#DataDiscussions with Neil Richards

Data Discussions with Neil Richards

In this week’s #DataDiscussions we had the pleasure to host Neil Richards.

Neil Richards is a Tableau Zen Master and Public Ambassador. Neil is actively engaged with the Tableau community and he is frequently asking Questions in Dataviz in his must-read personal blog.


Question 1 - What is your job? How do you use Tableau as part of it?

Neil Richards: I'm a BI Specialist at HESA. I use Tableau mainly to work with collaborative teams to help them create dashboards around education data, and then get involved to polish, improve and publish the data. As is often the case, I'm involved with various things and probably only get stuck into Tableau about 5% of the time, but I enjoy the variety.


Question 2 - If you could give one piece of advice to a new Tableau starter what would it be?

Neil Richards: I'd say find a dataset of something you're into or that's relevant to you - whether it's sport data, music data, geographic data, baby names, whatever, load that up and explore. I couldn't understand the fuss when I saw sales data, but once I loaded in cricket scores or house price data, it all started to make sense!


Question 3 - If you could add a new feature to Tableau, what would it be?

Neil Richards: I'm not very good at new features because I'm in awe of all the features it does have. But two things would be great: transparent sheets and better support for animation on Tableau Public.


Question 4 - What’s the best data book you’ve read recently?

Neil Richards: There are some great data books I keep going back to like Big Book of Dashboards and Storytelling with Data which are both amazing. But I'm going to go with one that's very me - the Book of Circles by Manuel Lima, and one that I'm looking forward to diving into but haven't found time yet - Cartographies of Time by Daniel Rosenberg.


Question 5 - Do you have a data goal for this year?

Neil Richards: Well I set out my goals in my blog. I can't remember what they were, but I do know that whatever they were, I've surpassed them. I do know I really secretly wanted a viz of the day again having not had one in 2017. I got that in January and then was made a Zen in February which has surpassed my career goal, let alone my year goal. So my adjusted goal is to embrace the opportunity that being a Zen brings me. I'm hoping to speak as much as I can (starting with TFF, then the Cinema Tour, and hopefully TC in London), and I have some other projects in mind which I'm going to be coy about for now ...

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