For more analysis on the past decade and predictions for the next, be sure to also check out Analytics in 360 Degrees: Looking Back/To the Future from our Input magazine, and Alter Everything episode 52: Alteryx-ing the decade.
The best place to start our decade in review is with a name change. In 2010, SRC LLC changed its name to Alteryx. And things just kept getting more exciting - we acquired some amazing companies (integrating both their tech and our new colleagues), we went public, and we revolutionized self-service analytics.
Ten years ago, the employee count was less than 10 percent of what it is today. In case you’re not as hip to the Alteryx history, the people we refer to casually in this review are @Ned (Ned Harding, co-founder, the genius behind engineering and original CTO), @LibbyD (Libby Duane Adams, co-founder and CCO), and @DeanS (Dean Stoecker, co-founder and CEO).
We kicked off 2010 with SRC Alteryx 5.0. It’s odd seeing it written that way, isn’t it? The company’s name (SRC), then the product, the product being the software called Alteryx. Alteryx 5.0 introduced batch macros (a functionality Ned called “a major new feature that very few people will ever notice or use”), module/ workflow dependencies, and the Dynamic Select. Workflows were called modules and analytic apps were called wizards. That’s why you run your analytic apps with a wizard wand!
The “splashy“ release of 2010 was Alteryx 6.0, which introduced keyboard shortcuts, document constants, and connection progress (which was a suggestion from our principal engineer @AdamR back when he was a user, and his iconic blog was called UK Alteryx User). Fast forward a decade, and we are introducing a brand-new batch of keyboard shortcuts for Alteryx Designer version 2020.1.
The Engine Works blog began in 2008 as an Alteryx Team Blog, “as a place for our Core Alteryx developers, Product Management, Data and Professional Services teams at SRC to tell you about interesting stuff related to our technology and products. Each week a team member will post a blog consisting of news, tips, or discussions relative to the Alteryx product.” Inspiring Ingenuity, Ned’s blog, started in 2013 - some content got migrated to the new Community, but if you want to read about Fat Bikes or other Colorado bicycling, you’ll have to start there.
Since the inception of the Community in 2013, we now have a new beautiful version 2.0, and we’ve launched five localized language communities: French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese!
The ACE Program
In 2014, we started with five Analytics Certified Experts in the US and UK, and are now up to 40 ACEs in 13 countries.
A lot of our ACEs cite becoming an ACE as one of the most meaningful moments or accomplishments of their careers over the past decade. @BenMoss extends that to “making friends with people as weird as me.”
@Thableaus (active on the Portuguese Community) says, “I believe getting involved with the Alteryx community and earning the ACE title has changed my career profoundly. Today I live, breathe, and try to take Analytics knowledge wherever I go. Of course the approaches are not always the same - we have to try to understand that business always comes first and understand people's needs. The fact that the Alteryx community has this motto of empowering people in the Analytics world is fantastic and inspires me every day to promote and participate in the activities that are proposed. Today I feel professionally fulfilled and I am very grateful to Alteryx for that.”
From left to right, absolute legends:
From left to right, a whole bunch of our favorite people.
In 2012, groups of Alteryx users in Charlotte-Greensboro, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, and Twin Cities organically started collecting in libraries, conference rooms, and coffee shops. In an effort to better support our users, in 2014 we started officially supporting user groups. This has expanded globally, and virtually to industry-specific groups: Tax, Audit & Finance, Healthcare, Transportation + Logistics, Marketing, and Public Sector.
Twenty-five people attended the first Denver User Group meeting in 2014 (see below), including Ned, who demo’d features from version 9.5, led by @CadyB - superuser, user group leader, Grand Prix winner, ACE, and current Alteryx sales engineer.
First Inspire Solutions Center
Before we had the tech tracks, we had theater seating around a monitor, listing to lightning talks while we waited for an expert to assist with our questions. (I say “our” because I was at that conference, as a customer. Pretty sure I see Cady in this pic, as well, listening to @DrDan present.)
The Grand Prix
The Grand Prix has been up and running well before the decade started, and has tested a few variations of formats, and this decade has expanded globally to include the Grand Prix competition at Inspire Europe and Inspire APAC.
One of @NicoleJohnson's favorite memories of the decade is of the Grand Prix. She says, “Standing on the Grand Prix stage in Anaheim with that ridiculously enormous trophy, realizing I had just done the impossible, was one of the proudest and most exciting moments of my entire career. It is truly a testament to what happens when you get out of your own head and just DO SOMETHING... it awakened a competitive spirit that I hadn't fully realized I had, and has put my career on a trajectory that I would never have been brave enough to go down. One of the most powerful things I've realized, from that moment and the hundreds that have preceded and followed it during my Alteryx + analytics journey, is that when you can find something to do that is more FUN than work, your potential is limitless. There is no such thing as a ceiling, there is no such thing as a dead end, and when the game changes unexpectedly, it doesn't even matter, because you are still loving every minute of that game.”
@chris_love agrees. “Winning back to back Alteryx Grand-Prixs was by far and away the biggest highlight [of the decade], I never dreamed a career in data could have me racing Lamborghinis in Las Vegas and flying and dog-fighting a plane over Long Island.”
Alteryx for Good
We kicked off the decade with the Adventure TEAM Challenge in 2010; a multi-day, multi-sport TEAM-building wilderness adventure designed by Erik Weihenmayer, the first visually impaired individual to climb Mt. Everest, and our Extend 2010 conference keynote speaker.
The debut of the Alteryx for Good program in 2016 initiated volunteer weeks, user group opportunities, and volunteering your ideas and skillsets at the Alteryx for Good Co-Lab.
Our first hackathon was the UCONN Data Challenge in 2014 and another in 2015. We sponsored and participated in an HHS Opioid Code-a-Thon, with a team of ACEs, in 2017.
In the next decade, @MarqueeCrew, one of the opioid hackathon participants and iconic ACE, hopes data science and analytics can address world peace initiatives. He says, “Get guns out of the picture and get youth into analytics instead. Make models, not war.”
Colleagues and Friends
Ten years later in 2018, when asked how Alteryx lets you kick ass at work, senior software engineer @AlanS replied, “As a software engineer at Alteryx, it's more that the users are the ones winning the races, while I'm one of the support crew tinkering on the engine to be used in future race cars. It's awesome working on the code of a product that helps others solve the interesting analytic puzzles while effortlessly eliminating repetitive busywork. Really, the community members and customer base are the ones who are kicking the rear ends, and I'm lucky that I get the opportunity to assist.”
@GaryS, ten-year veteran and current director of Engineering Incubation (the Alteryx 6.0 release blog doubles as his welcome letter), fondly remembers the golf outing to celebrate the version 10.0 release, and letting off steam with his colleagues.
“By far the best release party ever!” chimes in @HannahK, another ten-year veteran. In her own words, Hannah started as a confused summer marketing intern with little direction, to become a Senior Software Engineer who got to stand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when the company went public and is flown across the world to meet with customers at our user conferences.
The Best Part: Our Users
In 2008, Ned said, “I've had a bunch of customers tell me how much fun they think Alteryx is to use. One even had her coworkers describe it as "that cartoon program." Obviously that fun has lots to do with Tara's wonderful light-hearted icons, but I hope it permeates the whole program. As much fun as it is to use, it has been more fun to write."
We could talk about us all day, but you are far more interesting. We posed some questions in the Community Lounge, chatted up our C levels, some industry analysts, and tenured colleagues to see what the past ten years have meant for you, for Alteryx and for analytics; and what’s coming next.
Data nerds have turned themselves into data rockstars. We’ve changed the culture. @danielbrun sees the biggest challenge that data professions have overcome is “the whole idea of being a data professional has changed. 5 years ago my wife thought I was a giant geek - now she thinks I'm quite cool because I am able to provide actual insights.”
@Ladarthur agrees about the mindset change on the importance of data, "during the last ten years we could talk about new technologies, but the biggest thing is about the mindset change, now everyone understands the importance of data and what it can bring, even if in some companies, they don't know how to handle it, or what to do with it, at least a lot of people understand how crucial it is and even more how crucial it will be in the next years."
He continues, "the biggest challenge for data analyst of the last ten years, maybe not being seen as the 'nerd' and being able to talk data to people who were not into it, maybe also help people to change their mind and think data on their daily job too!" We feel ya.
@Thableaus: “As any other Brazilian citizen, I believe that even if there is a government data portal, I would like to be able to have access to more open data from the government, especially in industries such as healthcare, education and safety. There are still too much 'make-up' and the idea of lying about the data provided, where they use raw data as outliers or even out of the context only to prove a specific politics ideology or to protect a specific party. If people learn and study more in this field, we would be able to demand more from our governors, in providing data that could be used in a more efficient and transparent way, telling us the truth behind the real fact and helping to solve the society issues."
One of the things that struck me the most was all the gratitude. Everyone says thank you for what Alteryx has given them: time, opportunities, change... revolution.
Bottom line is, in the 2010s regular people got access to data and the tools to analyze it. In the 20s, they're gonna get good at it. Call it democratization, data to the people - the buzzwords will inevitably change. What we're saying is: the power is in your hands now, friends.
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