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Month: December 2015

Andy Cotgreave on data without emotion

Tableau senior technical evangelist Andy Cotgreave
Tableau senior technical evangelist Andy Cotgreave

Tableau’s senior technical evangelist Andy Cotgreave has boarded the data storytelling wagon. Actually, I don’t know how long he’s been there, but an article he wrote caught my attention today. He says that data without emotion is “worthless.” I agree!

Consider also the terrible Syrian refugee crisis affecting the Middle East and Europe. This tragedy had received a lot of attention from data journalists (e.g. The Economist back in Jan 2013), but the public didn’t truly engage until we saw the shocking photo of the drowned toddler on the beach. The impact of that single photo transformed public awareness in a way thousands of charts in news stories had not.

Does this mean our efforts with data are always doomed to be ignored? No, but it does mean we need to focus on making our data connect with people. If we want to drive change, we need to bring in emotions, narratives and the personal.

His passion and his lessons for data mongers makes it worth a read. Read the rest on Linkedin.

Notable marketing: Have imagination, will be read

clocks-mirrors

For all the marketing collatoral the data industry produces, there’s little that I can read without forcing myself. But when the good stuff comes, it’s like a gust of spring air blowing into a stuffy room. That kind of marketing blew into Datadoodle headquarters Friday morning. VisualCue, maker of visualization software done with “tiles,” won the Datadoodle Occasional Prize for Notable Marketing with “Have Data, Will Travel.”

“This week we’re using data to travel through time!,” it declared. We’ll forgive the overuse of the exclamation marks and give credit for the rarest of elements, imagination. This tastefully designed, lively, and jargon-free creation is credited to the “Visual Crew,” but I’m sure it was hatched by just one person.

The email links to two blog posts about time travel with visualized data. The first asks how long would it take to travel from London to Los Angeles in 1914? That’s answered with a 1914 isochrone map of Earth created by King George V’s cartographer.

“It got us thinking,” the post said. “What would such a map of the world look like today?” That’s exactly the kind of thought that VisualCue wants readers to do, too.

The ending, “Until next time,” breaks the rules. It skips the call to action for something stronger, the reader’s little voice in the head. By the end, that voice might be saying, “Hmm. I wonder what I could do…” And who else to help do it than this vendor? There’s no better call to action than that, and there’s rarely a better marketing pitch than this post.