2017: A Year of Firsts

12/31/2017 Matt Chambers 0 Comments

I couldn't think of a better image to sum up 2017 than this.  As a kid, I grew up attending football games at Clemson and always dreamed of seeing my name on the Jumbotron.  This was one of the coolest perks for presenting at the 2017 ACC Fiscal Officer's Conference.  This is something I never expected to see, but that seemed to be the theme of 2017.

2017 started out with my Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff and ultimately in the National Championship.  I was lucky enough to attend the game, and I was able to see my team win in person.  This is another event I thought I'd never see in my lifetime.  Clemson last won the National Championship before I was born in 1981.  I've always said that if somehow Clemson were to make it to a National Championship I would find a way to attend.  I was able to attend both National Championships and ultimately see the win in 2017.  This inspired me to create a visualization to commemorate the game.

This visualization was truly a labor of love as I had to manually convert all of the play by play text into rows that could be visualized.  After I was done, I really liked how the visualization showed the entire flow of the game, but then I thought what if I could link it to the actual game footage.  So I began another labor intensive process of actually watching every play and linking the Youtube timestamps to the play by play data.  Sometimes you have to ask yourself "is the juice worth the squeeze", and this time it was:

I posted this viz to a Clemson Football board called Tigernet and fans loved it.  Clemson fans all over would mention this viz, and I heard in passing several times, "Hey, did you see that cool visual of the game on Tigernet?"  It was really cool to see how much fans loved it, and it even made the Tigernet Hall of Fame.

Another first for me in 2017 was starting the Greenville South Carolina Tableau User Group.  Greenville SC is a relatively small market with a population of about 100k.  I started the user group in January of 2017, and we had about 35 people show up to the first meeting.  By our last meeting, we had 50 people attend, which I'm really proud of being in such a small market like Greenville SC.  We have had several different presenters showing new techniques and ways they are using Tableau.  I'm excited to see how it continues to grow in 2018.

I also happened to be directly in the path of the Great American Eclipse of 2017.  I wanted to commemorate this event by building a visualization that could track the Eclipse's umbral path in real-time.  I was able to build this using shapefiles and the Javascript API so that the path of the eclipse would actually move as the actual eclipse moved across the country.  I also live-tweeted images of the eclipse's path moving across the country which was really fun.

I've created a few other vizzes that went viral but none had the impact of my Mayweather vs McGregor visualization.  I created this visualization as a way to take minimal data but still show it in an engaging an informative manner.  The source data for this visualization comes from this crosstab:

So from those few data points I tried to build something that had a clean design but also conveyed all of the information within a few seconds.  This visualization seemed to really resonate with people.  It was also selected as a Notable Viz of 2017 by Tableau.

This viz also lead to another first for me; 2 million views on my Tableau Public work.  This is extremely humbling to me.  I grew up in a town of about 500 people, so to have the opportunity to reach so many is amazing.  Thank you Tableau, Tableau Public, and the Tableau Community for helping me to reach so many!

I'm looking forward to continuing to learn from and contribute to such an amazing community in 2018.  The Tableau community is the best community in all of software, and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow and evolve.

Have a Happy New Year!


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