Tableau Visionaries and Ambassadors Are the Same, Right?

Some things you only really learn after becoming a Visionary.

Before I was a Visionary, even though I knew a lot of them, I had no idea why there were SO MANY Visionaries also serving as Ambassadors. A prevailing thought is that a Visionary is a sort of graduation of the Ambassador class — given that thought, there can be redundancy (or so I thought).

I believed that each Ambassador team should not have more than one or two Visionaries (or Zen Masters at the time) per group. For example, I am a Social Ambassador and would think that there should not be more than one or two Visionaries also serving as a Social Ambassador.

Of course, I cannot deep-dive into specific differences between the programs, but this can serve as an overview to understand why they are their particular entity.

Roles

Ambassadors | COUNTD([Team]) = 7…

are group-specific. You are assigned a group based on what is determined you have the most impact. An ambassador is associated with Forums, Tableau Public, Social, Data Dev, User Group Leadership, CRM Analytics, or Student teams. Although most contribute to more than one team, their primary ambassador responsibility is representing that team.

Visionaries | COUNTD([Team]) = 1…

are one entity — there are no distinct Visionary teams. Although we are supposed to contribute in many of the same ways that got us to earn the title, there is no explicit grouping. However, finding a role as a Visionary is essential to help validate your selection. It may be possible that not everyone feels that pressure to re-affirm their faith, but it’s a personal driving force as an Ambassador and a Visionary.

Commitments

Ambassadors …

Ambassadors are a combo platter of Team Tableau and their Team’s Community. Each team may have different levels of responsibility during their year-long term, but ultimately help bridge any gap between Tableau and the external community.

Visionaries …

the role is continuing, in many ways, what got you selected as a Visionary, but a much greater commitment to Team Tableau. As a result, you have more opportunities to help change the course of the product and are expected to show leadership and continue to forge the niche which helped launch the Visionary status.

Swag & Perks

As the Hamburglar of Tableau Swag, I 😍 swag.

Ambassadors…

can get swag deliveries 2–3 times per year. The 1st time received gifts; it felt so incredible. It continues to feel good each time it’s gotten. Everything is so well-considered and pretty awesome. For ambassadors that attend conferences, even more swag is shared. Perks are opportunities for exposure to stuff not everyone has access to, including direct access with Tableau employees. You often know about some things before the general public too and have a lot of sway regarding your team’s plan.

Visionaries…

gets a geode slice as far as swag is concerned and a cohort welcoming package. However, as far as perks go, there are a lot, but all come with some attached/implied responsibility. I can’t go into detail, but I can share the ability to work with Tableau to help develop the product.

We can work on the ground floor to help formulate and advise on the direction of Tableau. It’s crucial to keep fresh and up-to-speed on the product with your finger firmly applied to the pulse of the community and customers as a Visionary. Although we are not the end all be all by any means for productional-izing an improvement or new feature, we need to provide sound feedback when called upon to help ensure we provide the best advice for those we represent. In addition, our feedback helps reduce the vacuum effect when development teams have no customer context.

Side Note: All customers do have and can have their own ideas shared via the Ideas forum. Product managers are consistently reviewing the Ideas forum for improvements.

What makes Tableau Visionaries and Ambassadors Similar

Both roles

  • are a one-year commitment based on your notable contributions in the public space
  • can be helpful to get noticed by companies when they are hiring for Tableau or data visualization roles

Side Note: My career advancement and book offer were all achieved before I became a Visionary, but were greatly aided because I am an Ambassador with a relatively large network.

  • are a special nod by Tableau recognizing your impact
  • help provide additional confidence and credibility in your work
  • can be utilized to spotlight and support others

Side Note: One of the main draws for me when joining the Tableau comminuty was that people with large followings and notable titles like Ambassador or Zen Master or even Tableau employees were always willing to help and support work of new public contributors. It’s important that continues to be a primary goal for people with these honors. Not only does it make the community more inclusive, but growth, inspiration, and the next class of impactful contributors.

In Closing

I have to thank my good friend Zach Bowders (Twitter | Site), a Visionary and (Public) Ambassador, for asking this question on a private thread.

It helped me to revisit my thoughts and share them with you. I’m sure you may have questions on the difference or whether a Visionary is an Ambassador graduation. Although it could be, especially as many become an ambassador 1st, it’s also something unique. Being a Visionary doesn’t mean they should be limited as an Ambassador as long as they contribute to both roles. However, I hope it doesn’t effectively limit the number of Ambassador seats for those who aren’t Visionaries.

Disclaimer: These thoughts are mine alone and may not represent the thoughts of other Visionaries or Tableau.

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Adam Mico

Principal, Data Visualization and CoE at Moderna | Data Leadership Collaborative Advisory Board Member | Tableau Visionary + Ambassador | Views are my own