Aug 6 2012

To Infinity and Beyond

I’m moving this blog to another domain and at the same time renaming it, so please bookmark: http://renegadestories.com

Why and other things will be next up.

 

Stay tuned on another domain…


Jun 12 2012

When visualization tells another story

I’m meticulous and have a keen sense for details, or maybe just stupid. Probably both. But I have reacted every time I go in on a certain Web page I visit a lot and have to get this out of the system.

What does this tell you?

 

 

 

I know that according to The Forbes Fast Tech 25: Our Annual List Of Growth Kings - QlikTech Inc. are the third fastest growing company in the USA, and that’s just fantastic and I’m proud to be involved. Even so just a bit in the periphery.

And not to advanced guess would be that it’s a podium with LinkedIn as winner, Apple as second runner-up and QlikTech as third runner-up. And the arrow in the background just symbolize the speed this fast-moving companies move with.

But combined? In my world the arrow creates another story where you, with a quick look, read from left to right. And that would make Apple as a winner, and LinkedIn in second spot. But it should be the opposite around…

The lesson from this? Always check your visualization so the data and the visual tells the same story.

 

I said it, move on, and stay tuned…


Jun 8 2012

#FollowFriday

Do you use #FollowFriday on Twitter each Friday? I do, again. There was a time when I didn’t do this because there were just to many people writing to many interesting things to acknowledge. But I changed my mind and are trying to highlight interesting friends I have interacted with during the last week. After reading this article about “How to Use #FollowFriday Properly to Build Your Business” I will rethink my use of #FollowFriday again.

#FollowFriday is a longstanding tradition on Twitter and a way to help people find new and interesting accounts to follow. That was then, this is now. And to be honest – how many of those lists appearing every Friday do you actually read and check out the persons bio and some of their Tweet. Close to none I would guess…

And if you appear on a #FollowFriday list – do you retweet it to say thank you, creating even more lists for other followers with random meaningless names? Of course you should thank the person – if someone thinks your an interesting person to follow and will go the distance and encourage that, there must be a sincere thank you to follow. I’m sick an d tired of one way communication on Twitter – people may do great and inspiring things, but if they can’t interact and use Social Media other like a megaphone – are they really worth your #FollowFriday?

I will rethink this and go back to the basics – as is the opportunity to compliment people whose content you genuinely value, and to build stronger relationships. So from this week and on I will be guided by three simple rules:

1. Be sincere – I will only send out suggestions for accounts that I enjoy follow and get inspired by. People I think others would like as well. That suggest that you must have a strong presence in Social Media. It could also be people I would like to encourage to do what they do, people I admire but don’t have that strong presence, but should have so that others could benefit from their passion.

2. Be specific – There must be a clearly explained WHY behind each recommendation. Not just a list of people.

3. Keep it exclusive – I build my Social Media presence on a high standard, so why should a lower that standard when it comes to #FollowFriday? And if your recommendations don’t thank you – exclude them next week, or question yourself – are they worth it?

Clearly stated, yes. Harder to live by – probably. We’ll see in a couple of hours.

 

Stay tuned…


May 22 2012

Decision Visualization

While qool, powerful and well done visualizations help simplify complex data, creating a visualization that not only helps expresses complex data but also assists in the decision making process is a true winner.

You should think outside the box when it comes to visualization and storytelling to better help the Business User in Decision Support. But visualization is only half the equation. Someone is still forced into using that data to make a decision. So if visualization can help simplify the data, can it also help with making a decision? Of course it can – think Decision Visualization!

We deliver the numbers with a concise visual, and our job is done – but is it? We’ve actually done all the easy work and left the hard work to the client. They have to look at all the data and figure out the possible decisions to make. Decision visualization in a nutshell is creating a visualization that not only easily conveys complex data, but also assists individuals in their decision making process. Having data visualizations help individuals arrive at a decision is an innate characteristic of all visuals. The challenge is that they are not normally designed with that specific objective in mind. It’s important to understand the decisions being made. So start with asking questions to better understand how they make decisions – What else do they involve in making decisions, what questions are they trying to make from the reports, and what signals do they look for to take action?

Starting with collaboration an asking question will help you understand how to craft your visualization and shift from creating a data visualization to a decision visualization.

 

Stay tuned…

 

[Inspired by “Use Decision-Driven Visualization to Activate (Big) Data” by Lee Feinberg]


May 16 2012

Qlikchat

So, apparently a #Qlikchat was a bright idea. Now we just have to schedule a time that fits different timezones and a day. Friday is out of the question – we don’t want to run anything on the same day as #BIWisdome – instead a encourage you to participate in that chat. Ok – it starts at the completely wrong time for me in the Nordics – Friday evenings, but it’s a really good Tweetchat…

I will make this happen – but when and about what is up to you. Feel free to come up with interesting topics regarding everything QlikView related. It could be everything from feelings, marketing, design to technical stuff like extensions. But it’s important to remember that this is not a QlikCommunity! We set a topic, and than maybe we can bring up some expertise to participate in the chat. The rule is easy – we set a topic and we chat about it, share thoughts and inspire each other. Comment ideas in this post or simply connect on Twitter.

Now, why? After participating in #BIWisdome I thought that why not use Social Media to create a forum different than QlikCommunity, where we can connect, engage, share wisdom and inspire each other. And of course – discuss things about QlikView and QlikTech. And to get even more buzz and product advocacy around the product is not a bad thing.

This idea should be run by QlikTech – but that won’t happen for a couple of reasons. Some of which I have blogged about… So I’m start this up and we will see where it will go!

 

Stay tuned…

Toby

 


May 10 2012

Personal Discovery

Here are some thoughts and inspiration for the weekend. A ran across this article in The Boston Globe. It’s about a subject discussed before, and a subject that sets a higher expectation on Business Discovery – namely Personal Discovery. Thanks to an array of gadgets and apps, we can track all sorts of personal information, but what does it really tell us about ourselves? Maybe not so much, except to be inspired to more achievements.

Many of us – including me – live our lives through various apps. And I’m all in digital. We track almost everything we do in RunKeeper, TripIt, FitBit, Sleep Cycle – you name it. And through the numbers we hope for some more self-knowledge and inspiration. And that’s fine.

But what’s more important is that all this tracking of data and information, and that we take for granted that there’s an app form almost everything, sets a new standard when it comes to Business Discovery that needs to be taken in consideration. Why should it be so much harder to track data and gain insight when it comes to work? This is one of the core values in Business Discovery and we need to emphasize this more to attract the modern Business User, so he understands the Power of QlikView when it comes to Decision Support. And it’s not just bits and pieces of information – QlikView give you an overview that will help with decision making no matter where the data comes from.

BTW – more can be learned about Personal Discovery through Michael Anthony, a designer at QlikTech, or through Erica Drivers blog post about him and personal discovery.

But there’s a danger to be ruled by numbers – the gaming and competitive aspects make it easy to loose track of your real goals. It’s all just bits and pieces of information that overwhelms us.  – “If a woman spends an entire day walking around the San Diego Zoo but neglects to charge her FitBit, did she get any exercise?”

So explore the data, but don’t loose your goal, and use a Decision Support tool to help tell the story!

 

Stay tuned…


May 9 2012

The Art of Visualization

It makes sense that interest in business intelligence visualization is increasing, given the highly visual nature of trends in both consumer and enterprise technology: big screens, HD, iPads, eReaders and smartphones. Everyone wants data served up in high resolution, with sharp color and the best graphics, in day-to-day life.

Visualization is a lot like a microscope – taking something you can’t see and bringing it into the scale of perception. With the help of visualization we can bring data alive. I recently read about Aaron Koblin, who is the head of the Google Data Arts Team. He has temporally mapped text messages in New York for example. “You really understand a lot about cities from flows,” he says. That’s Business Discovery on a higher level – use visualization to see pattern otherwise hidden. He have also worked with sonification: sound reiterating what you see, helping to “storify” information, especially for those who are pitch-sensitive. “You can turn data into rhythms,” says Mr. Koblin, such as cable-box data. “CNBC has a constant rhythm, really local. But CNN is really event-driven – and you get these crazy spikes.”

This is something we should take on consideration when it comes to designing state of the art Business Discovery apps to help Business Users gain more insight. “Data visualization helps us quickly grasp both patterns and outliers, via both general-purpose techniques and tools that are specialized for particular information types and business purposes,” said Seth Grimes, and I couldn’t agree more. Visualization has always been important in BI – because it helps us gain business insights from data and effectively communicate what we see. This can be a real advantage when trying to understand complex business data faster and more deeply than in the past. Business intelligence tasks can benefit greatly from the use of information visualization techniques.

So start think outside the box when it comes to visualization and let the data tell a story. Here’s a little storytelling inspiration with highlights from Star Wars explained in mini infographics.

 

Stay tuned…


Apr 23 2012

Reflections from Qonnections – Part 1

So it has begun!

Qonnections 2012 has officially started! It have been a great first day but with little substance. The first real activity was the registration that went by in a blink. Just a tick in the box. Before the Nordic Session that I attended we had some time to spend at the pool, and thanks to the weather it even was a pleasant time.

The Nordic Session was great! A time to finally connect to friends and Partners, with a lot of time to mingle. And even if I hadn’t seen some of the people since last Qonnections it felt like it was yesterday… There was a short informative presentation, of which I will not write about the here – I refer to my Twitter timeline for that. A reflection – isn’t it typical Swedish, or should I say Nordic, to give prices to everything we can come up with? No wonder the word “lagom” doesn’t exist in any other language. But it was great that the first award was about changing the world and the Let’s Do It movement,  it puts everything else in perspective. Big congratulations to Partner Infovara!

Next activity was the Reception -  and a set back that it couldn’t be held outside due to rain and hard winds during the day. It was a bit messy inside… Overall a great but strange evening! Great to connect with so many friends from different part of the world – friends that really are interested about what’s going on. Not so great not to be able to connect to any QlikTech people – some of course, and that was a treat, but where was every one? I know there were just to many people to make connecting easy, but there shouldn’t be that hard to fix. Why not present key people from QlikTech and seat them where everyone can find them. Ok – I have really been looking forward to finally meet with some of the friends from various Social Media channels, but when you listen to many Partners and friends they feel great about working with QlikView, but have a nagging feeling about not knowing about how to connect. There’s just no answer. And tonight was just another proof of that. Qonnections – right? But please prove me wrong! And I did try… In the words of a partner -“QlikTech, they’re not using Social Media.” And the talk about QlikTech becoming just another toy in the hands of venture capitalists is worrying to say the least!

After a sudden end it all died and the bar took over as a meeting point. And that was end of the story for me. I really looking forward to what tomorrow may bring, and to the hunt of the elusive QlikTech friends…

Stay tuned…

 

[Picture taken from Natasha Mutepuka - thanks!]


Apr 22 2012

Reflections from Qonnections – Introduction

I sometimes comes up with brilliant plans . If this is one of those, or a not so brilliant remains to be seen.

I currently sits on a plane across the Atlantic, heading to Miami and the annual QlikView Global Partner Summit at Hotel Fontainebleau, in Miami Beach. It will be great to see and reconnect with friends again, and most important get to know QlikTech better.

A couple of days ago a came up with the idea to make a short suite of blog post based on reflection from Qonnections, the people and the sessions we attend to. Hopefully I will pull this through with the help from friends and guest writers. So here it comes – an open invitation to participate in this, bring up topics and, maybe, write a few lines.

The idea I simple – at least on paper. Think of a thought, idea or mindset that have been dominant or influencing you on a session or a day, write about it and hit publish. Easy?

I will hopefully try to see beyond all functions and features to the underlaying values, and the belief they have been driven by. I’m relapsing to WHY!

Why do QlikTech do what they do, and is that belief or cause communicated in everything they do, and how they do it? And if not, how can we help to steer them back to the right course?

I solemnly accuse Amy Jo Martin for the renewed thinking around The Power of Why, because I stumbled, not stumbled – looking forward to new blog post from her to get inspired by. And today there was one regarding the journey to Why. Great read!

I know for certain that me and QlikTech align very well when it comes to the same belief. But there have been times lately when there is questions to be raised on how things are handled and communicated. I can easily take two examples, the first one is the (in)famous Magic Quadrant where QlikTech is a leading star – GREAT work everyone by the way. If you follow their track the last two years the change lies in the Completeness of Vision. Why is that they have a stronger Ability to Execute but have lost ground in Completeness of Vision. It probably can be tracked to a large growth over the last years, but a large growth should enable a stronger communication of the core valued – the Why?

The second example is the lack of engagement and interaction, or the present of silence if you will, in Social Media. I have had a lot of questions about this and why they’re not using Social Media channels to interact with their first and foremost product advocates – their Partners. Not even on direct questions. If you’re a company you have to embrace Social Media to it’s full extent and that is about listening, sharing and interacting. If your not, you can easily be marked as ignorant an uninteresting. And know this – the road up is always longer then the road down.

This is becoming a long elaboration on an introduction, and I think you get the point. Interact through Social Media and bring up topics or thoughts. I will do my best to get them in print, and hopefully get a little help from friends. And know this – you don’t have to be att Qonnections to participate! So it doesn’t matter if you are Cindy B Harder, Donald Farmer, Toni Iafrate or Erica Driver – I would love some input…

Stay tuned…

 

By the way – The League of eXtraordinary Qliketeers will cross your path during Qonnections and I know, from a well informed source, that they strive to add an extra value to what it means to be a Partner and to QlikCommunity. Go green!


Apr 22 2012

Brain and Business Discovery

BrainThere’s not such thing as multitasking! The brain can focus on one thing, recall something of importance and have the ability to refocus and act on another due to it’s significance. But it can’t go in three directions at the same time. The implication of multitasking is that you are somehow performing several tasks at once, but trying to do a multiplicity of tasks well at the same time usually leads to one end – all of those tasks done inadequately or incompletely. Why – because the brain doesn’t work that way.

We’re simply not designed to attend to multiple inputs and perform many task at once. On the other hand, we have an innate and marvelous ability to focus on one subject but very quickly pull our attention off and apply the same level of focus on something else that we have rapidly surmised is of greater importance. Is this of some importance when we set out to design and build a word class Business Discovery app. Or do we have this in mind and think and design in a more storytelling way? In a storylike visualization of data the Business Users should be able to follow along and then instantly refocus of something of importance, and then shift sets, jump, to that thread and act upon it, thanks to the ability of a Business Discovery tool that puts all power in the hand of the Business User.

The shift of set, refocus or jump brings new insights, new ideas and new thoughts that will improve your performance on the task temporarily left behind. You can’t force these jumps, or set shifting – it’s almost like a state of mind. But you can encourage them in the visualization you presenting. The nature of QlikView as a Business Discovery tool will make it possible to directly change direction.

I can’t help thinking about a buzz word in business years ago – Silo busting. It was about thinking outside your own department to stimulate interchange and interaction with different parts of the organization, leading to new productive collaborations. With a Business Discovery tool that happens by default – everyone that have seen the faces on Business Users starting their first collaborative session in QlikView 11 knows what I’m talking about. It’s a fact that the greatest discoveries often happens in the cracks between or among silos, or specialities. When a potential shift present itself, when your brain signals for attention, there’s a decision to be mad. Engage your thought and feelings and make a beautiful decision.

I think it’s time to rethink our design and visualization of data to more align with how the brain works. A Business Discovery tool like QlikView can be a great help. But QlikView can also develop more to how we think and act as humans. The brain contains of several networks that inform us, organize us and helps us make decisions. The first I an alerting network that sorting thorough all information that we meet. And the less information – the better altering… Second, there’s an orientation network that enables you to react to the new course. And last, there is a  executive network that controls your feeling, action and thinking – your responses.

The goal is to see the bigger picture and act on it. But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all information that we have in our hand today. But rest in this – our brain have the capability to handle it all if we just work with it, not against it. A Business Discovery tool should too.

Stay tuned…

 

With inspiration from “Organize Your Mind, organize Your Life” by Margaret Moore and Dr. Paul Hammerness.