Author: Jeff Desjardins

We’re Crowdfunding the VC App! Support the Future of Data Storytelling


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


For over a decade we’ve stood for a world where data can be understood by everyone.

Over that time, we’ve built an audience of over 85 million annual visitors, and now more than 300,000 people get our free daily email.

But all of that is just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

Introducing the VC App

Today we’re unveiling our team’s most ambitious project yet and we need your help. We’re using Kickstarter to raise funds to build the VC App, to put all of the world’s best data storytelling at your fingertips.

The VC App will be the first app of its kind, combining verifiable and transparent data with beautiful, memorable visuals.

Not only will it include the thousands of visualizations we’ve already created and will be making in the future – but more importantly, it will empower data-driven creators from around the world to share stories through data about pretty much anything.

VC App Main Image

We’re Gathering the Best Visual Talent From Around the World


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


Visual Capitalist Creator Program launch

Here at Visual Capitalist we stand for a world where data can be better understood by everyone. Over the last decade, we’ve published a new data visualization almost every day and now have around 3,000 on our website—all available for free.

But today, we’re taking this to a new level with the Creator Program by Visual Capitalist, which gives you access to a brand new curated feed of charts, infographics, motion graphics, and interactives made by world-class experts from around the world.

The Creator Program opens up our site to talented people outside of Visual Capitalist who share our commitment to beautiful, digestible visuals based on reliable data. This will allow us to publish even more great content for you and at the same time empower Creators by giving them an audience and compensating them fairly for their work.

All the best,

Jeff Desjardins
Editor-in-Chief

View the Latest Creator Posts

 


The Most Popular Creator Posts So Far

You can check out the full feed for the Creator Program here, or choose one of the most popular visualizations below:

  1. The Big Mac Index: A Measure of Purchasing Power and Burger Inflation
    By: James Eagle
  2. Countries Grouped by Their Largest Trading Partner from 1960-2020
    By: Anders Sundell
  3. Draining the World’s Oceans to Reveal the Earth’s Surface
    By: Dr. James O’Donoghue

Over the coming months, we are excited to scale the Creator Program to publish work from hundreds of Creators around the world, giving you a diverse selection of incredible, (Read more...)

The U.S. Stock Market in 2021: Best and Worst Performing Sectors


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


U.S. Stock Market in 2021: The Best and Worst Performing Sectors

The Stock Market in 2021: Best and Worst Performing Sectors

It was another eventful year—and while it may not quite compare to the pandemonium experienced in 2020, it was still jam-packed with market moving events, such as:

  • The highly-anticipated rollout of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Supply chain disruptions and an ongoing semiconductor shortage
  • Record-setting stimulus spending and debt accumulation by governments around the world
  • The emergence of new variants of concern such as Delta and Omicron
  • Big political upsets and the Capitol riots
  • Rising evidence of (non-transitory) inflation

Let’s take a look at which sectors thrived during the twists and turns of 2021—and which couldn’t stomach the volatility.

Want extra insight into 2022?

Global Forecast 2022

Gain access to our 2022 Global Forecast series

Winners and Losers of 2021, by Sector

Our visualization today uses an augmented screenshot of the FinViz treemap, showing the final numbers posted for major U.S.-listed companies, sorted by sector and industry.

Here are the big beneficiaries of last year, along with those that got left behind.

The Winners

1. Big Tech

Over recent years, it’s been no surprise to see Big Tech near the top of any list. In 2021, Alphabet continued its tear, soaring 65% to hit a $2 trillion market cap.

Microsoft finished up the year 51%, Apple up 34%, and even Meta Platforms (née Facebook) posted double-digit gains. Only Amazon had single-digit gains, up 2.4% in 2021.

2. Semiconductors

Who benefitted most from the ongoing semiconductor shortage? Those that design or manufacture them, of course.

Nvidia, for (Read more...)

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


We are each entitled to our own personal world view.

But unfortunately, when it comes to interpreting information and trying to make objective sense of reality, human brains are hard-wired to make all kinds of mental mistakes that can impact our ability to make rational judgments.

In total, there are over 180 cognitive biases that interfere with how we process data, think critically, and perceive reality.

Flawed Human Reasoning

There is no simple way to get around these basic human instincts, but one thing that we can do is understand the specific mistakes we make and why.

Today’s infographic comes to us from School of Thought, a non-profit dedicated to spreading critical thinking. The graphic describes 24 of the key biases that warp our sense of reality, providing useful examples along the way.

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality

At the beginning of the infographic, you may have noticed illustrations of two gentlemen.

In case you were wondering, those happen to represent Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two of the leading social scientists known for their contributions to this field. Not only did they pioneer work around cognitive biases starting in the late 1960s, but their partnership also resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

Biases Distorting Reality

Here are some of the biases we found most interesting from the list:

Declinism:
You remember the past as better than it was, and expect the future to be worse than it is likely to be. This is an interesting one, since statistically this is (Read more...)

Here are 15 Common Data Fallacies to Avoid


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


In today’s tech-driven economy, data is essential for gaining new insights, making decisions, and building products.

In fact, there is so much data out there, that the quantity of it is doubling every two years⁠—and by 2025, there will be 175,000 exabytes of data in existence.

This is an unprecedented figure, and it’s hard to put into perspective. To give you some sense, a single exabyte is equal to 1,000,000,000 GB of data, and five exabytes has been said to be roughly equal to “all of the words ever spoken by mankind”.

Common Fallacies With Data

As you can imagine, digging through all of this data can be quite the challenge.

Data comes in many different forms and not all of them are easy to analyze. As a result, it is tempting to take shortcuts with data, or to try and fit the incoming data we receive into our pre-conceived notions of how things ought to be.

Today’s infographic comes to us from Geckoboard and it shows the common mistakes that people make in analyzing data. We’ve reformatted their PDF to fit here.

15 Common Data Fallacies

Here are 15 Common Data Fallacies to Avoid

How do we avoid painting a bullseye around the arrow, so that we can interpret the meaning of data in a logical, consistent, and methodological way?

The key is to understand common mistakes that people make with data, and why these errors skew our interpretations.

Examples of Fallacies

Here are four examples of fallacies, and why each is considered a faux-pas by data (Read more...)

The Richest People in Human History, to the Industrial Revolution


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


The Richest People in Human History, to the Industrial Revolution

Click here for a larger, more legible version of the infographic that you can explore in-depth.

When we think of wealth today, we often think of the massive personal fortunes of business magnates like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffett. However, it is only since the Industrial Revolution that measuring wealth by one’s bank account has been a norm for the world’s richest.

For most of recorded human history, in fact, the lines around wealth were quite blurred. Leaders like Augustus Caesar or Emperor Shenzong had absolute control of their empires—while bankers like Jakob Fogger and Cosimo de Medici were often found pulling the strings from behind.

This infographic we created with Texas Precious Metals focuses on the richest people in history up until the Industrial Revolution, and it highlights key facts and anecdotes on how they created their wealth.

Is This List of People Definitive?

While it is certainly fun to speculate on the wealth of people from centuries past, putting together this list is exceptionally difficult and certainly not definitive.

Here’s why:

Firstly, much wealth in early periods is tied to land (Genghis Khan) or entire empires (Augustus, Akbar), which makes calculations extremely subjective. What is most of Asia’s land worth in the year 1219? What separates personal fortune from the riches of an empire that one has full control of? There are a (Read more...)

Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Infographic


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


View a high resolution version of this graphic

Cognitive Bias Infographic

Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Infographic

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

The human brain is capable of incredible things, but it’s also extremely flawed at times.

Science has shown that we tend to make all sorts of mental mistakes, called “cognitive biases”, that can affect both our thinking and actions. These biases can lead to us extrapolating information from the wrong sources, seeking to confirm existing beliefs, or failing to remember events the way they actually happened!

To be sure, this is all part of being human—but such cognitive biases can also have a profound effect on our endeavors, investments, and life in general.

For this reason, today’s infographic from DesignHacks.co is particularly handy. It shows and groups each of the 188 known confirmation biases in existence.

What is a Cognitive Bias?

Humans have a tendency to think in particular ways that can lead to systematic deviations from making rational judgments.

These tendencies usually arise from:

  • Information processing shortcuts
  • The limited processing ability of the brain
  • Emotional and moral motivations
  • Distortions in storing and retrieving memories
  • Social influence

Cognitive biases have been studied for decades by academics in the fields of cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics, but they are especially relevant in today’s information-packed world. They influence the way we think and act, and such irrational mental shortcuts can lead to all kinds of problems in entrepreneurship, investing, or management.

Cognitive Bias (Read more...)

12 Ways to Get Smarter in One Infographic


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


View a high resolution version of this graphic
Cognitive Bias Infographic

12 Ways to Get Smarter in One Infographic

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

The level of a person’s raw intelligence, as measured by aptitude tests such as IQ scores, is generally stable for most people during the course of their adulthood.

While it’s true that there are things you can do to fine tune your natural capabilities, such as doing brain exercises, solving puzzles, and getting optimal sleep—the amount of raw brainpower you have is difficult to increase in any meaningful or permanent way.

For those of us who constantly strive to be high-performers in our fields, this seems like bad news. If we can’t increase our processing power, then how can we solve life’s bigger problems as we move up the ladder?

The Key: Mental Models

The good news is that while raw cognitive abilities matter, it’s how you use and harness those abilities that really makes the difference.

The world’s most successful people, from Ray Dalio to Warren Buffett, are not necessarily leagues above the rest of us in raw intelligence—instead, they simply develop and learn to apply better mental models of how the world works, and they use these principles to filter their thoughts, decisions, strategies, and execution.

This infographic comes from best-selling author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons, who has collected over 650 mental models through his work. The infographic, in a similar style to one we previously published on (Read more...)

12 Ways to Get Smarter in One Infographic


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist


View a high resolution version of this graphic
Cognitive Bias Infographic

12 Ways to Get Smarter in One Infographic

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

The level of a person’s raw intelligence, as measured by aptitude tests such as IQ scores, is generally stable for most people during the course of their adulthood.

While it’s true that there are things you can do to fine tune your natural capabilities, such as doing brain exercises, solving puzzles, and getting optimal sleep—the amount of raw brainpower you have is difficult to increase in any meaningful or permanent way.

For those of us who constantly strive to be high-performers in our fields, this seems like bad news. If we can’t increase our processing power, then how can we solve life’s bigger problems as we move up the ladder?

The Key: Mental Models

The good news is that while raw cognitive abilities matter, it’s how you use and harness those abilities that really makes the difference.

The world’s most successful people, from Ray Dalio to Warren Buffett, are not necessarily leagues above the rest of us in raw intelligence—instead, they simply develop and learn to apply better mental models of how the world works, and they use these principles to filter their thoughts, decisions, strategies, and execution.

This infographic comes from best-selling author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons, who has collected over 650 mental models through his work. The infographic, in a similar style to one we previously published on (Read more...)