Infographic showing ethnic diversity in Austin, NYC and other cities

In 2009, Bill Rankin created an infographic of the ethnic distribution in Chicago. It was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that a couple of months ago Eric Fischer took the 2000 US Census Data and did the same thing for 40 other cities.

I love Chicago and spent a lot of time there between '04 & '08. It had always struck me with that city that you can walk across the street and literally feel like you are in a completely different place. Just on a level of race, Rankin's work seemed to support that notion.

Two of my other favorite cities in the world are listed below and they tell very different stories. Each dot represents 25 people. Pink is white, green is asian, yellow is hispanic and blue is black.

Austin

Austin is a great city. I haven't spent too much time there, but my girlfriend is from there and I feel like I know it pretty well. The population density is pretty low overall and there seems to be a pretty good mix of ethnic diversity within the various communities.

New York City

Not surprisingly the density of NYC is drastically different than Austin. Although Manhattan at street level has an incredible ethnic mix most of the time, it's hardly surprising that it's so white in terms of residents (except for Chinatown & Harlem).

It's really interesting to see other cities such as Washington, LA, Detroit and SF as well. I've also been watching a lot of The Wire lately, so seeing Baltimore was also pretty interesting.

Hockey

Pond Hockey from Enki Studios on Vimeo.

This strikes a chord for me for a couple of reasons:

  • It's getting cold out;
  • The water will be freezing soon and I'll get to take my Texan girlfriend skating;
  • The Oilers are an extremely fun team to watch this year and has rekindled my love for the sport which had been dormant for a couple of years;
  • Working on my hockey coaching/training software (AIM Hockey) has been very time consuming lately but a lot of fun.

I also like short films and this was a well done piece. I'm excited to get on the ice!

Motivating Your Employees For Profit

I used to be the product manager for an employee recognition software, and as part of my job I became greatly familiar with what makes employees happy. Obviously recognition is one great motivator (but it's all in how you recognize), but another key motivator is autonomy. Not everyone needs autonomy, some people WANT their job to be a job... they want it to be mindless, and then go home to their own life at the end of the day.

However, a lot of people (especially in the 'knowledge economy') want to feel satisfaction in their job... they want to feel that they are making an impact within their organization, with their employer's customers and with the world at large. Autonomy is a great way to do this.

The employee recognition software I worked on was born out of an internal initiative that allowed staff members to reward each other with points and compliments without any management interference. Management could dole out recognition as well, but if I wanted to send recognition to the guy next to me, I could do so without passing it through management. Unless there was blatant abuse within the system (there were automated checks that made abuse obvious), there was no intervention by management and at the end of every month a small reward was given to the top recognized employees and some of the compliments were announced to the rest of the company (with both the senders and recipient's permission). There was a monetary reward, but it was not very substantial and you were not allowed to win it more than once in a year (it was a 120 person company).

Our system was successful for the company because it was autonomous and didn't rely on the economic rewards. The video above (with the fantastic artwork by Cognitive Media) does a great job illustrating (couldn't help it!) this point, and broadens it to show that if you can apply that autonomy to practical problems then you're able to get that much more out of your employees and simultaneously make them that much more satisfied with their jobs. And it's cheap!!

As an aside, is it any surprise that some of the people behind the disastrous economy are some of the most well-bonused individuals in the free world?