Changing the message without changing the data

Two formats, two messages. Time for a new example?

If you’ve seen me present in the last 3 years, you’ll probably have seen me show the Iraq Bloody Toll chart. Then you’ve seen me turn it upside down to create an entirely different message (full post here).

I still love showing this example to new audiences. I love seeing the light bulb go off as they realise that a data and a chart is just a method of communicating a message: facts are not neutral.

But it’s time to find a new example and for that I turn to you for help.

Have you got any other great examples of charts where the message can be transformed in as simple a way as this one? 

(Note: I’m only looking for examples that stay true to good practice. Truncating the y-axis doesn’t count!)

There are some older examples. Obama’s bikini chart was a cracker, described very well by Robert Kosara in 2012.

Do you know any others? If I can find enough, we could turn this into an entire blog post or webinar. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

The Data Archipelago: architecture for the Internet of Things

Data Archipelago

On this day, I proclaim: modern data architecture is an archipelago.

It’s 2016 and time to recognize the failings of data lakes and warehouses. In a world where we connect wine bottles to the internet, we need a new cliché metaphor: one for the Internet of Things.

It’s time to recognize the Data Archipelago.

The archipelago solves the problem of other ideas of data storage.

All your data sources no longer flow into one location (sorry, James Dixon, but you got it wrong with Data Lake). No. Data floods into siloes: islands. These islands are your wearables, your connected toothbrushes, thousands and thousands and thousands of things all there, all separate data siloes. Separated by water.

Of course, your data is also in the cloud. Our archipelago needs clouds, too, raining data from the devices to the local storage represented by the islands.

In the archipelago data flows around like water. Water is like the air around us. It contains the information. It flows freely. Polluted water corrupts your data and Pirates, literally, can land on your islands and steal your stuff.

Modern data architecture is an archipelago.

Or maybe it’s a Data Swimming Pool.

data swimming pool

Your data’s the water. Data needs to be kept clean. Chlorine and Vacuums represent the ETL layer. Lifeguards are your disaster recovery processes. And kids who pee? Well that’s the SQL Injection attack, of course.


Are there terms for these two measure types?

Here’s a new-to-me problem: a dataset has two measures, and they’re both different types, but is there a term for the two types?

Here’s my data:types of measures

“Sales” can be shown broken down by year or as a total because a sale is only counted in one year

“Staff” cannot be totalled across all years because some of the staff are being counted in all years. I don’t have 135 staff, I have 60.

Is there a term for these two measures as they appear in a dataset? I’m thinking that “Staff” is cumulative, maybe? Sales are discrete? But that doesn’t sound right…