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The Ultimate Viz Rollercoaster: IronViz Final #data17


Touted as the World Cup of data visualization.


Delivered like a data geek’s Oscars.


Fought like datalympics is an event that we all have always aspired to compete in.



Tableau Software’s IronViz is the culmination of all the above and so much more. The finalists packed over 10 years combined vizzing experience, had been selected during three events throughout the year. There was the Tableau Zen master, Joshua Milligan (@VizPainter), 7 years of Tableau wisdom and the favorite’s tag to boot. Then the up and coming challenger from Seattle, Jacob Olsufka (@j_olsfuka), a former mechanics engineer who could create animated Pendulum Waves vizzes This was supposed to be a two-horse race. A battle royale like only Vegas can stage.


But this year’s IronViz had the Cinderella story. The ultimate underdog. There was the language barrier, the youth. Then the distance, the jetlag. The odds.


But like Rocky Balboa, Tristan Guillevin (@TristanGuillevi) never gives up, and, flanked by Tableau Public leader Jade Le Van (@jadalytics), Wednesday afternoon saw the first IronViz victory for anyone outside the US.


Big up France!


Take a look at their visualizations :



The American dream


The dream began back in the summer, when Tristan entered the qualifying round of IronViz Europe, with his now landmark BeerViz. He was devastated to not make it into the top 3 and to the final in London (his Viz made it to the bar backdrop, mind), although he will be the first to admit he did not give himself enough time to complete the viz to the best of his ability. He finished 5th, with the feedback that he needed to bring more context to his visualization and create more of a story.


He took this advice seriously and to the extreme. The feeder contest IronViz on Safari arrived a few weeks later, and Tristan proceeded to create an immersive journey through a rainforest, complete with a spooky spiritual guide and riddles to solve. A risky, audacious move – and got him his golden ticket to the IronViz final.


The rest, as they say, is history. 20 minutes of sweaty palmed mouse clicks, frantic drag & drops and the occasional glance into the arena packed with 12,000 data enthusiasts. A visualization of poise, eye-catching animation and balanced storytelling that brought gasps and cheers. The light-hearted quips about his youth and how at the height of the housing crisis, as a 16-year-old, he had teenager priorities.


Then the wait. The suspense-filled scripted cliffhanger that felt worse than the Eurovision song contest. Eyes glued to the Twitter feed to catch the latest endorsement, like waiting for a State to be called Red or Blue during the Election.


A golden envelope.


And the winner is…


La La Land.


Louis Archer (@louisarcher) did actually say this, before Jewel Loree (@jeweloree), in all her grace and composure announced Tristan as the new champion.

And breathe.


Only in Vegas, right?






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