Thursday, March 22, 2007


Is programming coming back as one of the critical qualifications for great story tellers? Adrian Holovaty, the creator of Django and, claims exactly that. Tim O’Reilly calls the combination of journalism with programming the only future that publishing has. Why? Because the three key jobs of journalism – gathering news, exercising editorial judgment, and presenting the story – can be augmented by programming.

The same can be said for our analytical work, programming might be the one critical skill that we have neglected over the last years in advancing our discipline. Programming, used correctly can help all three steps, borrowed from the O’Reilly’s description of journalism. It helps gathering data (for journalists news) in a more automated and search oriented manner, it supports exercising an editorial function by establishing intelligent business rules to inform the selection of relevant data points (for journalists the editorial function), and it improves the presentation of the story by utilizing customized visualization techniques (for journalists story presentation).

We might have thought that programming is being more and more relegated to outsourced development centers. But quite often the closeness of a programmer to the hot spot of value creation in our analytical world helps improving the quality of every single value step that we are responsible for. Over the last 12 months I advocated strongly the hiring and utilization of data visualization experts our marketing intelligent practices, maybe it’s time to contemplate the same for smart programmers.


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