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The Data Artist

Yes, I wrote an entire white paper about being a data artist. AnametrixIt was for Anametrix before they were acquired by Ensighten and it's called From Data Scientist to Data Artist:  Data Sculpting to Shape Business Insights.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the wonderful Yevgenia Nayberg who is an artist who illustrated the Devil's Data Dictionary.

Yevgenia is an Offset Illustrator according to this article on Shutterstock:
Inside the Artist’s Studio with Offset Illustrator Yevgenia Nayberg

It's a discussion of her process and methods of creating art. Part observation and part interview, it's a look inside the mind (and studio) of the artist.

“Style is much more than the way you lay your strokes,” she explains. “When you’re technically versatile, you find what to do with it. It’s a challenge to find clients who embrace your range. I want to keep an effortless style, a lightness of being in my work.”

In keeping with this “lightness of being,” she says she has to make an effort to not aim for perfection (her background is very academic). “I think it takes me more time to make it look like I don’t know what I’m doing in a way. Expectations have shifted; people want that playfulness, that effortlessness. It needs to look like you inhaled, did it in a second, and exhaled. If it looks like you were sweating, that’s not good — even if it’s anatomically correct or technically impeccable,” she says. “It’s hard work; it just shouldn’t look like it.”

You can see many of the full page illustrations, in process here:DDD in development

I have always loved Yevgenia's vision and am so proud to have had the chance to work with her.

Cognitive Computing


Illustration by the über- talented Yevgenia Nayberg:

cognitive computing

Book Signing!

When meta becomes recursive, the DDD is doing its work


Meta book signing

Yes, that is a picture of somebody taking a picture of me
and Leslie Macias from IBM - How meta can you get?

Book signings are fun - people smile and say, "Thank you," and sometimes tell you that they like you. I recommend it!

But I especially recommend it when it's at your own conference and everybody already knows who you are.


book signing2.JP


Book In Hand

Hundreds of copies are headed for Boston to the eMetrics Summit and many more to a variety of Amazon warehouses near you for fulfillment.  When they arrive, that pesky “unavailable” sign will be GONE and …

unavailable not

… there will be real, live books on sale.

There’s something odd about seeing an actual artifact that lived so long in my imagination, then in text and then in PDF’s.

Oh. I know what it is!

I can now take one of these ....

cover on table

... and hand it to my father!



Dad was pleased, even read it and then even read bits of it to his writing club!

His favorite?

Algorithm: Regularly recurring remarks from the former U.S. VP who invented the Internet.

See? There's something in this book for everyone!

Got a definition to add?

[eth_col size="1-2"]I did my bit - now, how about you?

Have you come across an amusing definition that should be included in the next edition?

I'm thinking there is probably room for a Devil's Online Marketing Dictionary as well... so I'm sending  out this Call for additional entries. If yours is chose, a free copy will be yours (when ever that happens).

So pitch in.

It's sure to be devilishly fun.

Just leave a Comment through the link above...



The Devil's Data Dictionary

Welcome to the
Devil's Data Dictionary

Making Fun of Data
A glossary by Jim SterneJim horns

When Stéphane Hamel coined the description of Big Data as 'That which doesn't fit in an Excel spreadsheet', I realized it was well past time for the datarati to have some fun poked at us.

There is no better example for what I had in mind than Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary (1906); an absolute gem that includes such treats as these:

Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
Politeness , n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.
Self-evident, adj. Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
Success, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.

Bierce also included anecdotes, phrases and verse.

With no hope of meeting Bierce's intelligence, wit or stamina, I nonetheless offer up my own accumulation of definitions for the data obsessed, or as Bierce himself would describe it,

Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.

After years of seriously delving into the value of data for business and with the onslaught of BIG DATA this and BIG DATA that, it was time to take a poke at the whole thing.

So I spent about a year and a half writing silly definitions and another few months having others correct my over simplifications, guide my misguided permutations and force me to cut out some of entries that were just too clever by half.

I'm very grateful to them.

And then I had a brain storm that pushed this project over the edge - I asked Yevgenia Nayberg to illustrate it. I've been an admirer of her work since I first saw her posters for the Lit Moon Theatre company's plays. Several have hung in my home for more than ten years. As you can see from the cover, Yevgenia does not pull any visual punches and her sense of humor is just what was needed to turn this from a series of blog posts to a collectible work of art - or at least something you can be confident makes a great gift for the data-obsessed person in your life.... which might just be yourself.

Like Stephané's definition of Big Data, some of the definitions in this volume were borrowed perforce from George Box, Albert Einstein, Stephen Colbert, Aaron Levenstein, Andrew Lang and Stan Kelly-Bootle.

I owe great thanks for those data scientists, data detectives and data junkies who tore themselves away from their pivot tables, dashboards and visualizations to correct, advise and enhance these terms. Specifically, Bob Page, Dean Abbott, Eric Siegel, James Taylor, Jim Novo, John Marshall, Ken Rona, Lisa Morgan, Mark Gibbs, Ned Kumar, Sam Michel, Pramod Singh, Ronny Kohavi, Rufus Evison and Vicky Brock. Without them, I'd only have myself to blame.

The joy of writing this format is that there are so many entries, I'm sure you find something funny and tweetworthy in it.

Jim Sterne
Santa Barbara, August 2105

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