Radio silence

Or why you shouldn't be afraid to share your drafts

It has been six months since my last post. Why's this? I wish I could say it was because of something important or exciting ("I've been working on my thesis" or "I've spent the past six months travelling around the world"). Unfortunately the reason is far more mundane and commonplace. In August I started spent all night playing around with some bird watching data in Alteryx, but I ran out of time to build the idealised viz that I had in my mind for this data. Then time dragged a on, and I felt I couldn't move on, couldn't write another post, until I had conquered this one viz. To make matters worse, the more I compared my efforts to my fantasy-finished-viz, the more my actual work came up wanting. And the more I felt like my viz was lacking, the less I wanted to share it.

This is where I got to with my parakeets viz

This is where I got to with my parakeets viz

November came around and I had a bit of an epiphany: I realised that by NOT sharing my viz, I'd actually just wasted months of potential feedback and support from the Tableau community. I shared this insight in my talk at TC16 (Tableau's Conference) in Austin (you can watch it here - if you will need to create an account if you don't have one already)

This is the section from my "Do it in Public" talk from TC16 where I talk about my parakeet viz. See the whole talk hereNote: the audio in this snipped isn't great.

Guess what? As soon as I had shared my viz, Jonni Walker came up and asked if he could collaborate with me and viz my data :) Proof that nothing shared is nothing gained!

In the end my data set came to life in technicolor splendour in Jonni's gorgeous viz.
 

This is Jonni's stunning parakeet viz. You can check the interactive version out here

This is Jonni's stunning parakeet viz. You can check the interactive version out here

Aside: fact this viz received some amazing recognition as Andy Kirk aka Visualising Data highlighted it as one of his Best of Visualisation Web ... December 2016 articles.

So why the gap from November unto now? Well, to be honest, I've been a little ashamed by how silly I was over that viz and did know how to start again!

What's next?

Going forward I'm going to try to share a lot more of my work, even if it's not at my 'idealised' end point. To help myself do this I'm going to call-out what I'd like to improve, or where I wish I could take a viz, and highlight what I learned during the process of building a viz.

Here's to embracing "Nothing shared, nothing gained"!