Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Tour de France - The final placings

Congratulations Chris Froome and Team Sky. An amazing performance to hold on to the Yellow Jersey ahead of Nairo Quintana and team Movistar.

Check out your favourite riders by clicking on the image

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Tour 2015 - end of Week Two

The mountains, it's always the mountains. Check out the change in the General Classification positions throughout the last week stages. The craziness of the graph shows you how much was going on in some epic battles.

Still glad to see Chris Froome and Team Sky doing well with the Welsh wizard (Geraint Thomas) somehow keeping pace with the top climbers in the World.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Tour de France 2015 - The end of week one

So far so good for Team Sky fans after week one of the Tour de France 2015. Chris Froome is leading the way in to the first rest day after one of the most challenging opening weeks of the tour. Cross winds, crashes, 'pave' and two time-trials have trimmed the Tour field down to 185 riders who will carry on in to the Pyranees for week 2.

Two leaders (Cancellara and Martin) have crashed out in very dramatic fashion so as a Brit, I'll be hoping the same fate doesn't happen to the current leader.

When exploring the visualisation, click on the teams or riders to see how they are progressing through the General Classification

I'll be updating the visualisation as one of the toughest sporting events on the planet continues.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Final Keynote - Dr Hannah Fry – The Mathematics of Love

Human behaviour is full of patterns so mathematics can help us describe
Hannah challenged herself to find the question as far away from maths as possible
Peter Bakkus worked out how many women in the world would be ideal for him – he found out it was 26
-        Peter broke down the serialised elements of the population to work out how to go from the total population to the actual number
The science of love shows that you don’t know what you want until you have it
-        Don’t form a list!
The golden ratio is still perceived as a way to denote beauty
-        In architecture as well as beauty, this just isn’t science
Naturally symmetrical faces show a lack of childhood illness as children faces grow less symmetrically when ill
-        But for moving images we prefer asymmetry (we often move the right side of our mouths more than the left when speaking)
Hormones are the biological cause of the characteristics that we deem as beautiful – it’s all about fertility and higher reproduction possibility
Beauty isn’t everything – develop your charm!
To trick people in to thinking you are more attractive than you are then use the irrelevant alternative theory
-        Find a slightly less attractive wingman / wingwoman
You are statistically more likely to have an attractive partner if you approach them rather than waiting for them to come to you

Using OK Cupid data to analyse preference to attractiveness is really interesting
-        Lesson – don’t just rely on average values – look at the distribution
-        Find a ‘quirky’ partner and find less competition so play up on what makes you different
You can use Optimal Stopping theory of working out when to stop dating and settle down
-        For the first 37% of you dating time you reject everyone but after that find the best person you have come across after that 37% of time
-        Can be applied to house buying etc (Zebra fish do this)

Hannah’s favourite tip:
Gottman studied couples who had their contentious conversations filmed mapped the times that the individuals spoke and whether they were therefore low risk or high risk of divorce
-        They found a theory that matched 95% of the time
-        Having a low negativity threshold in your conversations are much stronger together

So the tip: Communicate often, honestly and positively. 

Tableau on Tour - Paul Banoub – Sweet Viz O’ Mine,Tableau at UBS

 Centre of Excellence at UBS and how it was developed
Paul’s role focuses on building the Tableau Service – Server, Desktop and improved use of visualisation best practices
-        Training & education – sessions design by me! (self-promotion)
-        Industry events – including London User Group – builds the relationship with Tableau
-        Consultancy Partnerships
-        Data Viz Community at the heart of the growth
This session is about the human side of the CoE and how to keep it growing, analysing it and turbo charging the improvement.
Try before you buy  (10 Server Interactor, 20 desktops) was how UBS started. Gave licences to people for only a couple of weeks but then took them away to allow someone else to try.
-        Obviously various people purchased to allow the growth to kick-off
-        Getting the Tableau Trail available for internal download was a big step forward
-        PoC should be about the full end-to-end experience and gaining analytical benefit
Establish the community
-        Users were slowly building < 100 in first year, < 300 in year two and now 1,300 in year three
Service Review Group
-        Get senior stakeholders on board and keep asking them questions
Create a great vibe
-        In a Tableau’s deployment case – use the Tableau vibe!
-        Make the content short and sweet
-        The Jive Connection page gives a hub to share activity and content
Maintaining & Growing Service
-        Invite people as soon as you have contact with someone
-        Get Tableau to help you bring you links in your own organisation who you might not be aware of
-        Tableau Touchpoint – get great at demoing and keep shouting about it
Making it fun, Make it Useful
-        Clearly show people how they can get started
-        Make it a Platform – allow others to tell their story and sell their own work that the service has enabled
-        Make it Passionate – be a little controversial
-        By getting others involved – a senior director got involved to write the .tps colour files for the team who had no direct involvement in the team
-        Use Postgres database to mine the actual data showing how your service is being used
-        Mark Jackson created some great content
-        Dave Hart from Interworks created a cracking set of custom admin views for UBS
The service has now grown to “where it isn’t a toy anymore”

Update regularly to keep users knowledgeable and informed about your service and where it is developing

Dr John Medina - Keynote

Molecular Biologist
We don’t know how the brain works to pick up a glass of water and drink it or write your name
-        The gap has been filled with lots of mythology
-        10% of your brain is being used is rubbish, it’s 40-50% when you are at rest
Human brain designed to solving problems in outdoor settings in changing conditions
-        Classrooms and offices are the antithesis of this

How to create a successful presentation:
1.      The attentional spotlight
2.      Three characteristics
3.      Integrating text and pictures

1.      The attentional spotlight
This is where you can filter everything else out around you and focus on one thing
Attentional spotlight theory – the brain is a generator and the speaker is the spotlight controller
-        Generator effects: Time of day; Quality of Sleep; State of Hunger
-        Spotlight: Emotional stimulus;
Two key parts of the brain in the Attentional Spotlight:
A.     Medial Parietal – scanning across your vision to determine if you have seen what you are seeing before and whether it is important
B.     Brodmann Area Ten (BA10): Allows you to switch attention to something. Only allows one switch at the time.
Because BA10 can’t switch more than once at the time – therefore you can’t multi-task

2.      Three known characteristics
A.     Chunking (temporal property)
a.      If you present a string of information, your brain looks for a pattern and then tries to create patterns
b.      Your brain wants to be given time to break up the information, store it and then take in the next amount of information
                                                    i.     How long is this? 10 minutes before the brain checks out. Attention builds up over time up to 10 mins but then drops off after 10 minutes
                                                   ii.     Give 10 minutes presentations – or break it up in to 10 minute chunks

B.     Meaning before detail
a.      Human brain processes meaning before detail. It looks at the Tiger’s mouth and not the individual teeth
b.      6 questions of meaning for the brain
                                                    i.     Will it eat me?
                                                   ii.     Can I eat it?
                                                  iii.     Can I have sex with it? (reproduction rather than just fun)
                                                  iv.     Will it have sex with me?
                                                   v.     Have I seen it before? (pattern matching)
                                                  vi.     Have I never seen it before?
c.      Resilience – Trauma at the genetic level – genes are better at protecting you from trauma. You shouldn’t describe the science – describe the resilience and why it matters
d.      Pattern matching – if you detect patterns your brain gives you a ‘dopamine lollipop’ ie a reward for
e.      Have to give your audience an emotionally competent stimulus every 10 minutes

C.     The importance of narratives
a.      Don’t know why the brain likes episodic memory but it does!
b.      You need 3 ingredients: 
                                                    i.     Timeline
                                                   ii.     Character (maybe you)
                                                  iii.     Event – often social but crisis
c.      63% of speech is recalled with a story. 5% recalled a statistic
d.      “The King died and then the Queen died” – brain loses attention
e.      “The King died and then the Queen died of grief” – Brain lights up – you have a story
Rules for the hooks
-        ECS should be short
-        ECS should be relevant – even illustrative
-        ECS more memorable if you can turn it in to a story

3.      Integrated Text and Pictures
Text and pictures should be present and if possible move
A.     Limit the amount of text – brain still wants to go through individual words and letters of the individual words
a.      The eye spends time looking at each letter and then the first and last letter. The brain doesn’t get better – words act as a cognitive bottleneck
b.      140 characters is similar to the amount of text information is put on to a slide
                                                    i.     Replace text with picture
                                                   ii.     50% is vision, 2% auditory and 8% to touch (% of cortex through surface area)
c.      256 images shown vs 256 words – wait 3 days and test with a set of images of what was seen before and not. Pictures correct 90% - Text only 10%. For a year it is 63% for images, text is c. 10% still

The little that we know about brain science allows us to tweak presentations to make some improvements – it’s not fully known yet though!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tableau on Tour - Robert Kosara – The Plot Thickens: Using Visualisation to Tell Stories about Data

Whilst judging a Visualisation – a fellow judge described something as ‘Just Visualisation’ and this started Robert thinking about what the levels of understanding include:
1.      Visualisation
2.      Context
3.      Story
New York Times wouldn’t use scatterplots 2 years ago but they are now used routinely as they were found to be understood.
Scatterplots – humans are good at drawing a trendline through a scatterplot but can’t draw the true diagonal line
-        Adding graduated lines to show trend lines at x% change helps the consumer appreciate the trend they are seeing (example from Hannah Fairfield and Graham Roberts at the New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/01/business/20090301_WageGap.html?_r=0)
-        Allows the reader to conduct analysis that was previously impossible
The ‘stepper’ in Tableau Storypoints is taken from News Media coverage

The Narrative Arch
1.      Question / Problem
2.      Logical Sequence / Narrative
3.      Conclusion / Resolution
Two key aspects tie together great story telling – Time and Sequencing
Connected Scatterplot with different segments annotated show an interesting way to show sequencing
-        Napoleon’s march by Minard is one of the most famous connected scatterplots
-        If Russia invaded France the chart might not work as well as it would not read as a western story (which we interpret as Left to Right)
Comics imply the way you should read them (like scroll-telling – scroll to reveal the story)
Animated storytelling like Hans Rosling and demographic change is compelling to the audience – showing grouping / hierarchies is an effective way to communicate the points (ie showing variation within regions)
Zeigarnik effect – theory of information only being retained whilst there is no interruption. Not revealing the answer is a way to make something more memorable – ie a cliff-hanger
-        Memory - http://www.amazon.com/Made-Stick-Ideas-Survive-Others/dp/1400064287 book recommendation from Robert
-        The way to pass on knowledge was by telling stories to pass on memories. Facts / memories have to connect together
-        In academic circles – the computer is the memory in analysis but you need to make someone remember the thing you told them if you want them to make a decision from the information you have shared

Robert Kosara will do a separate talk on how to take Media visualisations and build in Tableau at TC15 in Las Vegas – get it in your diaries now!

Tableau on Tour - Nik Stoychev from easyJet - To the Moon and Back (every day)

1,400 - 1,700 flights per day between 26 bases
Flying A319s and A320s
The planes generate a lot of data: ACARs (event triggers), Fuel Data, WOAR (Quick Access Recorder), Flight Planning Data
The data sources are numerous and varied. The plane often transfers the data when on the ground.
The co-ordinates for the planes used to have to be manually input but this is now automated through ACARs
Nik uses Alteryx to manipulate the data ready for visualisation in Tableau. The analysis done feeds in to the fuel efficiency overheads as EasyJet (as with all other airlines) have to carry at least x% of fuel (number not given) as a safety reserve.
Flight path accuracy used to be quite poor. It was previously enhanced with Excel. Now the work is done in Alteryx to make the process less manual and more efficient.

Bird strikes are shown as a slide of an Angry Bird being fired at an EasyJet plane – best slide so far this conference.
-        The desired goal is to match bird migration patterns with flight direction so the planes don’t get hit (and need to be serviced) and birds don’t die.

Lots of the reporting completed is for the benefit of the regulator as much as the business. Proving flight safety is very important and mapping the data against normal performance under stressed conditions (ie one engine only) what would happen?

Keynote - Dr Ben Goldacre

Keynote 2 – Dr Ben Goldacre – Author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma

1.      Big data (Dr Ben’s term not mine) is used to avoid falling victim to noise
Probability and distribution is vital when working average
Funnel plots are useful to demonstrate this pattern
“Everyone likes to think they are ‘just above’ but only half of us can be above the median”

Systematic Reviews (Meta-Analysis) are the best tests (next is randomised control trials) that you can run all the way through to ‘Ideas, Opinions and Editorials’
-        Science is built on test rather than authority as it should be about clarity and evidence rather than thought
-        PHDs can be bought – Ben did for his dead cat!

Scientific studies get blown out of proportion – findings are often laboratory based and can’t be related to human-world reality
Correlation and Causation – normally at the heart of the issues of bogus claims
Running true Randomised Trials is difficult to close off any other factors
-        “People take a really long time to die and that’s really annoying for medical research”
-        Can’t gloss over the issues of your data set – you have to highlight
Randomised control trial example
-        200 people with headaches
-        Randomly split them in to 2
-        Half get the new pill, half get the old pill
o   Get scores to the changes
Mapping Drug Prescription variance across the UK is very different. In one of the most advanced countries where medical treatment is near at hand, there should be little variation as the decisions should be based on data and not opinion of medical administrators.
The same information about small chances to improved survival rates are inferred differently by different people
-        Chemotherapy usage to increase life expectancy a little or prolong life further for example
Dr Ben argues for providing patients with evidence and information to allow the patient to make logical choices
-        Doctors are given targets that are driving their behaviour that are directly effecting their patients
Should be monitoring the impact of drug assignment on the public by just collecting data about the outcome that just doesn’t get monitored.
Need better data; need better data hygiene to make truly informed decisions and resolve uncertainty
-        There is no urgency to fix this issue as doctors have to learn to ignore the human side

-        The lack of empathy is what is causing the impotence of the decision

Tableau on Tour - Optimising Dashboard Performance - Mrunal Shridhar

You need to start thinking about performance right from the start of your design. If you leave it to the end, it is probably too late.
Basic principles – “it sounds like I’m being a parent. I’m just being practical”
1.      Everything in moderation
2.      If it isn’t fast in the database, it won’t be in Tableau (unless you are using Extracts)
3.      If it isn’t fast in desktop, it won’t be fast in Server
.tde’s up to a few hundred million rows of data – don’t replace your data warehousing solutions
Flat files are opened in a temporary location and therefore doesn’t make anything faster. It’s using RAM. Use an extract to apply indexing.
Server will only beat Desktop when you are hitting the server cache (remember folks, server caching has improved a lot in v9)
4 major processes in desktop:
1.      Connect to data
a.      Native connection vs Generic ODBC (use the driver so it is fast and robust)
                                                    i.     Slow loads could be to a lack of referential integrity
                                                   ii.     Custom SQL is respected by Tableau and avoids join culling etc
2.      Executing Query
a.      Aggregations, Calculated Fields and Filters
b.      Calcs – use Boolean instead of IF? Remove String manipulation and DATEPART()
c.      Filters – often the culprit of slow performance
3.      Computing Layout
a.      Marks, Table Calcs and Sorting
b.      Adding labels and working out if the labels are overlapping that is likely to take a long time
c.      Table Calcs are happening locally so consider pushing back to the data source
4.      Computing Quick Filters
a.      If something isn’t likely to change than having to populate the list of filter options. Dropdowns and wildcard are better as they don’t need to be pre-populated.

Visual Pipeline
Query > Data > Layout > Render
1.      Query – query database, cache results
2.      Data – Local data joins (location data from Tableau joining together with data set), Local calcs, local filters, Totals, Forecasting, Table Calcs, 2nd Pass filters, Sort
3.      Layout – Layout Views, Compute Legends, Encode marks
4.      Render – Marks, Selection, Highlighting, Labels

Parallel aggregations in v9 really make a difference
External query cache (aka persistent query cache) – the cache is being written to the disk
Multiple data engines – have helped but Query Fusion will assist by working out the common dimensions / aggregations and then working out locally what data is needed for each visualisation

The visual pipeline allows you think about what is happening.
To put the measure on level of detail will help with speed of interactivity

Mrunal uses 144 million rows of flight data to explore performance issues
-        Shows full list for filtering (expensive) and three quick filters (all having to be queried for each stage)
-        Relative date filter or range date filters are faster than date part filters
Using views for filters improves performance and the use of dashboard actions make life faster
Adding parameterised filter to the data source moves it up in the order of operations making your data source smaller, sooner
Mrunal and I will disagree about what the better User Experience is between filters and actions. When labelled well, I personally think dashboard actions make for a lot better experience and keeps you focused on the dashboard rather than the tool.

Aggregate to ‘Visible Dimensions’ is a great data granularity saver. ‘Hide All Unused Fields’ make the data set thinner.

Tableau on Tour - One Shade of Orange - Paul Chapman

Paul is co-host of the London Tableau User Group

BI Journey
EasyJet profit by seat of £8.12
65 million passengers per year, with 85% on time performance. 1,500 staff in HQ
Two key values – Safety first, Customer Focus
BI theme – getting the whole picture for agile decision making
3 years ago – data and reporting outsourced to 3rd parties (read “slow & expensive”)
Could only get part of the story as the data sets were too large for the data set being analysed

2 desktop licence proof-of-concept
EasyJet partnered with The Information Lab for server deployment, training, mapping support etc
Focused on rolling out to ‘Purple people’ (a mix of analytics and business skills)
CEO asked for the demo to be in their own data – Paul made it so it already was!
Paul wanted to change standards of reporting to create consistency and introduce visualisation best practice
Starting to look at Alteryx to support the Tableau work

Viz Standards
Paul condensed down Stephen Few’s guidelines to create better analytics
Orange, Grey and Blue introduced to get away from Red, Amber and Green
Information Buttons on dashboards to help Consumers make the most of their data
What is going to be different for the CEO? Paul’s honest answer was not a lot apart from speed. Paul highlighted the 4 or 5 chains of command the request goes through to cobble together the ‘beautified question’.
-        “Tangible changes to the way that our analysts work”

Live Demos
Paul took us through a full safety briefing before introducing his live demos
Blending aircraft communcations with PlaneFinder.net API to track routes actually flown
Using Tableau to show the difference between expected journey vs actually flown (timing and fuel usage)
Using routes against maps to see how the pilot is making choices to avoid noise pollution for wealthy areas

Allocated seating – 3 price rows when introduced
Analyse was completed on these numbers. Paul and the team used Tableau to show a custom background image to show where people were sitting on a flight. Different images used to show the different planes.
People are prepared to pay to sit as far forward as possible for the least price.
EasyJet board use their iPads instead of their laptops to consume their dashboards

Paul is testing deploying dashboards through the Apple Watch to keep decision makers close to their data / information.

Birdstrikes are an issue for EasyJet and are therefore monitoring when and where they are happening to insure the correct maintenance is being done to their aircraft.

Showing the impact of strikes by French Aircraft control can help the company understand how to respond to such issues. 

Tableau on Tour London 2015 - Keynote

Opening Keynote

Andy Cotgreave takes the stage…
Attendees arriving from all over the UK, Europe and in to the Middle East and Africa (yes there was a viz to prove that!)

James Eiloart – Extending Our Senses, Unleashing the Human Intellect with Tableau
Making discoveries with data is what making working with data so exciting
Neil DeGrasse-Tyson describes discovery using the metaphors of light – what if we could look through infra-red or night-vision
-        Tolame in Ancient Egypt sees that stars are moving across the night sky and therefore assume everything is rotating round the Earth. He was limited by technology that couldn’t test his theory further.
-        17th Century – two dutch inventory use a convex lens and concave lens in the same tube. They just invented the Telescope
-        Later in that century – Galileo turns the telescope to the night’s sky. Technology helps the findings and discoveries grow even further
-        1920s – US Prohibition kicks in – Hubble discovers stars are spread across the universe. Hubble had the same data set (the night’s sky) but he had the technology to support his discoveries to see the infinite (discuss!!) expanse

Francois Ajenstat – new in v9 – Smart Meets Fast
Faster performance, smart maps, LoD expressions, data preparation and New Server & Online
The developments keep coming!
Tableau 9.0 adopted 70% faster than 8.2 (the Mac and R release!)
Tableau Online ‘Analytics in the Cloud’
-        SAML support, SSL Connectivity, SSAE-16
-        Live DB Connectivity
-        Online Sync
-        Custom Logos, Embedding
Tableau Online – is Tableau Server but just a hosted version so it gives you online authoring too (desktop in your browser)
For on-premise synchronisation – there is now the ability to sync to the premise rather than having to go to the cloud for each update
Tableau 9.1 updates that are coming
-        Enterprise – 2-way SSL, Sync Active Direcotry on a Schedule, Auto Update (update your desktop)
-        Data – SAP Improvements (SAP HANA Single-Sign-On, Prompts, SAP BW Extracts), Support for Google Cloud SQL & Microsoft Azure DW, Adding a Web Data Connector
-        Analytics – Updates to the Analytic pane
-        Mobile – 9.1 app update will be a big step forward
Web Connector to Google Sheets, Facebook stats etc opens up a whole load of possibilities for new visualisation and analysis. Allows Tableau to link in to Quandl too (Francois showing off Craig’s Quandl connector)
-        Median with 95% Confidence Interval (listening to customer feedback)
-        Calculation Editor now in Filter dialogue box
-        Allowing the map to stop paning/zooming
-        Radial map selector – now showing meters / miles on the radial
-        Offline sync allows you to explore your data on the move
-        Your favourites will be offline sync’d by manual log-in but auto-updates coming in later versions

-        App is a compliment to the server but the new features will only work with v9.0 or v9.1

The Information Lab live blogging from the Tableau On Tour conference in London