• Happy holidays

    December 24, 2013  |  Personal

    Happy Holidays from FlowingData

    Checking out for the year. I assume most of you have already, and if not, go on, get out of here. Shoo. Happy holidays. I tip my glass in your general direction.

  • My data point

    October 17, 2013  |  Personal


    It's been continuous tracking and monitoring for the past couple of days and nights, but none of that matters now. We get to bring him home today.

  • Data point on the way

    October 4, 2013  |  Personal

    I'm at an age where my feed is filled with data points. Every day my friends post about their data points, how precious their data points are, and all the peculiarities of their data points. Even though there are hundreds of thousands of data points that pop up every day, each one is a gift that can be compared to nothing and no one else. At the most superficial level, yes, they are easy to compare, but once you look to the details — a wink, a smirk, a bobble — you see individuals, and that's where we seem to find the most joy.

    I'll let you know in a few weeks.

    My wife just went on maternity leave, in preparation for our very own data point.

    It's our first, so I'm not sure how this works, but something tells me I'll be busier and maybe more tired than usual. I hope to keep FlowingData running, as if nothing changed, but in case you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know why.

  • Starting a New Stack

    February 21, 2013  |  Personal

    There's a corner of my desk reserved for books, notes, papers, and other things I am supposed to read or have written and need to rewrite. Each project I work on gets its own stack. But there is limited space on my desk, and if I have too many stacks going at once, everything starts to jumble into one big pile. So I try not to work on too many things in parallel.

    There are typically two stacks at any given time: one for books or random projects and the other for my dissertation. The former changes often and was recently cleared on the completion of the Data Points manuscript, and the latter has been persistent for several years.

    But I'm happy to finally say that now there are zero stacks.

    I'm finally done. I'm officially Dr. Nathan Yau, Ph.D. (but you can still call me Nathan).

    It feels weird to say that — like how I imagine lottery winners feel, suddenly being able to say they're millionaires. It's surreal at first, but once it sinks in, the sun shines brighter, food tastes better, and the feeling of possibilities rushes through your veins.

    I've been asked if I would do it again knowing what I know now. After all, it took me over seven years to finish. To be honest, there were many times I wanted to quit, but now that I'm done, I can say that I would do it all again. I wouldn't do it just for the degree though. Rather I would do it for what came from going through the process: this blog, two books, countless learning experiences in school and through it, and a perspective on work that I wouldn't have gotten from anything else.

    Most importantly, I found what I like to do. It's awesome.

    So now it's time for a new stack. I'm excited about what it might be.

  • Running on Thesis Fumes

    July 5, 2010  |  Personal

    I’m in the fifth year of my statistics PhD, and the time has finally come where I need to lock myself in my office and write a thesis. It’s going to be amazing fun, I assure you. I’m hoping I’ll reach true nirvana somewhere along the way.

    Since I’ve all but finalized my thesis defense date for the end of this summer, it’s going to be a hectic three months. This month, I’ll be working hard to roll out a usable and useful application that some of you will be able to use. There will be more details, but it has to do with memories, calendars, and it’s in the same spirit of your.flowingdata.

    After that, I’ll write.

    I’m telling you this, because my brain is going to be in another place for the next few months. I fully intend to regularly update FlowingData. I’m too OCD not to, but if I happen to miss a day, you’ll know why.

    Email responses will also slow to a snail’s pace. But please do keep sending in suggestions to [email protected]. Your post ideas will help the flow coming since I won’t be able to stay on top of things as well as I’d like to.

    Finally, if you have any visualization-related questions, you should definitely post it to the forums before emailing me. There are nice people who hang out there sometimes, so you’re more likely to get a response through there than through my neglected inbox.

    Alright. Here we go. Let the fun begin.

  • Offline For a Couple of Days

    May 18, 2009  |  Personal

    Quick announcement: I'm offline for a couple of days to attend my sister's graduation in California (congrats, sis!). Check out the FlowingData archives when you start going through data visualization withdraw. FlowingData will return to regularly scheduled programming on Thursday.

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