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 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.

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?

Bottled Water is Completely Pointless

Term Life Insurance
Via: Term Life Insurance

I've been telling my friends this story for years: I used to do some work with Calgary Water back in the day, working on some of their internal training materials. In a meeting it was brought up that Coca-Cola was their biggest customer (for Dasani) - and there was a lot of laughs about how many bathtubs full of water you could fill of tap water on the cost of one bottle of water... the irony being that they didn't even need to test the Dasani water versus the rigorous testing that they had to do on Calgary city tap water. So buyers of Dasani got to pay for bottling, shipping, marketing and Coke's profits, whereas those that drank from the tap got the advantage of water quality checks at a very small fraction of the cost. This was shortly after the Walkerton incident in Ontario, so basically, having the advantage of tested water was a big one.

My friends always have insisted that there was way more to bottled water than simply tap water. This infographic probably won't sway them, but here it is anyways. Coke's not the only culprit in this game, but they are in the news again lately with a lawsuit against them over Vitamin Water (Guess what? It's not healthy for you!).