Understanding Our Past: Support LIDAR Mapping at El Pilar

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, while I was attending University of California, Santa Barbara, I had the honor of working with Dr. Anabel Ford and her resilient crew on various projects surrounding the Maya site of El Pilar.   From archaeological excavation to mapping, to cutting trails, analyzing artifacts, and building predictive models, the time I spent on this project was phenomenal.

Recently posted on my Facebook page was a notification the Dr. Ford is undertaking a new project, mapping El Pilar with LIDAR to better understand Maya settlements beneath the thick rain forest canopy.  Please follow this link for more details.

Support the El Pilar LIDAR Mapping Project

They are currently seeking $2,700 in funding via Experiment.com, a crowdfunding platform for scientific research.  $2,700 is a bargain for the wealth of data and insight this team of researchers will acquire.  At 30% funded with 22 days left, let’s push it to 100% and beyond!

Cheers!

Need a Sales Team Dashboard?

Monitoring your sales team is a major part of success.  Sales managers and executives need a simplified media to review key performance indicators KPIs to understand how their sales team is performing.

Such a simplified media is a dashboard style report which includes both charts and data tables which report KPIs pertinent to the business.   In a for profit business, typically revenue generation is at the top of the KPI list, followed by product performance, rep performance, and then rep productivity metrics.

Example Sales Team Management Dashboard

Spiral Analytics’ Example Sales Team Management Dashboard – Available for $5 through Fiverr

Since simple is good, Spiral Analytics, the name of my analytics solution company, is offering a gig through Fiverr.  The $5 Gig provides a basic template and setup for a sales team dashboard which follow the metrics above.  Additional charts and the ability to maintain the dashboard for you are available at additional charge.  For more information, send us an email below.

Send us an email inquiry

A Universal Tool To Visualize Your Step Count

Wearable devices, steps, and data are exploding thanks to advances in technology, both hardware and software.  FitBit is to thank for creating an amazing buzz around the simple KPI of the “step”.  Each step is what it is, picking one foot up, moving forward and putting it back down.  The step represents the ultra-simplification of the fitness.  Just in time too.  America’s obesity problem is exploding too.

The Problem We Solved

Since FitBit came on the market, dozens of other fitness trackers have rushed to get their fair share of the wearable fitness market.  This means that you have to choose a flavor, a style, and stick with that platform while you achieve your goals.  The proprietary data visualizations do two things: 1) they hijack your data, making it difficult to get it back, which dissuades you from jumping to another platform, and 2) if you do change to another platform, you are forced to start from zero.  Not a good customer experience and few platforms seem to care about long-term archiving of your personal step data.

After trying different wearable devices and jumping from FitBit to Jawbone to Omron, back to FitBit, and currently, a wondeful Jawbone UP Move, I hate the fact that my data is spread across the cloud. This limits my ability to find long-term insights in my data which drive the necessary behavior change to improve my fitness. I also wanted to create an archive of my step data which I could refer back to regardless of the device I was using at the time. So, I decided to solve the issue and created a simplistic step data visualization tool with Microsoft Excel.

As Simple as It GetsTMX-Steps

Simplistic it is, yet it is a powerful tool full of insights.  Insights such as:

  1. The color coded calendar-like table is shaded by the hi and low step count for the month.
  2. It also shows your total monthly step count vs goal.  For comparison, you can view last month’s performance.
  3. Average Steps by Day of Week: Which is your best day? Which day of the week is your worst?
  4. Scroll through the year by month to see how seasonality changes your step data.

Entering data into the Steps Tracker Tool is simple too.  We didn’t add any API calls or database connections.  Nope, we simply added a table with space for the date, step count, and goal. Additional formulas exist on the table to make the whole thing work.  To add data, either type the data in or simply copy and paste the data from your wearable device’s propriety platform. While you might moan and groan at the prospect of using your keyboard to enter data rather than an automated API call, we know that typing in your data personally actually helps you relate better to your data and helps with the behavioral change to get fit.  Simple.

How Much Does It Cost

Right now, it costs $0.00.  Yep, the grand low price of FREE.  For the next seven days, you can download it free from this blog post.  After Oct 7, 2015 at midnight, this tool will only be offered through my fitness analytics company, TrainingMetrix, with registration.  Click here to download:TMX-Steps-Data-Tool-2015-0930 

Limited support is being offered by TrainingMetrix.  If you have any challenges, please contact support at trainingmetrix.com

Achieve Your Dreams One Step at a Time

A big part of achieving your dreams is self care.  Taking care of yourself through regular exercise, good nutrition, and spirituality is a great formula for life long happiness and making your dreams reality.  The TMX Steps Tool is a small part of that formula, but you have to take to the first step (pun intended!).

The Best Hobbies

An interesting quote from Dr. Vogel on Dexter caught my mind recently.  They were referring to murder as a hobby when Dr Vogel said:

“The best hobbies take us furthest from our primary occupation.” – Dr Vogel, Dexter

If hobbies are at the opposite of our 9-5 jobs, then what does this mean?  As an Analyst with Marketing and Sales expertise, I spend my day job working with data, creating visualizations, and helping stakeholders understand the health of their business.   I bring to life the power of KPIs and creating conversation about the business through data.  Fascinating patterns and changes in trends spark the best conversations.

It is the more computer based hobbies I spend time on.  From flight simulator (FSX and X-Plane) to triathlon analysis, I do spend more time on the computer than sleeping.  Lately, I have split my time between BootStrap, a web authoring platform from Twitter, and analyzing the 2013 Santa Barbara Triathlon race results.

As a hobby, though, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer at home.  In fact, if Dr. Vogel is right, the best hobbies for me would not involve a computer at all and would focus on the physical as opposed to the virtual.   Interests of mine include art (sketching and watercolor), photography, gardening, triathlon, writing and music.   Interestingly, none of these hobbies are very frequent in my life other than triathlon training.

So, what’s the point of all of this?  Balance.  Dr. Vogel’s comment illustrates the need for moderation and balance in our lives.  Spending too much time behind the computer is not healthy.  So is spending too much time at work.   The balance involves leaving the computer behind after hours, heading outside and experiencing a wider variety of activities in life.   Hobbies are a way of expressing ourselves while relieving stress and spending time with like minded people.   Get as far away from your day job when not in the office as possible!

Why Hierarchies of Data in a Business Matter

thData, business, sales, insights, and revenue are popular keywords found in abundance around the internet these days.  As a Founder of my own company, I can certainly understand the need to focus on such keywords in daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly discussions.

But, as a Data Analyst, not all keywords are created equal for each role in the company.  Let’s simplify and break the business hierarchies down to three levels, which have a direct impact on how data can be used:

  1. Executives: The top of the chain that defines long-term strategy, implementation, and overall decision making.
  2. Manager: The mid-level staff responsible for action of strategy, interfacing between the needs to the subordinates and the Executive teams.
  3. Operational: The largest population of the business with the responsibility to make it happen by pushing the buttons, interfacing with customers, and carrying out decisions hour by hour.

This three tier pyramid of decision making in a business is streamlined to illustrate key areas that any serious Data Analyst should have Continue reading

Successful Entreprenuership Relies on These Two Concepts

I am amazed at how awesome it is to create something that people love, yet never existed before. As I look back upon my first entrepreneurial journey, two concepts really stand out as key to success.

First, always have in mind the whole shebang, that ultimate product that we are striving to build, in the form of a common vision. The whole shebang includes the ecosystem, the features, and the overall purpose of what you are trying to accomplish. The vision is then communicated and used by the team as guidelines for their work.

Second, flexibility in how it all comes together is required. Sure, you can writing a detailed business plan and plot every step of the way. But, flexibility along the journey lets the product evolve as the understanding of the vision evolves. As the saying goes, “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” so let your team help drive the technology, drive the UI, and let creativity, flexibility, and vision coalesce into an awesome product.

When flexibility and vision work against each other, one must stop and consider whether the deviation is worth the distraction. It could be as flexibility could introduce access to a whole new realm that compliments the vision. It could also create a totally separate vision that should be handled as a separate vision and project.

I would argue that flexibility in the implementation of a start-up is what creates a positive, fun, and creative environment where everyone is putting in their two cents. The final product will embody the souls of the team.

Once you have the whole shebang in the form of vision, you can lead your team down a flexible and highly creative path to success.