This picture has been doing the rounds, and it’s certainly an interesting explanation of the Economist’s house style. I particularly like the idea of a red rectangle as a way of keeping the chart identified as coming from the Economist, even when it moves onto Twitter, Tumblr, etc. But, why on earth would you want to “move the chart as far into the background as possible”? There’s an inferiority complex, here, with respect to “the surrounding article”, which is unhealthy.
Most interesting, however, is the squib at the bottom, saying that the chart “has been created for educational purposes only” and “has not been created by The Economist”. Which means that this chart shows what a *designer* thinks an Economist chart should look like. As opposed to a data visualization professional, who understands numbers and how to convey information using charts. I’ll give you a second, here: what’s the big screaming error in this chart, which the designer of this infographic has completely missed?
…
That’s right, it’s charting share price, rather than market cap or enterprise value. In other words, the chart is conveying no useful information at all, since the relative share prices of the two companies tell you nothing about their relative value. Bad chartist!

This picture has been doing the rounds, and it’s certainly an interesting explanation of the Economist’s house style. I particularly like the idea of a red rectangle as a way of keeping the chart identified as coming from the Economist, even when it moves onto Twitter, Tumblr, etc. But, why on earth would you want to “move the chart as far into the background as possible”? There’s an inferiority complex, here, with respect to “the surrounding article”, which is unhealthy.

Most interesting, however, is the squib at the bottom, saying that the chart “has been created for educational purposes only” and “has not been created by The Economist”. Which means that this chart shows what a *designer* thinks an Economist chart should look like. As opposed to a data visualization professional, who understands numbers and how to convey information using charts. I’ll give you a second, here: what’s the big screaming error in this chart, which the designer of this infographic has completely missed?

That’s right, it’s charting share price, rather than market cap or enterprise value. In other words, the chart is conveying no useful information at all, since the relative share prices of the two companies tell you nothing about their relative value. Bad chartist!

I think for a number of decades, there was this very odd recruiting climate where Wall Street and consulting firms became the default option for students at good schools who didn’t know what they wanted to do after graduation. If you knew you were going to be a doctor, but you didn’t feel sure about your options, Wall Street was an incredibly enticing option. It created a generation of accidental bankers, and some of them did the wrong thing. I think now what you’re seeing with the competitiveness is the people who became bankers, they really want to be bankers. And I think that’s a good thing because it’s better for the banks and the rest of the economy to have people who are talented.

I think Kevin Roose is exactly wrong here. Maybe The Epicurean Dealmaker can explain why?

A Conversation About Young Wall Streeters - NYTimes.com

Davos gossip

  • What do you need to do to get banned from the World Economic Forum? Massacre protestors in the street, just 974 miles from Davos? That’ll do it. But so, it seems, will phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch, along with all other News Corp executives, is persona non grata this year. While the Forum does provide credentials to journalists from the WSJ and Dow Jones, no News Corp executives are here. It’s far from clear when or whether they might be invited back.
  • In terms of technology use, “I treat a trip to Davos like a trip to China”, says one veteran delegate, adding that every time he returns from Davos, he finds that his computer has been hacked. This is probably no surprise. Everybody uses the same unencrypted wifi system, the delegates constantly type email passwords into open computers, flash drives are everywhere, and the Forum even explicitly discourages media organizations from setting up their own internet connections, on the grounds that they “interfere” with the WEF’s own IT. Given the power and influence of the people who attend, it would be surprising if everybody from the NSA to China weren’t engaging in massive cyber-spycraft this week.

Found Davos poetry

The Reshaping of the World

Consequences for Society,
Politics and Business
Profound
political, economic, social and,
above all,
technological forces are transforming
our lives, communities and institutions. Rapidly
crossing geographic,
gender and generational boundaries,
they are shifting power
from traditional hierarchies to networked heterarchies. Yet
the international community remains
focused on crisis
rather than strategically driven in the face of the trends,
drivers and opportunities
pushing global,
regional and industry
transformation.

“The Reshaping of the World:
Consequences for Society,
Politics and Business” is therefore
the thematic focus of the World
Economic Forum Annual
Meeting 2014. Our aim
is to develop the insights,
initiatives and actions necessary to
respond to current
and emerging challenges.

How gifts are like tattoos

It’s a whether vs what thing, basically. Or, to put it another way, it’s a real-world application of Buridan’s ass.

In the case of gifts, there are certain occasions (birthdays, weddings, Christmas) which are associated with strong societal pressure to give something. What you give is, in general, much less important than that you give. So it’s actually societally OK to give a crappy present: “it’s the thought that counts”.

Tattoos are more interesting. I’ve wanted a tattoo for quite a long time, but I’ve always been paralyzed by indecision about what tattoo to get. It’s so permanent, I set the bar extremely high — and end up with nothing, when I’m pretty sure I’d prefer something to nothing. Call it FOFR — fear of future regret — almost the opposite of FOMO.

When I see happily tattooed people, it’s obvious that they’ve made a simple determination — that a tattoo (or a lot of tattoos) is better than no tattoo, and that therefore they should simply go ahead and ink up. That doesn’t mean it makes sense to get an ice-cream cone tattooed on your face. But let’s remain within the realm of general common sense here, and I’m quite happy that the world’s skin is getting more colorful and interesting.

Just as I’m happy that people keep on giving each other gifts at this time of year. The deadweight loss involved notwithstanding.