It was deeply troubling to hear on Monday that my good friend and professional associate Deepak Ghodke passed away on Sunday while running in a half-marathon. It’s taken me a couple of days to absorb this news. Deepak was only 47 years old. He left a wife, Grishmi, and daughter, Anura. My heart goes out to them for their (and our) loss.
The Early Tableau Days
Back in 2007, I started using Tableau. Not as a consultant but as a customer. During the first year, my account was serviced by an early commercial rep. In 2008, Deepak took over my account. At first, I wasn’t happy with this change because I was accustomed to working with the account manager that sold me my first license. So, I treated Deepak a little rough, telling him that I normally spoke with vendors before my workday started at 7AM EST. At that time, Deepak lived in the central time zone. Basically, I was telling him that if he wanted to talk to me, he’d have to schedule those discussions at 6AM his time. Deepak didn’t miss a beat. He was totally accommodating and agreed to that schedule.
As My Tableau Usage Matured
I spoke with Deepak regularly on the phone. He was always helpful and encouraging. I enjoyed bouncing ideas off of him. Later, when I started to deploy Tableau on a larger scale, he suggested that my story would be a good one for the very first Tableau Conference. Deepak campaigned for me to give a talk (which I did). That talk changed my life. Within a year, I was founding the BI practice around Tableau at InterWorks.
Early Days and Deepak’s Partnership
In the first couple of years of my work at InterWorks, Deepak and I communicated regularly. We worked together on projects, and he introduced me to key people at Tableau, including Kelly Wright. Deepak facilitated a request I made to present InterWorks and some sample work to the Enterprise Sales Team at Tableau, which at that time had around 10 reps.
Later, Deepak and I traveled together making sales calls in Missouri, Kansas, Georgia, Texas and other states. He asked me to talk with some of his largest customers. We spent nights in hotels chatting about tech, data, Tableau, business, ideas. He was a genuinely nice and inquisitive person. I really enjoyed working with him and considered him a great friend. Deepak introduced me to many of my best early friends at Tableau when there were fewer than 200 employees.
Tableau’s Middle Years
As Tableau grew, Deepak took a job as Tableau’s Country Manager in India. He told me that he wanted his kids to experience India and spend more time with his family. I kept in touch with him. There were a few times we discussed me coming over to give talks, but we were both too busy to make that happen. At the annual conference in Seattle (2014), Deepak and I stood together when Christian Chabot rang the gong to close the NYSE. I was honored to be invited onstage with many Tableau employees for that event. And it felt right being there with Deepak.
The Last Year
Within the last year, I had a few conversations with Deepak. He had taken a role at Bristlecone doing supply chain analytics. We were trying to find a way to work together again. Last summer, he called and asked if I could do a prospect visit with him addressing data requirements for a potential customer of his. Unfortunately, I was engaged and unable to help him on short notice. We spoke a couple more times after that in 2019.
A Great Friend
Some people have a pivotal impact on our lives. Deepak was an early believer in my ideas related to data and how to help companies realize their visions using data more effectively. During times when success wasn’t guaranteed or obvious, Deepak was a constant source of encouragement. I will never forget his kind and wise demeanor. My life has been enhanced through our friendship. I will miss him.