The bit between data and you

My talk at Web Directions, ‘The bit between data and you‘, has just finished. In many ways, it’s my take on the things I talked about in ‘The data will improve rockets‘.

The film above – a (probably apocryphal) version of something that Max Gadney told a friend of mine once – opens the talk, and it’s the backbone of most of the thing. It’ll be online soon, so rather than write it all up here I’ll just drop links in below to the things I mentioned favourably (it feels cheeky to list the things I slagged off, so I won’t).

You’re likely to recognise them – that’s good. I want to show you that bad representations of data isn’t inevitable, but a choice.


McKinsey and Co. “Big Data report”
Arrivals, and Emma Maersk by Dan Williams
@https://twrbrdg_itself by Tom Armitage
FRSTEE and Historytag by Really Interesting Group
Astronomy Photographer of the Year and the Compass Lounge at the Royal Museums in Greenwich
How people in the UK died in 2009 (actually, I wasn’t that complementary about this one)
iPhone Tracker app
How Many Really? by the BBC and BERG

If you know me, you’ll recognise that it’s very much a ‘things my friends on the internet made’ list. That’s on purpose, partly because they’re very good, but mainly because it’s much easier to talk earnestly about things you like by people you like. Earnest really is the emotional throughline of this talk (and yes – I do think about things like that), because the whole thing is about showing I want more things like these in the world.

I imagine ‘The bit between data and you’ will be my last talk on data and Grioting for a long while. Now, it’s time to talk a bit more about copywriting and the other stuff I’m involved in these days. More on that tomorrow.

Getting an opportunity to recontextualise that stuff in light of leaving was terrific, so thanks to Maxine and everyone else at Web Directions. Also, I’M IN SYDNEY! This is brilliant!