Tableau Conference Is Bigger Than PASS Summit

I was reading and, no disrespect intended at all to the Tableau universe,  I was astounded to see that the Tableau Conference is bigger than the PASS Summit. Both are in Seattle (different dates), and the prices look to be similar ($1495 is the number I saw for TC, but registration is closed/sold out). Looking at the Tableau event, I like what I see:

  • 220 sessions
  • Some “real” keynoters – by which I mean not Tableau (or in our case, SQL) people and some other featured speakers
  • Paul cites 5200 attendees (I believe him, I just don’t have a supporting link)

Good for Tableau!

Does it mean anything for PASS? Is bigger better? Many would argue not. If you’ve ever been to TechEd (10k attendees) you spend a lot of time walking. It’s just big. Yet I can’t help wonder what are they doing that has grown the event to this size in 7 years or so? Are they doing things (or not doing them) that PASS should be doing? Someone should – officially – go take a look. I don’t care about number for the sake of numbers, I care about serving the people in my craft. If we’re not doing that as well as can be done, we should be trying to do better, quickly.

4 thoughts on “Tableau Conference Is Bigger Than PASS Summit

  1. I will actually be attending the Tableau Conference in a couple of weeks as well as SQL PASS Summit. 1st time for both. I think the reason the Tableau Conference gets so big is because at least in our case it was sold as part of the package of signing on with Tableau. I had to sell the idea of getting our CIO to approve me to attend the PASS Summit where the sales team at Tableau do that for us during sales calls and renewing of licensing.

    Personally I am far more excited about what I will get out of the PASS Summit than the Tableau Conference however I’m sure I will leave both with a wealth of knowledge.


    1. Ryan, thanks for adding that! Pretty smart strategy for Tableau! If you don’t mind, maybe post again after you do both, or drop me a note? Love to hear the comparison, and always like to know if we treated first time attendees well.


  2. Andy I would also think the numbers exploded because of audience.

    In the SQL DBA/DEV/BI world you routinely can have 3-4 DBA/Dev’s for a company. How many Tableau users do they support? 20-30? Those users are attending the conference not just developers/Admins. When I put a similar product(qlikview) into place in a company we had 2 developers and 30+ users. I believe this conference caters to both the end user and the developer and that makes it a lot easier to pull a higher number.

    This is of course is a theory I have not myself been to the conference.

    I 100% agree though if someone is doing something right and growing at that rate we should be researching and understanding what they are doing to make the Summit better as well.



    1. Pat, that’s interesting, I didn’t/wouldn’t have expected the user ratio to be that high. If it is consistently, then it definitely adds to the why and how of getting those higher attendance numbers. As I’ve thought about this more, or at least more about whether the Summit performing at or below some idealistic max number, I come back to two things; one is whether becoming bigger is better and the other is how does Summit compare with dev conferences. Is there some plateau that most events hit? Is there a number beyond which it’s just noise and logistics?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


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