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The100: Data visualisation, designed systems, and marble runs

Ear candy

The Right Honourable Lord of Marketing, Russell Davies, was interviewed as part of Google’s excellent Firestarters series. On data, he said (45:00): 

“The data gold rush era is declining. We’ve never had more data about our customers and we understand them less and less […] People with intuition and empathy will get disproportionate results and start to be rewarded for that”

Whilst The Right Honourable Lord of Planning, Martin Weigel, spoke along a similar thread: 

“There is no substitute for a face to face conversation with a member of your audience […] Because when you’re talking about audiences and brands and strategies, who do we imagine in our mind’s eye when we’re doing that? I think an abstract avatar probably these days increasingly versus, I could readily imagine what a Sheffield beer drinker looks like, because I talk to them.”

Dangerously homogeneous

Continuing his ability to upend my brain, Rory Sutherland has written about evolved systems vs. designed systems. The former creates many complementary answers, whilst the latter provides just one. 

“This distinction may explain the phenomenon during the pandemic of a shortage of PPE but no noticeable shortage of jam. The vagaries of consumer taste create a high level of redundancy in the jam market, while centrally procured PPE was vulnerable to single bottlenecks: all masks required elastic ear-loops […] Where there were consumer shortages, it was in toilet paper and Marmite, for which there are few substitutes.”

The Digerati

Talking of many complimentary answers, could this be the reason for various acquisitions of DNVB/DTC brands by manufacturers? Sam Brealey looks at whether DNVB/DTC is just a launch phase for brands today.

“The digerati will say that DNVB is the future for business and that massive brands can learn from them. I’m sure many can learn from them, as I mentioned regarding Dollar Shave Club – but the idea that a new era of disruptive competition being ushered in is pants.”

The epidemic of feedback

A thread to make you laugh. And cry. All at the same time. Here are some of the best, worst feedback requests. Eurgh.

Finger, meet wind

YouGov recently published their research into our ability to estimate the size of demographic groups. The biggest overestimation is ‘members of a union’ (estimate 35%, actual 4%). The biggest underestimation is ‘people who read a book in the last year’ (estimate 50%, actual 77%):

Bar chart racing

Max Roser asked the Twittersphere for examples of great data visualisation and there were some excellent responses. 

One that Neil Perkin recently shared was on the past, present and future global population. Those of us who are alive now are about 6.8% of all people who have ever lived. 

Many lost marbles

And finally, who doesn’t want to watch marbles being made? On what is effectively a huge marble run. Ace.