Tableau Conference 2018: Top 8 Breakout Sessions

Published on October 16, 2018 - by keith leslie under analytics


Tableau Conference is less than a week away! While the festivities start on Monday with registration, the #MakeoverMonday meetup, and a reception, these activities are just the hors d’oeuvres to whet our appetites for the massive buffet of conference sessions that start on Tuesday morning. There are more than 300 breakout sessions scheduled for this year’s Tableau Conference, so be sure to download the TC18 app, check out the sessions, and star the ones that strike your fancy to add them to your schedule. I got the chance to review all the sessions over the last few days, and this year it looks like I’ll be going to a bunch of sessions on Advanced Analytics (R & Python integration), Spatial Data & Mapping, and Tableau Server.  Check out my Top 8 Breakout Sessions for TC18 below!

Advanced Analytics

1) Nerd-out on data science with the advanced analytics dev team (Speakers: Olek Golovatyi, John Guin,Samantha Kwok, Jessica Negara)

Data science is arguably the buzziest topic in analytics right now with Python and R becoming more popular by the day. As such, there’s a growing demand for Tableau integration with these languages. In this session, the team leading the charge on developing these integration features are going to provide the inside scoop on what’s currently available and what’s currently in dev.

2) R…you ready? Jedi stats with R and Tableau (Speakers: Konstantin Greger Lennart Heuckendorf)

This session is all about integrating R with Tableau using the Rserve package. Tableau Desktop has certain calculation functions that invoke R and pass values back into Tableau, allowing you to leverage the statistical firepower of R in your dashboards. I know that Microsoft has enabled some awesome R integration into Power BI, so I’m excited to learn more about Tableau’s offerings in this space.

Spatial Data & Mapping

3) Geography Matters | Answering every map, spatial data, and GIS question you ever had (Speakers: Ashwin Kumar, Kent Marten, Ryan Whitley)

This session is a gold mine for anyone with questions about maps and spatial data. It will be led by members of Tableau’s Maps Development team and will cover all things spatial-data-related, from creating custom maps to the new spatial joins feature released in 2018.2. Furthermore, the team will be giving some sneak-peaks of upcoming mapping features. The session description says that ‘Customer participation is required,’ so make sure to come to this session if you have a spatial data question for the experts.

4) Map hacking (Speakers: Sarah Battersby, Konstantin Greger)

Time for some Jedi-level mapping! I’m excited to learn how to build advanced map types that I’ve only seen in blog posts and on Tableau Public – “point density maps, alternative map projections, great circle routes, [and] directed arrows” – to level-up the maps in my dashboards.

Tableau Server

5) Top server symptoms to keep your server healthy (Speakers: Zachary Ahrens, Rithesh Makkena)

If you have set up an enterprise-wide deployment of Tableau Server, performance issues are bound to pop up, and you can count on the fact that your users will let you know about them if they catch them before you do. This session covers common server performance issues and how to monitor & fix them. This will help you catch server issues before the worried emails start flooding in and arm you with methods for finding an optimal solution.

6) Tuning Tableau Server | Performance Best Practices (Speaker: Jonathan Varkovitzky)

This session is a deep dive into all the components of Tableau Server to provide a comprehensive overview of what impacts server performance. Understanding how these components operate together and relative to each other is crucial to optimizing server performance and, as a result, your users’ experience.


7) Tableau speed tipping | Can they reach 100 tips? (Speakers: Lorna Eden, Ann Jackson)

At TC16 in Austin, I saw the first speed tipping session with Andy Kriebel and Jeffrey Shaffer and it blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how much information they were able to cram into a single 50-minute session. If I remember correctly, they got to 63 tips then (if you were there and remember, keep me honest!), and I wasn’t at TC17, but I bet that they tried to beat that record. It looks like this year, they’re letting a couple more Tableau Jedi Masters into the fray to try to reach the promised land of 100 tips.

8) Tableau speed charting | 50 charts in 50 minutes (Speakers: Andy Kriebel, Jeffrey Shaffer)

This year, these two Tableau Zen Masters are entering a new arena: speed charting. ‘Show Me’ has 24 charts as quick-select options, so I’m curious to the other 26 charts that get squeezed into these fast-and-furious 50 minutes. I love these speed sessions; the speed tipping & speed charting sessions and the Iron Viz competition are going to pack more data knowledge into 2 hours than we’ll know what to do with.


And those are my Top 8 Breakout Sessions for TC18! Tell me what sessions you’re excited for on LinkedIn or Twitter (@kleslie11e), and let me know if you want to connect during the conference. See you in New Orleans!

Keith Leslie

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Keith Leslie

Keith Leslie combines his econometrics, analytics and domain knowledge to help clients become data intelligent, gain strategic insights and attain targeted business growth.

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