The joy of 6.1

There’s nothing like a Tableau release. No one but Tableau users tweet so exuberantly, not even a flock of birds at dawn. What’s going on here?

This week Tableau Software released version 6.1, on paper just a single decimal point up from last fall’s Six. We got more iPad readiness, improved maps, and other handy improvements. But to read Twitter, this was a much bigger deal than that.

No, I don’t work for Tableau. I just know it when I see something going on. People love this tool. I’ve seen few other products of any type loved so much — perhaps not since backyard mechanics tinkered with Volkswagen bugs, or Mac people discovered icons, or designers found Adobe Illustrator.

I read one cynic this summer sneer about “Kool-Aid,” as if to be so enthused is to have entered a death pact with zombies.

I don’t know what flavor Kool-Aid such sneering BI zombies are hooked on, but it’s their loss. What’s going on must be too simple for their tortured minds: Users love tools that respond. Not that learning them is always easy. But once learned, good tools prove capable, consistent, and simple.

Imagine how much fun the customer conferences are. They’re one of the few business events where, instead of talking about solving problems, people actually do solve them.

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