Tag Archives: david mccandless

The difference between an idea and a good one is execution

Well designed timelines are beautiful

I like having great ideas, but then again who doesn’t? And if I can turn them into something real, that’s just amazing. But if others have similar ideas and do far better than I’d ever could, I don’t get discouraged, quite the opposite. So when I saw this beautiful timeline depicting the biggest scares of the last decade I was  in awe, it was just what I wanted to do with my own Paranoia Timeline (I wrote about it a few months ago). My admiration goes out to David McCandless.

In fact, for my own project I asked David’s permission to use one of his works to illustrate the 2012 it’s-the-end-of-the-world/no-it’s-not argument. But I must make clear that I do not intend to imply that he drew any inspiration out of my lame effort to create  a myth debunking timeline. Good ideas happen everywhere and they’re only good if well executed. I swear this is true.

But the concept is pretty much the same: let’s analyze some events who had lots of media visibility and compare with the real effect they had. McCandless narrows it down to some epidemics, diseases or events, but it is scare vs reality, like I wanted to do, limited to a 10 year span. But since I’m not that good with Flash, I had to resort to a chronological feature, with no possibility for data comparison, although my initial idea was to analyze the recurrence of a search term in Google, see how much noise it created and show the real consequences. It seems Google Insights was the best option.

The Flash interface and the interactivity David’s timeline provides is also great, and makes my own effort appaling by comparison. But it feels good to see that someone had a similar line of thinking and made it work in such a great way. The Paranoia Timeline project never passed the initial stage, but now I feel I could have done so much more, if I had the expertise. He created a mountain, I, a molehill.

Kudos to David, no wonder his blog is one of my favorite Google Reader feeds.