2 Countries in 1 Week!
Phew, what an eventful past week in Asia it has been. So, it all started back in June this year and I was told that I was going to Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney with team Tableau. Later, due to time constraints and other unknown issues, Sydney was dropped from the itinerary but I was still excited to make it to 2 countries in 1 week.
I was extremely excited about the Tableau Conference this year in Las Vegas and needless to say, I had a great time. I went on vacation with my family to Los Angeles and returned back to Philly hardly for a bit more than a week. Then I was off to Tokyo!
I was excited to get to know Ryan Sleeper a bit more this trip, he is a talented Tableau Public author and creates outstanding sports vizzes. I have always admired his style. I met up with Ryan at Denver airport before taking a 12-hour flight to Tokyo!
We were both really excited to get the trip started. It was both of ours first experience as a business class traveler, thanks Tableau! We talked quite a bit on the flight and ate some ice cream sundae after dinner. I watched a movie and took advantage of the amazing seats and comforters to get some rest.
We landed in Tokyo and I was suddenly refreshed to be out and about. We took a cab from Narita airport to the hotel. It was a rainy day but nonetheless I was excited to be in Tokyo. After reaching the hotel, we met up with Sarah and Andy Cotgreave from Tableau to find some food and drinks! Andy and Ryan had beers, I had water. And finding vegetarian food felt like it’s an adventure. The name of the restaurant and the letters on the menu were all written in Japanese and I wasn’t easily going to trust Andy’s google translator app. Finally, we found some vegetables and rice for me to eat.
A bit off topic, but I must say Japan’s toilets are quite fancy! Every time I used one, I felt like I was on a mission. There were so many buttons everywhere, I didn’t know which one to press and if I did press one, I didn’t know what to expect! 😂
Next day we went to Tokyo’s popular Shibuya crossing, rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world (and definitely in Japan), Shibuya Crossing, is like a giant beating heart, sending people in all directions with every pulsing light change. Here is a picture that I took from a top floor of the train station. I did a bit of shopping from Japanese local shops and we were hit by heavy rains again as we were set to head back to the hotel. I found some yummy fruit crepes on the way back.
The next 2 days in Tokyo were full of presentations and talks with Tableau’s internal team, partners and customers. Due to language barrier in Japan, I had translators during 2 of my talks and I thought that was an interesting experience. After every slide, I had to wait while my content got translated. It made me wiser with my choice of words and also gave me some time to think about what I am going to say next. It was fascinating to see the speed of the translator to back and forth though. He did it with so much ease, very interesting! I was glad to hear positive feedback on my talk and the fact that people found value in it.
Tuesday evening, we flew to Singapore, this was my second time there. The first time however was 15 years ago and a lot of things had changed and advanced in the last 15 years. Tableau team in Singapore had organized a large conference like event called ‘Data Day Out’ on Friday. We spent better part of Wednesday with the internal team briefing us about what to expect in the next few days etc. We wrapped up the day with Singapore’s Tableau User Group event on Wednesday evening.
Ryan spoke about his triple crown framework on data visualization and I went over how Adam and I got started with and collaborated on forming The Data Duo. The crowd was excited and engaged with us very well. The last part of the user group meet up was a tip battle off between Ryan, David Murphy, Rudy (Tableau employee) and I. We had 4 mins each to show our best tips and the crowd voted for top 2 using kahoot.
Ryan and I won the first round. We then shared one tip each and Poo won the battle by just a little bit. We closed on 31/33! I got a shiny box of a whiskey set with whiskey glasses and these cute whiskey stones with data written all over it. How cute is that? 🍻
We had a very enthusiastic crowd of people talking to us after the event over pizza and beers. Since all of us took a red eye from Tokyo, we were literally dead after the event and decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.
After a good night’s rest, we were invited to speak to Singapore’s GovTech event which was an invite only event consisting of Singapore’s Government officials interested in learning more about visual analytics and the power of community. This event was organized at Civil Service College of Singapore. Ryan and I were also invited for a panel discussion around the topic and we had a great time. Later they shot a small video of us talking to them about data and analytics and what it takes to be a data rock star. Great day, indeed!
We attended another Tableau Day at one of the customer locations and had a great chat with users there and headed back to the hotel. I was then trying to revamp all of my slides for the next day to make sure it looks good on the big stage because I was told I will be speaking to an audience of 700 people. I was shocked! After I finished revamping my slides, I quickly got ready to talk to the United Nations about a collaboration viz with Adam that we did as part of #VizForSocialGood.
Finally, it was my favorite day of the event. Tableau’s Data Day Out on Friday! Tableau Conferences are my favorite and this was just like a Tableau Conference. 1000’s came to Singapore’s popular destination Marina Bay Sands, which wasn’t even built 15 years ago during my first trip to Singapore. So, I was excited to see and live this day! It was absolutely amazing to see an enthusiastic crowd walk in while Tableau did their usual fun patrol.
There were some amazing talks by JY Pook (Sr. VP of APAC, Tableau), Mac Bryla (Technology Evangelist, Tableau) and other customer speakers who all did a fantastic job. For the first time ever, I talked to a large audience in the keynote room and I had a blast.
I did 9 presentations in 5 days, was away from home for 9 days and was flying for 43+ hours!! But it was all worth it. I learnt a lot, had a lot of fun and met a lot of new people. I have been to many countries before, but I must say people in Tokyo and Singapore are some of the warmest people I have met. Tableau team in both these countries are doing a great job bringing together the APAC community. I have met some smart people, who I hope to see more of via blogs and vizzes in the Tableau Public community. Thank you for having me, Asia! It was an absolute pleasure to meet so many data rock-stars in the other side of the world. See you all in New Orleans at #TC18.
Here are some more photos from the trip for you to enjoy!