Archive for December, 2006

Disneyland and Data

December 22, 2006

Mickey Mouse

I spent the past three days at Disneyland with my family and another family. We have a 3 year old boy and girl who is almost 5 years old. As I wrote a friend, “It is such a joy and wonder and treasure to see them in their youth and vibrance and wonder.” Disneyland brings out the kid in all of us. Amazing how many 20-80 year olds are here, without any kids.

Even though so many of the rides seem out-of-date in terms of technology, the creativity behind this place is incredible. It makes me want to read the biography of Walt Disney. Being here also makes me think about data and digitization, as well as the value people place on having experiences. Many of the rides have been around since I was a kid, like “It’s a Small World” and “Pirates of the Carribean.”

Small World


Despite the age of these rides and the fact that they seem humorously antiquated in terms of technology, people flock to them…my point is that each of the rides is a mechanical/technological representation of a different and “exciting” reality. The forces of technology and entrepreneurship are no doubt at work to create these same types of experiences using internet technology. The challenge for technological theme parks is recreating the interpersonal/social aspects.  Although I did not meet one person I knew during our visit, we had at least a dozen encounters with people, both workers at Disneyland and attendees, that made the whole experience more satisfying. Stephanie drove us from the Disneyland train station to the Castle one morning. Along the way, she told us her story, how she applied 10 years ago to be a secretary at Disneyland and was given this job by mistake…and she’s loved it ever since. How do you replicate that over the internet?

Lean Communicator

December 18, 2006

Data360 was featured today in the blog of Liz Guthridge, Founder and President of Connect Consulting Group.

Ragan’s eNewsstand

Issue Date: The Lean Communicator December 2006

Find and share data graphs that tell stories

If you regularly use Wikipedia, you might want to try the new wiki for data, Data360. It’s still in beta, but many are finding and sharing data that helps them tell stories. And if you’re traveling by air this holiday season, Data360 may help you avoid—or least prepare for—the chances of mishandled baggage.

Death Penalty & Justice Statistics

December 16, 2006

I came across the following sites regarding death penalty statistics.

Death Penalty Information Center “The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center is widely quoted and consulted by all those concerned with the death penalty.”


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data – the “ESPY” file is the source for death penalty data from 1608 to 1991.


December 15, 2006

It’s been just over two months since we launched our site and I can firmly say that one of the greatest benefits of having launched is the discovery of the other individuals with similar interests in trends, clarity, information and software. Without Data360, I would not have met Marshall Poe, a brilliant and energetic thinker; I would not have deepened my relationship with Lori Ogden Moore, a leadership strategist and truly “wise” woman. The list goes on of interesting and fascinating people I’ve met, re-met or whose work I have discovered: John O’Neil, Gene Zelazny, Sanjay Vaswani, Gary Cohen, Sam Richter, Stephen Few, Amy Elsbree and even my sister, Cathy Paper, I have “re-discovered.” Nothing like a quest to bring out adventurous souls.

Stephen FewThe most interesting site I’ve come across is Stephen Few’s. Stephen is an “innovator, consultant, and educator in the fields of business intelligence and information design, [he] currently focus[es] on data visualization techniques for making sense of and communicating quantitative business information.” I can already tell that I am a great fan of his work.


Market Research WorldAnother interesting site is Market Research Portal, “MRP has been set-up and is run by a team of market research consultants that are based in the UK. The company that owns the site is Research Portals Ltd. It now has over 1,800 different visitors using the site on a daily basis, making it one of the busiest market research related sites.”

Cool tool

December 14, 2006

Can anyone tell me who makes this charting tool?

Cool Graphing Tool

Data Frequency & Privacy

December 13, 2006

We had a meeting with a potential client/partner and some interesting things came out of it. First, there is a definite need to turn datasets of one time frequency into another time frequency. Days to weeks or days to years or months to years. Weeks to months is also needed and gets a bit trickier in the doing, but is definitely possible. Second, interesting how the sharing of data is something which gets even public organizations nervous. People seem to be more at ease sharing their info in a survey, as long as their info is not readily visible; those same people are then eager to compare themselves to other people/organizations of a similar background.

A couple more urls that are worth checking out (i know, i’m probably late to the game, but here they are…):

PopurlsPopurls – – a quick way of seeing what is going on in the world and what is being displayed on the most popular URL’s like digg, delicious, reddit, flickr, newsvine, metafilter, tailrank, youtube and many others. “With the intention to get a quick glance on what’s happening on the web while keeping the common newsreader clean from short-term headlines, popurls was launched in march 2006 by Thomas Marban who provided similar services since the introduction of RSS and is often mentioned for creating the original trend of “single page aggregators”. Rather than a tool, popurls is considered as a gate to an editorial selection of the most popular sites on the internet, presented in a usable way.”

StumbleuponStumbleupon – – a tool for ranking websites that you like. It’s a cool thing, but I’ve also found it a bit clunky and hard to navigate around….

DataplaceDataplace –“The relevant statistics you need, the simple delivery you want” – Maps and statistics about cities and states. –“Your guide to regional economic data.” I like this site a lot! Check out their “10 best sites.” EconData.Net has been compiled as a service to economic data users everywhere by Impresa, Inc. and Andrew Reamer & Associates, economic development consulting firms.

Data360 Featured in the San Francisco Examiner

December 12, 2006

San Francisco Examiner

Tom Paper: Sharing data in a savvy way

Will Reisman, The Examiner, Dec 11, 2006

SAN FRANCISCOMost people’s free time consists of jogging in the park or reading a good book. In Tom Paper’s free time, he created an information database.

“Whenever I had time on my hands, I would compile data — mostly social and demographic trends — on these Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and send them out to people I knew,” said Paper, who is the managing partner at Webster Pacific, a financial consulting company in San Francisco. “Excel was always a bit clunky, and not very user-friendly, so I just thought that there must be a better place to showcase data like this.”

Paper, who graduated with an M.B.A. from Stanford University in 1990, used that motivation to create Data 360, a community-based Web site ( where people, businesses and various other organizations can present and share data in an interactive manner.

The site features stats on topics from AIDS informational studies to the public debt, to opinion polls on topics such as evolution. All the information is presented by users of the site, and is culled from various online sources.

Data 360 offers its services to small businesses and non-profit organizations that might not be able to present their data findings in a technologically savvy manner. If the companies benefiting from Data 360’s services make their information public then the cost is waived; if not, there is a $90 monthly fee.

Paper also has plans to expand upon the current Data 360 format, enacting an XML (Extensible Markup Language) program that will constantly update the information flow into Data 360.

“I just love information and clarity,” Paper said. “I think it’s much easier to present arguments for a cause when you’re using numbers and facts, not just words.”


December 9, 2006

SwivelA website called Swivel launched this past Wednesday. Since we launched on October 6th, this is the first site I have seen that attempts to do something similar to Data360. Notwithstanding intellectual property issues, the launch of their site provides validation to our work in the collaborative data field and I wish them well.

Both products do similar things, although I would say that where Swivel is more playful, Data360 is more serious. Our view is that it’s too easy for charts to lie; a well-done chart tells a story and is the result of intelligent and, sometimes, creative analysis.

Data360’s target audience is businesses, academics, non-profits and governmental organizations (”BANG”), while Swivel’s appears to be more individuals (”Youtube for Data”). Check out where they promote the most popular datasets, the top of which on December 9th, 2006, was “Travis’ Beer to Hate Chart.” (2nd was global GDP.)

Data360 provides a platform for an organization to report on its perspective, both on the web and with pdf reports generated from the data on the site. For an example of an organization’s perspective on the web, see For an example of that same organization’s pdf of their perspective, see and click on the “Static PDF” choice.

New Stuff

December 9, 2006

Some interesting new sites I’ve come across recently.

EconStats – Who is behind this site? It looks like it might be University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University. There are huge number of stats here from various economic sources. Not graphical at all, but the depth of material here is quite impressive.

International Center for Prison Studies. Use their search feature and find “per capita.” Interesting comparisions between countries. Doesn’t clearly tell for what year the data applies.

Jeffrey Veen. “Jeffrey Veen is one of the founding partners of Adaptive Path and project lead for Measure Map, the well-received web analytics tool recently acquired by Google. After five years with Adaptive Path, Jeff has moved on to Google, where he is a Design Manager.” Fun post about swivel and packman.

Matthew S. Theobald. Matt writes in response to Veen’s posting about Swivel, above, and tells the world about his site, ISEN. Behind the covers now. I’ll be interesed to see it when it comes out.

IBM’s Visual Communication Lab. Check this out!

ClearStats. Not yet launched….

Vizu Answers

December 9, 2006

Vizu Answers

Vizu Answers allows you to conduct custom market research quickly, easily, and at an affordable price. If you want an answer, the key is asking the right people. Our diverse network of publishers makes that possible by providing you access to their unique audiences.” Apparently, you can have tailored market research conducted at an affordable price. I haven’t tried it, but I like the idea. Based in SF.