Everyone interested in information visualization should read the interview of Pat Hanrahan—Tableau Software CTO and Stanford Univerisity computer science professor—that appears in the February 2007 issue of DM Review. Recently, at InfoVis, the premier conference of the information visualization research community, Pat received a lifetime achievement award, and he still has many, many years to add to his achievements.
Pat and I both live in the San Francisco bay area, so we get together as often as our schedules allow, which is far too seldom. Over the past three years since we first met, I have grown to appreciate Pat, both for his genius and for his kind and generous spirit. He is one of those rare individuals who manages to merge the talents of a top researcher with the practical savvy of a business leader. As such, Pat, along with his visionary colleagues at Tableau, have managed to produce software in just a few years that is far better than even the dreams of most business intelligence software companies.