Thursday, June 4, 2009

You Can Play Data!?!?

Yes… you read right… with Blytic you can play the data.

What does it mean to play the data?... We’re not sure… we’re still trying to figure it out ourselves but here’s the concept.

In the beginning proto-humanoid analysts of all sorts probably stared up at the night sky wondering what all the shiny dots meant… surely there must be some order… some pattern… something they can glean out of all that randomness so as to impress other early hunter-gatherers with shameless baseless speculation and maybe even attract a mate.. or two!

Then… some time later… humans figured that it would be best to catalog data… keep track of things… but still… a stream of numbers may speak volumes to the rare savant but for the average… its gobbledygook!

Finally, someone (we’re not sure who) decided it would be helpful to plot out the data as it changed over time… put points on a two dimensional field... connect the points with lines and Voila!

What magic!

You see the trend!… you get sense of how the future may play out!

So getting back to the point of this post…

We think animating the data might serve to enhance the human connection made with the data under certain circumstances.

As an example, “watch” the following Blytic (activate the embedded Blytic and click the “play” button on the VCR control NOTE: if the player loads with more than 1987 initially showing in the view, grab the left timeline handle and drag it down to the left until ONLY the year 1987 is showing prior to playing... bugs bugs bugs...) showing Boston versus Phoenix home prices and U.S. Recessions:

As you can see… Boston is a very seasonal market… up-market or down, prices generally rise in the spring and decline in the winter.

Phoenix, on the other hand, has very little seasonality.

By comparing the two we aren’t drawing a statistical correlation BUT simply using Phoenix’s natural lack of seasonality as an interesting backdrop and contrast to Boston’s highly seasonal market.


Notice that during the period of 1997 – 2000 Boston and Phoenix begin to look very similar!

In effect, the price appreciation (very hot home buying) in Boston was so significant in the late 90s that its typical seasonal pattern was almost entirely erased… winter, spring, summer or fall… prices kept rising!

Then… the 2001 “dot-com” recession arrives and BAM! … the seasonality come right back to the Boston housing market… it looks like waves again!

So, in effect, the “dot-com” recession depressed the home buying activity and restored the normal seasonal pattern.

This is an interesting finding considering that the majority of the housing boom occurred after the 2001 recession.

Watching the animation allowed you to see this action quite clearly… the waviness of the Boston data looks almost like water sloshing… calming… and the sloshing again.

Of course, you could have always figured this out by simply looking at the chart BUT we believe this connection with the dynamic movement of the data is significant.

Let us know what you think!

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