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Speaker Series: Kim Rees of Periscopic

  • Jan 29, 2013 · 6:00 PM

Kim Rees of Periscopic: Living, Breathing Data

 

Hi everyone and Happy New Year!

I'm very excited to announce the first of our Speaker Series events, where we'll be bringing in leaders in the field of data visualization from all over the world. For our first event I am excited to announce the Kim Rees, cofounder of Periscopic (http://periscopic.com), a data visualization firm based in Portland.


Kim Rees (http://twitter.com/krees) is a personal hero of mine and has done some amazing, important, and socially conscious work. It is with great pleasure that we are finally able to invite her to speak to our group. Kim has presented at Visualized, Strata, OSCON, VisWeek, and Wolfram Data Summit among others. She is also an advisor to the US Congressional Budget Office and is a guest blogger for Infosthetics and FlowingData.


This event will be held at Yelp, and we will be charging a small fee for entry. Pizza and beer will be provided. Due to demand if you'd like to attend you must purchase a ticket from the event page here:

http://baydatavis-jan-2013.eventbrite.com/

 

Please feel free to message or get in touch @baydatavis with any questions. Cheers!

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  • Rich M.

    I don't know why some meeting venues play loud music during the social periods before and after presentations. In any case, I wish they would refrain from doing so.

    The music (whether pleasant or not) gets in the way of conversation, which is really the goal of these periods. If you are putting on this sort of event, please rein in the AV folks.

    1 · January 30, 2013

    • Harold B.

      I didn't mind the music at all. I think Yelp did a wonderful job. Kudos to Yelp.

      January 30, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I Minded. I went and hid in the back meeting room with earplugs in until the actual meeting started.

      May 16, 2013

  • Rich M.

    The gunshot graphic projected a plausible life expectancy for each individual who was killed, based on actuarial information. I strongly suspect that the life expectancies used were those of the general population. If so, they were probably significantly optimistic for a large fraction of the cases.

    Most people who get shot (I suspect :-) are living in dangerous areas (or with dangerous relatives), working in dangerous jobs, etc. So, for example, a young urban black male has a higher chance of getting shot than his white counterpart in the suburbs. I don't know how much of this information was available to Periscopic, however.

    January 30, 2013

    • Kim R.

      Anya, I couldn't describe the piece more eloquently than you did in your "part 2" comment.

      1 · February 1, 2013

    • Harold B.

      Kim,
      We agree, I just hope data visualization professions will keep focus on the goal of not distorting information. Precision is a mater of degree, a trade off of effort and clarity in communication. I do fear that if the goal is primarily to tell a story, that not only percision may suffer, but also the basic validity of the story. I think it is important to step back, take a fresh look at our visualizations and ask ourselves how much it distorts the underlying data.

      February 1, 2013

  • Staeppan S.

    I found it very interesting the process and team involved in creating final information displays. Reminded me somewhat of movie production where the script is not really written at the beginning of the project. Seems like Periscopic has defined themselves at the high end of visualization consultants. The project funders must have quite a bit of money to throw at this kind of effort with that many people billing project hours and doing all that custom art work and programming. Unfortunately many of us are stuck within companies working alone or on very small teams with tight deadlines using only approved software like Excel, SAS, SAP BusinessObjects or IBM Cognos. Makes me jealous.

    I really appreciate the emphasize on personalization and emotional content of narrative delivered by displays of data even if some of the specific examples given by Kim can be nit picked.

    Thank you Kim for sharing with us even through you were not feeling your best.

    1 · January 30, 2013

    • Kim R.

      Staeppan, I completely understand your frustration at being stuck with approved software. However, I think those tools aren't all bad. I actually love working with Tableau. It may not put out our end result, but it makes pretty charts that communicate well. These tools aren't known for their aesthetics. I recommend looking to http://www.excelchart...­ for prettying up Excel and other charts.

      February 1, 2013

  • Gustavo R.

    I'm new in this 'field' so I joined this MeetUp hoping to learn from the professionals in this group. What's next in the agenda? Thanks.

    1 · January 31, 2013

  • Warren E.

    Kim's point, I believe, was to show how to humanize data. Because her aggregation of the data was around ethnicity, however, she was essentially portraying ethnic stereotypes. She chose a very poor example of what was probably an otherwise valid approach to making data more interesting.

    My take away from Kim Rees presentation was to be vigilant of emotional pitfalls when working with data. She fell into an overly emotional attachment to one interpretation of the data. I doubt that was the intention of her presentation but that was my key take away.

    January 30, 2013

    • Harold B.

      On the murder arc graphic. I did like it, but consider if you were to place confidence intervals around those projected life arcs. You wouldn't be able to see any arcs. That is also an important point that is misrepresented by showing clear arcs that in reality are not so clear. That aspect of the true nature of the data is conveniently lost, in service of driving home a specific message. Then again, a single graphics can't portray all relevant messages.

      1 · January 30, 2013

    • Warren E.

      CORRECTION: "overtly" instead of "overly" Thanks for catching that.

      January 31, 2013

  • Wes G.

    Great work is the result of passion for what you do. If you don't understand this, you won't understand many of the speakers the this group has invited out. Kim is no exception and her talk last night was a very rich, powerful talk that touches on a topic most people overlook in their daily lives. That most data we work with is entirely human driven.

    I strongly encourage people to better inform themselves about the future events they go to. Before they go and before they decide to bitch about it. 90% of the complaints I've read are misguided and I truly hope last night has disenchanted you from attending further meetings at the Data Visualization Group. We have only had passionate speakers (myself included) and I doubt that will change in any foreseeable future.

    1 · January 30, 2013

    • Kiera W.

      Clearly, Kim's talk resonated with many as this is a lengthy discussion. It is healthy to bring different points of view to discuss work. As these visualizations are meant to educate and inform, it does not seem right to condescend to those who express their opinion or have questions about the content.

      2 · January 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Loved it! Thank you Kim, Sha and Yelp for taking the time to offer this opportunity to all of us!

    January 30, 2013

  • Dan R.

    As a journalist, I found this talk right up my alley -- telling human stories is what journalism is all about. I imagined during the talk that more engineering-focused people might be less interested, but I think it's a useful wakeup call for anyone trying to get other people to care about data. Mostly, people care about other people, critters, places they've been, etc. We're just animals, after all. Related data to those kinds of human connections, and you can be more effective in getting folks to care about your data. Now, if you're publishing in a science journal or trying to make very analytical judgements about system behavior or something, that might be counterproductive. But that's not what Periscopic does.

    January 30, 2013

  • Warren E.

    DRAMA OVER DATA
    Kim Rees presentation was interesting but not for the reasons that she intended. Her premise was "While you are working with data, don't lose track of the human lives behind the data." She used very emotionally charged data - murder statistics, rape statistics, income by ethnicity - without insight beyond what could have been made with less dramatic cases. On one slide, Kim showed personal income data that included ethnicity and gender. She showed a bar chart illustrating the expected mean salary for certain demographic groups. Atop one bar, she illustrated a white man with a word bubble speaking to the white woman on the adjacent bar on the chart saying "I make X more than you because I am a guy." A third bar showed an Asian woman saying to the white man "I make Y more than you because I am Asian."

    2 · January 30, 2013

  • Wes G.

    awesome talk!

    January 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very inspiring. I got launched on a whole new line of thinking and can't wait to sit down and tie it in with some other ideas I've been chewing on for a while.

    2 · January 29, 2013

  • Tim

    Would have liked to see more examples of data visualization techniques applied to real-world data sets. All of the examples but the first one on gun murders appeared antiquated.

    2 · January 29, 2013

    • Autumn K.

      Working in big data and doing a lot if big data visualization myself, I was pretty disappointed...

      January 29, 2013

  • Cory B.

    I have a ticket but can't make it. If anyone needs one, let me know.

    January 29, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'd love to take your ticket if it isn't already gone!

      January 29, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Cory, are you still looking to get rid of your ticket?

      January 29, 2013

  • Harold B.

    I bought a ticket, but don't remember getting an electronic ticket to print. Do I need to print a ticket?
    If I do, is there a way to access the eletronic ticket? It may be in my email at home, and now I'm at work in SF.

    January 29, 2013

    • Sha H.

      Hi Harold, we have a list of attendees who purchased tickets through Eventbrite, so all you will need to bring is a photo ID. See you tonight!

      January 29, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      sha, is there any way that those of us who RSVP'd but forgot/didn't realize a ticket purchase was necessary can purchase an at door ticket?

      January 29, 2013

  • Steve M.

    Is there a waitlist for this? I just found this event and its sold out.

    January 25, 2013

    • Avra

      Steve, I have a ticket but will be unable to attend.... do you want it?

      January 28, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Avra, did you give the ticket away?

      January 29, 2013

  • Megan S.

    Hi I rsvp'd a week ago but didn't see we needed to buy a ticket. Will you be accepting cash at the door?

    January 29, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Same question, but with redoubled urgency...

      January 29, 2013

    • c.j.

      ^ Yes I'd rather not take off early from work if I can't get in!

      January 29, 2013

  • Ian J.

    I have a ticket but I can't make it tonight. hit me up for it.

    January 29, 2013

    • Ajay

      Even if someone gets the ticket from you, the list off of which Yelp will be operating will contain your name and not theirs....

      January 29, 2013

    • Ian J.

      ticket is gone. sorry!

      January 29, 2013

  • Todd B.

    The most interesting (to me) data visualization site (http://voteeasy.org/) was not responding--maybe Meetup-slashdotted?. Please ask Kim to try to keep these up! Maybe someone from one of the high-bandwidth cloud providers will be at the Meetup and offer some free bandwidth!

    January 9, 2013

    • Kim R.

      Hi Todd. Thanks for letting us know. It looks like the client moved the site without letting us know. The proper link is: http://votesmart.org/...­

      January 26, 2013

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  • Trulia

    Trulia is kindly providing the venue and fees for running our group!

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