We live in a world of clichés and sayings. I spend over 50% of my time travelling to customer engagements and I hear a lot of regional sayings while teaching people how to visualize their data with iDashboards. And, I recently realized that a saying that is so relevant in my Midwest home this time of year – “April Showers bring May flowers” doesn’t apply in all the different locales where I travel. Plant life is alive and kicking without any April showers in Southern California or Georgia. When I made the statement “April showers bring May flowers” to a group I was training in Southern California I quickly realized they had no point of reference to understand what that meant, because as native Californians they had only seen real showers in early February. And, those showers didn’t seem to result in flowers, the way one begets the other in the Midwest.
So, I realized I needed a new universal cliché to “break the ice” (another cliché…) with the audience I was training. I decided to use a recurring statement I make during training – “It’s all about the data”. Sure, I feel like iDashboards visualizes data better than anybody, but without the data, we’ve got nothing – “It’s all about the data”.
On a recent engagement, a CFO came into the training room and expected to see his investment in dashboard technology pay off. After realizing the data analyst had not prepared the appropriate data to show the CFO any dashboards, I started to put together some staged data, just to show him what we could do if we had the data. He was not impressed. He did, however, acknowledge my comment as he was walking out of the room “It’s all about the data”. Regardless, he was not impressed. However, two days later, at the end of our engagement we were able to show him significant dashboards with his data. He was impressed. I thought to myself “It’s all about the data”. And then I thought, maybe I should trademark my ‘go to’ saying. “It’s all about the data”. Next up are Tshirts and hats. I’ve got big plans.
And, now during my engagement this week my saying has become cliché. How many times have I said “It’s all about the data” this week looking to get acknowledgement, looking for someone to latch on to my soon to be trademarked saying and tell two people, who would tell two more, and so on and so on? As I pondered my floundering soon to be fame, I thought back to the time when I said “April showers bring May flowers” and how that emoted the same empty response from my Southern Cal as my new cliché. And once again I found myself in search of a new catchy ice breaking cliché.
Maybe I need to borrow another cliché and adjust it slightly for the dashboarding environment. Maybe “April data brings May dashboards”? Not catchy enough. Maybe I just need to make my saying more rhythmic, maybe something that rhymes like “showers” and “flowers”. What rhymes with data? Beta? Hmmmm.
So, I’m setting out on a mission to create my next catchy cliché – something that everyone training to create dashboards can relate to.
Here’s a few that I am considering…
“There’s not a custom SQL chance in Excel”.
“You have to grab the bull by the column headers”.
“You have to take it one chart at a time”.
“A picture is worth a thousand lines of data”.
“The early chart gets the data”.
“Let sleeping data lie”.
“Life is a bowl of chart types”.
OK, ok, enough. I’ve got to wave the white chart background here. I think I’ve dug myself into a drilldown. I guess if I can’t stand the heat I better stay out of the dashboard designer…
Jerry Stowe – Technical Consultant, iDashboards