As we finish awards and recognition season (Academy, Gartner Magic Quadrant, Zen Master Hall of Fame, Razzi’s, etc.) I want to pause to make sure readers of this blog are aware of the contributions of two extraordinary data visualization practitioners who have not been very visible in the Tableau community for the past year or two, but whose contributions will have a lasting impact.

As I’ve written previously, I don’t think Tableau would be where it is without the amazing community that supports it, and I’m quite sure the community would not be where it is today without Joe Mako and Kelly Martin.

For those of you that don’t know of Joe and Kelly, there’s a good chance you owe them. Big time.

For years, Joe shared his uncommon grasp of the product with literally thousands of users. He certainly helped me out on more occasions than I can count. More importantly, he helped establish a “pay it forward” attitude that permeates and nourishes the community today.

Kelly showed that you can build dashboards that combine stunning design with rock-solid analytical integrity. I don’t know for sure if her work directly influenced people like Bridget Cogley, Mike Cisneros, Jonni Walker, and others, but I’m confident that data visualization anthropologists in the future will trace lots of stellar Tableau viz work back to her.

So, thank you, Joe, for helping me and thousands of others; and thank you, Kelly, for inspiring me and thousands of others.