Kicking off the new blog

Well, I must have started 20 blogs by now, none of them to my satisfaction. Today I was down at the Motion Graphics conference in Chicago, working with the crowdSPRING founders, pondering where I want to take myself in 2009, and for the first time the whole thing felt right. Felt like I was getting my voice back, as it were. So begins this blog. I have always had a keen interest in offbeat data, not like what I was doing at Miller Brewing with point-of-sale analysis (though trips to the company beer store were great). No, I'm the kind of guy who downloaded keycard system data to figure out how much time the developers were spending on smoke breaks. The kind of guy who ran an analysis of project management and time entry data to figure out how much management time was spent on review and approval each week (40 hours for 12 staff members -- ouch).

And so today the idea of the data+graphite blog came to me, to deal with the messy side of data. I'll let Henry Petroski take it from here:

"The pencil, the tool of doodlers, stands for thinking and creativity, but at the same time, as the toy of children, it symbolizes spontaneity and immaturity. Yet the pencil's graphite is also the ephemeral medium of thinkers, planners, drafters, architects, and engineers, the medium to be erased, revised, smudged, obliterated, lost - or inked over. Ink, on the other hand, whether in a book or on plans or on a contract, signifies finality and supersedes the pencil drafts and sketches. If early pencilings interest collectors, it is often because of their association with the permanent success written or drawn in ink. Unlike graphite, to which paper is like sandpaper, ink flows smoothly and fills in the nooks and crannies of creation. Ink is the cosmetic that ideas will wear when they go out in public. Graphite is their dirty truth."

So it begins. The fun side of data, the dirty truth.