Saturday, November 10, 2012

PRODUCING: On The Virtues of Good Data

Every year, I have to file a report for Fractured Atlas on how my company spends its money. The difficulty is that, up until now, the labels for our expenses don't necessarily align with how Fractured Atlas categorizes expenditures. So my previous process for putting this together was a long, multi-step process of going through the various budgets (which at the time were per-show) and hacking them together to calculate what Fractured Atlas needed to know.

Frankly, I was sick of being frustrated and annoyed by the reporting process (and the tax filing process), so I decided to re-design all of my data. Instead of all these different spreadsheets, I created one big spreadsheet that included all of the raw data for expense with the appropriate FA and Tax codes, across all of my different shows and administrative.

Then, I uploaded it to a cool web-based analytic tool called Explore Analytics, and used it to put together charts like the one above.

  1. Rather than having to put together Excel formulas for each purpose, or copying-pasting from among a number of different spreadsheets, I just create one spreadsheet and use an easy, web-based interface to put it together.
  2. Because it's a web-based tool, it's really easy for me to publish charts like the one above -- including embedding it in this blog.
  3. If I suddenly want to look at the same data in another way, it's very quick for me to do:

Now that my latest show is done, I'm leveraging this for our internal show reports, but this time I am going to share some of that data (the kind that I can share) here.