Friday Thing/k: A Story About Dogs, Analytics & Dogs Analytics

FRIDAY THING/K Dog Analytics

Hi, all.

Hope you had a good week.

Welcome to Friday Thing/k – a brand storytelling canvas where I’d like to share with you smart, creative, inspiring, engaging, cool, and innovative content marketing ideas that take my digital marketing breath away once a week.

This week’s thing/k is about two of my favorite topics: dogs and data storytelling.

I’d like you to meet Jackson.

Jackson is a guide dog, born at Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

According to the organization’s data, as few as 37% of puppies make it through the program to become successful service dogs for the blind.

Given that it costs Guiding Eyes more than $40,000 to raise each dog, even a 5% increase in performance can yield the non-profit considerable savings.

The film that you’re about to watch shows Jackson’s journey from a cute puppy being raised with a trainer family, to a young dog undergoing some intensive training and assessment, all the way up to his pairing with an owner as their guide dog.

Jackson’s story is actually an IBM data story.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind used IBM Cloud Computing to store 30 years of their structured genetic breeding data and thousands of documents.

With the assistance of San Jose State University, IBM Watson services came on board to uncover insights within the data to help inform every stage of guide dog development and to improve the odds of dogs graduating the program successfully.

An emotive film, produced by The Barbarian Group, brilliantly cracked the challenge of how to create an emotional connection with big data.

Their previous film for IBM, last November (which was also one of my favorite campaigns in 2015), was about a blind runner who used the RunKeeper app to help him complete cross country tracks.

Brilliant as well.

Data storytelling can be creative and moving!

Now that you watched the film/s, do you have something in your eye, or are you…?

You can read more about the Guiding Eyes for the Blind IBM project here, here and on this Facebook page.

Now, I’d like you to meet Ruth.

Ruth is an 8-year-old Irish Wolfhound cross who looks like a giant Jack Russell.

She’s also part of our family.


Last year, my curious vet wife ran a DNA test on Ruth (yes, there is such a thing for dogs) to find out what she is crossed with.

Within few days we received the results:

Dog DNA-Test_Ruthie

Besides the surprise that our 42 Kilo dog is 9.58% Toy Poodle (maybe one of her parents ate a Toy Poodle in the past?…), I liked the way that the data was presented and visualized.

Simple and analysis-friendly.

It reminded me of this post from a few years ago that I read (many times) on Occam’s Razor, a blog by Avinash Kaushik, my rock star!

The two main takeaways:

  • Keep the data analysis simple and focus
  • Truly madly deeply understand the desired outcome

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to tell data stories better.

I can continue to write, but I need to take Ruth for a walk.

See you next Friday.

As always, feedback is more than welcome, and needed so please leave comments below. Additionally, if you have anything/k in mind, I would love to discover it.

Just call me Joe.

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