Remember some time ago when we talked about the do’s and don’ts of presenting (see blogpost Less is more: the concept of Zen presentation)? There I shared with you how PowerPoint is not but how Steve Jobs is an inspiration for my own presentations that I frequently give. But there are more…

Hans Rosling

Meet Hans Rosling, professor in global health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. After an already impressive career as a doctor and researcher, he is currently focusing on myths around our view of the third world. By demonstrating large amount of data, collected from many open and public available sources (hmm, that has some Web 2.0 flavor) he shows that the third world is not as far apart from the West any more as we believe it is. Rosling clearly demonstrates the trap of statistics and that average economical or social data on health and prosperity of Africa is not representative for the countries the continent is consisting of.

But the eye-opening findings of his research are not the most fascinating on Hans Rosling. It is his way of presenting tons ‘boring’ data in front of an audience. In his hands, the data comes alive, it starts talking and is taking us on a historic journey, a construction road filled with excitement and eagerness to tell us how things really are. ‘Come with me, I show you what really happened in the past decades with the US and Vietnam after the war, with China after improving public health, with the neighbors Yemen and the United Arabic Emirates”.

And in front of your eyes you see the race of bubbles; small, medium and large, chasing and following each other. Some fall behind, others take over the lead. ‘Oh, this went just too fast for you? Don’t worry, here is the instant replay’. It is a fascinating graphic animation that, together with the passionate presenter, takes you by the throat and won’t let go. And the message is one you won’t forget…

Together with his son and his daughter-in-law Rosling founded the non-profit organization Gapminder where he developed this revolutionary software called Trendalyzer. In March 2006, Trendalyzer was aquired by Google (yep, them again…).


Visit the Gapminder World and play around with the data. It’s just great.

One Response to Data-tainment

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Randy Nichols.

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