And they're off! What was day 1 like for cohort 4 of The Data School?

by Andy Kriebel


Today marks day 1 for the 4th cohort of the Data School. This is always such a fun day for me, an exciting time to try new things, meet new people, all the while knowing that their journey is just beginning.

So what is their first day like? Well, I’m glad you asked. I arrived pretty early and got all of their kit in order. I start by placing all of the bags in the chairs so that they randomly pick their own computer and bag.


Do you see it there on the table? That’s right, no first day is complete without Krispy Kreme donuts! Really, it’s just a test to see which donuts they pick. If they go straight for the caramel Bischoff, then they’ve made the best choice.


Tom Brown kicks off the day by talking about the history of The Information Lab, how the Data School got started, and a bit about what they can expect. Mostly what we’re hoping they take away from the talk is the knowledge that they have an incredible support team around them and that they’d be nuts not to leverage it.


Tom Brown telling the history of TIL by using data to explain our growth and why the Data School exists

Once Tom finishes, Zen Master Craig Bloodworth helps them get all of their equipment set up, introduces them to our systems, then proceeds to leave his dirty coffee cup as he heads out. Major mistake Mr. Bloodworth!

We spend the second half of the day on a crash course introduction to data visualisation. I introduce them to a data visualisation methodology, data types, data relationships, chart types, and effective use of colour. Throughout the afternoon, I break them into small groups. I do this for a couple reasons: (1) they get to apply what they’ve learned, (2) they get to know each other, and (3) they are already having to get used to presenting to others.


They conduct a series of makeovers with crayons and A2 paper and review what worked and didn’t work with the original visualisations and present an alternative.


We then discuss what works and what doesn’t work about their makeover. The process repeats three times. Simple, right? Indeed it is! Nothing we do is overly complicated, but really the only way to get better is to practice. Practicing with Tableau begins tomorrow.