Jess Force 50: Xeni Jardin

So I had this idea to honor and pay tribute to some of the people who have helped me along my journey…. turn them into trading cards!  There will be 50 in the set, though I suspect it will be another few decades before its finished.

Here is the first one in the series, Xeni Jardin.


And back:

And a side view:

Xeni is an interesting case because I wouldn’t say I know her personally at all.  We have only had only shared a few emails over the years.  Still, there is no one (save my mom) that I credit more with my success.

Back in 2004 I created this graph of the federal budget.  It was a big project, I posted it on deviantART and promptly forgot about it.  Then two years later, Xeni somehow found it, and blogged about it on boing boing.  Kindling, ignited.  I sold 300 prints shortly after that and decided to do it again for 2007.  She blogged about it again and I sold a lot more, being able to quit my job as an industrial sewing machine operator.  One thing led to another and I was an infographic rockstar with people paying me thousands to create some cool stuff.  Along the way I would send my most interesting pieces to Xeni and she would blog about them too, like the 389 Years ago poster.

So her blogging about the Death and Taxes poster in 2006 is one of those mind-warping things where you wonder how your life would have turned out differently if she didn’t make that post.  Would I become famous for infographics?  Would I still being sewing Nike swooshes on gym bags?  I had never considered any career in data visualization prior to that post.  It was just thrust upon me at that point and I made the best of it.

So thank you Xeni, for focusing your interweb ion cannon on me six years ago.  As a reader of such popular blogs as boingboing it can be easy to under-realize that life altering power a single post can do for the subject.  Especially if they are able to run with it, as I did.  I can only imagine the number of careers Xeni has catapulted with her journalism.  I only  hope to do the same for others at some point in my life too.

Thanks for everything Xeni,