December 31, 2019

So many tools, technologies, and initiatives

Are you trying to learn and / or keep up with any of these tools, technologies, initiatives, and features?

  • Tableau
  • PowerBI
  • Qlik
  • Microstrategy
  • Looker, Flourish
  • D3
  • Alteryx
  • Tableau Prep
  • Tableau Server
  • Knime
  • R
  • SPSS
  • Mapbox
  • Python
  • AI
  • Machine Learning
  • SQL Server
  • Postgres
  • JSON
  • Data Visualization Society
  • Makeover Monday
  • Workout Wednesday
  • SWD Challenge
  • IronQuest
  • IronViz
  • Sports Viz Sunday
  • set actions
  • viz animations
  • parameter actions
  • dynamic parameters
  • spatial functions
  • etc.

Just keeping up with one of these can be daunting! And some of the Makeover Monday and IronViz submissions… they are so beautiful… inspiring… and intimidating!

So many people, so many books, so many tweets, and so many blog posts

How about keeping up with what people are tweeting or blogging?

How about all the books you think you need to read?

Tool, technologies, initiatives, people, tweets, blog posts, books, … and you feel you must keep up, you must produce, you must participate, you must compete, right?

I feel inundated, overwhelmed and intimidated, and I suspect others feel the same way.

Please… let’s give ourselves a break.

You cannot do it all

Unless you are my friend and co-author, Jeffrey Shaffer (who has uncommon breadth and depth in a LOT of the tools and technologies I listed) you can’t do everything, and trying to be an expert in all things is going to lead to serious burnout. See Eva Murray’s post about this. By the way, Eva is one of these people with uncommon breadth and depth, too.

So, what should you do, and what would be a good way to measure whether what you are doing is working?

Setting the bar

You may not win IronViz, master every nuance of every tool, or have a zillion twitter followers. That’s okay because these are not the only measures of success.

(BTW, I kinda suck at LoD expressions. There, I said it!)

So I ask again, what should you do, and how do you measure, “success”?

I have found the following questions very helpful in alleviating pressure and stress:

  1. Are you better at data visualization now compared with where you were a month ago?
  2. Have you contributed to your organization? For example, did you create a visualization that helped others better see and understand something?
  3. Have you contributed to the community; for example, have you helped a colleague, mentored somebody, published a useful blog post, or encouraged somebody who was floundering?

If you answered “yes” to any of these then I believe you are succeeding.

Final word

Try to be inspired, and not overwhelmed, by all that you see around you. And…

Please, be kind.

To others… and to yourself.