is a toy for generating “word clouds” … and what a fun toy it is! I read about this in Nathan Yau’s excellent book — Visualize This. For the past week, I’ve been playing with Wordle. Could. Not. Stop. Let me share this toy with you! First — you need a good Wordle problem.
I see Wordle as a really, really fun way to do a frequency analysis of a block of text. If “frequency analysis” is a new term for you, it’s a fancy way to say, “Count how many times this word appears.”
Here’s my problem: my career goal is, “To be useful.” Am I? I have recommendations from people on LinkedIn, but I want to know if they tell me anything about what I do that seems most useful to others.
So, I copied and pasted the text from LinkedIn into a simple text editor (Notepad) and did some very basic cleanup. Then I pasted the text into the Create tab on the Wordle site. This is what came out:
Good start. But, there are still too many words to get anything useful. Much as I like my name, I don’t need to see it that often. There are other noisy words, as well. Fortunately, Wordle lets you remove unnecessary words by simple right-clicking and removing them. Here are the results.
Looking better. Now, I’ll drop all but the top 10 words.
The Layout menu of the Wordle toy lets me play with the “Maximum words…”
Here we go. From this, it looks like I am in my sweet spot when I can work with teams in the systems engineer role to understand critical complex systems and help create an excellent design.
That works for me. Thanks, Wordle!
Note: obviously this is not a rigorous technique. It would be easy to manipulate the results.
My point is that Wordle gives me a fun and visually appealing way to explore an otherwise-boring block of text. Wordle lets me play with color, text, arrangement, and many other factors.
And it’s free!
The other night, I fulfilled a personal dream. Following the excellent instructions found on the Revolutions blog, I created this representation of 1.16 million data points! This map shows unemployment data by county. The data source is 2010 the census data.
How cool is that? One screen showing over one million data points!
Victometrics are measurable quantities that define victory or defeat in a competitive situation.
Sun Tzu captured some of the earliest recorded victometrics. He wrote:
The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are:
- The Moral Law … causes the people to be in complete accord
- Heaven … night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons
- Earth … distances; danger and security; chance
- The Commander … wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage
- Method and discipline … the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure
These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:
- Which of the two sovereigns is in harmony with his subjects.
- Which of the two generals has most ability?
- With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
- On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
- Which army is stronger?
- On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
- In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!
It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in seeking to measure that which leads to victory.