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Thought Leadership

Hacking Nametags at Tableau Conference 2023

Gareth Branwyn
AuthorGareth Branwyn

As soon as Actionaut Robert Rouse was issued his nametag at Tableau Conference 2023, he saw a big, or actually rather small problem: The attendee and company names were printed way too tiny. Too small to easily read.

We like to think that Actionauts are a group of especially clever, outside the box thinkers, rapid problem solvers who “see a problem, solve a problem.” Robert certainly embodied that idea here. He quickly launched MISSION: Readable Nametags. He went to a local stationary store, bought a label maker, and began promoting his nametag hack on social media.

This turned out to not only be a fantastic service to provide fellow conferees, but also proved to be a golden opportunity for Robert to chat up attendees and network connections while he printed their labels.

He even got to print a more readable nametag for Chuck Hooper, a veritable rock star in the data analytics world. And fellow Tableau community luminary Andy Cotgreave retweeted the hack.

One of the more touching moments came as Robert and another conferee were waiting to talk to a speaker who had just finished a session. As they stood there, the woman noticed Robert’s big nametag. She complained that the folks at registration wouldn’t let her change the badge to reflect her new married name. She was also very particular because it was like a hyphenated name but with a space, not a hyphen. Those details really mattered to her. She was overjoyed when Robert was able to print her a new tag with her married name and proper spacing.

[Robert making labels, and making connections, at TC23. Photo by Michael Hatfield.]

Robert has also been having fun with messaging around the conference. In response to AI coming to Tableau in TableauGPT and questions of how people’s roles and approaches to analytics might change in its wake, he posted this pic and line from the film Top Gun: Maverick.