data visualization and the monetization of language

Data Visualization and the Monetization of Language

A speculative take on the future of iconography and what it means for the internet, BI, and the world at large.


The future of data visualization is standardization.

There has been amazing advancements in the world of data visualizations, from malleable libraries like D3 to more opinionated frameworks such as R shiny or even streamlit. These technologies provide robust solutions to the impossible task of communicating abstractions and reductions into digestible, bite sized iconographies.

So, why standardize?

If there are new and amazing innovations blooming left and right that do, definitely, improve how organizations communicate and relay data, why stifle it? Would it not be better to just let the free market of innovation and product development solve for each individual organization's problem statement, allowing for each organization to select which is best for the particular circumstance?

Well, yes, and no.

In an ideal world an organization would be able to select from an array of complete solutions that each target and solve for a particular problem. They would then be able to plug and play each tool into a seamless pipeline of business value that instantaneously provides feedback and results. Adopting new tools as they want and dropping those that don't in a dynamic and meaningful manner.

The world, however, isn't so smooth. Every new solution introduces new complexities, technical hurdles, and functional dependencies that require substantial technical elbow grease to implement and maintain. And, even if you are so lucky (or skilled) to have selected the correct tool for the job, what if the product is buggy, or the creators of the product shut down, or, and possibly the most devastating, what if a new and better tool comes out? What do you do if, after dedicating hundreds if not thousands of implementation hours integrating and building upon the tool, you discover the desire or need to migrate tools? As I see it you have three options: