Hi Tableau Community! Get to know Tableau User Group Ambassador and Zen Master Simon Beaumont in our latest Tableau Ambassador Spotlight. Read the interview with our User Group Community Strategist Jordan Scott :
Jordan: How long have you used Tableau?
Simon: I started using Tableau at work In April 2015 and then in my spare time since mid-2017.
Jordan: How do you use Tableau? At work? In your personal life?
Simon: At work I lead a Tableau Centre of Excellence so I focus on supporting my analysts to continuously learn new techniques and develop innovative dashboards to support our business teams; that said I cannot resist the urge to dive into Tableau Desktop and explore our JLL Facilities Management and Engineering data sets when I have a chance! In my spare time, and that includes my daily train commute into the office, I love unleashing my inner data artist and trying to be as creative as I can when exploring data.
Jordan: Where do you find data for your personal projects?
Simon: I am honored to be part of the trio who created SportsVizSunday. Along with James Smith and Spencer Baucke we actively try to find and share sporting data sets. Over the last 12 months, we have uploaded over 20 data sets to DataDotWorld and our new website sportsvizsunday.com. I often use the SportsVizSunday data sets for my personal projects, but the same could be said for any community initiative. They all provide us with such a rich and varied source of data, If anyone is struggling for ideas and wants some vizpiration I really would recommend checking out MakeoverMonday, SportsVizSunday, WorkoutWednesday, ProjectHealthViz, ThrowbackThursday, IronQuest, Viz For Social Good and Data For A Cause, the list really could go on and on so please accept my apologies if I have missed any.
Jordan: What type of data interests you?
Simon: Sports, sports and sports. Anyone that knows me will know I am a complete sports nut, I love to play sports but in recent years I equally enjoy vizzing about sports. The thing I love about sports is when I combine it with my love of data I often find it inspires me to be creative, I get a buzz out of it and this is what fuels my design processes.
Jordan: How have you learned to use Tableau?
Simon: When I first got access to Tableau at work I completed a 3-day training course, provided by a UK based Tableau Partner. The training was superb but in reality, the main source of my learning has been the community. Through participation in community data viz Initiatives I have been able to not only learn new Tableau techniques but also numerous elements of data visualisation best practice. Without any doubt the best initiative to support my learning has been Makeover Monday, the way the community encourages you and actively offers constructive feedback about your vizzes is phenomenal. Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray deserve a massive personal thank you from me, a sentiment I would imagine many in the Tableau community would echo.
Jordan: What data sources do you typically use?
Simon: At work, I connect mainly to SQL views within our Data Warehouse, although without a doubt the most interesting data source I have connected to in the last year was when helping my organisation prepare for Typhoon Mangkhut which hit Asia in the summer of 2018. With the help of Gauthier Bonnot we connected to a near, real-time, XML based weather forecast, projecting the path of the typhoon and then we used Alteryx and MapBox to overlay buildings at risk of damage.
Jordan: What is your favorite Tableau project that you’ve worked on?
Simon: The Tomorrow Today Viz For Social Good project that helped visualise homeless data across the UK. It was so inspiring to be able to use Tableau to help showcase a good cause and ultimately to try and improve the lives of people living in my country. I was fortunate enough to have my visualisation selected as part of the shortlisted visualisations and I will never forget how honored I felt to be able to contribute towards the success of the social initiative. (viz link Is here https://public.tableau.com/profile/simon.beaumont#!/vizhome/VizForSocialGood-PapaBaidenTomorrowToday/VizForSocialGood-PapaBaidenTomorrowToday)
Jordan: What is your favorite feature of Tableau?
Simon: Transparent Sheets. I will be honest enough to say I never use transparent sheets at work, however, in my spare time this has transformed the way I approach viz design and the way it has been used by others across the community has been amazing. It feels like the possibilities are endless now we can layer content and we have just started scratching the surface in terms of what can now be created in Tableau.
Jordan: What do you want to learn more about?
Simon: Ask Data. I am really excited by the potential this has to transform the way we use data at work. It can make data truly accessible, putting data in the hands of our business users and allowing them to explore data on their terms.
Jordan: What’s your biggest feature request?
Simon: In the last year so many of my feature requests have been implemented across Desktop and Server, the dev team has done an amazing job so I am going to go a little left field. Tableau Public is such an incredible platform and I would love to see the functionality of the website enhanced to allow people to add tags to their vizzes, allowing people to easily search for vizzes across themes such as community initiatives or viz types. I think this would transform the way we find visualisations that inspire us and act as sources of personal learning.
Now on to some community questions:
Jordan: How did you discover the Tableau Community?
Simon: My lightbulb moment was at TC Europe 16 in London. I had spent a year on the periphery of the community, occasionally looking on the forums, being aware of Makeover Monday but never really actively engaging. When I turned up at Tobacco Docks and spent 3 days with 1,500 data enthusiasts I was sold. Tableau promoted the community during TC Europe and so many people spoke positively about it during various speaker sessions, by the end of the third day I was tired, maybe a little hungover (Data Night Out has a lot to answer for!) but more than anything I was buzzing, I remember walking back to the train station with my colleagues and we couldn’t stop sharing ideas with each other, by the time we got on the train we already had the next six months planned out, it was such a great feeling to be so enthused and excited about the future.
Jordan: What’s your favorite part about the Tableau Community?
Simon: The people. The community is growing at a phenomenal rate and yet one thing stays constant, the encouragement, support and willingness to share of everyone who is part of it.
Jordan: What does being a Tableau ambassador mean to you?
Simon: Everything. Being named a Tableau Ambassador in 2018 made my year, to be recognised by the community was such an honor. My #DataFam have encouraged me at every step of my Tableau journey and I hope, by being a Tableau Ambassador, I can inspire others to do the same. Whether it be Tableau Conference, Tableau Public or Twitter, the thing that turns an amazing product into a unique product is the community. It is unique and so special and something we should all cherish.
Jordan: What advice do you have for new members of Tableau? Of the Community?
Simon: Jump In! When I first started using Tableau it took me 2 years to really understand the scale of the community and how it could benefit me. You will never be criticised, you will never be judged, each and every person in the Tableau Community wants you to do well, everyone gets a buzz out of seeing a great viz and everyone loves seeing people grow as they get more confident and their knowledge expands. If you want proof of this just check out #TableauFF, an initiative by the community, to showcase up and coming Tableau Public Authors (link to Michael Cisneros TableauFF viz here : https://public.tableau.com/s/gallery/history-tableauff). The other thing I would say is you never stop learning, no matter how experienced in Tableau you are, so don’t compare yourself with others, everyone was where you were once!
Jordan: You seem to enjoy being creative with Tableau. What is your favorite type of viz?
Simon: Tough question. The one thing I love about Tableau is the endless possibilities to go 'beyond the marks card'. Recently I have really enjoyed exploring radial charts, but I look across the Tableau community and see so many creative vizzes and this Inspires me to want to stretch my skills and also try new things.
Jordan: Is there anyone in the community you have worked with closely, or is there someone that inspires you?
Simon: Where to begin! I could name enough people to fill a TC Europe conference hall, but joking aside there is one particular person who inspired me in my early days of Tableau. When I first started using Tableau I was working in healthcare and Jonathan Drummey was amazing. The way he led the healthcare community was inspirational and he was so supportive and willing to share his knowledge and expertise. 4 years on and I am incredibly thankful to have been able to collaborate with numerous people across the Tableau Community. Nicole Lohr and Ella Worsdale as part of the Health TUGs, James Smith and Spencer Baucke as part of co-running SportsVizSunday and lastly Sam Parsons, kevin flerlage , Mark Bradbourne and Klaus Schulte for their constant willingness to provide feedback on vizzes. Thanks guys for the hours you spent during 2018 helping me refine my vizzes, especially during IronViz feeder season!
Finally some personal questions:
Jordan: Where are you from?
Simon: A little village called Liss in the south of England.
Jordan: What is your favorite hobby outside of work?
Simon: It would be a close call between playing sports and cooking.
Simon, thank you so much for sharing your passion for sports, data viz and your generosity and leadership as a Tableau User Group Ambassador and Zen Master! If you would like to connect with Simon or follow his work check out his profile on Tableau Public and give him a follow on Twitter. If you would like to learn more about the Tableau Ambassador Program, please visit this page on our site: Tableau Ambassadors | Tableau Software You can also follow all our ambassadors on Twitter through this link: @tableau/Tableau Ambassadors on Twitter.