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PASS BA Conference Speaker Profile: Jordan Goldmeier

  • 12 January 2016
  • Author: PASS
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PASS BA Conference Speaker Profile: Jordan Goldmeier

Jordan Goldmeier, Dashboards and Data Visualization Expert, Cambia Factor

We’re happy to have Jordan Goldmeier join us again this year. Jordan will be presenting “Data Disasters: How Data Visualization and Complexity Lead Us Astray”.

Can you share with us what attracted you to a career in data visualization?

I simply find the field fascinating. Data visualization feels new, but it’s not. Early humans drew crude maps to capture and share the data they saw around them. In this way, they were the first to distill complexity into visual simplicity. They were the first to model their world through points and patterns.

In fact, not much has changed about us if we think about it. To solve our biggest data problems, we should look to what’s worked in the past instead of relying on that new, shiny vendor product that says it can analyze data better than we have in the past.

In your recent book, Dashboards for Excel, you discuss common pitfalls in dashboards. What would you say is the most common mistake you see?

The most common mistake is what I call the “data dump.” Data dumping is when you place everything on the dashboard because you don’t exactly know what the audience will want to see, or because giving everyone what they want will avoid political and organizational conflicts. So you try to have something for everyone. But dashboards that are everything to everyone are actually nothing to anyone. When you do this, you are treating your work like tea leaves for the audience to interpret as they see fit. And this is really the exact opposite of what data visualization exists to do.

What are the top three things that attendees can look forward to learning at your session?

First, I think we focus so much on the great things we can do with data visualization, we often miss how it can lead us astray. It can only be useful to the extent we use it correctly. So attendees can look forward to learning about how governments, businesses, and regular people often hilariously and unintentionally misunderstand and misrepresent data.

Second, attendees will learn how our internal biases contribute to these mistakes.

And, third, attendees will walk away with the tools to avoid bias and make better decisions.

What’s an interesting fact that people may not know about you?

I have interesting facts. First, I have a twin sister; she’s a lawyer. Second, this fact is more about my wife—she failed her college Excel “pre-course” three times before they decided she could just pass. She’s a theologian.

Join Jordan and other analytics experts at the PASS BA Conference

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Jordan enjoying an authentic Guinness in Dublin.

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