So many wonderful things from 2021.

In this post I share my favorite chart, channel, chat, and tool.

My favorite chart: If cows were a country

I love this McKinsey gem from Jason Forrest, Gabrielle Merite, and Gergo Varga.

Chart from McKinsey comparing the height of a cow with the height of elongated boxes representing other countries

I know, it violates so-called best practices. The bars are 3D (they look like smoke-filled containers) and some people might think they are supposed to compare the volume of a cow with the volume of the containers.  Who cares! In this case, being able to make accurate comparisons should take a back seat to the lapel-grabbing cow that just screams “you need to see this!”

It certainly got my attention. See

My favorite data visualization video channel: Eagereyes from Robert Kosara

I thought I knew everything there was to know about making comparisons with pie charts, the nuances of the infamous Minard chart, the history behind the Nightingale wedge chart, etc., but I was wrong … and delighted to be so as I learned so much from these meticulously crafted, entertaining videos.

Screen image of Robert Kosara's video channel

Do yourself a favor and subscribe here.

My favorite Chart Chat episode: Interview with Rosamund Pearce

2021 represented a high-water mark for Chart Chat as we covered so many interesting things and had some great guests including Tim Hartford, Ben Shneiderman, and John Burn-Murdoch.

(And we did win Data Literacy’s Most Interesting Podcast Award. See

My favorite episode was our chat with Rosamund Pearce, visual data journalist at The Economist. Ros walked us through three of her creations and shared all the considerations and iterations leading up to their publication. I think you’ll appreciate both the big things and the small, subtle things that go into creating truly world-class visualizations.

Screen image of Ros Pearce on Chart Chat

Click here to watch.

My favorite tool: Descript

I had to up my game with respect to video production last year and am grateful that my friend and colleague, Randy Knaflic, told me about this killer video editing software.

What makes it different? You edit your videos as you would edit a word-processing document. And it will find all the filler words (ers, uhs, likes, etc.) and remove them for you, automatically.

Screen shot of Descript video editor in action

This was a game changer for me and helped me create better content, faster.

Here’s the video that got me hooked.