In Memory of Andreas Lipphardt

Earlier this year I was saddened to learn that Andreas Lipphardt, the co-founder and chief executive of the business intelligence software company BonaVista Systems, died tragically on January 27. With a team of never more than three or four people, BonaVista Systems made useful, affordable, effective, and desperately needed data visualization tools that functioned as add-ins to Excel. The company’s first and best-known product was MicroCharts, which added to Excel the ability to embed sparklines and bullet graphs into cells of a spreadsheet.

Andreas was the heart of BonaVista Systems. Following his death, the company has now ceased to exist. He was a good guy who untiringly dedicated his bright talent to the creation of tools that really worked. He was my friend. I will miss him greatly.

I first met Andreas when his submission to a data visualization competition that I judged in 2006 won the prize for best dashboard. He used an early version of MicroCharts to create his dashboard, which was the first product to incorporate bullet graphs. After this, we became acquainted, initially via email, and eventually in person on several occasions while collaborating on a project that resulted in a product named Chart Tamer. I fondly remember spending a cold winter day together in his apartment in Darmstadt, Germany, drinking coffee while sitting in front of his computer in the early days of that project. We met on other occasions as well, once nearby when Andreas and his loving partner were vacationing in San Francisco, and once in London.

I was always impressed by Andreas’ ability to do so much in such a short period of time with limited resources. I was also impressed with his perseverance when faced with seemingly insurmountable problems, which almost always resulted in an innovative solution. The flipside of these great qualities was the fact that he worked too hard. Now that Andreas’ young life has been cut short, I’m reminded of how precious life is and how important it is that we live it fully, which involves setting the work aside at times.

Andreas managed to make the world a better place through the products that he created, and for that we owe him our thanks. His dedication to excellence was rare. I’ve lost a friend and the world at large has lost someone who understood the potential of technology for good and did all he could to make that potential tangible.

Take care,

9 Comments on “In Memory of Andreas Lipphardt”

By Gretchen. April 3rd, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Very touching tribute.

By Andreas. April 3rd, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for remembering Andreas as the untiring, creative, innovation driven character that he was, and for not being pathetic.

Andreas was way up there among the few who make this world a place worth dying for — as a business professional, as a libertine, and, most of all, as an unfailing friend.

By Marco Russo. April 3rd, 2012 at 4:50 pm

It was a sad day when I received this bad news.
I only talked with Andreas in some conf calls about his BonaVista Dimensions products. By reading this tribute I understand he was more than a brilliant developer, he was a great person.


By David Gerbino. April 4th, 2012 at 4:00 am

Wow, I did not know this news. He was a great guy who really cared about his product. When I was beta testing an early version of their product he reached out to me via email to offer his help and to promise any issues would be resolved.

Nice tribute Steve. Andreas will be missed.

By Jacques Warren. April 4th, 2012 at 4:41 am

I am shocked to learn about Andreas’ passing. I did not know him personally, but had the opportunity to talk to him and exchange emails as a BonaVista customer. He gave outstanding, dedicated, and kind service. Not that I would dare commenting on his personal qualities just based on that experience, but I do believe his attitude toward a far away, small customer, reflected on who he was. My sincere condolences to his loved ones.

By Carlos De la Peña. April 5th, 2012 at 5:04 am

I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Andreas personally but had some mail exchange as a customer; he was a extremely professional, caring and approachable man.

Knowing that I was from Mexico he dropped some lines to see how my country was doing and made a mention that he came many times to learn Spanish to Cuernavaca.

I’m very sad for the news. Steve, thanks for sharing this tribute.

By JaeWoo,Wie. April 17th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I am very sorry for this news. The bonavista systems provided our business team with many insights.
I remember his voice from demo and I felt that I could be his business friend.
But it is too late to meet him.

I wish him to be happy in the another world.

From South Korea, Seoul

By Veronica Smith. April 24th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I just found out that bonavista is no more and wondered why. I came to your site and found out the tragic news. I am sorry for your loss and the loss of Andreas friends, colleagues and family and appreciate your memorial of Andreas. Selfishly I too mourn the loss of bonavista as I used it regularly for building dashboards. But that is the least of our worries at the moment. I will remember your wise words about setting the work aside during my upcoming vacation.

All the best,

By Jaime Alvarez. June 19th, 2012 at 10:26 am

I agree 100% with Carlos. I also had a few email exchanges with Andreas and he was very polite and professional.

Thanks for sharing these touching, wise words Steve.