I think that I’m in love with Midjourney. Look how easy it is to be creative when you have AI at your disposal!
Next time you wonder why your Israeli colleague, customer or partner barely works during October, recall this post
TL;DR Own your wins, own your failures, stay calm and make decisions. Read it. 5/5 “Extreme ownership” is a book about leadership in business written by two ex-SEAL fighters. This book is full of war stories, as in actual stories from a real war. I read this book by the recommendation (an instruction, really) of… Continue reading Book review: Extreme ownership
I will skip the usual “I’m thrilled and excited…”. I’ll just say it.As of today, I am the CTO of wizer.me, a platform for teachers and educators to create and share interactive worksheets. On a scale of 1 to 10, how thrilled am I? 10On a scale of 1 to 10, how terrified am I? 10On… Continue reading New position, new challenge￼
Today, I gave my first in-person presentation since the pandemic. It was awesome! I was talking about the study I performed with Nabeel Sulieman about data visualization in environments that use right-to-left writing systems. I wrote about this study in the past [one, two]. Today, you may find the results of our study at http://direction-matters.com/.… Continue reading Back to in-person presentations
An example of a very bad graph Nature Medicine is a peer-reviewed journal that belongs to the very prestigious Nature group. Today, I was reading a paper that included THIS GEM. These two graphs are so bad. It looks as if the authors had a target to squeeze as many data visualization mistakes as possible… Continue reading An example of a very bad graph
Haifa on Friday. Street art, atmosphere, food.
How do you properly select a colormap for a graph? What makes the rainbow color map a wrong choice, and what are the proper alternatives? Today, I stumbled upon a lengthy post that provides an in-depth review of the theory behind our color perception. The article concentrates on quantitative colormaps but also includes information relevant to… Continue reading On proper selection of colors in graphs
TL;DR War stories and pieces of advice from the high tech industry veteran. I read this book following recomendations by Reem Sherman, the host of the excellent (!!!) podcast Geekonomy (in Hebrew). Ben Horowitz is a veteran manager and entrepreneur who found the company Opsware, which Hewlett-Packard acquired in 2007. This book describes Horotwitz’s journey… Continue reading Book review: The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Next time you wonder why your Israeli colleague, customer or partner barely works during October, recall this post
Usually, I keep my blog for professional news only, but this time, I’ll make an exception. This frame is from a video that was taken a couple of days ago, less than one hour away from my home. Note how many people are there. Some people will claim that what we see is a peaceful… Continue reading 😦
Those who know me, know that I always care with me a cheep and thin notebook which I use as an extension to my mind. Today, I opened a new notebook, and this is a good opportunity to share some links about my productivity system. Start with the post “The best productivity system I know“… Continue reading Opening a new notebook in my productivity system
I stumbled upon a great graph that tells a complex story compellingly. This graph compares the last two waves of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and is shows so clearly that the new wave (that is supposedly composed of the Delta variant) is much more infections on the one hand, but on the other hand,… Continue reading Another example of the power of data visualization
To all my friends outside Israel. Do you want to know how the majority of Israelis see the shitty situation we are in? This short video does a good job summarizing it.
My podcast is mostly in Hebrew, but this interview was recorded in English. I hope you will enjoy it Martin Remy has been managing teams of data engineers and data scientists for more than a decade, and he has been doing so remotely. What lessons can we learn from Martin? לינקים חשובים: https://marting.blog https://martinremy.com עמוד… Continue reading Managing remotely. A podcast interview with Martin Remy
This week, I mark an important milestone in my professional life. It is an excellent opportunity to start a new productivity notebook and tell you about the latest evolution of the best productivity system I know. To sum up, I use a custom variant of Mark Forster’s Final Version productivity system that uses a plain notebook to track,… Continue reading Another evolution of my offline productivity system
In January 2020, I started a new experiment. I quit what was a dream job and became a freelancer. Today, the experiment is over. This post serves as omphaloskepsis – a short reflection on what went well and what could have worked better. What worked well? To sum up, I declare this experiment successful. I had… Continue reading Experiment report
I’m excited to announce that I’m joining MyBiotics Pharma Ltd as the company’s Head of Data and Bioinformatics. I have been working with this fantastic company and its remarkable people as a freelancer for fourteen fruitful months. But today, I join the MyBiotics family as a full-time member. Together, we will strive to better understanding… Continue reading A new phase in my professional life
Almost one year after it was originally published, I stumbled upon this powerful post. Today, June 10th 2020, black academic scientists are holding a strike in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests. I strike with them and for them. This is why: I began to understand the enormity of racism against blacks thirty five years… Continue reading Black lives matter. Lior Pachter
The great Robert Kosara, also known as the “eager eyes” has started publishing a series of videos he calls Chart Appreciation. In these videos, Robert takes a piece of data visualization from a reputable and known source, and discusses why this particular piece is so good, what decisions were made that made it possible, what… Continue reading Super useful videos for advanced data visualizers
From time to time, people send me emails asking for career advice. Here’s one recent exchange. Hi Boris, I am currently trying to decide on a career move and would like to ask for your advice. I have a MSc from a leading university in ML, without thesis. I have 5 years of experience in… Continue reading Career advise. Upgrading data science career
I invited Dr. Charles Earl for this episode of my podcast “Job Interview” to talk about racial discrimination at the workplace and fairness in machine learning. Dr. Charles Earl is a data scientist in Automattic, my previous place of work. Charles holds a Ph.D. in computer science, M.A. in education, M.Sc in Electrical engineering, and… Continue reading Interview 27: Racial discrimination and fair machine learning
Deena Gergis is a data science lead at Bayer. I recently discovered Deena’s article on LinkedIn titled “Five Things I Wish I Knew About Real-Life AI.” I think that this article is a great piece of a career advice for all the current and aspiring data scientists, as well as for all the professionals who… Continue reading Five things I wish people knew about real-life machine learning
I started following data visualization news and opinions quite a few years ago. One of the first bloggers who were active in this area NeurDojo, by the (now) professor Zen Faulkes. On of Zen’s spin-off blogs was devoted to better posters. This poster blog is called, surprisingly enough, Better Posters. Since I’m not in academia… Continue reading One of the first dataviz blogs that I used to follow is now a book. Better Posters
Danny Lieberman managed teams of programmers before I couldn’t read, so when Danny writes a post as bold and blunt as this, you should read it.
Working with local and S3 I/O with minimal code changes in Python
TL;DR Very shallow and uninformative. It could be an OK series of blog posts for complete novices, but not a book. The Persuasion Slide by Richard Dooley was a disappointment for me. I love Dooley’s podcast Brainfluence, and I was sure that Richard’s book would full of in-depth knowledge and case studies. However, it contained neither. The… Continue reading Book review. The Persuasion Slide by Richard Dooley
I recently rediscovered a volcano plot — a scatter plot that aims to visualize changes in large populations. Volcano plots are very technical and specialized and, most probably, are not a good fit for explanatory data visualization. However, they can be useful during the exploration phase, and they come with a set of well-established metrics. Moreover,… Continue reading Graphical comparison of changes in large populations with “volcano plots”
TL;DR Nice’n’easy reading for novice managers I read this book after hearing the author, Gal Zellermayer, in a podcast. Gal is an Israeli guy who has been working as a manager in several global companies’ Israeli offices. He brings a perspective that combines (what is perceived) the best practices of American managing style with the… Continue reading Book review: Manager in shorts by Gal Zellermayer
A couple of weeks go, I wrote a post about an unexpected hitch of working in a distributed team. Yesterday, my ex-coworker, Ann McCarthy wrote a related, more elaborative post on the same issue. It’s worth reading.
“One idea per slide” means one idea per slide. The simplest way to enforce this rule is to devote one slide per a sentence. Remember, adding slides is free, the audience attention is not.
Innumeracy is the “inability to deal comfortably with the fundamental notions of number and chance”.I wish there was a better term for “innumeracy”, a term that would reflect the importance of analyzing risks, uncertainty, and chance. Unfortunately, I can’t find such a term. Nevertheless, the problem is huge. In this long post, Tom Breur reviews… Continue reading Innumeracy
A fellow data analyst asked a question? What do we do when we need to draw a stacked bar chart that has too many colors? How do we select the colors so that they are nice but also are easily distinguishable? To answer this question, let’s look at the data similar to what appeared in… Continue reading Before and after — stacked bar charts
Slope charts are often suggested as a valid alternative to clustered bar charts, especially for “before and after” cases. So, instead of a clustered bar char like this we tend to recommend a slope chart (or slope graph) like this However, a slope chart isn’t free of problems either. In the past, I already wrote… Continue reading The Problem With Slope Charts (by Nick Desbarats)
A radar chart (sometimes called “spider charts”) look cool but are, in fact,pretty lame. So much so that when the data visualization author Stephen Few mentioned them in his book Show me the numbers, he did so in a chapter called “Silly graphs that are best forsaken.” Here, I will demonstrate some of its problems,… Continue reading Before and after: Alternatives to a radar chart (spider chart)
بعد حوالي سنتين من الدراسة ، بحس حالي جاهز لإضافة اللغة العربية إلى قائمة اللغات في ال-LinkedIn After about two years of study, I feel ready to add Arabic to LinkedIn’s language list
I had the honor to record an introductory data visualization course for high school students as a part of the Israeli national distance learning project. The course is in Hebrew, and since it targets high schoolers, it does not require any prior knowledge. I got paid for this job. However, when I divide the money… Continue reading Basic data visualization video course (in Hebrew)
I’ve stumbled upon an exciting project — text visualization browser. It’s a web page that allows one to search for different text visualization techniques using keywords and publication time. The ability to limit the search to various years gives a nice historical perspective on this interesting topic This site’s information is based on a 2015 paper Text… Continue reading Text Visualization Browser
הקליקו כאן לקבלת פרטים והרשמה!
If you work, but nobody knows about your results or cares about them, have you done any work at all? As a data scientist, the product of my work is usually an algorithm, an analysis, or a model. What is a good way to share these results with my clients? Since 99% of my time,… Continue reading Sharing the results of your Python code
This notebook is a part of my productivity system. Read more on productivity and procrastination here.
I apologize for my harsh language, but recently I was exposed to a bunch of graphs on the “information is beautiful” site, and I was offended (well, ot really, but let’s pretend I was). I mean, I’m a liberal person, and I don’t care what graphs people do in their own time. Many people visit… Continue reading The information is beautiful. The graphs are shit!
I am seldomly jealous of people, but when I am, I’m jealous of Stephen Wolfram Towards a Science of Metamathematics One of the many surprising things about our Wolfram Physics Project is that it seems to have implications even beyond physics. In our effort to develop a fundamental theory of physics it seems as if… Continue reading The Empirical Metamathematics of Euclid and Beyond — Stephen Wolfram Blog
My guest talk at Automattic. Boris Gorelik recently joined us to present on The Biggest Missed Opportunity in Data Visualization based on his recent talk at the NDR conference. Boris was a data scientist at Automattic, is now a data science consultant, and blogs regularly on data visualization and productivity. Some of highlights (along with… Continue reading Boris Gorelik on the biggest missed opportunity in data visualization — Data for Breakfast
Next time you wonder why your Israeli colleague, customer or partner barely works during October, recall this post
Will Cray [link] is a fresh M.Sc. in Computer Science and considers becoming a freelancer in the Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence / Data Science field. Will asked for advice on the LocallyOptimistic.com community Slack channel. Here’s will question (all the names in this post are used with people’s permissions). Read more career advices [here]. Let’s begin.… Continue reading Career advice. Becoming a freelancer immediately after finishing a masters degree
A population pyramid also called an “age-gender-pyramid”, is a graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population (typically that of a country or region of the world), which forms the shape of a pyramid when the population is growing [citation from Wikipedia]. In some cases, the pyramid provides interesting insights into… Continue reading Exploring alternatives to population pyramids
When the .blog TLD was started by Automattic, employees were given the option to reserve a domain for free. In return […], they asked that the domain be used as a primary domain (no forwarding to a different site), and that the site be updated with new content at least once a month. This requirement… Continue reading The Mysterious Status of .blog Domains
From time to time, we need to look at a distribution of a group of values. Histograms are, I think, the most popular way to visualize distributions. “Back in the old days,” when most of my work was done in the console, and when creating a plot from Python was required too many boilerplate code… Continue reading ASCII histograms are quick, easy to use and to implement
This post contains a bunch of links to blogs that write about productivity. Musings of Brown Girls This is not an exclusively productivity blog. The authors of this collective effort write about other interesting things. I read some posts, and I liked them 2. Self care Do you know that feeling when you feel bad… Continue reading A short compilation of productivity blog posts
An interesting post by my former coworker, Yanir Seroussi. Previously, I encouraged readers to test different approaches to bootstrapped confidence interval (CI) estimation. Such testing can done by relying on the definition of CIs: Given an infinite number of independent samples from the same population, we expect a ci_level CI to contain the population parameter… Continue reading Many is not enough: Counting simulations to bootstrap the right way — Yanir Seroussi
TL;DR If you are an Israeli and don’t feel like learning the behind the scenes stories, skip it. Otherwise, I do recommend reading this book. I enjoyed it a lot 4.5/5 The Abyss: Bridging the Divide between Israel and the Arab World went to print slightly after the outbreak of the “Arab Spring.” The author,… Continue reading Book review: The Abyss: Bridging the Divide between Israel and the Arab World
What is the biggest problem of the Jet and Rainbow color maps, and why is it not as evil as I thought?
There was a consensus among the data visualization purists that the rainbow color map, and it’s close cousin Jet are bad. Really bad. These colormaps used to be popular at the beginning of the computational data visualization era. However, their popularity decreased in the last five years or so. The sentiment isn’t as bad as… Continue reading What is the biggest problem of the Jet and Rainbow color maps, and why is it not as evil as I thought?
Many people know me as a data scientist. However, I also teach, which is sort of unnoticed to many of my friends and colleagues. I created a page dedicated to my teaching activity. Talk to me if you want to organize a course or a workshop. I also highly recommend teaching as way of learning.… Continue reading If you don’t teach yet, start! It will make you a better professional.
In technical communication, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. There are multiple ways to ensure this principle. There is one tool that is easy to master, fast to apply, and that provides a high return on the investment rate.
I will be talking about data visualization at the next NDR conference on July 28. All the conferences organized by the NDR team are well organized and of a very high value. I hope to keep the level high. And here’s the brief description of my talk See you
If you plan working data analysis or processing, read the excellent post in the “stats with cats blog” titled “35 Ways Data Go Bad” post. I did experience each and every one of the 35 problems. However, this list is far from being complete. One should add the comprehensive list of Falsehoods Programmers Believe About… Continue reading 35 (and more) Ways Data Go Bad — Stats With Cats Blog
It has been about half a year after I became a freelance data scientist. Before my career change, I worked in a distributed team for more than five years. Today, I suddenly realized that working in a distributed team has a significant problem, inherent to its distributed, multinational, nature. My team was always spread over… Continue reading Unexpected hitch of working in a distributed team
Here’s a neat method that helps me organize my week, increase my productivity and fight procrastination.
Even good graphs have place for improvement. Follow this post to
Look at this wonderful piece of data visualization (taken from here). If you know the terms “tertiary structure” and “glycan”, there is NO way you miss the message that the author of this figure wanted to convey. Also, note how using appropriate colors in the title, the authors got rid of graph legend.
Here’s an appealing ad that I saw How to become a Python professional in 42 hours? I’ll tell you how. There is no way. I don’t know any field of knowledge in which one can become professional after 42 hours. Certainly not Python. Not even after 42 days. Maybe after 42 weeks if that’s mostly… Continue reading How to become a Python professional in 42 hours?
I’m honored to take part in standardizing bidirectional language support in interfaces and visualization, as a part of an expert group formed for the Hebrew Support in Computerized Systems Committee at the SII-the standards institution of Israel. The Committee is led by Gilad Almosnino. Below is Gilad’s project announcement.
TL;DR Good motivation to improve communication. Inadequate source of information on how to achieve that The central premise of Five Stars Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great by Carmine Gallo is that professionals who don’t invest in communication skills are at high risk of being replaced by computers and robots. One of the… Continue reading Book review. Five Stars by Carmine Gallo
I’m reading the a 1991 paper by Barbara Tversky that deals with the directional representation of time. One sentence in the paper interview says “There does not seem to be strong universal cognitive associations of quantity or quality to left or right” Whenever I make a similar statement in the context of data visualization, I… Continue reading The delicate art of fine trolling
It’s fun to look at the visit statistics and to discover old stories. I wrote this post in 2016. For a reason I don’t know, this post has been one of the most viewed posts in my blogs during the last week. So, I decided to publish it again. I won’t add any new examples,… Continue reading Lie factor in ad graphs
Network (graph) analysis is a complicated topic. There are several tools available for this task with different pros and cons. Recently, I stumbled upon another tool StellarGraph. StellarGraph authors claim to provide excellent performance; NumPy, Pandas, TensorFlow integration, an impressive set of algorithms, inter compatibility with Neo4j (THE graph database); and much more. The documentation looks… Continue reading StellarGraph — another promising network analysis library for Python and Scala
On balance between specialization and the risk to become obsolete.
Network visualization can mesmerize and hypnotize. Chord diagrams are especially cool because they are so colorful and smooth. The problem is that sometimes, the result doesn’t provide any actual value, and serves as a cute illustration. Cute illustrations are cute; they help put some “easiness” to the text without the risk of looking too unprofessional. … Continue reading Nice but useless data visualization
When I was in elementary school (back in the USSR of the mid 80’s), I had a friend whose father was a shoemaker. Due to the crazy stupid way the Soviet economy worked, a Soviet shoemaker was much richer than a physician or an engineer. But this is not the story. The story is that… Continue reading Bioinformatics career advice and a story about a Soviet shoemaker
Interview on leadership. The difference between statistically meaningful and practically meaningful;Giving credit, being decent and not cheating;
All good teamwork starts with effective communication;
You don’t know that the stuff that you know is unknown to others;
Is Distributed Work a Divide and Conquer Strategy?
Being a data scientist and a self-proclaimed data visualization expert, I like using log scale graphs when I find them appropriate. However, as a speaker and a communicator, I refrain from using them in presentations as much as possible. From my experience as a data visualization lecturer, I noticed that even “technical” struggle grasping the concept of log scale graphs.
Book review: The Year Without Pants. WordPress.com and the future of work. Read it if history of work is your thing, or if you work in a small company that grows rapidly
“Why it burns when you P” and other statistics rants
Besides being a freelancer data scientist and visualization expert, I teach. One of the toughest concepts to teach and to visualize is odds ratio. Today, I stumbled upon a very interesting post that deals exactly with that
Did you know that J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, submitted her books 13 times before it was accepted? So what?
COVID-19 vs. influenza dataviz. The order is now correct
On a person that falls into the water. Or why thinking short-time is a good strategy in times of crisis
One day or another, we will all need to act very fast. This means that we need to be prepared, have plan B’s work on resilience, and maybe perform emergency drills.
It is correct that the colors that IBM people used in their guide are neat, but data visualization that distorts information is not visualization but a piece of garbage. I assume that IBM produces decent computers, but don’t learn data visualization from them
Originally posted on Boris Gorelik:
In many cases, attempts to set a deadline to a data science project result in a complete fiasco. Why is that? Why, in many software projects, managers can have a reasonable time estimate for the completion but in most data science projects they can’t? The key points to answer this…
NDR is a family of machine learning/data science conferences. Their next conference will be held online on May, 28 and the agenda looks great. Now, I’m not super objective here, because I’m presenting at NDR July event. But look at the topics, what an impressive selection!
Finally We May Have a Path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics… and It’s Beautiful — Stephen Wolfram Blog
OK, so Stephen Wolfram (a mega celebrity in the computational intelligence world and, among other things a physicist) claims that he may have found a path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics. The blog post is long, and I hope to be able to finish reading it in a week or two. The accompanying technical… Continue reading Finally We May Have a Path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics… and It’s Beautiful — Stephen Wolfram Blog
The quintessence of data visualization usefulness. These graphs are SOOOO good and convincing.
Never Split the Difference. A negotiation book that you might want to read. A book review.
Today, Israel marks Holocaust Day. Many words have been written about the Holocaust, and I want to write about missing graves.If you visit a Jewish cemetery, you might see a lot of gravestones with additional memorial plates. I took this picture in the Chișinău (Kishinev) Jewish cemetery. Burial of the deceased is considered the final… Continue reading The missing graves
Constance Crozier (@clcrozier) shared an interesting simulation in which she tried to fit a sigmoid curve (s-curve) to predict a plateau in a time-series. It took me a while to find the reference for a paper that explains why.
My colleague, Simon Ouderkik, recorded a REALLY interesting interview with Stephen Levin of Zapier and Emilie Schario of Gitlab on organizing data org in a company, job titles, career ladders, and other important stuff.
If there is only one document you can read about data visualization, this is the one
I wrote about data giraffes two weeks ago. Usually, “data giraffes” are a problem and we need to work hard in order to solve it. Sometimes, they are a useful feature. Take a look at this NYT front page that shows the number of new unemployment applications in the United States over the time And… Continue reading Data giraffe is sometimes a feature, not a problem
My job wasn’t affected by the COVID madness in almost any way. I used to work from home before, and I work from home now, none on my customers cancelled any projects, the health system in Israel is still functioning, all of my relatives are in good health, everything is just fine! I know how… Continue reading Everything is NOT just fine (repost)
More than two years ago, I took a look at Google Trends for three phrases “start a blog”, “create a blog”, and “create a site”. I was surprised by the high volume of blog searches, compared to “create a site”. Today, I decided to go back to Google Trends and to add the new rising… Continue reading Blogging isn’t what it used to be. Podcasting is on the rise
A super-important read on the COVID-19 situation. I’m finally convinced
Data scientist? Thinking of working in a distributed company? The team at Automattic in which I used to work is looking for a Machine Learning specialist. It’s an awesome team. Give it a try https://automattic.com/work-with-us/machine-learning-engineer/
Make the personal meeting personal, even if it’s remote.
An interesting solution of the data giraffe problem
COVID-19 vs. influenza dataviz (an update)