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The lameness of the US presidential candidates. If you listen to them on stage debating, everyone seems...
The lameness of the US presidential candidates.

If you listen to them on stage debating, everyone seems to overtly imply that they are god's gift to humanity. Their pride in their accomplishments, "I have carpet bombed Putin!", is remarkable.

Yet. It is impressive how little they have actually managed to do. The simple graph below shows the number​ of bills introduced by five candidates, and the number​ that became law.

Yes. You read that right. Three. Three laws enacted were introduced by Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz, one each (though to be fair, they are new). The most impressive of the bunch is Mr. Kasich.

What is even more galling are the laws actually enacted. Three three laws in the image are by Mrs. Clinton (two are for road naming, post office naming). Mr. Cruz's one successful bill is to stop people who committed terrorism against US from entering the UN (#omg). Mr. Rubio's declares, but does not do anything to make it happen, countries should​ have birth registries​ for girls. Mr. Sanders renamed two post-offices, one law was material as it tied veteran's benefits to CoLA.

The only one of the bunch that was decent is Mr. Kasich. Welfare reform in 1996, tax reform in 1997, and the balanced budget act in 1997.

Next time you see them on stage, hopefully this frames your fav candidate in a new and interesting light.

Sometimes I wonder how our great country actually functions.

Graph source: John Keltz: http://goo.gl/muFPv9
Deaths by terrorism, 2001-2014 | Two challenging views. Treemaps are wonderful visualizations, for ...
Deaths by terrorism, 2001-2014 | Two challenging views.

Treemaps are wonderful visualizations, for certain uses. The first graph, for example, is a really great way to realize where terrorism has had very sad, and huge, outcomes. We hear about France, we feel very worried in the US, Syria is also so much in the news.

But, it is disappointing to see that the nations that are actually suffering hugely are the two that we in the United States touched: Iraq and Afghanistan.

They are not in the news as well, I wonder that makes it easier for us to forget our sense of responsibility.

Nigeria and Pakistan are not in the news as much, neither is India, in this context, but they form the top cluster who is hurt by terrorism.

What Treemaps are not good at is showing trends over time. I've added that to the graphic above. If you reflect on that, you'll see that while we in the US show up big in the treemap, the trended graph shows that was the terrible attack on the US in 2001. Since then, blessedly, we have not suffered.

The trends show the profound worsening in both Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Nigeria is extremely alarming. The very thin blue line is India.

If you look at the press stories, though over the last year, these are not the countries getting most of the ink in the context of terrorism. Quite sad.

Each visual serves a purpose, but it is looking across both that helps arrive at stronger insights. You can also play with the data, it is interactive, drill down by specific country or terrorist group at The Oregonian: http://goo.gl/hN2pJI
We are all hurting for our peers in France. In a world that is more connected than ever before, we are...
We are all hurting for our peers in France. In a world that is more connected than ever before, we are all closer, we all feel the pain, instantaneously. 

There is, though, no short-term solution to this terror. When we were barbarically attacked, our country reacted with haste, with a rush, to solve, in hindsight, multiple agendas, and we are still dealing with the consequences as a nation (and I might extrapolate as a world).

Here's just one point of view from The Guardian, from June 3rd, related to how British and US intelligence services incubated what became the IS: http://goo.gl/6SPVVt

Doing root-cause analysis takes time. Addressing the core issues take bold, brave, and sustained action. Let's hope French leaders have learned from our lessons. 

The best revenge is not killing quickly, it is to ensure not giving into the people who are trying to get us to do what we don't stand. It is to ensure that we eliminate their reason to be. Hasty military action might feel good for five minutes, but remember that my beloved America is still paying the price for that 14 years on.

I pray for calm and peace for my French peers, I wish for joy to return to their lives as quickly as possible. 

Today, we all cry, we all stand together.

#heartbroken #paris #weshallovercome
Some of the massive social media hype will be tempered soon as messaging comes to dominate how we spend...
Some of the massive social media hype will be tempered soon as messaging comes to dominate how we spend time online AND how we consume media. (This is why the WhatsApp purchase was very smart of Facebook, as was the decision to split Messenger out!)

Most people don't quite understand how dramatic this transformation is. The picture below is a slide from a keynote by Activate that I think does a wonderful job of framing this change. This shift from an open web, to living a lot of our life in a closed ecosystem. (I'm not opining on if this is good, just that it is here and not ignorable.)

What is particularly impressive is that Line is four years old. Just four. See everything they've managed to accomplish in the picture. They are also the dominant app in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia - and here in the Valley all our Asian friends are on it (and love it!).

What is not impressive that massive companies in the US (Google, Facebook, Yahoo!) are so stuck in their own view of how the world should work or the US centricity or with their big current products, that they could not build this. Some are not even close to solving what Line is, what Wechat, what Talk are already doing.

[If you would like to review my take on six of the dominant social media channels, you can see it here: http://goo.gl/2ybtD2]

There is lots of good stuff in the Acitvate deck, you can see it all here:
http://www.slideshare.net/ActivateInc/activate-tech-and-media-outlook-2016
Can a democracy be representative? The insightful number of the day is nine, and the answer it offers...
Can a democracy be representative? The insightful number of the day is nine, and the answer it offers is... No.

There are 320 mil Americans, of which 40 million are African -Americans . An additional 38 mil are "non-hispanic black."

Yet, since independence, 240 years ago, there have only been 9 African -American senators in the US Congress. This honestly stunned me. Like all of you, I have a sense that the US Senate is overwhelmingly rich and white. Still. I was stunned. 9. Just 9!!

The actual count should likely be 146 years, not 240, as no African-American served until the ratification of the 15th amendment in 1870. Still. Just nine!

I've created a little collage below (pics from https://goo.gl/HYY8S4) so that we can get to know who these eight men and one woman.

Two other interesting observations from the data.

The initial three were actually Republicans (how did the African-American community become so overwhelming democratic?).

The average length of service is 11 years in the US Senate (Mr. Hatch and Mr. Leahy have been there since 1975! And many, many more from 1980s.). In our 9, the average tenure is very small. Only one, Mr. Brooke, served for an above average duration. As you can see

I am not sure what the solution is to fix this problem, I'm sure it is very, very complicated. What worries me though is that no one seems to worry that we are not running even close to a representative democracy. That, rich white almost all men staff a body with such immense responsibility. And, that is a problem.

Surely you know this, but only 44 women have been elected to the US Senate since 1789. A big problem related to representative democracy. Good news is that there are 58 organizations in the US to elect women to congress. Zero for African-Americans.

To round things out, 11 Hispanic and Latino (no women), 7 Asian-Pacific Islanders (one woman).

We need to consider this to be a problem. We have to fix it.
I think most people don't realize how big a billion is. It has Nine Zeros!! We are so used to a billion...
I think most people don't realize how big a billion is. It has Nine Zeros!!

We are so used to a billion, we never stop and appreciate the glory of when Whatsapp reaches that milestone. We should.

It was really great to see Google's financial results. It is very, very hard to grow 24% on a revenue base that insanely big. Congratulations to the team.

For me, beyond the above, what was really impressive was the announcement that GMail now has One Billion Monthly Active Users. Who said email is dead! :)

This makes it seven the number of products Google has announced with more than one bil MAUs. Pretty impressive. 
If possible, try not to die. It is expensive! Should you fail to cheat death, bummer, plan last rites...
If possible, try not to die. It is expensive! Should you fail to cheat death, bummer, plan last rites well in advance.

Did you know that an "immediate Burial" or "Direct Cremation" will cost you $2000? With no ceremony or casket or anything else.

Crazy.

What's galling is the range of prices. See the table below. The Max - Min range in NY for Cremation is $10k to $550! In other cities, the ranges average of at least $3k.

It, literally, pays to shop before you die.

The issue is that the FTC, yes the all legit Federal Trade Commission, allows funeral homes to keep their rates hidden until someone actually writes to calls them. The US government does a lot of good things, but empowering the fleecing of family members when they are at their most vulnerable, is disheartening.

The cool thing is that states like California have taken it upon themselves to force transparency by funeral homes. If they have a website (and who does not now!), they have to post prices.

If you are curious what the expense is to die in the Silicon Valley (and all the add-ons you can get, yippee!), here's our local funeral home: PDF: http://goo.gl/ZprDZG

In case you don't click on that link, a rough estimate on the high side is: $17,035.

The Parting Blog has a fantastic article about all this. It is worth reading the whole thing here:
http://goo.gl/64MQEA
The typical American lives only 18 miles from mom! Crazy, right? Makes you lean-in and want to know...
The typical American lives only 18 miles from mom!

Crazy, right? Makes you lean-in and want to know more. The thing we seek as a team constantly, on behalf of our clients.

If you are anything like me (the curse of data analysis is strong!), it raises more questions, good questions. The "perceived wisdom" is that American's are not known for a close-knit extended family structures, where is this data from? Is there a difference by gender? How about geography? Income? Age of parents?

All those questions, with some insights that might surprise you and influence where you decide to stay in the future (not because you need them but more that they need you), is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/24/upshot/24up-family.html

PS: While this is not mentioned, I believe a big contributing factor to the results is the reality in one of my favorite pictures of the US:
https://goo.gl/SmyKUG
Trend in Gun Shootings in the US | 2013 - 2015. Social Media is ill-suited for discussions on policy...
Trend in Gun Shootings in the US | 2013 - 2015.

Social Media is ill-suited for discussions on policy (I know, ironic, right?), so let's just keep it to data. Thank you.

Brad Wheeler has created a wonderful visualization of gun deaths over the last few years. It is interesting to note that while the overall impression is that we are having many more mass shootings, the 2015 trend is just slightly above 2013. 2015 YTD: 462. 2013: 502.

The visualization is interactive, you can play with it here (hover over each little box that makes the bar, it humanizes the data): https://goo.gl/Zzz1MN

This does bring up a more interesting (data) question. What is a mass-shooting? There does not seem to be a standard definition for it. Hence, it is so much easier for people with all kinds of agenda to slice the data and make their own perverted case for their point of view.

That made me wonder, why is there no standard definition? Why is there no standard way to track?

After all, we the US has Fatality Analysis Reporting System for cars (number of deaths, type of car, weather conditions, speed, seat belt use, age, seating position, drug use by each occupant - over 100 variables). The FARS is the backbone of car safety standards (driving a 27% reduction in car deaths since 1975!).

Then I read this article, and then cried, cried, and cried some more:
http://goo.gl/6Dce24

While others think about policy (and please don't debate that in this post, we've done it before, it is an exercise in futility), why don't we make the case for data collection so that analysts at the Republican and Democratic parties, Senators, NRA, Lay Citizens, University Students, can make data, actual real data, to inform better outcomes for our country?

Can data be the thing we are missing in the drive to sanity?

I think it is. What do you think? 
It is now both much harder, and much easier than in the past, to be one of the infamous "1%". Just ...
It is now both much harder, and much easier than in the past, to be one of the infamous "1%".

Just look at the visualization, you can be a 1%er at annual earnings of just $228k in that state to the right of Texas. The highest number is CT at $678k. Loads of people reach both those numbers.

Yet, loads and loads of people are at the minimum wage in all these states, and a big chunk of them are not even at the living wage.

And, the disparity is growing. Wikipedia: https://goo.gl/stPk7K

Food for thought for all of us.

Data source: The Increasingly Unequal States of America:
http://goo.gl/K9KFgE
It is likely that data in this debate is utterly useless, but I was curious and so here it is. Sen...
It is likely that data in this debate is utterly useless, but I was curious and so here it is.

Sen. Mcconnell called for an abdication of constitutional responsibility by President Obama the other day by not nominating a Supreme Court justice. His rationale was straightforward, the current Senate and President are not elected by the people and "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice."

I believe that rationale might be on very thin ice (having voted in the last few election for our senatorial and presidential candidates).

Hence, the quest for data.

President Obama has just shy of one year left in his term. The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a successor from the time of nomination.

On average a nominee has been confirmed, rejected or withdrawn in 25 days.

342/25=14.

So, assuming this President and this Senate were elected by the American people, we could do replace the entire supreme court, and then some, before President Obama leaves.

Data.

Useless in this case. But, insightful as always.

Chart, with data from George Washington onwards, via NY Times: http://goo.gl/wIkUU9

PS: Another lesson in distributions being better than averages is in the chart, see link. Early on, it took just a couple days to get a justice nominated! Other than some outliers, John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, things were really fast. Things only started to take very long starting Dwight Eisenhower. The long time it takes is actually pretty recent. 
Quite scary change in adult obesity in America. In just 20 years. Purple is 35%+ (!). Green is 10-15...
Quite scary change in adult obesity in America. In just 20 years. Purple is 35%+ (!). Green is 10-15%.

In essentially one generation, we have altered what the human body has to deal with. And, our doctors, services, our families.

We have many issues impacting us, but this one seems to be on with very long term consequences. It is also one that we don't seem to be talking about. Imagine the passion of the gun debate, but on the topic of helping our peer citizens be healthy - so that they can live longer, more physically comfortably, and enjoy this precious time on earth.

We also tend to jump to eating as a cause too quickly (though whole grain plant based have been proven to be immensely fantastic for humans http://goo.gl/uVRbTk). Obesity has numerous causes, we need to look at the complete picture.

So, what causes weight gain and obesity. According to the National Institutes of Health (
http://goo.gl/JVnfq4):

An Inactive Lifestyle
Environment
Genes and Family History
Health Conditions
Medicines
Emotional Factors
Smoking
Age
Pregnancy
Lack of Sleep

Great visual below, via
https://goo.gl/0NtGIm. Food for thought.
Two main reasons we don't make smarter decisions based on data: 1. We obsess about "one night stands...
Two main reasons we don't make smarter decisions based on data: 1. We obsess about "one night stands", rather than longer term relationships and 2. We never get to metrics that really matter, like Profit, and deep UX implications, like Product Views Per Transaction.

My latest post addresses both these concerns and gives you specific strategies to get your 2016 off with a Bang!

Excellent Analytics Tip #27: Chase Smart Calculated Metrics: http://goo.gl/XzwluD

You can download lots of wisdom in the post to influence, in fundamental ways, the culture inside your company, and five calculated metrics in Google Analytics to see your digital performance in a new light.

I invite you to share your favourite metrics in the blog's comment section, and/or continue the conversation.

Go, think different:
http://goo.gl/XzwluD
Your year in review, in an incredible graphic... Data suggests that 80% or more of social content consumption...
Your year in review, in an incredible graphic...

Data suggests that 80% or more of social content consumption is on mobile phones. The problem for me is that you cannot appreciate this graphic on a phone. Sadness.

But, if you pinch and zoom and move it around, you'll discover immense delight at recognizing each event/person and love the creativity of the artist.

You're likely headed off to be with your families for (secular or religious) Christmas. May you have a peaceful time, and the force be with you and yours.
Maps that blow your mind... The area colored red in South Asia shows where 5% of the world live. The...
Maps that blow your mind...

The area colored red in South Asia shows where 5% of the world live. The area colored in blue shows where another 5% live.

The white areas show where the rest of the 90% live.

That is pretty amazing when you think about the world's resources, equality or lack thereof, opportunity, and so much more.

If nothing else, it shows that we can cram a lot more of us into this planet. :)

In case we don't speak before then, and you are in the US, my family and I wish you a pleasant and memory filled long weekend with your loved ones.

Map source, and raw data: http://goo.gl/5c2Llo
Are you sure mobile phones are intruding on your life? Do you believe you are consuming too much mobile...
Are you sure mobile phones are intruding on your life? Do you believe you are consuming too much mobile data?

You ain't seen nothing yet!

Checkout the mobile data usage in Singapore and South Korea. Pretty amazing, right?

The second graph is just mobile data (no wi-fi). Still, pretty amazing.
So, expect a lot more innovation to come. Expect your life to be changed a lot by these little devices we carry with us.

What do you think is going on between the size of data consumption between Android and iPhone? Across the board, more on the iPhone.

More data, and deep dives, at the source: http://goo.gl/DBSK8h
Simple answers to complex questions are invariably wrong. So many people forget this, simple, maxim...
Simple answers to complex questions are invariably wrong.

So many people forget this, simple, maxim.  Life is full of nuance, things that need digging into, looking at from multiple angles.

Take this simple question: Who is winning in the Republican race for president?

Most people will jump to: Ben Carson! Current leader in some polls.

Turns out, he is the flavor of the moment. If you pull back and take a much more nuanced view of reality, as the New York Times does, you can see the real complexity, and get to possibly a different answer.

Marco Rubio. For now.

You can see a more complex picture as you look across the five dimensions. You can see the strengths and weaknesses of other candidates. You get a stronger sense of what might actually happen. Because, we bothered to look for something more than a simple answer.

Prediction Markets, where traders bet on an event outcomes, have a much better record of pointing out the eventual nominee than polls. Does this mean insane attention and ink and hot air won't be given to Iowa and NH happenings? No. Of course not. That would be too sane. :)

More details, and nuance (!), here: http://goo.gl/ggX60g
The cost of raising one child? $350k!!! When everyone advises you to be careful about intimate relations...
Let us kick off the new year with the best news you could possibly get: People where you live are getting...
Let us kick off the new year with the best news you could possibly get: People where you live are getting wiser!

Older, I mean older. : ) Nonetheless, it is pretty fascinating how our beloved country getting older is happening at a different pace in different regions.

New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) rides the top with the median age of 41, and the West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) the youngest at 35. We, in the Pacific are close to the bottom (hurray!), at 36.

At play here also seems to be race, more diverse areas having lower median age. This in turn opens doors to dive deeper into income, education, religion and so much more. Good data always raises more questions.

If you had a choice, would you choose to live in an area with a lower median age or a higher one? I'd love to know.

Data source: http://goo.gl/qCe1DN

Leave the name up. Teach the man's complete life/views. Guess who this refers to: Raised in the South...
Leave the name up. Teach the man's complete life/views.

Guess who this refers to: Raised in the South, he wrote of “a great Ku Klux Klan” that rose up to rid whites of “the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant Negroes.”

President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson.

Did you know that about him?

How about this: "During Wilson’s tenure as president of Princeton, no blacks were admitted — “The whole temper and tradition of the place are such that no Negro has ever applied,” he wrote — though Harvard and Yale had admitted blacks decades earlier. Princeton admitted its first black student in the 1940s."

Pretty amazing, right?

Students at Princeton, an incredibly impressive university, lead by the Black Justice League, a student group, want to strike President Wilson's name from buildings, schools, etc. He is a grand presence at Princeton.

It is a little stunning that this lasted so long, that Princeton and its administrators were forced into having the discussion via student protests this month! There is no visible, dare I say, strong attempt to paint the full picture of the man.

So... Here's a thought. Leave the man, his murals, his statues, buildings, and rotating quotes on TV (not kidding) in the dining rooms in place. Add context that helps everyone understand the full man. Add plaques, add small handouts people can take with them after they visit his memorial, if they attend Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs give them a 30 min session on the full man.

That's it. Don't take away his murals, statues, buildings and rotating quotes on TV in the dining room. People at the other end of it are smart. Give them the full context. Let them see the good with the disappointing. Let them make up their own minds.

Sounds reasonable?

Both quotes above from this in-depth article: http://goo.gl/MtA1hQ There is a lot more detail there. Please check it out.

#weshallovercome #donthateonhistorylearnfromit #princeton #whatareyouteaching
My son is participating in the Family Giving Tree program at his school. He has to buy a present for...
My son is participating in the Family Giving Tree program at his school. He has to buy a present for a child who is unable to afford one. A really worthy cause, good lesson. 

We went off to Amazon to buy the present and saw this. I was touched. There was nothing to scroll etc. Just the homage to our peers in France. A little surprising for a deeply ecommerce/shopping enterprise.

Well done Amazon. Well done!

#prayforpeace
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