Author: gregkroleski

My Thinking On Various Topics

Thoughts On: Valentine’s Day

I’m going to start this by agreeing with a sympathy that I think most men hold: Valentine’s day is a bit of a silly holiday that is a big deal mostly because of backing from card & flower companies. That said, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to change it, so here is how I think about it. Valentine’s day is a sport. Like all sports the rules are basically arbitrary. They were decided before you started playing the game. In a way, you are confined by them, but that is part of what makes it fun. Within the confines of the rules of the game, you get to use your creativity, skill and dedication to help you achieve optimal results. Winning! Valentines Day is a sport. It is a sport that all men in relationships are automatically signed up to play on one night of every year.

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 5

Night 5 of the Tony Gonzalez infographic. Tonight I mainly spent time making  tweaks to sections of the image I had already worked on. Some of it was nitpicking pixels, but a good bit was adding new information to charts that I already thought were packed. I’m really happy with the additional information I was able to get into a few of them tonight. I’d like to take a moment to talk about my thoughts on design iteration. As I design a data visualization I constantly ask myself five questions: What story am I trying to tell right here? Can I add any additional insight? What can I remove without sacrificing the story? Is the image easy to understand on its own? How can I make this awesome? Repeating this process tends to refine the image with each iteration. As elements are added the visualization becomes easier to understand but

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 4

19 hours down – the infographic now measures 16″ wide by 85″ tall – meaning it is officially taller than Tony Gonzalez. I wrapped the section comparing Tony’s career to 9 other of the greatest tight ends ever to play in the NFL. Here is a sneak preview, see if you can guess who each of them is just from the caricature. At this point I feel there are two things left to do: Compare Tony’s early years to the best tight ends of 2012 – to show how long the likes of Gronkowski and Graham have to go before catching the records of #88. Dig through the rest of the stats I have on Tony’s career looking for random trivia. We could be looking at a completed project in 2-3 more weeks which puts us right around the Free Agency start date. I’m not sure anything significant will happen

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 3

Tonight I spent 4 hours trying to represent some of football’s famous tight ends as vector images. How did I do? Random Trvia: I went to High School with Kellen Winslow Jr. and had a chance to meet his dad one day while I was setting up hurdles for a track workout. They were on the field doing a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated and the photographer needed an extra hand with something. I got to hang out for a bit and they took a few photos of me with the HOFer. I’m now 15 hours into this project and experiencing a bit of scope creep – the project keeps getting bigger as I get more done. I have however decided that I’m going to wait to release the final project until Tony either a) has an official retirement ceremony b) announces he will play for one more year. The marketer

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 2

Another night of work completed (11 hours so far) on what will surely be the best infographic about an NFL player I have ever made. Tonight I spend a lot of time looking at stats about other NFL Tight Ends. I wanted to find the best way to show how much of a stand out career Tony has had compared to many of the legendary Tight Ends; Ditka, Winslow, Sharpe & Newsome among others. I also wanted to compare him to today’s best Tight Ends (Graham, Gronkowski, Finley, etc.) to show just how much work they would have ahead of them if they wanted to catch his records. Hint: They have a long way to go. The Tight End position is an interesting one because of the dual blocking & receiving responsibilities – I’m learning a lot about the history and evolution of the role as I dig through the

Yearly Focus

Surf Mavericks: Update 1

Last Sunday the Mavericks Invitational ran – which means tens of thousands of people pay attention to the break for a day. For most, the invitational and wave are so tightly bound that they don’t realize you can go there on other days. I decided not to go on Sunday because the idea of watching a surf contest from a parking lot seemed a bit crazy. After a rogue wave washed up the beach a few years ago, new policy it that the beach and bluffs must be closed during the invitational for safety reasons. Policy ruins everything good. About 16 hours later the wave was still breaking, and access to the beach was back open. I decided to go watch it for a bit. Like any good surfer, I got there just before sunrise. There was just enough swell that it was breaking, but it was right in front

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 1

My idea for this week’s session was to look at some stats about Tony Gonzalez. I originally thought I would be coming up with something like a ‘5 reasons why Tony Gonzalez shouldn’t retire’ post – but after thinking about it I realized that data wasn’t the issue here. Tony doesn’t need convincing that he still has it, or that the Falcons are so close – his decision, whatever it will be, is driven by personal reasons. I respect that and don’t want data to add needless pressure. So, already knee deep in data about the career of Tony Gonzalez, I decided to honor his career by creating an infographic. I am about 7 hours in and it is looking sweet – I will likely have to finish it this weekend though – so look for the final product next week. In the mean time, here is a sneak preview…

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The Most Normal State – Part 1

The idea started as I was driving back from a caving trip in southern Utah. My friend Mark & I drove through Colorad City, Arizona, known for its community of polygamists. “Wow” we thought “this is not a normal town.” Like I mentioned, we had just spend a few days in Utah, a state known for its disproportionate percentage of followers of the Mormon faith. And as we drove back we crossed through Nevada, a state that you are always aware when you enter on account of the immediate presence of large casinos on the border. Not exactly normal. As we pondered what it was that we meant by ‘normal’ we realized that our beloved home of California certainly wouldn’t fit the mold. “So,” we asked ourselves “which state is the normal one?” If the states were family members in a bizarre sitcom – which one would be the main

Yearly Focus

2013: Goal, Theme & Challenge

Every year since 2008 I’ve done an exercise on December 31st where I jot down a few notes about the previous year and make predictions about the next year. I make guesses on 20 items regarding my life, the world, etc. The answers usually resemble a probability density function that I then evaluate the following year. This year I wanted to add something new to my repertoire of yearly focus that I think fits well in a public setting like this blog. Stating these items publicly and providing regular updates should provide a bit of extra accountability and pressure to achieving them. Goal – Something I want to accomplish that is measurable and relatively continual. eg. exercise more or watch less TV. Theme – A central topic for the year – something I can look back on and pinpoint that N was the year of X. eg. develop independence or work like