Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spreadsheet visualization of industry-sector political contributions

The Sunlight Foundation posted a great video showing how money has flowed into the Republican and Democratic parties from different industry sectors over time. In normal circumstances, I might have said "(yawn) pass the nuts"... but... they used the Motion Chart in Google spreadsheets to visually show the changes in these flows over time. If you love data, whether you're politically interested or not, you gotta love this visualization... I'm embedding it here for convenienve... full credit to Sunlight for this specific video, to Gapminder team and the Trendalyzer (Motion Chart) team at Google responsible for this great chart type and to Yossi for pointing this example my way ;)

From the Sunlight Foundation Blog:

The gadget gallery has this chart type and others where you can get your own examples to play with...

Friday, September 26, 2008

An unexpected political post with an expected spreadsheet

I never talk or post politics - but on this eve of the first presidential debate, after a semi-wild week of news (semi? huh...), I figured I may as well fix up that electoral vote calculator I've been toying with and let others have a go at it...
If you want your own copy in your Google Docs account - there's a link at the top of the full published version. With your own copy, you can change who you think will win each state to see the impact on the electoral vote.... quite fun.

Summary - according to CNN as of Sept 26, 2008:

See the full version...

The initial data comes from CNN's Political Site - just after this first presidential debate which took place tonight between Barack Obama and John McCain. There, they have an electoral vote map - showing which states are either strong or leaning to one candidate or the other, or undecided. On their map, you can click the state to change the result.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Brainless marketing to parents

Please look at this picture - and imagine if you can being a parent (if you're not) and receiving this amongst the piles of mailed marketing waste that enters your home un-invited. Why do you think this one got my attention? What's wrong with this marketing story and this picture?

In case you can't see it clearly, it's two kids playing with toys in the backseat of a car. "Make Getting there half the fun" is the headline of this little story... What's the other half of the fun - seeing these two kids go flying past their safely restrained parents and through the windshield? The genius who put this little marketing story together forgot to strap these kids in! As a parent, I can tell you that there's a visceral reaction to seeing kids in a car without their seat belt buckled... And, in this case, it's so obvious (again, to a parent) since these kids are likely small enough to require (by law in some states, I think) to be in a childs car seat. And don't tell me the car in this picture is not moving... the door is closed and the sun is shining and it's clearly summer (the kids are in shorts) - so the alternative is that they are playing with toys in a parked, closed car in the summer sun... nah - let's stick with the seatbelt badness...

If you plan to sell toys to me, try to avoid that "we don't care about kids safety" angle... not effective.