Do you Swivel baby?

Data is like a woman who refuses to yield her charms to those who woo her. It requires all the charm and seduction skills of a Don Juan DeMarco. For those of you who have seen this movie, I need to remind you of the scene where Johnny Depp walks into the restaurant and spotting a lonely pretty woman, moves to seduce her with just words and…let me just say leaves her very satisfied and very much smitten.

Not all of us can be a Don Juan. And not all analytical tools have comprehensively stormed the bastion of data interpretation and analysis. Attempts too numerous to mention have been made with no conclusive evidence of having cracked the problem. Today I came across a tool that could at least claim to have dented the data analytics problem significantly and in an affordable way.

Swivel is the site.

Swivel provides tools to chart/analyze data online and over the web. The results of the analysis can be shared, blogged and tagged. Web 2.0 goodness on structured data. At the moment it consumes data from public data sources and provides ability to upload custom data too. They have an Excel Add-in to simplify this process.

There are limitations – all data uploaded is made public(this will change with their private edition), API to do charting and leverage data sources on the fly not released etc. But I see this as something that will be be addressed over a period of time.

I already see the next generation of arm chair statisticians being groomed on this tool.

Brilliant idea and there is so much one can do with this. I shall post some suggestions and more thoughts later.


  1. unknownreference says:

    thought you might like this one.

  2. unknownreference says:

    Mahesh, not quite sure why this is so exciting. Hasn’t dundas chart and similar such libraries been around for a while already that can do this and maybe even 2D. Not to mention, softwares like MATLAB and OCTAVE (opensource) can produce some fantastic 1D, 2D results and provide great customizations. These softwares can also be hosted on a web server and can take several different formats. Infact, you can simply write your own script to handle your data; A custom provided parser if you will !

    Well, I guess there could be a disconnect in in my understanding of the features in Swivel though. My 2 cents !

  3. Vijay… πŸ™‚

    Okay the reason(s) I got excited

    – All the libraries you have mentioned target a tech audience. Swivel breaks that barrier by calling upon less tech audience to participate in the process of interpreting data.

    – To provide a common framework that allows people to share their results, tagged, commented upon etc

    – As a simple learning tool for general public to interpret data

    – Imagine, if we could get the income tax returns as filed by politicians before and after they come to power! And send this URL, translated into multiple languages, to every village. Democratization of data interpretation process, no longer with just the MBA or journalistic types, leads to better decision making.

  4. unknownreference says:

    Great to hear from you there πŸ™‚

    Tech audience and day to day people alike can use the tools i mentioned. They are not as complicated as you might think. I understand that the focus is not on creating the charts themselves but lies in the framework of sharing and tagging data sets. Its just that i feel it is a mere combo of what excel and flickr can do. And that bugs me.

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