Great Tech Speakers on Video, Part IV

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Feb 26th, 2008
Feb 26


The next speaker in this series is another from TED, Hans Rosling. This is an absolutely amazing speech about STATISTICS. Yes, statistics, amazingly enough. Hans opens up with a great story about his students, chimpanzees and preconceived notions about data. Then he laucnhes into his presentation using the amazing GapMinder software . Watch this amazing speech below (about 20 minutes long) below -





Hans made a return to TED in 2007.



Hans is again in rare form (grandma statistics is classic).


Andrew Dlugan wrote a fantastic review of the 2006 talk on his Six Minutes blog. Here is a quote -


Rosling employs GapMinder to display his statistics. This is a wonderful software tool for displaying data, but the real magic of this presentation lies in the techniques demonstrated by Rosling. These techniques are easy to do, but I’ve rarely (if ever) seen them all demonstrated so well in a single talk. The techniques are:

Rosling - Active gestures

  1. Explain the data axes

  2. Highlight subsets of data

  3. Dig deeper to unwrap data

  4. Place labels close to data points

  5. Answer the “Why?” questions

  6. Complement data with energetic delivery






Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen gives a very detailed review of the 2007 TED Talk by Rosling -


Data and information are not boring. The key is to select the appropriate (and accurate) data to support your message.  But it also matters how you bring the data alive, giving it context and meaning. One of the masters of displaying data in live talks is Swedish doctor and researcher, Hans Rosling. (You may remember Hans Rosling’s 2006 TED talk which I posted here last year with some others.)

Hans wows the 2007 TED crowd
In this video below from TED 2007, the Zen master of statistics makes a simple point in a very visual and memorable way: "The seemingly impossible is possible. We can have a good world." Hans showed with stats what is possible in the world, then he closes with a big, unexpected, and memorable finish (I actually had a hard time watching the ending, but it was effective).

Near the end he pauses and says: "But I have to get serious. And how do you get serious? You make a PowerPoint — you make bullets!" (audience laughs) The summary slide (which worked because he built it as he talked) was his "Homage to the Office package" he said.


 Hans’ demonstration at the end to prove his point that the "seemingly impossible is possible" is a fasntstic experitential metaphor and an incredibly memorable closing.



Rosling proves again that a presentation filled with numbers, statistics and data can be dynamic, engaging and very memorable when you use metaphor, vivid visuals, and relate the data to real life ("grandma statistics"). I highly recommend watching both of these talks when you have a chance.


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