FlowingData: How to Make Bubble Charts

Media_httpflowingdata_vfghc

FlowingData has a great tutorial on creating bubble charts using R. Bubble charts are like scatter plots, but with a third dimension, size of data point. You are able to tell a greater story using bubble charts as opposed to more traditional charts.

Of course, the latest versions of Excel (PC & Mac) have bubble charts built-in.

Cheers!

Attitude Makes the Life

Apologies, this is going to be more of a rant than a tradition blog post.  

I had the pleasure of speaking with someone this evening that had the worst attitude of anyone I have ever met.  For the sake of brevity, let’s boil the conversation down to this simple exchange:

Person: “But who is going to pay me to travel the world and hike?” 

Me: “The people that are interested in your adventure, blog about it and tell your story.”

Person: “Everyone blogs about their adventure, no way.”

Me: “Yes everyone blogs about their adventure, but you have to speak with a unique voice and from your heart and they will follow you.”

Person: “I don’t want them to follow me.  Don’t they have better things to do than read my hiking blog?”

Me: “Let’s back up… you want to hike the world and have someone pay you for it? You have lots of options…”

Person: “Right now, I need a better job…  ” and the conversation continues.

With everyone of my explanations, this person had a negative reason why they couldn’t do it.  They already failed at their dream within two sentences.  

Dreams are goals and attitude gets you to those goals.  Are you willing to work toward your goals/dreams?   Is life half empty or half full? 

Its your life, you decide what is important when you speak.  

The Great CEO Hold Music Challenge

If anyone has sat on hold they would know that know hold music can range from great to downright hidious to the point of obscenely pornographic.    As a customer, forced to sit on hold and listen to such torture, I hereby take it upon myself to save other from the same fate.

I hereby challenge every CEO in the world that has a customer contact center, to listen to the company’s hold music for two hours each week.  The bottom-line, if they can’t stand it, change it! Why would you, as a CEO, expect your customers to listen to something that YOU yourself wouldn’t listen to?   

If you accept my challenge, post your customer contact center number here is a comment and let my readers judge.  Honestly, if you have any kind of music savvy taste, I am sure my readers will love it. 

Do you accept?

Picture: A Productive, Inviting Work Environment

This post isn’t going to tell you how to setup the ideal, productive work environment.  The truth is, we are all different and what makes each of productive varies.

What you will get from this post is the pic of a very cool, warm, inviting and productive looking desk. 

Samsungdesk

There is so much you can read into while looking at this picture.  The cups, the books, the wood, the window and the two vintage lamps all force the mind to drift off into a fantasy land. But wouldn’t it be so cool to have this workspace?  I think so.

Cheers!

(note, a friend sent me the picture so I don’t know who took it.  If it is yours, let me know and I will gladly give credit)

One Shovel Load at a Time

Successful companies don’t appear overnight.

Dreams are not reality simply by getting out of bed in the morning.

Losing weight does not happen overnight. 

One thing we need to remind ourselves of constantly is that big, hairy audacious goals (bHAG) are the fruition of many small actions (MSA).   If we focus our attention on the baby steps that lead to the bHAG, dreams are a reality. 

When I took the attached photo, I thought, “my gosh, that guy is going to be there for a long time!”  I was going to post it on Twitter with some crazy, humorous caption.  But then I realized what it represented.

Fxcam_1280945808197

Sure the guy has a bHAG of loading the sand into the truck with just a tiny shovel.  But each shovel full tossed into that truck is an action (MSA) toward the bHAG.  Life is about taking one shovel load at a time and tossing it into the truck.  Enjoy each toss, because that goal gets closer and the pile smaller with each one; enjoy it while it lasts. 

What are your bHAGs? Are you aware of each MSA that you need to achieve them?  

Why I Gave Up on Starbucks

Why I Gave Up on Starbucks

I used to be a huge fan of Starbucks.  The first time I walked into a Starbucks, I was mesmerized by the wonderful smell of coffee, the abundance of comfy, upholstered chairs and couches, the beautiful smiling baristas serving a tasty Mocha with a huge smile and a meaningful “How are you today?”

Things clearly change over time.  Unfortunately, Starbucks has become the very corporation that they saved us from so many years ago.

1. Now, you walk into a store and smell chemicals. 

2. Now, the abundant comfy furniture and carpet have been replaced by hard chairs, tiled floors and if lucky, one or two arm chairs.

3. Now the original Starbucks Gold club card that I enjoyed 10% discount, free drink customization, wifi, and other perks, has slowly been dismantled to simply be a frequent buyer’s card.  The latest nail in Starbucks coffin is the introduction of wifi to the general masses that doesn’t even work.   Clearly Starbucks gave out and decided they couldn’t, slowly taking the perks away without offering anything innovative in return…  my loyalty is rewarded with a frequent buyer’s card.

4. Now the “How are you today?” is no longer sincere.  Drinks are rarely presented with a smile. Instead, we see overworked Baristas trying hard to keep up with demand, yelling names out even though you are standing right in front of them.

5. Now the music is odd and doesn’t inspire productivity.  Before, we were treated to jazz, but today, something folkie and modern, played WAY too loud.  When I step into Starbucks,  I don’t want to step into a folk music concert.

6. Getting help is about the manager.  Before, Baristas took some of the responsibility and resolved issues quickly and happily.  Now, we are told to wait for the manager who doesn’t always know the answer.

7. Instant coffee from the company that saved us from instant coffee?  Yes, it is true and while I was taken aback by its introduction, the truth is that it is quite good.   Innovation can be good, but I still can’t quite get over instant coffee at Starbucks when they awakened the masses to freshly brewed coffee.

8. Starbucks wants to serve wine.  If this is true, I will never return to a Starbucks location.  To walk into a store and smell wine while sipping my coffee is only going to be an unpleasant experience.  I recall being stuck on a flight from Frankfurt to Dulles, next to a woman who constantly consumed red wine.  The smell of the wine made me want to vomit.  Starbucks, please, please, please don’t do yourself more damage and make me smell wine when I drink coffee.

Clearly the Starbucks experience has changed as all corporations do. Starbucks has joined the ranks of McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza in the quest to deliver a mass produced product in a sterilized environment as quickly as possible.  Innovation took a backseat to replicating the fast food experience.

The very core of the Starbucks experience has been stripped away by corporate investors and rewarded with non-innovative frequent buyer’s cards.    There is nothing new and innovative here and I must give up on Starbucks to deliver what it mastered so well, a welcoming experience to enjoy coffee in and be productive that rewarded my loyalty.