A help in need is a help indeed! This week, I was nearing the deadline on one of my projects and I could not really find a way to get what I wanted done in Tableau. I have been fighting with the problem for about 5-6 weeks, reading a lot of blogs and forum posts, trying to find inspiration to solve my problem. Though I did get some pointers that helped me move forward, I could not still reach the goal. So, in desperation, I decided to reach out to 2 Zen masters - Joe Mako and Jonathan Drummey asking whether they could help me with my problem.
I reached out to them on Jan 6, the week that most of us get back to work after holidays and there is a ton of emails to handle. I was not even sure whether they would respond, but I decided to try it anyway. So, I sent an email to both and to my surprise, both of them responded within a few hours. Jonathan Drummey posted a solution on the forum while Joe Mako offered to have a telephone call with me on the same day to help me resolve the problem. I have read a lot about Joe Mako in the forums and I could not believe that he could make himself available in his busy schedule.
I asked Joe only for 30 minutes but when I finished explaining the problem to him, 30 minutes were over and Joe said "It would take 2 hours for me to solve this problem and let us get started". It was 9 PM his time when we started (it was morning for me in India). And when we finished, it was 11.30 PM his time and I did not notice any signs of fatigue or impatience from Joe. We had problems with screen sharing on Skype and Joe tried multiple times to change resolution and then we had to switch to another VOIP client. Throughout the 2.5 hours, I felt so calm as Joe patiently walked me through his step-by-step approach to solving problem using his "Flowing with Tableau" approach. I was just so touched by Joe's willingness to help a complete stranger so readily, that too for 2.5 hours without a break, that too in the night. I felt compelled to reciprocate Joe's favour in some way.
I run a small consulting company and the project that Joe Mako helped me was a commercial project for which I am getting paid by the client. Hence, I wanted to pay Joe in some way. But there were 2 problems with my thought:
1. If I had to pay Joe at a price that is commensurate with his expertise, I would NOT be able to pay him.
2. Paying Joe directly will take the real joy that Joe Mako gets out of helping people. He told me that one of his primary aims in life is to help people and I did not really want to do anything to spoil it.
So, I decided to pay Joe Mako indirectly. So, I asked Joe whether it would be OK if I donated some money on his behalf to his favourite charity as a token of gratitude. Joe told me that his favourite charity is Charity:Water. Bringing clean drinking water to people in poor countries is something that is close to my heart - Hence, I thought of creating a campaign so that others in the Tableau community can contribute, if they like.
Here is the idea: Tableau community is impressive. There are so many experts here who are willing to spend enormous amount of their valuable time in helping beginners like me to solve our problems with Tableau. In many cases, the problem solved is for commercial work and either we or our company get benefited from having that problem solved. If it appeals to any of us, we could pay back in kind for the efforts of these Tableau Zens by helping people in need: Water:charity is one such mechanism which has a noble cause. So, I would request everyone who receives help from others in the forum to consider whether they could donate any small amount to this cause, even if it is a few dollars.
I am sorry if this hurts the sensibility of anyone on this forum.