top of page

Where Have I Seen You?

Publicly-available places where my visualizations, or my thoughts about visualization, have been featured.

Conference Presentations

In addition to the hundreds of in-person and online sessions I've presented to corporate clients, I've also spoken at the main Tableau Conference three times, and have delivered shorter talks to regional and internal user groups several times. Where available, the titles of these presentations link to videos of the actual sessions.


London Tableau User Group (Feb 2020) 

This presentation talks about the use of narratives in communicating analytic insights: how to create one, why your dashboard needs one, and why bad ones stick around (even when the data proves they’re wrong).

Beyond Design: Secrets for Creating Engaging and Effective Information Experiences (with Layla Manheim)

Tableau Conference (Nov 2019) | SF Bay Tableau User Group (Jan 2020) | Phoenix Tableau User Group (Sep 2019) | Boston Tableau User Group (Jul 2019)

In this session, two Tableau Visionaries* well-known for their design expertise will outline an approach to making exceptionally successful visual products in Tableau. You'll hear about how great designs are built, what decisions designers are making during the creative process, and, most importantly, how EVERYONE who uses Tableau can become better and more consistent designers. If you’ve ever lacked confidence in your “design skills,” this session is for you, because the biggest secret to be revealed is that success in dataviz creation lies … beyond design.
*The Tableau Visionary program was called the "Tableau Zen Master" program in the two different years that I was selected and honored to be a part of it, including at the time this presentation was created. With the decision to rename the program in 2021, Tableau encouraged all previous honorees to retroactively switch to using the new nomenclature, which I have happily done here.


You Are An Artist: How And Why to Get Started Making Public Visualizations

Tableau Conference (Nov 2018)DC Data Visualization Meetup (Jan 2019)

Whether it’s for fun, for practice, for activism, or for pure curiosity, creating your own visualizations and putting them out in public has a tremendous upside—for you, your company, and the world. It doesn't have to be scary! In this talk, we will discuss various facets of public visualizations such as how to start vizzing in public, common design pitfalls to watch for, how to get comfortable with not succeeding, and much more.

The Benefits of Finding (and Being) a Tableau Mentor (with Alicia Bembenek)

Tableau Conference (Nov 2018)DC Tableau User Group (Jul 2018)

You've decided you want to up your Tableau game, and you think you could use a mentor to help you. Great! A formalized, focused mentoring relationship can accelerate your professional development no matter what your level of expertise, from absolute beginner to seasoned veteran. After all, you don't need to go it alone: a good mentor can be an advocate, a facilitator, a guide, a teacher, and a coach. But to get the most out of your mentorship, it takes a commitment and investment in the process—on the part of both the mentor and the mentee. In this session, you'll hear about the specific benefits of finding—and being—a mentor, how to find the right mentoring relationship for you, and hear mentorship success stories from the Tableau community.

Truth, Beauty, Data, and You

Tableau Fringe Festival EMEA (Mar 2018)

An online conference talk about the power and responsibility of public expression.


In 2022, I began to host occasional episodes of the popular storytelling with data podcast; sometimes I would interview a single guest, sometimes I would answer questions on my own, and sometimes I would host roundtable events. Prior to this, I had also been asked to guest on several audio and video podcasts over the years. Here, you can find descriptions of, and links to, some of those episodes.


questions in dataviz with Neil Richards

storytelling with data podcast #59 (Nov 2022)

Why don’t we use triangles in charts more often? Can design considerations come before we have the data? Do we take data visualization too seriously? Author, speaker, and data literacy advocate Neil Richards raises (and occasionally answers) these and other questions in his new book, Questions in Dataviz: a Data-Driven Process for Data Visualization. In this episode, Neil stops by the podcast to talk about the value of creativity, personal passion projects, experimentation in data visualization, and whether dataviz can change the world.

graph draft!​

storytelling with data podcast #56 (Aug 2022)

As anyone who has ever participated in a fantasy league can tell you, the most fun part of the whole experience is drafting your team. We took that idea to heart, and imagined, “What if, instead of drafting professional athletes, we did a fantasy draft of chart and graph types?” The data storytellers at SWD and premium members of our online community recently did just that, taking part in a (mostly!) friendly competition to build themselves the strongest possible roster of methods for visualizing information. What chart type was chosen first overall? Did anybody pick pie charts? And, who do YOU think wound up with the best team? Listen to find out!

functional aesthetics with Dr. Vidya Setlur & Bridget Cogley​

storytelling with data podcast #55 (Aug 2022)

How can we use beauty to convey meaning, and form to guide function, in our communications? In this episode of the SWD podcast, Dr. Vidya Setlur and Bridget Cogley explore these questions with data storyteller Mike Cisneros. In their upcoming book Functional Aesthetics for Data Visualization, Vidya (the “academic”) and Bridget (the “practitioner”) explore the relationships among what we see, how we encode information, and what we mean. You’ll hear about the “bento box” model of organizing our information; how text, tone, register, and language affects our visualizations; how our relationship to food can inform what makes a communication effective; and how to go beyond “it depends” when considering the answers to challenging questions. 

storytelling, folklore, and data with Joshua Smith​

storytelling with data podcast #54 (Jun 2022)

Data storyteller Mike Cisneros sat down with Iron Viz champion, Tableau Visionary, and self-described “data jackalope” Joshua Smith to talk about how folklore—the study of how information is communicated, primarily through informal means—provides us a fascinating lens through which to examine how data visualization has evolved and continues to develop, both as a discipline and as a community of practitioners. You’ll learn how “best practices” emerge, transform and persist (or are discarded) over time, how informal communication and culture can have unexpected effects on how our work is received, the inextricable links between belief and “objective” data, and how a storyteller can position themselves to be most effective.

you asked...

storytelling with data podcast #52 (Apr 2022)

Through our workshops, we get the rare opportunity to meet thousands of people every year, across a huge variety of industries, companies, and roles. We never know what kinds of questions we’re going to be asked. In this episode, SWD storyteller Mike Cisneros highlights a few recent notable questions, ranging from chart choices, to design, to presentation. The range of topics may be broad, but the commonality among everything discussed here is that they’re answers to questions you asked.



WFH with SWD

storytelling with data podcast #28 (Mar 2020)

The storytelling with data team has been a work-from-home team since the beginning and in this episode, Randy and data storytellers Elizabeth, Mike, and Alex discuss how to be productive, stay engaged and maintain sanity when working remotely from others. Tune in to hear learnings ranging from the importance of a comfortable chair to pro-tips for video conferencing and staying connected with colleagues. With a thoughtful approach, working from home means you can fit work into the rhythm of life and measure success based on accomplishments, rather than hours in the office.

Datasaurus-Rex Podcast with Mike Cisneros

DSR Podcast: Episode 6 (May 2019)

David Murphy, better known as Datasaurus Rex, interviewed me about my baseball salaries dataviz, "Play (But Don't Pay) the Kids," for his video podcast. I don't like to play favorites, but I love the production values David brings to his podcast, and I enjoy his style of hosting quite a bit. There's an audio version of this podcast at, but I think the video version is worth your time.


Tableau Conference 2018 with David Pires

Podcast Your Data: Episode 68 (Oct 2018)

David Pires interviewed me, along with several other members of the Tableau community, on this Interworks-sponsored show to talk about our upcoming presentations at the 2018 Tableau Conference in New Orleans. 


"That's the Introvert's Dream!"

Hashtag Analytics: Season 1, Episode 5 (Aug 2018)

A video podcast about Tableau and dataviz with hosts Luke Stanke and Ann Jackson.

Chopped Viz

Teknion Webinar (Aug 2018)

In this webinar co-hosted by Bridget Cogley and Joshua Milligan, the presenters deconstruct several notable data visualizations to reveal the techniques behind the designs. In this episode, Joshua chose to deconstruct Oil and Gold, one of my designs from 2017.

Mentoring With Alicia Bembenek and Mike Cisneros

Tableau Wannabe Podcast (Jul 2018)

The long-running Tableau podcast hosted by Matt Francis and Emily Kund.

Publications and Press

My writing and my visualizations have appeared in many places over the years. Most recently, since joining storytelling with data in 2019, I have written on a variety of data visualization and communication topics for the company's official blog. Some of my articles are linked in the pertinent section below. In addition, I have been invited to contribute articles to other corporate blogs, which are noted in the "guest author" section. Finally, my visualization work has appeared and been referenced in multiple books, magazines, and online publications. 

FOR Storytelling with data

when tension is high, get to the point (Nov 2022) | a multi-level makeover: simplifying a shrinkage report (Sep 2022) | eight simple ways to edit a legend in Excel (Jun 2022) | when should I use a map? (May 2022) | how do I keep from being bored, presenting the same report over and over? (Apr 2022) | what's the right amount of detail to include in a visualization? (Mar 2022) | how to make a scatter plot in Excel (Feb 2022) | why don't you capitalize your graph titles? (Jan 2022) | hamilton homes makeover (Nov 2021) | how do I graph three-plus dimensions? (Nov 2021) | your graph skeleton shouldn't be spooky (Oct 2021) | what is a spider chart? (Aug 2021) | "what do you make of this?" (Apr 2021) | what is a waterfall chart? (Nov 2020) | words are data too (Nov 2020) | you're using data markers? that's bold (Aug 2020) | what is a slope graph? (July 2020) | "the old way is better" (Jun 2020) | picking the right colors (May 2020) | what is an area graph? (Apr 2020) | what is a line graph? (Mar 2020) | recommended reading: elevate the debate (Feb 2020) | the accidental misdirect (Jul 2019)

AS A Guest author

Beyond Design Series

1. Effective data visualizations share this magical hidden structure 

2. Creating, not designing: the four goals of every information experience

3. Beyond the hook: Building information experiences for attention and engagement

4. Usability is the most satisfying design puzzle to solve

5. How to build information experiences for comprehension

6. How to get people to remember your visualization

Tableau Software (May-Aug 2019)

A series of articles co-authored with Layla Manheim discussing the philosophy behind our design decisions, and an accessible approach to design in data visualization that focuses on the information experience for the audience, rather than the mechanics of the visualization itself. It formed the core lessons of our eventual Beyond Design presentation at the 2019 Tableau Conference (and elsewhere).

#SWDchallenge: artisanal data | recap

storytelling with data (May 2019)

At the request of Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, I created the topic and sample data visualization for one of the monthly challenges posed by Storytelling with Data, and contributed to Elizabeth Ricks's wrapup post as well.

Visualizing the Lifespans of 24 Presidential Campaigns Using Wagering Odds

Tableau Public (June 2016)

I was asked to write a guest post for the Tableau Public website about my Two Dozen Candidates visualization.



Makeover Monday: Improving How We Visualize and Analyze Data, One Chart At a Time 

Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray (Wiley Publishing, Oct 2018)

This 2018 book discusses the history of the Tableau community's collaborative public visualization initiative, #MakeoverMonday. It also traces many of the lessons learned by participants over the three years of the initiative's existence, and includes examples of work from many of the most active members. Designs of mine are featured several times, and I am profiled within the book as one of the project's long-term contributors.

How Data Visualization Supports Communication

Forbes (Jan 2019)

Eva Murray used visualizations of mine as examples of how aesthetic and editorial choices can take factually accurate data analyses and transform them into emotionally affecting visuals.

Looking Back on February’s Black History Month Collab... 

Distinct Values (Mar 2018)

This roundup on of their collaborative effort with Tableau to visualize the data behind epochal moments in African-American history featured one of my visualizations.


Ten Questions With Mike Cisneros

Data Archaeology (Mar 2018)

A one-on-one discussion with Michael Sandberg.

#DataDiscussions With Mike Cisneros

Cloudstream Partners (Mar 2018)

An interview by Rebecca Roland.

Black History Month Celebrated 

Tableau Public (Mar 2018)

Article by Chantilly Jaggernauth highlighting a viz I created for the 2018 #VisualizeDiversity campaign.

A Breathtaking Illustration of How Congress Got So Partisan

Fast Company / Co.Design (Nov 2017) 

Article by Katharine Schwab highlighting my American Political Universe visualization.

Five Visualizations of Youth Employment in Latin America and the Caribbean

BID Factor Trabajo (Jun 2017)

Article featuring my visualization about LATAM youth employment.

Who Will Be America’s Next Top Modeler?

Slate (Nov 2016)

Jordan Ellenberg wrote an article prior to the 2016 Presidential election featuring my visualizations about prediction models.


Featured Visualizations

When I was actively creating Tableau visualizations for the general public, they were frequently identified as worthy of note by Tableau themselves. Several of my pieces were selected as "Viz of the Day," and others were included in galleries intended to highlight and showcase the flexibility and potential of that particular software.

Selected as Tableau's Viz of the Day

landfall/close call

October 2, 2018

This is a multi-stage visualization about hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms, and tropical depressions, using IBTrACS data (which combines 10 different observation stations' input to create a globally-aggregated best-estimate storm track for every tropical event since 1850). With gridded population data from CIESIN (splitting the world into squares 30 minutes on a side, or about 1500 square miles), I determined which populated areas on Earth had spent the most total days directly under the center of a hurricane or tropical storm. Subsequently, I created a visualization whereby viewers could select any city with population of 1 million residents or more, and see how many storm centers have tracked within 50, 100, or 250 miles of that city.

Most Dangerous Places

August 22, 2018

As part of a collaboration with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project, I created this geographic visualization. It combined gridded population estimates with ACLED's conflict event database to determine which places in Asia and Africa had the highest rates of mortality due to political conflicts. 

Malaria On the Decline in Zambia

April 18, 2018

This visualization used simulated data from the Visualize No Malaria project to show the decline in malaria cases within the Southern Province of Zambia.

Who Have We Been Missing?

January 19, 2018

This visualization chronicled the history of a two-year-old campaign to promote undiscovered design talent and get more people connected to a broader network of data visualization professionals and enthusiasts.

The American Political Universe

November 8, 2017

This visualization depicts the ideological leanings of every U.S. Member of Congress in history based on DW-NOMINATE scores.

ASSUMPTIONS: American Surnames

October 6, 2017

This visualization is an interactive tool meant to raise awareness about the lack of racial crossover in American surnames, and the unconscious biases we associate with something as innocuous, and simultaneously as essential, as a person's name.

Speaking My Language

January 5, 2015

This visualization is about the most valuable second language to learn, based on analysis performed in conjunction with Michael Brinn.

Any Given Sunday

November 28, 2014

This visualization explores differences among the four major professional sports leagues in the United States, specifically relating to the likelihood of teams' playoff successes based on regular season performances.

Featured in Tableau's Public Gallery

Oil and Gold

Notable Vizzes of 2017

Originally created as part of the #MakeoverMonday project, this visualization compares the rise and fall of monthly oil and gold prices over the past several decades. It was also selected as one of the works hung in the visualization gallery during Tableau Conference Europe 2017. 

How Much Water Does Our Food Require?

Greatest Hits

A visualization created as part of the #MakeoverMonday project, depicting how much water our food drinks, courtesy of the Water Footprint Network and UNESCO.

Youth Employment in Latin America

Social Good

A visualization showing data from the Inter-American Development Bank on youth employment in Latin American countries.

bottom of page