Recent readers of this site may not realize that last year I wrote an OpEd for the Wall Street Journal on the trouble with Tiger Woods: I argued he swings too hard. Without getting over-deeply into the data — other than to say that I’m an expert at swinging too hard in golf — I thought it would be fun to show the change in Tiger’s game (and in his competitors) graphically.
Check the following animation (in Flash format, so refresh to see it again) I put together — Tiger is the red dot:
As you can see, despite the supposed improvement in his game, Tiger’s driving accuracy has fallen off much more than his driving distance has increased. At the same time, the gap between Woods and the mass of his professional competitors is much smaller than it was five years ago — the animation shows this nicely, with a great splotch of competitors all closing in on Woods over the period.
As an aside, this is a good example of why current BI and analytical tools are woeful. Why can I not do this sort of dynamic analysis in Excel? Why is Excel stuck analyzing dead, static data? While this wasn’t difficult to do by pouring some data and images into Flash, it was more trouble than most people would ever go to, despite the obvious insights gained from seeing the data change dynamically.
And why do I have to use Flash at all? Why not, say, Ajax? Then again, while Flickr is apparently making the jump from Flash to Ajax, it strikes me as early and unnecessarily brave. After all, at least there are IDEs (sort of) for Flash with which you can build UI-centric apps; the same is affirmedly not true in Ajax. We have a long way to go before we get Ajax-oriented BI apps, no matter how good an idea that might be …