Data in, brilliance out(?)

At the Media Space reception after Tedx Seattle, our MCDM program awarded the inaugural “Digital Disrupter” award to Tableau Software, specifically for its release of Tableau Public, which Hanson called “the YouTube of data.” Before this presentation, I had no real idea what Tableau did, but I was intrigued by Hanson’s description.

Tableau Public is free software that allows anyone to create interactive charts and dashboards and publish them to the web. I am by no means a data geek, but I think this is a pretty cool tool that has potentially unlimited applications, and I definitely want to try it out.

I work for United Way of King County, and we have tons of research and data and numbers that is important for people to know and that could help tell the organization’s story, but the way we present it is so dry and boring. Tableau Public could really help bring this data to life, and more importantly motivate people to act on it.

While I’m enthusiastic to start experimenting with Tableau, I did find the “How it works” video on the Tableau website a little dense. It does seem like you need to be well-versed in Excel to use the software. Still, it appears that there are tantalizing possibilities for experts and amateur data enthusiasts alike.


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