#241: The Analyst's Underutilized Tool: the Sketchbook with Dan White

As a general rule, analysts are drawn to precision: let’s understand the business problem and then go figure out how the data can be acquired and crunched to provide something specific and useful. Fair enough. Where, then, do pencil and paper and 10-second sketches fit in? Or hastily and collaboratively drawn flippy chart or whiteboard sketches? We could draw you a picture to explain, but podcasts are an audio medium, so, instead, we brought on the illustrious illustrator, consultant, and author, Dan White. From triangles, to rolling snowballs, to trees, to Venn diagrams, to the conjoined triangles of success, this episode paints a pretty clear picture of the power of the quick sketch!

Books, Apps, and Other Resources Mentioned in the Show

Photo by Kamila Maciejewska on Unsplash

Episode Transcript

0:00:00.0 Michael Helbling: Before we start the show, we have an announcement and a request. Julie, you wanna explain what we’re cooking up?

0:00:05.9 Julie Hoyer: Sure. We are planning a listener call-in show. It’s an opportunity for you to submit your questions for one or more of us to respond to on a future episode.

0:00:15.3 MH: Oh, this is exciting. I mean, basically this is a time for you, our listeners, if you’ve ever wondered why we never seem to discuss some specific question that you have.

0:00:24.5 JH: That’s right. And logistically, we’ve made the process for gathering your questions as easy as it could possibly be.

0:00:30.6 MH: Ooh. By providing an internationally capable, toll free telephone number with a voice mailbox.

0:00:35.5 JH: Eh? Okay. Well, almost as easy as it could possibly be. You just need to record your question with whatever recording mechanism you have on hand, and then email your audio file to advice@analyticshour.io anytime before April 12th of 2024.

0:00:51.2 MH: Okay. That’s still pretty simple, you know, and whether it’s a voice memo app on your phone, a one person recorded Zoom, or any of a number of other options, we just need a reasonably decent quality audio recording that includes your name, where you’re calling from, and your question.

0:01:07.2 JH: That’s right. Well, technically your question’s the only thing we truly require, but we’d love to have your name and location too. Oh, and as a reminder, we will be playing these audio files on our episode, at least the questions that we select for the show. So our legal team has said, we have to note that your submissions are in agreement for us to actually publish your audio as part of the show.

0:01:29.0 MH: Oh, lawyers. So that’s it. Record your question. Send it to advice@analyticshour.io before April 12th, 2024. And hopefully we’ll be able to answer it. Anything I’m missing.

0:01:44.0 JH: Just that listeners can visit analyticshour.io/advice to get a few more specific details on how to submit your questions.

0:01:51.2 MH: Okay. That’s useful. Analyticshour.io/advice before April 12th. Got it. And now onto the show.

0:02:02.0 Announcer: Welcome to the Analytics Power Hour, analytics topics covered conversationally and sometimes with explicit language.

0:02:10.2 MH: Hi everyone. Welcome. It’s the Analytics Power Hour. This is episode 241. You know, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I guess that means what you’re about to hear is potentially worth 11 to 12 picture. Okay. But what I mean by that is that visuals have an immense power to break down complex topics and systems and increase understanding. In the field of analytics, we mostly do this with data visualizations, but maybe there’s an opportunity for us to leverage art more as we pursue knowledge as analytics professionals. All right, let me introduce my co-hosts, Julie Hoyer, Manager of Analytics at Further. Welcome.

0:02:52.2 JH: Hi there.

0:02:52.9 MH: Do you consider yourself artistic?

0:02:55.5 JH: Actually, yes. I mean, I don’t know if others would, but I kind of do. I enjoy it.

0:03:00.2 MH: Oh, there you go. That’s good. I… So that’s outstanding. ‘Cause that’s good. That’s very good. That’s very helpful for this topic, in fact. And Tim Wilson, analyst extraordinaire. And what about you? Artist?

0:03:12.4 Tim Wilson: I mean, technically my undergraduate degree is in art and design. But I got…

0:03:17.6 MH: No way.

0:03:18.9 TW: Yeah, that was the…

0:03:19.3 MH: All right. We’re ready for this.

0:03:21.2 TW: I mean, it was… That was what they called the architecture degree, so it was definitely…

0:03:23.9 MH: Oh, okay.

0:03:25.1 TW: Yeah.

0:03:25.4 MH: And I’m Michael Helbling, the managing partner at Stacked Analytics, and I am… Don’t think I could claim much of an artistic bent, and yet I do think this is a really fascinating topic. Okay. So we needed a guest to help us, and I’m excited to have Dan White. He’s the founder of Smart Marketing and author of a few books, including the Smart Marketing book. He’s held market research and market leadership roles at Kantar and Millward Brown. And today he is our guest. Welcome to the show, Dan.

0:03:57.7 Dan White: Thank you very much. Very glad to be here. Looking forward to it.

0:04:01.2 MH: Well, we’re delighted to have you. I think this topic is one that I think is sort of very fascinating for us and for the… Our audience in the data and analytics space. We don’t often think about visuals and sketches and things like that as tools of our trade. And so I’m really excited to kind of dive into this topic in a little more depth with you today. But I think as a starting point, maybe we could just talk a little bit about sort of, how did this all come about for you? Or what… How did your journey bring you to sort of being in this place?

0:04:35.0 DW: I mean, it started when I started working, really, or even before. I’ve always been a visual thinker. So, you know, whenever I was in a meeting or receiving any training, I would, sketch things. I would do doodles. And they were designed to help me to understand and remember what it was that I was hearing, you know, learning. And I… And over the years, I actually amassed a huge pile of, a five kind of sketchbooks, notebooks with scribbles in them. And you gotta remember, I mean, I started work in 1990, so we didn’t even have… We didn’t even have computers, so it had to be like with a pencil and a pad. Anyway, they helped me, and that’s always how it started. But then as I got more senior and I had you know training responsibilities or I’d be you know, going to pictures and presentations, talking to clients and explaining things to them, I started to use the doodles.

0:05:34.0 DW: You know, I’d jump up and draw something on a flip chart to help explain it to someone. And that went down really well. And I guess it’s because there were a lot of visual learners out there. There are a lot of people who help… That the visuals help them think. And I realized that these doodles were actually quite valuable, which is where it all started. And then when I left the corporate world about five years ago, I thought, you know, it’s time to actually draw these up properly, and share them and use them. And that’s how it all began.

0:06:03.5 TW: That… You triggered for me the… When you draw something on a whiteboard or a… Or a Flippy chart, when you’re trying to explain it, and mine always look absolutely hard. I mean, I’m not artistic. So that was… It was a poor choice of professions, but it’s crazy how crude it can be. And then you’ve given a license to someone else to say, well, no, no, no, no, no, it’s not there. Like an arrow goes here. Like, I’m always like, I’m in heaven. I’m like, I’m an analyst. And when somebody jumps up and says, let me see the marker, I’m like, okay, we’re figuring something out here and we’re gonna have a… I’m gonna be taking a picture of this whiteboard by the time we’re done.

0:06:40.2 DW: Exactly. And I know it’s… It’s a bit cheesy, but you look really cool if you jump up and scribble something on a whiteboard, even if it looks rubbish. ‘Cause it shows you’re enthusiastic. It shows you are in the moment you’re trying to co-create. And I remember a video and I won’t remember all the details now, right? [laughter], But it was a famous ad agency planner from the ’90s who did this video and just shared it saying how… How powerful it is to just jump up on a flip chart and draw a triangle. Yeah?

0:07:13.1 DW: And [laughter], he used to say, “Draw it really thick, do double lines and it’d buy you some time to impress the client. [laughter] And he usually put… I… It was wonderful. And he used to say… He used to put always, I can’t remember the three apexes, but brand on one of them. Yeah. The customer on another one. And I can’t, and apologies, I can’t remember what the third one was. But the point was you can… It buys you time and you can start to sound clever and say, what we really need to understand is the connection between these three things. So even as a piece of theater, it works. Even if you can’t draw.

0:07:50.3 TW: Michael, you should be able to insert the Silicon Valley referenced, or who was like one of the later seasons where the… There was the guy who came in in Silicon Valley and had like the… It was like the Venn diagram. He was terrible. [laughter] No, am I what? It was a running theme. It was like a Venn diagram. No matter what he said, he was like, but we’re… It’s the intersection. And I mean, it was garbage. Like it made… It actually made no sense, but it was kind of mocking the…

0:08:15.1 DW: But it, yeah.

0:08:16.3 MH: Oh man its a…

0:08:17.8 TW: That just proves the point that they can be effective.

0:08:22.2 DW: They can be effective. I mean, obviously as you actually learn what you’re doing, you use the right kind of diagram for them to make the point. But yeah.

0:08:30.3 TW: That actually makes me realize there are times where I’ve had a diagram that I’ve refined and tweaked and it’s… I’ve refined it for years. And like, and it’s… And it’s like, oh, it wasn’t… This is actually helping with the clarity of organizing my thought. Like if there’s a diagram that has been evolving over time that when I actually talk about it, like it is… I don’t know if that goes to… If that’s a visual learner thing or just like a cognitive clarity to say, no, I’m seeing… I’m seeing squares in my head. So it is… It is solid in there and I’m actually putting together coherent sentences when discussing it. I think.

0:09:07.4 DW: I find it helps you collect your thoughts or remember your thoughts. It’s like a mnemonic for yourself, let alone at making it easier for the audience it helps you organize and understand relationships, which in a way that’s hard to do with pure words.

0:09:21.7 JH: And I think it can be a really good pressure test when you have ideas too. Because when we’re talking about complex ideas, one, words get tricky, you can trip over yourself. Or then you have this picture in your mind, and that’s kind of gray. It seems to make sense. But yeah, when you actually have like, hand to paper and you’re trying to draw out those relationships, like you said, Dan, I feel like that’s where you can see the gaps of, oh, I didn’t think about the way these two pieces have to work together. But on paper now I’m realizing I have to.

0:09:51.3 DW: And also it helps make sure that people are seeing things in the same way they’re on the same page. So at one time I was working… Part of a board and there were about 10 of us, I think it was 8 or 10 of us on this board. And we’d have, these quite important discussions about concepts and things. And quite often I would be the one who jumps up and says, “Okay, let me try and summarize what I think we are saying,” and doing it in a diagram. And then the, the benefit of that was either everyone went, that’s it, or they went, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, but you’re missing this. Or like saying, Julie, that’s not quite right. So it’s a way of capturing and summarizing what’s going on that can be a stepping stone to getting to the right solution.

0:10:35.8 JH: I like how you call that too. It forces everyone to use the same language. ‘Cause once you’ve written the word, it’s like solidified that this is where it lives. This is what we’re calling this thing. Have you gotten really caught up though, in those sessions on just the word choice in your illustrations?

0:10:50.1 DW: I always do the words second myself. I like to get just the broad brush stroke first. Not refined with the words, no word crafting yet. Just the… Just the big picture [laughter], and roughly how it works. And I often say in these kinds of sessions, don’t worry about the detailed words now, let’s just get the map first. Let’s get the pattern first. We can craft words later to make sure it perfectly summarizes what we want to say. But words can get in the way because like you say, people word craft, wordsmith, don’t they?

0:11:22.2 TW: I have such atrocious handwriting really that it doesn’t… Does… Anybody can kinda read if I put the words up there and everybody can kind of see whatever words they want. I’m also usually like so excited. Like it’s make… It’s even worse when I’m trying to like hastily write and get the next… Onto the next box in the next line connecting it.

0:11:41.0 DW: But the nice thing about scribbling on a big flip chart and doing it in a very, very rough way, it’s no one’s… You’re not crafting, this is just a prototype, isn’t it? It’s just an early what’s it called? An MVP [laughter], whatever you’re trying to… It is.

0:11:56.8 MH: It’s time to step away from the show for a quick word about Piwik PRO. Tim, tell us about it.

0:12:06.0 TW: Well, Piwik PRO has really exploded in popularity and keeps adding new functionality.

0:12:10.7 MH: They sure have. They’ve got an easy to use interface, a full set of features with capabilities like custom reports, enhanced e-commerce tracking and a customer data platform.

0:12:21.5 TW: We love running Piwik PRO’s free plan on the podcast website, but they also have a paid plan that adds scale and some additional features.

0:12:28.9 MH: Yeah, head over to piwik.pro and check them out for yourself. You can get started with their free plan. That’s piwik.pro. And now let’s get back to the show.

0:12:41.5 TW: And I’ve seen that too. I’ve people who have tried to, oh, I’m terrible at drawing. So that is the… I, because I wind up being kind of perfectionist and I’ve found myself sometimes saying, oh, I’m just gonna draw this in slides or in whatever tool I’m using. And some of that to like, push myself to not do that. ‘Cause that you slow down, you get really caught up in the alignment and the sizing and all of the stuff that you’re trying to activate some part of your brain that isn’t all of that. Like translate it to that later. Like just do the sketching. Do you… Are you still primarily pen and paper or do you… Have you gone into where you’re drawing with a tablet and digitally.

0:13:28.3 DW: Well, it’s kind of both. Originally yes, I did literally use a pencil, then a pen, and then scan it in and then use Photoshop to make it look better. But no, I tend to find that even today my starting point has to be pen and pencil, right? Because it’s really rough or flip chart and pen. It’s meant to be really rough and there’s no point in spending time refining it until it’s roughly right. So I did introspect on this process a little bit and I think my first sketch takes about 10 seconds, literally 10 seconds. And it… I’m almost embarrassed. I obviously, I could show you on the video here. They’re awful. They look awful. Here’s… Look, I know this is not ideal for an audio podcast.

0:14:19.2 TW: It’s okay.

0:14:19.4 DW: But this will help to my… The coast here. That…

0:14:23.6 TW: Okay.

0:14:23.9 DW: Is my first sketch, right? I’m gonna describe this for the listeners. It’s a line with some small circles sloping down with some… A small circle becoming bigger and bigger as it goes down, right?

0:14:38.4 TW: But there’s a ship going across the top. Is that part of the sketch?

0:14:41.2 DW: Yeah no no forget the ship.


0:14:43.2 TW: The ship. You were just like.

0:14:43.4 DW: No no. All right no.

0:14:43.8 TW: No, that was me just trying to appear interested. I was…

0:14:46.5 MH: That’s another doodle.

0:14:47.7 DW: Yeah. There is also ship at the top. If I explain you’ll get why. [laughter] This is about the idea of momentum in marketing. Momentum, right? Which is that, actually it takes a while to turn a brand around, it’s like a ship. You’re trying to steer a big ship. So there’s an analogy there, isn’t there? And hence the ship. But I actually thought, ooh, more interesting would be a snowball down a hill.

0:15:15.6 MH: Yeah.

0:15:17.7 DW: So my first sketch is just that snowball down a hill getting bigger and faster. And brands when they grow, scale actually helps to accelerate brand growth. So it’s like an analogy that might help explain why the cons… And thinking about momentum is a good analogy for building a brand. So that’s my first sketch and it took five seconds to draw. Now I dunno where this one will go, but the next one will be more refined. The third one will take longer and it might have some words and arrows. [laughter] But the point is don’t…

0:15:54.6 TW: Well that’s.

0:15:56.6 DW: You have to do rough things first.

0:15:58.6 TW: That’s a little like, maybe a little background. We sort of, you kind of came across our radar because Val, and I’m still not sure where she came across. It’s got like Xs, it’s like, it’s a partially, it’s digitized and polished, but the source and stuff is just X-ed out. I don’t know where she found it, but it was an illustration you had done of the funnel, which is like the classic people think of a funnel, you take analytics tools that have a funnel built in. And that’s like exactly trying to go to this rigidity around how things work. That just ain’t real. And I’ve talked in the past, I had a… I worked with a lady who she was like, it’s more like a fish than a funnel. And I worked with a guy who was like, it’s like cogs. They all had sketches. I’m like, I can go back 15 years of people tackling this, but one do… Where did that diag… Where did… Do you know what funnel issue has got a kind of cloud in the middle? Where did she find that? Do you have any idea? Do you know what?

0:16:56.7 DW: Yeah, I do. I think I know what… Okay, that’s a good… Really good example actually. ‘Cause normally I publish on social media, particularly LinkedIn, when I’ve come up with a cool new diagram that I’m proud of or one from my book and I wanna publicize my book. [laughter] Okay, fine. Right. But this wasn’t from a book or anything. This was just, ’cause I thought, there’s a lot of discussion about a funnel and whether it’s still true. And there’s a phrase I’m working with a client at the moment, which hopefully will come famous, which is the tunnel through the funnel [laughter], which I love as a… Oh that’s good. As in, now it’s.

0:17:31.0 TW: No it’s gonna work because it sounds good.

0:17:32.2 DW: Oh. It’s gonna work. It sounds so good. [laughter] So anyway, but the point is it is a bit more messy and it’s kind of collapsed ’cause of modern media where you can introduce and build a brand and activate it and sell it within a few seconds. ‘Cause you can click and buy, fine… The tunnel through the front. And so I wanted… So I thought, you know what, this time I’m just gonna do a… One of my early sketches. So that was like iteration two, not iteration 10.


0:18:01.2 DW: And I thought, oh, it’ll probably have a blob in the middle because it needs to be vaguer and I’ll do a cloud… I’ll do a quick cloud. And it was hand drawn, the one that you’re mentioning, and I just put it on LinkedIn and I got a 100,000 impressions. 100,000 impressions. I thought that just confirms the point. It doesn’t have to be polished [laughter], the concept is the important thing. And I thought, oh, okay, this is reinforcing a few thoughts about how this should work. You don’t have to be good at drawing. It’s just the visualization, it’s about the concept of the drawing.

0:18:33.0 TW: Well, and something like a funnel, which it… And that can be kind of a general mark. And this one you were kind of speaking just in general how things work. It can be a funnel within an organization that says what’s their process, their purchase process. But it… I, from an analytics perspective, anytime I see something like that, it’s like, well, I wanna start saying, one, do we agree that this is what it is? And maybe there is kind of a messy middle. We can all agree on that. So that’s getting alignment with our business partners.

0:19:01.3 TW: But then the other part is saying, which of these matter the most? Can we measure it? Should we measure it? Can we measure it now? Do we need to do something else to measure it? And I… This is… It’s reminding me of when I was mapping out for a… Working for a hotel chain and their booking process was pretty convoluted and jumped between different systems. And I wound up drawing that out. I was like, I was just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I’ve done that a few times. ‘Cause in first you asked, have you documented that anywhere? And they haven’t. So then it’s weird. I’m like, well, as the analyst, I guess I’m doing your user flow documentation. Okay. But if I don’t, I’m just gonna be giving you a number in a report. And if you can’t tell me and nobody has a picture, then. There’s gonna be lots of assumptions of what that means.

0:19:51.7 TW: And so it wound up being kind of a necessary step. If I remember right, in that case, I wound up designing a report that I took the sketch, mapped that, I did kind of physically draw it because there were enough kind of choke points that I could then drop the numbers on it. And I felt like I was more trying to… There was a lot more value in me showing them visually how convoluted their flow was. They all kinda knew. It was like, oh, it’s messy and this kinda happens and this happens. And then I’d be like, what happens in this case? So like, yeah, I’m not sure. It’s like, well, okay, really there’s more value in you just thinking about what’s actually happening. Sure we can put the data on it later and eventually you wanna get to that. But I think we’ve identified the problem [laughter] is you’ve built a terrible experience.

0:20:41.7 DW: Yeah. And the drawing helped bring that to life.

0:20:44.6 TW: Right.

0:20:44.8 DW: The complexity and the confusing and the inefficiency of the experience and the process. Exactly. And like Julie was saying earlier, sometimes that can reveal the problem or the gap. There’s a gap here. Or it might reveal, “Hey, hang on, the way you’ve drawn it there, what if we just went… Bypass this bit and went straight from there to there?” Again, that visual can do things that a written document would never be able to highlight as anywhere near as clearly.

0:21:15.5 TW: That’s funny. It’s so easy to cheat with words. Like if it’s unclear, you just, you can still write a paragraph that.

0:21:22.1 DW: You can make it sound good but it’s…

0:21:23.3 TW: Isn’t wrong?

0:21:23.4 DW: It’s hard to draw.

0:21:23.5 TW: Yeah it just… Yeah.

0:21:23.6 DW: It’s something… Yeah.

0:21:25.9 JH: It’s like verbal hand waving.

0:21:27.4 TW: Yeah.

0:21:27.5 DW: Yeah. But if something’s messy, you can’t draw it neatly because you just can’t. You physically can’t.

0:21:32.7 MH: Yeah. That’s when I go and just make a triangle, just a big…

0:21:37.0 JH: You just buy yourself some time. Keep going.

0:21:38.3 MH: The customer. And you know what, you tell me what’s the third run?

0:21:42.0 TW: Yeah. Now who knows what the third one is?

0:21:44.8 DW: I want to… By the end of this, I want one of us to figure out the third dimension.

0:21:50.7 MH: I actually am going somewhere though, Dan, because I think as I’m listening and we’re talking, I’m like, some sort of mastery or understanding of the underlying system is kind of necessary for you to be able to do this. Like, so talk about that process ’cause I mean, obviously you’ve been in the industry and been working for many, many years. How does someone kind of ramp up into this capability? Maybe just from a career perspective, but also from sort of a first principle’s perspective of how to even tackle this effectively, sort of from a… I would say from sort of an understanding perspective. ‘Cause I don’t think you just sort of walk in a room and…

0:22:29.0 DW: No.

0:22:29.7 MH: Throw down a massive great sketch on a topic you don’t know anything about.

0:22:32.3 DW: No, no, no. Yes, you’re right. I wish I could articulate better how to develop this visual capability, let’s say. I’m not sure I can, but there is a connection. There are ways, and there are probably new tools these days of using data to help come up with the sketch. So one of the illustrations I’m very proud of is quite based on pure analysis. So for example, it’s when you look at advertising effectiveness. So you have a dependent variable of whatever kind, and you look at the attributes of advertising that seem to drive that overall performance of advertising. And, basically it’s a whole load of correlations, correlations with the dependent variable and inter-correlations between the individual variables. And I found, what I do, and it takes a long time, but I kind of start to try and map that onto two dimensions if I can.

0:23:32.7 DW: So the thing I found useful is like high correlation is translated into short distance on my map because it’s intuitive. Things that are very highly correlated, thus put them close together ’cause that’s kind of intuitively they’re clustered, they’re grouped. So when you do that with advertising data, creative pretesting or whatever, you find it works really, really well. So you have certain dimensions like persuasion, purchase intent, relevance meets my needs. Those kind of things are highly inter correlated with each other and have some correlation with the overall effectiveness. And then you have another group which tend to be about attention and engagement that relate to each other, but also relate to overall effectiveness and relate less to things like a persuasion would. Now I know this is hard to you visualize. [laughter]

0:24:29.8 MH: Yeah.

0:24:31.4 TW: Hey, we’re all taking a flyer here to do a podcast about sketches and visual.

0:24:36.8 DW: Yeah, oh, yeah yeah, no, but hopefully you’re sketching your own as you listen. [laughter]

0:24:41.1 JH: Do you find that you are relying then on metaphors that make sense to you and processes that you can understand to get yourself started on a sketch?

0:24:52.1 DW: Well, I think metaphor in its broadest sense is probably one of the most useful tools or approaches. For example, that, that was pure numbers, but there’s still a metaphor and the metaphor being distance reflecting association. Short distance, closeness, meaning they go together. So even that is a metaphor. It’s a very common metaphor. And so yes, but you could, of course you can take metaphor way beyond that.

0:25:22.0 DW: So one of my favorites examples is the metaphor of customer relationships and how you tend to bubble a… I draw a hill and you’re at the top of the hill and the customer just bubbles around at the top of the hill and doesn’t tend to fall off the hill or go any higher most of the time because most interactions are not that big a deal. But occasionally you might push people over the lip, down the hill, for example, through a really bad experience and you’ll never get them back up the hill. So the metaphor here is the shape of the hill and the height and the effort that would be required to get people back up the hill. So again, it’s a metaphor. So yeah, I would say metaphor is kind of the underlying theme in effective visualization.

0:26:09.5 TW: Yeah. And the metaphor, do we acknowledge that the funnel is just a terrible metaphor? ‘Cause the way a funnel is supposed to work is that it’s supposed to take everything that goes in the top and have it come out the bottom. And when we actually use it in marketing, it’s a leaky funnel.

0:26:24.8 DW: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a terrible metaphor. It just happens to be one of the earlier ones that’s sort of stuck. I mean, yes, it’s not the ideal one. I think the leaky bucket is much better. It’s similar related. That’s a much better one. Especially if it’s very leaky. [laughter] And you need a way to keep topping it up because that’s more like most marketing situations. So it’s a better metaphor. As in, it relates more closely to the data that we observe. Yeah.

0:26:53.1 TW: Which, Dan does have a nice sketch of a leaky bucket in his Smart Marketing book. So you weren’t necessarily coming on here to plug the book, but that is one of the…

0:27:06.2 DW: No, I definitely did. Sorry I’m joking. [laughter] I do love that metaphor. In fact, I’ve returned to it several times and kind of pushed it too far on occasion, but it just kind of works for me. The need for continually getting more consumers, penetrations, imports, and you can’t keep people and people move on and all that kind of stuff. It just works so well. You have to use it.

0:27:34.0 JH: Speaking of that, I would love to hear what some of your favorite illustrations are that you have done or the most successful. They could be the same or different. [laughter]

0:27:44.2 DW: I’ve got a few favorites. One of the earliest ones is an analogy between, how brand building and activation work together and then both are important and Bennett and Phil talk about the kind of combination of the two. And in fact, to illustrate how old this metaphor is, I used to use the analogy, football analogy, soccer analogy with David Beckham being in the midfield. And I think it was Michael Owen. He probably don’t… You guys might not know, but he was a well-known striker. He was a…

0:28:22.1 MH: I watched the documentary.

0:28:24.4 DW: Did you? Oh, you did. Oh, the Beckham one on Netflix. Oh yeah, perfect. So Beckham was a brilliant, what do you call it? A playmaker. He would get the ball in the vicinity of the net. He would do the perfect cross from the halfway line and then Michael Owen, if I’m right with who it is, ’cause I’m not… Would just be there ready to just head it into the back of the net, which is a nice analogy. For brand building is just getting your brand to be considered, getting it close to the… So that when people think about buying it might come to mind, but you still need activation to close the deal, to seal the deal, to head it home and get your sale, back of the net. So that’s just a simple analogy that everyone gets because soccer is so popular around the whole world. So I’d use it in my international presentations and everyone would go, ah yes, I get that, which is nice. I just noticed today the drawing, ’cause it was one of my first ones, it’s awful, I’m going to have to redraw it because it just looks awful.

0:29:27.9 DW: But even so, like we said earlier, it doesn’t matter actually how it looks. It’s the analogy that’s important. So that’s one of my favorites because of its simplicity. And it helps people remember, oh, yeah, I need both, for example. Another one I like is the brand Piñata because it’s an almost perfect acronym for what people need to do to define a strong brand.

0:29:55.5 DW: I say almost perfect ’cause one of them is a little bit… One of the letters is a little bit forced. But, and also it’s a beautiful thing, you can do a star shape, you know the classic Piñata with a star fish. It looks really, really cool. So I like that. Just as a visual, that’s not even a mnemonic, that’s just a branding device, something to make it more memorable. Oh I must remember the P, the I, the N, the A, the T and the A. And if you’re going to ask me what they stand for I will probably remember but we’ll have to do a retake if I forget.

0:30:29.2 TW: I’m pretty sure that’s in the book too though now.

0:30:32.1 DW: Yeah, it is.

0:30:32.3 TW: Now I feel like I’ve opened it up. Yeah.

0:30:34.2 DW: But that’s quite a popular one and I like it because it’s like a fun, it’s fun.

0:30:40.2 TW: But does it also open up some of the fun of like, yeah, marketing, the ones that you feel like all the stakeholders walking around trying to whack you with a stick. I mean, there’s some of the, there are times where I guess if you had cases where, I mean, really where a metaphor or an illustration gets pushed too far. Like that feels like, and maybe those are just the ones that you’re like, well, yeah, we’re pushing this metaphor too far. Let’s maybe put that aside and…

0:31:06.1 DW: It can get a bit forced at time. Like I was saying, like the Piñata, the T of the Piñata is testaments. It’s not a word we use every day, is it? Testaments. But if you look it up, look up the word testaments, not the testament, but testaments, it is perfect for a basically a reason to believe, a product reason to believe, but it is forced. So yeah, I pushed that a bit far.

0:31:33.1 JH: Have you run into any topics that you have not been able to illustrate? Do you have any that you’re continuously working on and just they don’t seem to work once you put pen on paper?

0:31:43.2 DW: There’s always a set of things I’m working on that I haven’t cracked yet. So, and the fact that the drawer behind me has a few initial… In fact, I might even open up, this will trigger my memory. I think there are a couple I’m working on at the moment.

0:32:00.1 TW: He is opening a drawer and literally pulling out sketches.

0:32:02.6 DW: I’m opening a drawer behind me. Oh, this is a good one. I’ll show that one in a second. No, I’m…

0:32:08.1 JH: It’s a deep drawer too. [laughter]

0:32:09.0 DW: It’s a deep drawer. There’s a lot. Because you don’t know… Inspiration doesn’t always strike you when you want it to strike you. You know what I mean? And you know how the brain works. It’s often working on things in the background. So sometimes something will come to you in the shower.

0:32:25.0 TW: Wait, do you have a sketch pad on your nightstand next to the bed? Do you…

0:32:30.9 DW: Well, it’s actually just one of those big post-its and a pencil. I don’t put the lights on because I don’t awake my wife, so I try and sketch blind. And then in the morning I go, I don’t know what that is. But yeah, I do, but I do, yes, literally. I do have idea… Often I wake up and then go downstairs and try and remember what came up when I was, I guess, sleeping or dreaming, I don’t know. Yeah, so at the moment, oh yeah, this is a big one. I’m trying to illustrate the evidence for Byron Sharp’s, it’s such a long phrase. What’s the market asset theory? Does anyone remember the long phrase that Byron Sharp is using?

0:33:17.4 TW: No.

0:33:17.5 DW: It’s basically saying that the traditional segmentation, targeting, positioning approach may not be as appropriate given the data. And he’s put forward an alternative, it has some connection, but it’s a little bit different. And there’s a lot of evidence from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute as to why. And I kind of want to promote that because I think the evidence is strong, but I can’t find a good way of doing it. It looks, yeah, again, for the podcast is useless. [laughter] But that that is as far as I’ve got. Yeah, basically you’re seeing some really horrible scribbles, right? Yeah. [laughter] But this one I’m quite proud of. This one is going to be good, I think. I hope, which is… [chuckle]

0:34:05.8 TW: Breaking news.

0:34:06.5 DW: So it looks like a…

0:34:09.4 TW: Looks like a fan.

0:34:10.5 DW: Fan. An upside a fan.

0:34:11.2 TW: Upside down fan.

0:34:11.7 DW: Yeah. Like a fan pointing towards… And it’s kind of like a career progression within marketing and marketing research and all the skills you need to develop as you go up. So that’s looking promising. But yeah, it’s always iterative and it always takes a little while. I usually get there though, Julie, hopefully. [chuckle]

0:34:31.1 MH: So in working with others, because everyone sort of comes from like, that’s of different backgrounds, obviously, data people, analytics people, probably a lot of us don’t think of ourselves as necessarily artistic, but certainly try to be systematic thinkers and things like that. But how do you help people engage in this process or sort of release or I don’t know the right word for it, maybe build this sort of creative process.

0:35:00.4 TW: Or do you? Or you’re like, no, I just do it. And the other people can figure it out. [laughter]

0:35:03.4 DW: I’m with Tim. No, that’s how I’m starting to make money from this. Yeah. No, I do have… Oh, this sounds like a plug, but it is a plug, but…

0:35:13.9 MH: Well, it’s okay.

0:35:14.6 DW: It’s okay. No, I have developed and started to run a training course about storytelling and data visualization, so as in how to think about it, how to go about it, because it is something you can learn. So for example, there are the… When you’re trying to illustrate a concept. You just need to be open to the different ways you might illustrate it, organize it. So I saw in the notes we talked about Venn diagrams and other… A few other diagrams, but there are loads of different kinds of diagram and analogies you might use. I mean, there are funnels, there are targets, there are flow charts. There are hub and spoke models, trees.

0:36:05.2 MH: Balance scales, trees.

0:36:05.9 DW: Balance scale. Yeah, balance scales. Exactly. So just, just thinking about… And that a lot of those are analogies, aren’t they like a target? Well, you think of archery or something, and you… Everyone knows what that means. That’s more important and more successful. This is okay, but less important. These things just exist in our world, and it’s just thinking, oh, I wonder if we could use that. So it’s more just open people’s eyes to it. And once you do that, or anyone can do it, anyone can think of a good way of illustrating your data.

0:36:38.4 TW: I mean, that’s… Yeah, that’s… I’ve never thought of it that way. I mean, the number of pyramids that have been… I mean, geez, just the number of pyramids of how you get from data to insight. I feel like that’s the bread and butter of the analytics consultants is to show that first there’s data and then there’s information, and then there’s knowledge, and somebody else does it in a different way. But if it makes sense is there a foundational thing that then builds to something at the top that’s a pyramid? Is it the opposite? Is an inverted pyramid? Yeah. For the listeners, Dan did just hold up like a sheet that had like 16 different things on it.

0:37:16.1 DW: Yeah, yeah. So your cheats are really on your Tim. [laughter]

0:37:18.9 TW: I am. So this is… We are gonna have to get some of these onto as YouTube clips, but I… That it never struck me as thinking like, you don’t have to start with a blank slate. There’s a degree of inspiration of like, as you said, sure, Venn diagrams was the only one I could come up with on the top of my head. And you’re pointing out like, no, there… There are trees. I think there’s a process flow, there is a funnel, there is a… That seems really useful.

0:37:50.6 DW: And it’s kind of like knowing, and just having… Thinking about just for a second, which one is best for different things. A Venn diagram is useful. Never go more than three circles… Blows people’s minds. Two or three. But it’s kind of like, they’re good for the sweet spot. The sweet spot is when you do this and this, for example. But even the classic that the marketing, the management consultant’s favorite, the two by two matrix, you’ve got dimension one, dimension two, and then your four boxes. And, and actually what that works brilliantly for, you’ve got these two different dimensions of context, and then in the… Actually in the full boxes you put… What are the implications? What should you be thinking about or focusing on or doing? Works brilliantly, absolutely brilliantly.

0:38:41.4 MH: Yeah.

0:38:43.0 TW: I do have a Venn diagram anecdote from years ago when Michael and I worked together and we had a client. And because I think from a data visualization, if we’re talking about, customers and kind of how many… This isn’t pure segments, it’s how many do this and do this and what’s the overlap? And doing a sketch to say, I can pull the data. That’s a pretty simple, I mean, whatever, it was like Adobe Analytics and it was like three segments to… Well, I guess now Adobe Analytics even has the Venn diagram building capability. This predated that. But I think it can be really useful to have that conversation and say, what do we think? Like how big, relatively speaking do we think these two circles are, and how big do we think that overlap is? Because that’s a mechanism to get everybody sort of… Oh, there you go. Holding up a Venn diagram.

0:39:34.6 JH: Live sketching.

0:39:35.5 TW: Yeah.

0:39:40.1 DW: Yeah. I can’t… Look, I can’t help myself. You talk, you make a guy draw it. Yeah. Yeah. This is the… This is exactly what you’re talking about. That I… I’ve used, it’s got a.

0:39:45.7 TW: It’s got a TV and YouTube or the two… The two circles. Yeah. What’s the…

0:39:48.1 DW: So I’ve got a big circle with… This is basically when digital advertising started to grow rapidly. And there was an acknowledgement that a lot of the younger generation watched… Don’t watch linear TV anymore. And YouTube was one of the first big channels, wasn’t it? It wasn’t as big as TV, but amongst certain segments. It was huge. And so it’s kind of like advertisers were starting to not reach as many people through TV ’cause it keeps shrinking. Still is a little bit, the idea is yes there isn’t that much overlap and you can reach a significant extra chunk of people if you introduce YouTube into your media mix. So again, that visualizes it. And you can quantify the circles and obviously they change over time. So. Yeah.

0:40:34.0 TW: Well that… I like the… Like let’s think of, let’s imagine what we think it is and now it’s actually visualized. Same thing worked for kind of a funnel.

0:40:39.5 DW: It is quantified. Yeah. And like, yeah, like, and also if that’s your hypothesis, well go and get the data. And it might have been that actually YouTube was much smaller with much more overlap and therefore probably not as important.

0:40:53.1 TW: We have the next diagram. Yeah.

0:40:54.2 DW: Yeah. I know.

0:40:56.0 TW: Mind’s eye.

0:40:56.7 DW: We need to… Yeah, I’ll send these through, [chuckle] we’ll use the video… We’re videoing this, aren’t we? Yeah. Fine.

0:41:04.0 MH: Yeah, we have it. [chuckle]

0:41:04.9 DW: Yeah, yeah. You get the gift. Okay.

0:41:05.0 MH: But it seems like in a way that these also are massive for context ’cause a lot of times when we’re doing data analysis and things like that, we’re reporting out these numbers of like, this happened and this happened and this happened and it’s sort of this data flow of information. But if you just sort of had that visual next to that, it helps everybody sort of keep in mind like, what the heck are you talking about? What system? What is the overall big picture? So in my head, I’m already picturing like a re-imagination of a lot of dashboards where the sketch is right there and then the data that supports it is right next to it to like, help everybody understand.

0:41:44.8 TW: Or overlay it. If you’ve done it long enough.

0:41:46.8 MH: Yeah. I mean, my sketches aren’t gonna be that good, Tim. I mean come on. [laughter]

0:41:52.9 TW: But that’s the… That’s the going from the the rough sketch. Everybody’s on the same page.

0:41:55.6 MH: Yeah, yeah.

0:41:56.5 TW: Everybody starts talking about it. Like, I feel like that’s when you’ve… When somebody’s like, where’s that sketch? Oh, can you send that? Okay, now we’ve got everybody on… Aligned and on the same page. And then it’s, which part of this are we… We’re not worrying about this part. We are worrying about this part. But I agree. Either way it could be next to it as well.

0:42:15.3 JH: Going back to your process a little bit, Dan, do you… Once you’ve iterated yourself, ’cause the whole conversation we’re having about being able to pass it along and people are referencing it and people are head nodding at it. So before you consider a sketch or an illustration complete and a success, do you like pass it around and see if other people inherently like, get it right when they see it? Or how do you take it from, in your notebook to it’s ready to be published?

0:42:39.8 DW: Well, I do… I’m quite happy to issue like a prototype or a thing I think’s worth sharing and ask for feedback. In fact, I find LinkedIn to be an incredibly useful platform for doing that. So I… For me it’s like what’s the phrase? Everything is in perpetual beater for me. [laughter] it’s like, I’m always thinking, well this isn’t gonna be… Nothing’s ever perfect, but you get to a point where you think, you know what, this is good enough to get… To help people and to get feedback on it. So I continually improve and refine based on people’s feedback. And I ask for the feedback on LinkedIn and people have… Are generous enough to give that feedback. Even, even the other day on colors, I switched to color and I said, is this better? And people said, yeah, it’s better. Great. I mean now obviously that’s a bit of a trivial thing. Well, not completely trivial, but, but yeah, so and also that’s why I love the website. ’cause whenever I get feedback I change the visual and upload the new version. So the website just keeps hopefully improving with the visuals. Yeah.

0:43:50.1 TW: And it seems like with an internal, like a very sort of company specific thing, a… Well it gets back to what we were talking about at the very beginning that it shows that you’re thinking, right? Like if somebody’s talking in words and you’re trying to understand a really good way to play it back is, I tried to draw it and 80% of it works and this piece doesn’t… Isn’t making sense. And maybe they come back and say, yeah, we kind of waved our hands around that. Like, that’s really, really messy. Or they say, well no, no, no, no this, this thing’s really more over here. We think about this channel as doing X and then it’s that. So that’s like another feedback mechanism that to me gets to that other sticking point I have with analysts who want to like, have one interaction and then go back and do all the work and then deliver the result. And that’s kind of missing the ability to have it in beta for a while and iterate.

0:44:44.8 DW: Yeah, exactly. I totally agree. I mean, I’m a big fan of the concept of agile development. Do a rough, get feedback, refine it, get more feedback. ‘Cause it doesn’t take time to create rough things, usually it takes… Like I said, with the drawings you can do a very horrible rough in a few seconds. It’s only the final finished product that can take hours. ‘Cause you wanna make sure that the the line… I was just having a debate with my daughter about, she helps me with some of the graphics, right. About line thicknesses. Okay, yeah. That comes later, [laughter] way later way, way, way later when you’re trying to make it look really cool. ‘Cause you wanna sell some NFTs, but that’s a completely different.

0:45:25.9 TW: You need a double art pencil, not your art clearly for that.

0:45:29.8 DW: Exactly. [laughter] Well, she is a theater designer and does graphic design so she knows what she’s talking about. So, you know, it’s cool. I’ve lost my thread now. [laughter] Yeah, I was… No, but that idea of using it as part of a development process and to get feedback I think is really, really important.

0:45:49.2 TW: I will say, and I don’t know how much this would fall. Another place that I use sketching 100% of the time is if I am developing a dashboard, like I will always… Because I generally, there’s a layout component and that just goes to a speed of, let me figure out what needs to be. And it’s a componentized thing, so I can draw the boxes and figure out a layout and figure out what’s kind of within it. I have been… I may do a version two where it’s a… I’ve sketched it a little bit more cleanly ’cause I’ve gone through those 10 second iterations to just get in my head, how could this thing work?

0:46:26.5 TW: Okay, now let me make one that’s still, is a five minutes. And then go to the stakeholder and say, this is kind of what I’m thinking. Before I jump into whatever I’m using to actually develop the dashboard, are we on the same page with this? ‘Cause it’s gonna be a lot cheaper for me to spend another five minutes sketching something different than it is gonna be for me to spend four hours on this thing. And then have you say that’s no good. So that’s like a very tactical, but I’ve got in my notebook different dashboard layouts and components from that as well. But that’s the concept and much more of just like a design thing.

0:47:08.8 DW: I work… Yeah. I found that working… Myself, that it works well to do that. ‘Cause I’ve done the same, working on dashboard development for clients in the past. Yeah. I think there’s literal… I tried to sketch it out. I think my iteration one takes 20 seconds. [chuckle] Yeah. This is for me, not for… I don’t show this with anyone yet. Then the next one is a bit of a clearer version. It takes about a minute. The next one, about five minutes. I’ve obviously given it a bit of thought and then maybe 20 minutes. And then after that I’m ready to share it with other people. Now, I wouldn’t want people to see how bad my actual real drawing is. I’m not an artist. [chuckle] I can only draw in one way. Yeah. And then when it’s been approved or I’m happy with it or people feedback has come in, then it might take me a couple of hours to make it look pretty. But why make it look… There’s no point making it look pretty before it’s right. You know. Waste of time.

0:48:06.3 TW: There’s a little bit of PTSD because I studied architecture and it was midway through that program. We had a professor who… This is like seared into my brain traumatically. So the university was one that had like a big courtyard, kind of a classic C-shape thing. So you go stand out and you could approach the dome. And he had us go all the way back where you could see the whole thing. And we had to have our charcoal and our sketchbooks. And he was like, “Okay, sketch that entire scene. You have one minute.” We’re like, “One minute.” He was like, “You just gotta get the crude stuff.” Then we’re like, that’s crazy. And then he was like, okay, now we’re all gonna walk 50 yards forward. And he’s like, “Now do it again from here, but you have 30 seconds.”

0:48:51.3 TW: And by the time we were done, it was like, he’s like, “Draw that in 10 seconds.” I’m like, ah. I mean, I just wanted to run away. And there was… There was a lady who after that semester, she changed to mechanical engineering and she pointed back… I remember her going through that and she was like, such a perfectionist, but I think it was traumatic for all of us. But his point was get the… Get the big ideas down quickly. So maybe that’s one of those things where I hated it in the moment and here it is 30 years later and I’m like, oh, maybe that was actually… Taught me some useful skill.


0:49:25.3 MH: Well, but I think that’s super valuable in a way because mentally for probably a lot of people, especially analytics people, we don’t think of ourselves as necessarily quote creative. And there’s a lot of perfectionism when it comes to displaying data or visualizing data. And so it’s a real mental block in a lot of ways to like, just throw something out there. ‘Cause it’s like, well, what if it’s not right or what if it’s wrong? Or what if people perceive it the wrong way or it doesn’t have like the right ink to data ratio or whatever the case may be. And so this is actually really nice to think about. It’s sort of like, yeah, just get the idea out there and then iterate on it a little bit. And I like that approach.

0:50:14.0 DW: There’s a bit of an analogy here, I think between the classic, way that advertising used to be produced, right? With a huge budget, a big ad agency glossy production. Go to The Bahamas, get Ridley Scott to direct it and then, getting an editor to make it look perfect and all this. And you put it on air and yeah. But what if the idea… If the fundamental idea isn’t right for the brand or not memorable or whatever, it’s a complete disaster. Whereas, when we got into the digital age and there was a lot more rough and ready stuff, or even consumer generated stuff that had awful production values. It was all, not high res, but you know what? Consumers didn’t care. They cared about the emotions and the story of the rough, whatever they were presented with. We used to joke, at Millward Brown ’cause sometimes agencies would produce an animatic like a rough version of a video ad, like a hand drawn or… So it just.

0:51:21.1 TW: Right.

0:51:21.4 DW: Represented what the…

0:51:22.3 TW: Storyboard type that one…

0:51:23.6 DW: Storyboard. Yeah. For like a film storyboard…

0:51:27.1 TW: Okay.

0:51:27.4 DW: Concept. Yeah. The kind of thing. And we test that with consumers and we get feedback. And occasionally that would do brilliantly and then they go away and make it perfect. Film it with not Tom Cruise. ‘Cause he would probably lift the scores, but they’d film it with… And they’d make it as slick as possible, but they kind of lost some of the essence. And the finished film would score less than the unfinished film. It would act… Because they… It wasn’t quite as authentic or… That the polish was less important than the fundamental idea. And I’ve always… That’s always struck me. People respond to more fundamental things and the same’s true, a rough sketch. In fact, I should probably make my sketches look worse, really.


0:52:16.8 DW: Maybe. I don’t know.

0:52:18.2 MH: Now you can AB test that or something.

0:52:20.2 DW: Yeah, no, you can. And no, but actually it’s quite interesting. Someone sent me a link to a paper that basically, which I loved. Because it said that the conclusion of the paper was that weirdly enough hand drawn charts and graphs and stuff like that, even statistical things, people respond more positively and believe them to be more credible, than kind of what you might get out of Excel or PowerPoint. And that blew my mind. Why? I guess cause it’s handcrafted. I don’t know the psychology behind it, but it makes you think. It’s like, well…

0:53:03.0 TW: I mean. I did a whole presentation using the… I was explaining and I used kind of the xkcd. I was using R, so it was all code. It was very code generated stuff, but I used kind of the xkcd package so that it… I mean, it was kind of an homage to xkcd as much as anything else, but it also seemed to really work ’cause it was like, I’m talking about a concept here, so let’s not get too caught up on the precision. Like we’re confusing precision and accuracy and import altogether.

0:53:38.4 DW: No, that makes a lot of sense to me because it’s kind of like, if you have a graph, even just something really basic like a bar chart or something like that. If you put 46.25% and then 25.95… Okay. Now for a start, we know that that’s over precision depending on the source of the data. We know that, but actually usually what you’re trying to say is this one’s much, much bigger than this one. Usually the conclusion or the action, the implication is much, much, much blunter than the detail. So increasingly I actually remove the percentages…

0:54:18.5 DW: I’m very meticulous even with my hand drawn stuff to make sure the length of the bar is precisely representative of the data that’s like a… But remove that detail. If people want that, fine, they can have the spreadsheet. That’s… The point is at the moment we’re talking about the concept. So, and that detracts from it. So people don’t then scrutinize the… No, no, no, this is the big picture we’re talking about. It’s much double, roughly, roughly double. It’s much bigger.

0:54:46.3 MH: Yeah. All right. Well, we’ve got to start to wrap up. I’ve been taking notes as we’ve been chatting and I wanna remind people that co-creation looks cool. So this is why you should take up sketching these things out. It also helps organize and understand relationships. It forces everyone to use the same language and it also highlights problems and gaps and processes. So those are a couple of notes I took as we were chatting on. There’s lots more…

0:55:11.5 TW: Did you make any sketches though? Here’s the question.

0:55:13.2 MH: I did not sketch it…

0:55:14.9 JH: Did you sketch that list?

0:55:16.7 TW: I think Dan made 14. So…

0:55:21.7 DW: Listen…

0:55:21.8 MH: No, I did not sketch anything. I want to learn to sketch. I’m not ready to do it yet. I’m sorry…

0:55:29.0 DW: Oh, come on. Look at these sketches. Come on. They’re rubbish…

0:55:33.1 MH: Incredible. They’re great.

0:55:35.2 DW: No, you’re lying because you know, the audience is not gonna see them.

0:55:40.5 MH: First things first. I do have… Hold on, let me show you what I did sketch. I do have this…

0:55:46.4 TW: He’s got a post… He’s got a triangle on a post-it note. Perfect.

0:55:51.2 DW: The easiest shape to sketch on earth. Do you try a circle? Circles are nearly impossible. Honestly, you go to art college, I don’t know, Tim, if you did that… I don’t know if you did it as part of your art and design, but circles are impossible. Just try it. Sorry, carry on.

0:56:08.9 MH: Well, this is a four by sketch for the alignment of e-commerce and analytics. So I’ll talk about that later.

0:56:15.9 DW: By the way, do you want to know what the third point of the anecdote?

0:56:20.7 MH: Oh yeah, I think it’s time to pay that off.

0:56:24.1 DW: I remembered what it is. Yeah. It’s product. So you have brands on one, product on another, because they’re not the same. You can have different products and you can evolve products, and then customer. And then you can talk about the interrelations. For example, the product is no longer relevant to the customer because their needs have changed. The brand has become somehow less attractive to the customer or the brand is still strong, but the product range is sort of not living up to it. You can do all sorts of interrelationships. So I did remember I’m quite…

0:56:57.3 MH: Nice.

0:56:57.7 TW: And mine will be that it was Jack Barker, Silicon Valley. It was the conjoined triangle of success.

0:57:02.6 MH: Oh, that’s right. The conjoined triangle of success. Thank you. Okay. All right. Wait. This is why everyone has to listen to the end of this episode, because we’ve got so many hooks. All right. But we do have to bring it together. Dan, what a fascinating conversation. Thank you so much for joining the podcast to talk about this. It’s been a pleasure. One of the things we love to do is just go around the horn and share a last call, something we think might be of interest to our listeners. Dan, you’re our guest. Do you have a last call you’d like to share?

0:57:31.8 DW: Yeah, it’s not really to do with marketing or analytics or data or anything.

0:57:36.1 MH: That’s okay.

0:57:37.1 DW: But it’s probably the framework, the idea that has helped me most in my career/life. And I’m sure you will have come across this concept, but I just thought it’s worth sharing again, which is the benefit, the value of active listening, how it helps you understand things better, develop better relationships, produce better pitches. In fact in my, plug again. In my soft skills book, which is all about communication skills and practical skills and all the non-technical side of impression, it’s the chapter I referred back to more than any other by far. In other words, go back to that chapter. If you’ve got these skills, it’ll help you with a pitch. It’ll help you with your relationships. It’ll help you with line management. It’ll help you as a team lead, all these things. So yeah, active listening. And there are simple processes you can use to make you a better listener. I would recommend that to all your listeners.

0:58:36.3 TW: I mean, sketching is a form of active listening, right? If you’re sketching in the moment, right? I mean, I would argue…

0:58:43.7 DW: I was gonna say that earlier. It’s like one of the five P’s that I come up with is playback. It’s good to play back to people what you think you’ve heard, what you understand from what they have said. And if you’re doing it in a diagram, it’s brilliant because they can go, yes, that’s right. Or no, that’s not quite right because. So again, you learn and you show that you’ve listened and that you’re still open. It’s that… Michael, you said it’s a collaboration, the co-creation that a picture can help you do.

0:59:12.6 MH: Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. All right. Julie, what about you? What’s your last call?

0:59:18.2 JH: So my last call is, I’m calling it a classic. Maybe many of you have heard of it, but it just feels very relevant for today and it’s near and dear to my heart. So my last call is the app Notability. I actually used it through college because I couldn’t type math symbols, to be honest, and I didn’t wanna carry a lot of books and paper. So I used Notability on my iPad and it was great, but I have pulled it out recently in just the past few months, multiple times to do sketches and diagrams and things like that when I don’t have pen and paper handy or I need a little bit more help. Like where I need the range of colors or I need to screenshot something and bring it in and draw on top of. So I just think it’s a great tool if you’re looking for something that’s not quite pen and paper and it’s easy to have like on the go at your fingertips.

1:00:03.8 MH: All right, Tim, what about you? What’s your last call?

1:00:07.7 TW: Is Notability Mac Apple only? Don’t know.

1:00:10.6 JH: Oh, I don’t know. I am all Apple.

1:00:14.9 TW: All Apple.

1:00:15.1 JH: So it works for me.

1:00:16.8 TW: All right. So I have been exercising a lot more, which means my podcast listing has gone even higher. So I’m gonna do the… A twofer on the podcast or a fiver, depending on how you count it. So Freakonomics Radio, I’m sure there are a lot of people who listen to this podcast who also listen to Freakonomics Radio and I have referenced things they’ve done in the past, but they recently… And partly I think like Malcolm Gladwell, I think I’m getting kind of tired of him. Like other people got to that point and I think I’m getting there. Steven Dunner is now like the guy who I just have a little like crush on just ’cause he seems so curious and delightful.

1:00:57.4 TW: But they did a series that was The Curious, Brilliant Vanishing Mr. Feynman. That was a three part and then there was a fourth bonus episode all about the physicist Richard Feynman, which was just kind of fascinating and sort of going to having an inquisitive of mind and curiosity and a fascinating, a little bit problematic in a few areas guy. So I’d recommend that for some listening. And then I got a plug anytime a past guest shows up on one of my favorite podcasts. Walt Hickey was on the 99% invisible podcast talking about his book. So like Roman Mars and Walt Hickey, I’m like, I could listen to that for four hours happily. So throwing some podcasts out there. What’s your last call, Michael?

1:01:44.2 MH: Well, I think I’ve mentioned at least a book recommendation I got from this person before and they’ve… They’re a writer. I’ve been following on Twitter now it’s called X, I guess for at least a couple of years. But recently… His name is Cedric Chin and recently wrote a pretty long article about becoming data driven from first principles and a lot bunch of different things. And it covers a lot of area, but there’s some really fascinating stuff in there and I really enjoyed reading it and actually it’s spurred a conversation where I think maybe he’ll be coming on the podcast soon. So…

1:02:19.1 TW: He’s currently booked.

1:02:20.3 MH: No. I know. As a teaser Tim.

1:02:20.4 TW: Okay. Damn it.

1:02:24.2 MH: Yeah, I know that.

1:02:28.1 TW: I don’t know what…

1:02:32.9 MH: All right. Well, there you go. So yeah, he is coming on the podcast. But anyways, it was a delightful article and well worth the read. And what was fascinating is the night I read it, I then saw a bunch of other people I know in the analytics industry also suddenly talking about this article. I was like, okay, this one is really popping off. And I think it’s because he’s really done a great job of encapsulating a lot of thought into this article. So we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. But anyways, I really liked it.

1:03:01.9 MH: All right. Well, as you’ve been listening, you’ve probably been thinking to yourself, all right, I need to learn more. I’d like to find out more about this. Well, there’s a great way for you to do that. We’d love to hear from you. And you can do that through our LinkedIn page or through X or the Measure Slack channel group. And Dan, are you active on social media? It sounds like you’re pretty active on LinkedIn. Can people reach out to you that way?

1:03:25.8 DW: Yeah. Mainly LinkedIn. In fact, it’s almost entirely on LinkedIn. I just found a platform I love. So yeah, LinkedIn, you can easily find me there.

1:03:31.1 MH: And your website is smartmarketing.me. And there’s a bunch of awesome illustrations there, links to your books. So there’s a lot of great information there people can follow up on as well.

1:03:41.6 DW: And people are welcome to to use as illustrations, so long as they provide an attribution without… Even without checking with me, just use them. That’s fine if they like them.

1:03:51.9 MH: Yeah, they’re going in all my presentations at conferences from now on. So there you go. No, I don’t know. But yeah, thank you. That’s very generous of you. And thank you so much, Dan, for coming on the show. It’s been delightful. I think this is the kind of conversation that’s fun to kind of expand our horizons as analytics folks, and think a little more broadly. So thank you very much.

1:04:12.3 DW: You’re welcome.

1:04:13.1 MH: Awesome. And of course, no show would be complete without a huge thank you to Josh Crowhurst, our executive producer. Thank you, Josh, for all you do. We appreciate it immensely. And as we wrap up, I know I speak for both of my co-hosts, Tim and Julie. When I say no matter if you’re co-creating or sketching or not, remember, keep analyzing.

1:04:39.5 Announcer: Thanks for listening. Let’s keep the conversation going with your comments, suggestions and questions on Twitter at @analyticshour, on the web at analyticshour.io, our LinkedIn group and the Measure chat Slack group. Music for the podcast by Josh Crowhurst.

1:04:57.0 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in. So they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.

1:05:03.8 Kamala Harris: I love Venn diagrams. It’s just something about those three circles and the analysis about where there is the intersection, right?

1:05:13.6 TW: Rock, flag and look, look at this sketch.


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