A Radio Program About Qlikview on the BBC? – Not Quite, But Still Very Relevant

Obviously a regular BBC radio show about Qlikview is a little ways off yet but in the meantime there is ‘More or Less: Behind the Stats’ on BBC Radio 4 (and also Podcasts via iTunes); a thoroughly entertaining regular series of 30min programs that looks at something all Qlikview Developers should be interested in: the story behind the numbers. Of course a radio show about stats sounds to most people about as interesting as a show titled: ‘Bulgarian Beer Mats: A History: 1982 to 1989’ but More or Less has risen to be one of the most popular programs on the station, this is largely thanks to the light-heated style of presenter Tim Harford (Economist at the Financial Times: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Harford) and the careful selection of interesting & relevant topics.

So why is it of such relevance to Qlikview Developers? Well; from my own experience it’s shown me that numbers don’t always mean what they first appear to – a key element of the program is to debunk stats & figures from the news – and as Qlikview is a fundamentally numbers driven platform we as Developers must be aware of what we are saying with those numbers. It’s so easy to create a dashboard full of figures, KPI’s & metrics without a second thought but we must remember that those figures are then taken by users, interpreted and (hopefully) used to make business decisions out in the real world and if we ourselves don’t understand what the figures are really saying; how can we expect the user to?

One of my favourite examples covers the issue of ‘The Average Salary’; a fairly innocuous and simple value you may think – add up everyone’s salaries and divide by the number of people, but it’s rarely as simple as that as More or Less explains here (based on the Radio Show): http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/mathematics-and-statistics/statistics/averages In essence; it’s perfectly viable for a small number of lucky individuals to earn £50,000 more than the average but it’s impossible for anyone to earn £50,000 less than the average (as that would be negative), thus the average is pulled higher by a relatively small section of the dataset resulting in the fact that 60% of people earn less than the average salary. I can instantly relate that to the Qlikview world from the many ‘Average Order Value’ style expressions I’ve created; most orders will in fact be for a value less than the stated average, which is entirely correct but does the regular viewer of a Qlikview dashboard fully appreciate that?

That’s just one example from the wide range of topics covered; everything from who actually are the 1%, how all supermarkets can rightfully say they’re the cheapest down to the chances of getting 6 double yoke eggs in a box.

Below are some links for listening to previous editions of the program:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/moreorless

Search iTunes for ‘More or Less Behind the Stats’ to access the Podcasts – they’re free.

I’ve also come across the following which is a Podcast about Visualisation (sounds like an oxymoron I know):

http://datastori.es/ 

All the best,

Matt

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