Month: October 2009

Stalking the why: selling visual analysis

How do you show the value of visual analysis to business people? Dan Murray can show it in demos, but he keeps looking for the “magic dust” that explains in a snap.

He sees visual analysis as a key part of low-cost business intelligence at small- and medium-sized organizations — and he’s set out with evangelical zeal to provide as many of these firms as he can with BI.

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Meet the “metador”

Information Management editorial director Jim Ericson writes about the modern corporate librarian, the “metador.” He talked to that term’s creator, Bob Boiko.

Boiko says the people he trains or identifies are not usually tech-savvy people, nor do they seek to be. He sees them as natively talented indexers or organizers who might not be called to the job of subject matter expert. “An indexer is already a metator because they’re adding extra information to tag or otherwise make sure information is accessible. A really good indexer doesn’t need to be a subject matter expert and in some senses it’s better if they’re not, because they can make the information base accessible to others who don’t already know the lingo.”

See “Metator, Librarian, Gatekeeper, Broker.”

Choices are never the same twice

George Packer wrote in the New Yorker (quoted in Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire) on the books that Obama and his generals are reading. He wrote this about making public policy, about the difficulty of basing decisions on the past.

Making policy is about making choices, and they are never the same twice. Over the past few years, I’ve come to believe that doing it well is hard—almost impossible. It takes imagination, a knowledge of history, a certain analytical coldness, an ability to hold contradictory ideas in one’s head at the same time, intellectual courage, and prolonged immersion in staggering depths of facts. Few leaders are capable of more than one or two of these, let alone all. And given the complexities, there’s only so much policymakers can learn from their predecessors.

There’s only so much that decision makers can learn from the data.