The Day I Fell In Love With Stats


February, 2020

Reading time: 1 min 23 secs


Hans Rosling


Statistics / Stats


TED Talk

Back one winter day, many years ago, I watched the daily TED Talk, watching whatever showed up. On that day the featured video changed how I thought about the world and what I wanted to do when I grow up. Hans Rosling talked about Health/Economic Data for the world. Above all he was passionate. In addition, the data did dance and moved and, in a way, sang. That is when I fell in love with stats and using data to tell a story. Data can change a person’s thoughts. Moreover, data can change how one approaches problems and provides the ability to get better answers. Storytelling with data makes it easier to share information with others.

After watching that TED Talk, I looked back to how I learned biostatistics. Class was held at 5 – 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays many many moons ago. My teacher was the quintessential Stats teacher monotone dry and literally just reading the textbook. As a matter of fact, I did very well in the course, regurgitating what each chapter contained. Stats was a tool for my research. I did not see the passion; I did not see someone in love of the topic.  In contrast, watching Hans Rosling speak you saw someone passionate about their topic, in love with the storytelling, and using data/stats as more than a tool.  Because of that one short video, I fell in love with stats and data as a storytelling tool.


 Let the dataset change your mindset   – Hans Rosling

Watching Mr. Rosling speak in that Ted Talk changed how I looked at math, data visualization, data storytelling, and I wanted to be when I grew up. Whenever I could, I tried to use the data to tell a story. Also, my approach to whatever I am working on is to bring the same passion as Hans Rosling brought to his work. Again, the goal never changed, I wanted to make that data sing and dance as Hans did.

The Ted Talk is linked above. Granted, it is a bit old in terms of what the visuals look like, but the passion is still there. Be sure to note the excitement and the lesson in data storytelling are all on display in a way only Hans Rosling can do.

Do you remember when something you are currently passionate about entered your life, please share your story with me on Twitter: @YvonFitz.