Swivel Gets a Data Guy

What the heck's a data guy? According to Gerard, who studied computer science and economics in college

It means that I'm the type of person who, instead of planning for a vacation like a normal person, will write a script to pull down airline data for all possible destinations and routes, load the data into R and perform a regression analysis to find the best time to buy.

Oh, so that's what a data guy is. I guess that makes me a data guy.

This should be good for Swivel, who has seemed to be missing the "data guy" piece of the puzzle. Will Swivel's visualization tools improve? Will data become more reliable on Swivel? I don't know. It's possible. There's definitely a lot of work to be done, so one person won't be enough, but hey, it's a start. It's not often that I see a computer science / economics person. I'm an electrical engineering and computer science / statistics person myself, and I like to see people with dual backgrounds (even if they did go to the other school across the bay).

That being said, applications like Swivel, Many Eyes, and Data360 make me wonder where all the statisticians are. I see mathematicians, designers, economists, and businessmen. Come on statisticians. Show yourselves. The world needs you.


  • Thanks for the nice post. It’s always great to hear from another data guy!

    I couldn’t agree with you more about statisticians. They’re out there (I’ve worked with them at Apple and Cornerstone) and I, like you, hope they continue to get more engaged with the new wealth of data that is opening up on the Web.

    (And while I’m not a statistician, I learned more than the basics in college, and have taken a couple PhD level Stats courses subsequent to graduation, so at least there’s a bit of exposure at Swivel).

    While we work together to get statisticians more engaged, there’s a lot of work that can be done on tools and data.

    My experience is that 80-95% of the time spent doing statistical analysis is spent collecting and preparing the data. If Swivel can help move that ratio down to 50% or even 10%, then the amount of value that statisticians can provide the world is going to increase by an order of magnitude, and that’s a powerful thing.

  • “Data Guy” – love the term.


Pizza Place Geography

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile radius of where I live, so I have my pick, …

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

Causes of Death

There are many ways to die. Cancer. Infection. Mental. External. This is how different groups of people died over the past 10 years, visualized by age.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.