has given in making this website.

Kind Regards,
Toan Hoang

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great Journey Toan Hoang, Congrats on the magician completing a year. The magician can achieve much more, will keep following your posts and try to contribute if I can

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