Just 2 weeks back, I got started with Maestro (Update: now called Tableau Prep after the release in April 2018), the ETL/Data Preparation tool from Tableau – I did not realize that the product would have such an impact on me. For the last 4 months, I have taken time out from regular professional work (analytics consulting) to dedicate to creating a curriculum for teaching Tableau based on the lines of Montessori education system, where the emphasis is on learning the core fundamentals by small and gradual experiments – eventually, the student can discover many of the insights that surprises many!
During the last month I was preparing for 2 topics – Combining data from multiple sources and calculations. I have done a lot of work in both areas in preparing and organizing my thought process. Little did I realize that Maestro would come and sweep all of that work.
In a flash of inspiration, I have spent a few intense days, creating over 10 videos over the weekend to explain the different features of Maestro, but I have also been able to cover in depth the 2 topics at a level that I have not done before – Joins and Calculations.
In these videos, I have taken the liberty to compare Maestro with the tools that I know – Alteryx, Wrangler, and in some cases even Power Query. And I also criticize Maestro liberally – my aim was to help the Maestro team to see it through the eyes of a typical user so that they can work on improving the usability/stability of the product in the upcoming releases.
Here is the Youtube playlist that contains 12 videos:
- In the first video, I go over a complete case study in which almost all the features of Maestro are covered, although at a fast pace. If you want to get a first impression of Maestro and to understand what it is capable of, this video might be useful. For a lot of Alteryx users who are curious about this new boy in the town, this video might be of interest.
- In the second video, I have tried to summarize all the different tasks involved in data preparation into a coherent framework so that it can serve as an easy way to visualize all the different details – If you are a beginner in this area and/or wondering why would we even need a tool for preparing data in addition to Tableau, then this video might provide some answers. If you are experienced in this area, I invite you to reflect on my framework and share your feedback.
- Videos 3 – 11 (9 videos) cover each topic in depth. The 2 topics that I felt very satisfied in producing are Joins and Calculations – I have received feedback on my Youtube channel to cover these 2 topics in depth and I hope this is a starting point. I still plan to cover calculations in a lot more depth, focused on Tableau.
- The last video is my conclusion on the strengths and weaknesses of Maestro as of now in Beta v4. If you have different opinions, please share with me so that I can learn and enrich myself.
Before I conclude, I want to dedicate this series to 3 individuals who have influenced me in this area:
- Hadley Wickham – He is a professor and contributor to many great packages in the language ‘R’. I talk about him in detail in my second video. When I have read his paper on tidy data, It had such an impact on me that it made me even learn the language of R and got me interested in data preparation once more (as I have moved up to other areas of value addition, leaving my team to handle this technical task).
- Joe Mako – For Tableau community, Joe is such an inspiration. I got to know Joe when I was trying to solve a complex problem which was beyond my reach in my early days of Tableau. Post that session, whenever I had something that I felt was beyond my reach, the person to call was Joe Mako – He was always available, despite the fact he was up in the night. Through him, I have learnt about Alteryx and got interested in that as tool – “if Joe likes a product, there must be something to it” I thought.
- Ken Black – I never thought that we could build friendships over blog. It is Ken whose sheer passion for Tableau and Alteryx got me finally started with Alteryx. I love his articles and the common thing between us that we love teaching. His focus is on data blending and I really enjoy reading his articles.
Any day, I would love to be a student of each of these 3 great teachers – I have been inspired by them in ways that I can’t easily put into words.
Before I close, I want to acknowledge the One who is the mastermind behind all of this – the Almighty, the All-wise – if not for the people I have met, if not for the projects/situations I have been given, if not for the great teachers I have learnt from, and if not for the inspirations that I have received during these last 4 months when I am trying to capture the fundamentals of Analytics, if not for the guidance to follow my heart, this playlist and none of the other videos about which people send me generous praise would not have come into being. All praise belongs to Him alone! And I submit this work to Him with all humility and gratefulness!