Posted to Miscellaneous  |  Nathan Yau

Dear reader,

After much thought and arguments with myself, I’ve decided to quit data. It’s been almost two years writing for FlowingData and almost four years as a statistics graduate student, and data never stops. I think I know what postal employees feel like. Every day is just more and more data. Gimme more. Everyone wants more – but to what end? There’s too much of it. Sometimes I just want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my office and cry.

Why do we need data anyways? It just makes life more complicated, and educated decisions are overrated. Guesswork is underrated. So – and it pains me to say this – I’ve decided to quit FlowingData and graduate school. I will be joining a traveling entertainment troupe that eats paper. I just need one of those sticks with the back on the end of it. You know, like the ones that they show on TV… with the hobos. Forget it, I can’t remember. I’ll just get a garbage bag.

I hope you all understand. Like I said, I’ve given this a lot of thought, and this is really the best thing to do at this point of my life. Visualization, design, statistics, or computer science will never be able to handle all the data that are to come, so it’s best I part ways now before it’s too late. Keep an eye out for my paper-eating entertainment troupe. We don’t have a name yet… and it’s really just me, not so much a group. I also don’t have any paper, or actually, I do have a few post-it notes. No, that won’t be enough. Maybe I can be the used-napkin-eating person guy thing. I dunno. Well – keep an eye out. It will be the show to watch. Thanks everyone for reading and all of your support. Please do sign the guest book to stay up to date on the paper-eating napkin-eating troupe.

All the best,

UPDATE: Just to be clear – happy april 1 :)



10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

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.