John Barnes

Understanding Comes With Normalized Medians

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John Barnes
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Another example for the interested
John Barnes   3/6/2012 10:15:34 PM
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I recently had occasion to use a  normalized median graph in discussing a model of global warming that I'm constructing as part of the research for a science fiction novel.  If you want to see some more brutal assaults on reality, in which, armed only with a few simple numbers you may have around the house, I chase reality into a dark alley and beat it till it says what I want it to, you can find that here.  Warning -- longish piece and the normalized median graphs don't come into it till fairly late.

John Barnes
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Re: Normalization : More Than Meets the Eye
John Barnes   2/25/2012 8:00:55 PM
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Go for it.  Remember who the original audience was: numerous people that school didn't stick for, many trying to deal with the consequences of past irresponsibility, and not a few criminals.  Perfect test demographic for public sector decisionmakers! <g>

Lyndon_Henry
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Re: Normalization : More Than Meets the Eye
Lyndon_Henry   2/25/2012 7:40:01 PM
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..

John, this explanation of normalizing data was mind-blowing in its clarity.

Seems like a good quick-and-dirty way to compare disparate data and suggest some implied correlations.

At first I thought it might be kind of hard to explain this presentation to decisionmakers (most public sector decisionmakers in my case) but I'm thinking it could be done and could prove useful. (Sound of mental wheels grinding...)

Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
Joe Stanganelli   2/24/2012 11:29:54 AM
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I'm guessing it has more to do with simplicity; i.e., avoiding the hassles, inefficiencies, and personality conflicts of group decision-making.

Additionally, a generalist who understands (even if only rudimentairily so) all aspects of an operation is better positioned to coordinate and make decisions that affect disparate parts.

Besides, if things go poorly, one guiillotine is easier to clean than three.  ;)

WaqasAltaf
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
WaqasAltaf   2/24/2012 9:55:17 AM
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" we are building a generation of technology specifically aimed entirely at delivering data visualization without necessarily the need for key decision-makers to know the math...but, as you said, this makes them completely reliant on the "graphmakers." 

There is no harm in reliance as probably the decision makers are usually the executives and they are not expected to get involved in calculation/math process. They should just ensure that the staff that develops data and graphs is competant enough to understand the objective of what was required and that is responsibility-taker. Further, the graphmakers probably would be the ones who are data compilers so they are the source. Relying on their graphs means that reliance on their data.

kicheko
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
kicheko   2/24/2012 5:59:12 AM
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...And I've known too many graphic artists to trust them with that much power!

I totally picture what you mean here. Indeed i hope that these tools aren't actually designed by graphic artists, rather by mathematicians and draftsmen who are of similar engineering minds.


John Barnes
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
John Barnes   2/24/2012 5:58:00 AM
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To some extent it's just the culmination of decision making based on staff research, white papers, and "I've got people."  I can't help wondering, though, if the function of the decision maker is to ratify what the people who do understand the white papers and graphs have already worked out ... maybe we don't need that decision maker.

Somewhere early on in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens pointed out that nearly every important job in pre-Revolutionary France had a literal bigwig (some of those wigs were 2 feet tall) who collected a large salary and took public credit, and a few commoner clerks who collected much smaller salaries and did the job.  That particular story, for some reason or other, ends at the guillotine ....

With so much chatter about leadership and decision making and so forth filling the racks in the biz-book sections of bookstores, and packing people in at seminars and training sessions, perhaps we should spare a moment to ask whether it's the ability to say "Oh, yes, do that, good idea" that is really the critical part of the process.

Shawn Hessinger
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
Shawn Hessinger   2/23/2012 11:50:48 PM
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Hi John,

To your last point, interesting isn't it that in analytics we are building a generation of technology specifically aimed entirely at delivering data visualization without necessarily the need for key decision-makers to know the math...but, as you said, this makes them completely reliant on the "graphmakers." 

John Barnes
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
John Barnes   2/23/2012 7:25:47 PM
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Well, obviously I come from a somewhat different perspective, but I do think that if you don't know what the math is under the graph, you are a prisoner of the graphmaker.  And I've known too many graphic artists to trust them with that much power!

kicheko
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Re: Hit and trial in analytics too
kicheko   2/23/2012 4:26:00 PM
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There's quite a technical side to analytics. Thankfully though, now there are many tools that can aid one in decomposing complex data into diagrams, which then become a lot easier to interpret. I've used tableau for data visualization with quite some positive results, and thank God i didn't have to do all that math!

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