David McCandless: Data Visualization

David McCandless talks of data visualization and how to Transform Data into Stories through Infographics during this podcast

Episode 323: Visual Storytelling – Transforming Data into Stories through Infographics

David McCandless is the #1 data visualization expert. But what is that? “Data visualization?” That answer, and much more can be found in this explosive episode of The James Altucher Show.

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The competition was intensifying. It was at an all time high. As a print journalist, David McCandless was finding it harder and harder to sell his stories. The topics he was interested in were too niche for mainstream media. So he had to find a way to stand out. To reinvent.

I wanted to know how he did this. What led him to become the #1 data visualization expert, ever?

“There was a particular article I was researching,” David said. “It was very complicated. And I thought ‘I just cannot track all the perspectives in this article. So I’m gonna draw it.’ I drew it out like a sketch,” David said.

He created one diagram.

“I had a little ping moment,” David said. An “ah-ha” moment.

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“Anything you’re interested in can be visualized.”

Each story had another story inside it. Like humans. Or Russian stacking dolls.

And he started to accurately see what was going on around him. And it made him less anxious in life.

He gave me an example.

Plane Crashes… why do they happen?

David examined every single fatal air passenger crash in the last 20 years. He was searching for the root cause of each one.

Human error? Machine error?

And he studied all the details.

When did it crash? When did it take off? What time of day? What airline? He was looking for  patterns.

Ideas for a world out of balance… sent straight to your inbox!

My goal is to deliver to you a fresh perspective…

Something to help you make sense of the chaos.

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Because he wanted to make sense of chaos. He wanted to minimize his own risk.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense (David’s story). Because it’s representative of life. He started in journalism. The space was crowded. He wasn’t fulfilled. He moved on.

He looked at data. And it became intuitive.

He found his new self. And he told me this:

“You’re not tied to a vertical, linear depiction of information. It’s a bit more enjoyable. It’s like a roam. It’s like a walk through the woods. See what you can find.”

He’s made data ENGAGING. And fun. I was just exploring when I took a look at his infographics. And the data sparked so many different questions in my head.

It’s memorable. And it starts the conversation.

David’s created over 600 data visualizations ranging from dogs to politics.

He’s created stories from ideas. He used data and visualization and creativity to make sense of the world.

I always like to find out how the listener can apply this in their everyday life.

And maybe, with this one, you can’t. But instead, I step back. And appreciate that someone figured out how to make the world a little less complicated for himself. He followed his own internal compass. And made life less random. Less blinding.

More visual.

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Links and Resources

 

Also Mentioned

  • One of the first infographics from 1869 by Charles Minard depicting Napoleon’s March in Russia in 1812

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