Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas from Google Research ran with the book metaphor for visualization in their talk at Tapestry 2014. Unlike some who bash projects that don’t fit a narrow specification, Wattenberg and Viegas argue that visualization spans various genres. The key is to know your genre and create accordingly.
Not everything is going to be Jane Eyre. There’s the Hardy Boys. Fifty Shades of Grey. Not all books are masterpieces, but they can be successful in their own right.
The talk is about 45 minutes, with a 15-minute Q&A. It’s worth listening to the whole thing. I watched it in two parts, over my lunch break.
I’ve been trying to watch more talks lately. I didn’t attend that many conferences in graduate school, but being part of an academic programming at least led me to research and work outside the online world. The good news is that more conferences put the talks online in their entirety, so you get a chance to listen to a lot of smart people talk about what they’re interested in.