We are all made of stars – A Tableau Conference Recap of my New Data Heroes

Thasia Madison. Katherine Peterson. Brandon Hendrix. Alicia Bembenek. Phil Naranjo.

Do you know these names?  They’re my new heroes I found this week.  Each one is quietly making their mark on the world and I had the honor of meeting them at the conference.

Thasia Madison

I met her last year and was blown away by her.  She has a degree in Robotics.  How cool is that?!  I FEEL cool just typing it.

Besides teaching me that k-means clustering (yes, the same k-means in Tableau) is part of how self-propelled robots drive, Thasia runs an all-star Tableau program where she is the server admin.  I’d tell you how large, but I’m pretty sure that’s a no go.  It’s big.

You can find her on Twitter, where you can TELL HER TO START BLOGGING.

Katherine Peterson, Ph.D

Katherine is solving macular degeneration using Tableau.  No, really – she has every gene mapped out and is figuring out the cause…IN TABLEAU.

I thought I was a fancy-pants user solving all kinds of things.  Kat is solving human health issues and providing far better visibility into her findings than most scientists could dream of.  Picture it: genes, interactively displayed to where you can explore them and see what’s happening.  Or mash them up with other known variables.  Kids, this is what science could look like and Kat is leading the charge.

Oh, and if that’s not awesome enough for you, Kat is Tableau TEN-ured as a long time user.  We’ll call it at least 12 years.  Follow her on Twitter so you know when she’s got the code genes cracked.

Brandon Hendrix

I met Brandon in the Zen Garden.  He was looking for Ryan Sleeper, but I ended up distracting him for a few hours.  He did end up meeting Ryan and griefing him about a missed meeting/barbecue.

Brandon made the mistake of mentioning ethics to me within a few seconds of hello.  We may have ended up discussing the world, trading book recommendations, and sharing our ideas about the life, the universe, and everything.  You see, Brandon is getting his Ph.D around ethics and values (I may have shouted for joy).  He was in the Army before and gave me a wonderful term to use: blue falcon.  You know that person that’s flying high and drops a load off on everyone else – yup, blue falcon.  And it’s a big no-no.  So, don’t blue falcon your peers or they’ll set you back to rights.  As they should.

Naturally, Brandon also uses Tableau and loves being able to find insight.  He hasn’t put up a Public viz yet, but here’s hoping he wraps his thesis into some stellar Tableau dashboards.  He thinks deeply, reads voraciously, and made me smile.

We also need to get Brandon on Twitter.  Links will come!

Alicia Bembenek

Some of you met her at the conference.  She’s mentoring under the delightful Mike Cisneros and I couldn’t imagine a better person for her to find.  Alicia is also a Ph.D (are you seeing a trend?) and spent a ton of time doing clinical research.  I love researchers, if you can’t tell.

She, too, likes ethics.  She’s not only on Twitter, but BLOGGING about her mentoring adventures and take on the world.  I can’t wait.  She’s already busted tail on Makeover Monday and is ready to push herself to the next level.  Exciting times in the life of another practice professional who brings her experience to the Tableau world.

She also escaped before I could grab a picture…someday, I will up my selfie game…

Oh, and tell her to join the next IronViz feeder!

Phil Naranjo

Okay, you may know him.  He works at Tableau and loves space.  He passes out space patches during presentations and tells stories in a way that enraptures and educates.  I had the honor of copresenting with him during the annual dev/Zen Master summit.

Whether it was finding a hero’s arc Joseph Campbell style or discussing the eclipse, Phil takes you to another world when he explains things.  I loved teaming up with him and especially enjoyed chatting/practicing our bit.  He does yoga and sees the world in a beautiful light.

You can find him on Twitter where he tweets out a number of joyous things, from Tableau features to space-related information.

There’s more

I could probably write a blurb about a number of people I met.  They’ve all inspired me in different way, but one thing is for sure: we are data people and we’re all made of stars.

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