Thinking Big

I love this vision slide from Zynga’s Road Show deck.

You cannot build a big company without thinking like this:

Zynga's Vision


Processing Final: Twitter DataVis Application

I’m finishing up my class in computational media at NYU’s ITP program. I have to say, it’s been an awesome experience and it’s gotten me excited to learn Javascript as a next challenge. I’ll probably start at Code Academy and work my way into more advanced topics and lessons.

A few takeaways that I’ve gotten from the class:

  1. The web is an awesome place of infinite possibilities.
  2. Despite the current movement of learning everything for free online, having weekly assignments that I had to present in front of the class kept me on track and learning.  ITP also offered an environment that was conducive to creating, a community that was phenomenally supportive and a professor who kept the conversation moving forward.  I think educational solutions like Kahn Academy are helping to structure the online learning process, but nothing beats having to show up, sit down, turn your phone off and learn. I’m a huge believer in traditional classroom work and, while I think the Internet can definitely enhance the current model, it will never replace it.
  3. Basic coding skills should be an absolute must for anyone who hopes to found a web-startup.  You don’t have to build your own site, but you need to understand the process.  The same is true for developers learning business development and strategy. For example, I am better at excel models because of this class, and I can better communicate with technical teams.  I plan to continue my investment in programming and I expect it to pay dividends in the future.

For my final we had to build something and present it.  I wanted to build something that helped me visualize data in a new way, and based on my experience in social I wanted to play around with the Twitter API.  So, I built an application that allows a user to put in a Twitter handle and then receive a sorted list of words used to @reply that handle,  sorted by frequency. Here’s a walkthrough of the application using Charlie O’Donnell’s handle (@ceonyc):

Here’s another visualization of @replies to Gary Vaynerchuck:

As you can see, it needs a bunch of work before it presents real value.  On the upside, I was able to dynamically access the Twitter API, pull and sort data, and display it.  I’m looking forward to continuing to build on what I started at ITP!