Braindates Are Awesome.

Adam Mico
4 min readAug 29, 2021

3 Reasons Why You Should Take Advantage (with a little context)

Credit: Data Leadership Collaborative, e180, Tableau/Salesforce

At Tableau Conference 2020, I was introduced to the Braindates platform. It was a fun way to micro-network, collaborate on engaging topics, and understand concepts better in a short format. People can meet one on one or in a small group setting. At the Tableau Conference, while the community was in a frenzy, I had 18 one-on-one ‘dates’ and participated in a couple of small groups. They were the highlight of my conference because I could grab something unique and wonderful from every one of those 20 mini meetups.

I’m ecstatic the Data Leadership Collaborative has leveraged this as part of their platform where the community can engage with data leaders on a semi-regular basis.

I will be hosting two events. At 12 PM on 9/15, Chicago time, I have a group event covering Diversity and Inclusion: Encouraging Neurodiverse Participation on Data Teams. Many neurodiverse people like me have had many difficulties feeling like they can be heard or allowed to really contribute to data teams. There is a lot of value a team can have by genuinely supporting such participation, and that is what the group brain date will detail. The 2nd topic is a one-on-one covering Public Sector: Enabling open communication to reduce knowledge gaps and enhance RoI. For over 20 years, I had worked in the public sector and been part of many teams and instances where there have been huge gaps and inefficiencies due to structure, information silos, and red tape. The pandemic taught me that the new normal could shift that mindset. I would love to chat with those and strategize potential ways to build stronger teams to support more efficient use of taxpayer money better, be proactive versus reactive, and be more flexible to adapt to new technologies. With that, here are three reasons you should take advantage of braindates…

  1. A collaborative learning experience .|: You get to be interactive one-on-one or in small groups with those who have an abundance of experience and/or skill with the topic of interest. Having an open dialogue with leaders in the field helps you understand and absorb the information even better than reading a blog or watching a webinar. You are part of the experience rather than just an absorber. It allows the interaction to be more natural and tailored to meet needs in ~30 minutes one-on-one or ~45 minutes group.
  2. Networking .|: Time, life, lack of immediate purpose, and hesitancy make it difficult to meet with people you admire and get to spend meaningful time with them. Even if I am organizing the event, people I have had braindates often inspired me or inspired me as a participant in the conversation. With the brain date (even more so for one on ones), you have a connection and a common ground discussing a topic with a lot of relevance to the parties involved. That new bond can be the beginning of a friendship or a collaboration; you never know what may come from a brain date. Another bonus is that outside of generic networking events, having a topic provides an inherent frame of reference that makes the chat more focused and less awkward.
  3. It’s a free launching pad to what’s next .|: The resource is well-supported, free to the community, safe, and promotes action. Spending 30 or 45 minutes draped in a topic with at least some interest to you is worth considering as an opportunity given the potential rewards reaped. Even more, there’s no risk and managed by a company (e180) that cares about keeping the platform powerful, open, and celebratory. With the knowledge gained or just the encouragement of seeing someone else do it before, it can be the slight nudge needed to propel you toward your goals. Of course, we all have reasons for inactivity, but maybe this small time commitment can provide some resources for you to compel you to take one step forward rather than standing still.

Bonus Reason .|: Unlike Tableau Conference Braindates, these braindates are not platform-specific. The conversations are about data and not just about Tableau. Considering Tableau/Salesforce sponsors it, this is very generous but makes the conversations more inclusive and wide-reaching.

Please join me and many others for Data Leadership Collaborative Braindates between September 15–17. Find a topic of interest or create your own.



Adam Mico

Data Visualization and Enablement Leader | Data Leadership Collaborative Advisory Board Member | Tableau Visionary + Ambassador | Views are my own