Economist

Whale charts - Visualising customer profitability

The Christmas and New Year’s break is over, yet there is still time to return unwanted presents. Return to Santa was the title of an article in the Economist that highlighted the impact on online retailers, as return rates can be alarmingly high. The article quotes a study by Christian Schulze of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, which analyses the return habits of customers who bought at least five items over a five year period from a large European online retailer.

London Olympics 100m men's sprint results

The 100m mean’s sprint finals of the 2012 London Olympics are over and Usain Bolt won the gold medal again with a winning time of 9.63s. Time to compare the result with my forecast of 9.68s, posted on 22 July. My simple log-linear model predicted a winning time of 9.68s with a prediction interval from 9.39s to 9.97s. Well, that is of course a big interval of more than half a second, or ±3%.

London Olympics and a prediction for the 100m final

It is less than a week before the 2012 Olympic games will start in London. No surprise therefore that the papers are all over it, including a lot of data and statistis around the games. The Economist investigated the potential financial impact on sponsors (some benefits), tax payers (no benefits) and the athletes (if they are lucky) in its recent issue and video. The Guardian has awhole series around the Olympics, including the data of all Summer Olympic Medallists since 1896.

Waterfall charts in style of The Economist with R

Waterfall charts are sometimes quite helpful to illustrate the various moving parts in financial data, particularly when I have positive and negative values like a profit and loss statement (P&L). However, they can be a bit of a pain to produce in Excel. Not so in R, thanks to the waterfall package by James Howard. In combination with the latticeExtra package it is nearly a one-liner to produce a good looking waterfall chart that mimics the look of The Economist: