new episode!
Alberto Cairo & How Charts Lie


If good graphs empower us to pose good questions, what happens on the dark side of data viz? In this episode, Cole talks with Alberto Cairo about his new book, How Charts Lie. Their conversation delves into how information designers and consumers are both to blame and mindfulness as it relates to chart making and interpretation. Tune in also to hear tips to keep from spreading misinformation, why “essay” is a beautiful word, and Alberto’s optimism for the future of data visualization.

Listening time: 1:03:30 | Related links:

Rid your world of ineffective graphs and mediocre presentations, one exploding 3D pie chart at a time! The storytelling with data podcast covers topics related to data storytelling, better presentations, and all things data viz. There is a story in your data—get the skills and power to tell it!

Subscribe in your favorite podcast platform to be updated when new episodes are available or scroll down for individual episodes. Like what you hear? Please rate or review the SWD podcast. Thanks for listening!

episode 21
a special conversation


The sloppy copy, picture power, and more about Cole’s new book in this special episode of the SWD podcast.

Listening time: 19:24 | Related links:

episode 20
think like a designer


Broadcasting from Seville, Spain—a city where modern and traditional meet in design—in this episode, Cole chats with three designers from digital production studio, Z1. The conversation flows from empathy in design to the importance of research and user feedback for de-risking projects and building thoughtful products to approaches when your client doesn’t know what they want (or wants everything!). You’ll also hear great tips on fostering a critique mindset, applying Fitts’s law, using constraints to prioritize, and being adaptive to new technologies.

Listening time: 43:22 | Related links:

episode 19
ask smart questions


Asking good questions can help improve our own and others’ work: both when exploring and explaining data. Tune in to hear Cole cover five smart queries to pose and answer during the analytical process and five more to consider when you are getting ready to explain data to others. Cole also answers listener questions on collecting requirements for good viz, what to do when asked to prove something with data that doesn’t pan out, and strategies for effectively presenting remotely.

Listening time: 39:23 | Transcript | Links mentioned:

episode 18
dataklubben replay


While recently in Copenhagen, Cole had a great chat with dataklubben podcasters Søren Christian Søndergaard Poulsen and Jens-Jacob Aarup. Tune in to hear about how story can help save us from death by data, the importance of starting low tech, and ideas for shifting organizational culture to become truly data-driven. Cole also talks about her soon-to-be-released second book, storytelling with data: let’s practice! 

Listening time: 47:37 | Related links:

episode 17
which graph should I use?


It sounds like a simple question, yet it’s one with which many people grapple: how do I best visualize my data? In this episode, Cole reviews the most common types of graphs used in a business setting and discusses use cases and considerations with each. Tune in also to hear Cole address listener questions on visualizing survey results, Tableau vs. PowerBI and how to influence a client who wants default graphs rather than a data-driven story.

Listening time: 39:45 | Links mentioned during podcast:

episode 16
develop your team


Honing your own data visualization and storytelling skills is one thing. But what about when you want to help others? In this episode, Cole discusses what you can do—whether a manager interested in developing your team or an individual wanting to influence those around you—to cultivate organizational capabilities for effective data storytelling. Cole also addresses listener questions on when we should use graphs, data viz tools for beginners, and getting effective feedback.

Listening time: 46:59 | Transcript | Related links:

episode 15
a conversation with RJ Andrews


In this episode, Cole talks with data storyteller and author of recently published Info We Trust: How to Inspire the World with Data—RJ Andrews. They converse over coffee in his San Francisco kitchen, discussing the book, RJ’s unique creative process (including the 300+ hand drawn images that fill the book) and sources of inspiration for data storytelling.

Listening time: 1:03:57 | Related links:

episode 14
learning dataviz


How did you learn to visualize data? Professionals in this space hail from a wide variety of backgrounds and in this episode, you’ll hear a dozen responses to this question, from artists, mathematicians and more. Listen to these industry leaders’ captivating stories and anecdotes—while learning lessons that you can apply to hone your own data visualization skills.

Listening time: 1:42:15. Transcript. Twitter & sites of those featured in this episode: 

Moritz Stefaner: @moritz_stefaner |
Andy Cotgreave: @acotgreave |
Jen Christiansen: @ChristiansenJen |
Alberto Cairo: @albertocairo |
RJ Andrews: @infowetrust |
Jeffrey Shaffer: @HighVizAbility |
Shirley Wu: @sxywu  |
Jon Schwabish: @jschwabish |
Naomi B. Robbins: @nbrgraphs |
Steve Wexler: @VizBizWiz |
Robert Kosara: @eagereyes |
Elijah Meeks: @Elijah_Meeks |


episode 13
goals like Google


Why do new year’s resolutions often fail? How do we set good goals? In this episode, Cole discusses the quarterly OKR goal-setting process she learned at Google and how it can be used to foster intentional actions, help achieve major accomplishments, and contribute to success—in work, and in life! Cole also answers listener questions on graphical literacy, how to convince someone that story isn’t fluff, and tips for ensuring success when crafting data stories that someone else will present.

Listening time: 29:36. Transcript. Links mentioned during podcast:

episode 12
a conversation with Elijah Meeks


What is the Third Wave of Data Visualization? Elijah Meeks believes it’s happening now and that it means changing constructs and possibly priorities for practitioners. In this episode, Cole sits down with Elijah in Miami after his closing keynote presentation at the Tapestry conference. They discuss his presentation, moving past optimizing for a single chart, building trust to push boundaries, teaching stakeholders data literacy, and more.

Listening time: 48:14. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 11 #MakeoverMonday


It’s a community project, it’s a book, it may even be a way to land a new job! Hear Cole talk with coathors Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray about their writing process and lessons from #MakeoverMonday: Improving How We Visualize and Analyze Data, One Chart at a Time, including the importance of simplifying and iterating, why feedback posed as a question can be less intimidating, and experimentation as a way to learn how to better visualize data.

Listening time: 59:32. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 10
right place
right graph

Could the process of choosing where to live provide insights on choosing the “right” graph? When it comes to your data presentations, how do you choose the right graph? Is there even such a thing as the right graph? In this episode, Cole shares some recent life changes, discusses the concept of graphing for exploring and understanding your data, graphing for communicating, and some tools that may make your process for landing on an effective visual more efficient. She answers listener Q&A on non-zero baselines, when to use an axis vs. label data directly, and how to know when your visualization is complete.

Listening time: 32:58. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 9
Data Stories replay

After a brief pause, the SWD podcast is almost back with a replay of a recent chat Cole had with Moritz Stefaner and Enrico Bertini on Data Stories!

Listening time: 37:02 | follow on Twitter: @datastories | @moritz_stefaner | @FILWD

episode 8
the many myths of data visualization


Do graphs always have to have a zero baseline? Are pie charts evil? Is there a single “right” answer? In this episode, Cole discusses a number of myths and a few rules in data visualization. She also answers listener Q&A on how to deal with presenting materials you aren’t proud of, strategies for graphing uneven time intervals, and tips for teams interested in developing data visualization skills.

Listening time 40:10. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 7
a conversation with Alberto Cairo


Truth or Lie? It isn't that simple or binary when it comes to visualizing and communicating with data: there is a spectrum. In this episode, Cole talks with special guest, Alberto Cairo, about truth with a lower case "t," his efforts to bring graphical literacy to the public through the Visual Trumpery tour and his upcoming book, parallels between data visualization and writing, and more.

Listening time 1:10:40. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 6
say it out loud


Whether it’s a graph, a slide, a presentation, your message, a story—there can be immense value in talking through it out loud. In this session, Cole discusses her experiences and the benefits to speaking out loud to refine, practice, and identify better solutions. Cole also answers reader questions on the use of pictures in data visualization, tricks for formatting axis labels, and how to apply data storytelling to augment regular reporting.

Listening time 40:05. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 5
the beauty of constraints


We often complain about the constraints faced when communicating: we don’t have enough time,  the right tools, or are only allowed a limited number of slides. In this episode, Cole discusses how constraints can actually be amazing and how imposing constraints intentionally on our work can better arm us to deal with those that are less in our control. Cole also answers reader questions on strategies for upskilling data visualization across an organization, the best place to put monetary symbols, using different types of graphs together, and the use of color in data visualization.

Listening time: 43:36. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 4
it depends...


It depends.” These two simple words can answer a number of questions raised when it comes to visualizing data and communicating with it effectively. In this session, Cole discusses 10 common data visualization questions where the answer is “it depends” and discusses what it depends on and the critical thought process required for success. Cole also answers reader questions on considerations between lower and upper case in data visualization related text and Excel resources.

Listening time: 45:00. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast:

episode 3
how I'm building this


How did you start storytelling with data?” is a question I receive frequently. In this latest episode of the podcast, I’m interviewed by my husband, Randy, and field questions on how it all came to be, including finding balance between work and family, some book-writing tips, and my outlook on where SWD will go from here. 

Listening time: 45:30. Links mentioned during the show:

episode 2
what is story?


In this final 2017 episode, I discuss my perspective on what is story? and why those working with data should care. I also tackle listener Q&A on data visualization vs. storytelling, NFL football stats, and how to tell when a visualization is complete.

Listening time: 36:51. Transcript. Links mentioned during the show:

episode 1
the art of feedback


I'm very excited to officially launch the storytelling with data podcast! This first episode focuses on feedback in data visualization. I discuss the value of both giving and receiving data visualization feedback and potential problem areas to avoid. Hear The Economist's response to the recent hurricane data visualization challenge as well as answers to reader questions on the topics of when to use graphs, considerations with dashboards, and data viz 101 book recommendations.

Listening time: 33:38. Transcript. Links mentioned during the podcast: