Let’s bust some IronViz feeder myths

The IronViz Feeder contest. What a great event!
Like always you can expect the best in terms of creativity and skills. But also, like always, a lot of people won’t participate.. for the wrong reasons.
I participated to two IronViz feeder contests, one with my Beer viz and one with my Safari viz. Today it’s time to share what I learned.
So let’s bust some myths about participating (and maybe even winning) an IronViz Feeder contest!

Myth 1: You need to find a great dataset

It’s very hard to find a great dataset. For the IronViz Feeder, you may even spend more time finding the data than creating your viz. But if the MakeOverMonday project proves us something, it’s that you can always create a great viz, no matter the complexity or size of the dataset. One dimension and one measure is enough to start building something.

You want to see the awesome dataset I found for my winning entry?
It doesn’t exist.

I create my own dasaset by copy-pasting data from tables or pictures I found on different website:

Forest loss from: https://rainforests.mongabay.com/deforestation_percent_change.html
Forest cover from https://kids.mongabay.com/elementary/002.html
Endangered species from http://earthsendangered.com/search-regions3.asp

It was long. It was not perfect. But it worked!

Myth 1 : BUSTED!

Myth 2: You need a great idea to start

Participating to two IronViz feeder contests taught me that your final result will probably be far from your first idea. And that’s a good thing. Tableau is the perfect tool to enhance creativity and to let you build at the same speed as new idea comes. But you’ll only find new ideas in one way: start vizzing.

Back to my Safari viz. The first pitch was: you are a biologist and, in order to complete your training, you are kidnapped and abandoned in the middle of a forest. Based on the data you collected, you need to find in what kind of forest you are and in which country. I even found a beautiful website with all the data in order to do that.

But you know what comes next.. I started to build my viz around forest covers and from sheets to sheets I build a totally different dashboard, with a different story and with different data. But that’s ok. More, that’s good. Your story will create itself, bit by bit, and at the end it will look totally different, but probably even better than what you imagine.

But don’t forget the most important: fill the “Sheet 1”

Myth 2 : BUSTED!

Myth 3: You need dataprep skills

Having a data preparation tool is great. In my professional work I use Alteryx very frequently. Funny that I’ve never opened Alteryx to create my two entries! Excel was good enough for both.

Of course if you want to create very complicated visualization, Excel will not be sufficient. But trust me, you don’t need to create complicated things to win. Only your Tableau skills matter.

Bar charts, line charts, maps and shapes. Those are the only four (basic) marks type I used. Yes it doesn’t looks like your every day Tableau, but absolutely no data preparation was required. Only tableau tricks, and a few floating elements.

Myth 3 : BUSTED!

Myth 4: You are not good enough

If you are afraid of what people may think about your entry, you clearly don’t know the Tableau community enough!

The only thing you’ll lose if you start participating to the IronViz Feeder contest is the fear of participating to the next.

What you’ll gain on the contrary… Lots of advice, compliments, encouragements, new skills and, I’m sure, a new viz on you Tableau Public page that you’ll be proud of.

And who knows, even if not selected, you viz may have a great story…

Myth 4 : BUSTED!

I hope this post gives you all the confidence you need to participate. Again, you’ll not be disappointed. And if it wasn’t the fear that  slows you down, I hope those few advice will help you to create a viz.

The best of luck!