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IEEE VAST 2008 – Christian Chabot Keynote

with 3 comments

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I think one of my favorite events of the entire Visweek 2008 was the VAST 2008 keynote by the CEO of Tableau Software, Christian Chabot. [Apparently, he blogs too.]

He motivated the audience by making a very strong case for why there is a need to use Visual Analytics software. He basically said that there was a much wider customer base, than one would imagine, for quality visual analytics tool. What was interesting to me was that he said that his definition of a successful visual analytics tool was how widely adopted that tool was. I personally believe that its the best way to make sure that users have the power of visual analytics at their finger tips. 

He basically said that we havent optimized the impact of visual analytics until you help users with their own data. The demo of Tableau was my favorite part, where he would end up interacting with simple datasets to show how easy it was to get insight or just know more about the data. 

I think my favorite quote from the talk was ‘Visual analytics can help people test their hunches even when they lead to nowhere.’ :) This was great since this is exactly the purpose of visualization. The idea of interacting with your data to learn more but also just confirm what you already know. 

He then showed an amazing demo of  presidential donations data from new york city. Comparisons of Obama and McCain showed some wondreful, interesting patterns in parts of new york, like the upper east side and so on. Some of those patterns were expected for those who know the demographics of new york city

Some of the highlights of the talk were: 

- Most analytics tasks dont result in ‘Aha’ discoveries. 

- People dont like to admit they need outside help to make discoveries about their own data. 

- Visualization and Visual Analytics helps people think of what questions to ask. More importantly, it helps them enter the Visual analysis cycle of interact, explore, visualize, obtain insight – rinse and repeat :) 

His most imprtant statement of the keynote speech was that “The number one reason people buy visual analytics software was to save time.” 

I think it was the kind of keynote that makes you think and shakes you up a bit. I agree that we needed to hear some of those words. I particularly enjoyed the talk, since I had mentioned Tableau Software in one of my previous blog posts on ‘Visualizing companies leading the way.’  After listening to the talk, I feel more confident that Tableau will make a big difference in the Visual analytics and business analytics community. If you have anything to say about the keynote, please feel free to add a comment.

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Written by alark

October 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm

3 Responses

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  1. “The number one reason people buy visual analytics software was to save time.”

    In mid-size biz software we’re finding visual analytics intriguing the mgmt teams. What really closes the deal are visual analytics combined with alerts and work flow, use case:

    1- manually discover a pattern with viz analytics
    2- provide tools to set alerts on repeating pattern
    3- from the alert create work flow

    Outstanding, how to create alerts on patterns seen be the human eye?

    CliveB

    November 11, 2008 at 1:30 am

  2. Aha some thing very similar to what I wrote recently, great :)

    Abhishek Tiwari

    February 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

  3. [...] his keynote address at InfoVis 2008, Chabot presented five flawed principles of data visualization.  Some of these are [...]


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