Dec 9, 2010

Visualizing Data With Pizza

Every year around September, we create some kind of internal challenge for our employee holiday bonuses. Last year, we based it on the number of users we added after going freemium (we went from ~85,000 in September to about 210,000 in December) so everyone got nice bonuses. This year, we doubled our freemium plan, and we figured basing our bonuses on raw user numbers would be too easy. So instead, we based our bonuses on the number of "first time sends" (FTS) that new users accomplished from September 1st through December 15th.

I won’t bore you with more blah-blah. Just wanted to show you how we do data visualization around here. Instead of boring bar graphs and pie charts, this screen was projected up on our wall at MailChimp HQ:


Technically, I guess it’s still a pie chart. Anyway, as we chipped away at our FTS goal, the pizza got smaller and smaller…

Last week, when we hit the maximum bonus amount (15% for each employee) the screen switched from this:


to this:


That’s an animation of Ken, from Street Fighter, celebrating our victory. A closer view of the design:


And if you have no idea who Ken is, here ya go. We try to foster creativity and innovation in every department here at MailChimp. Keeps the brain juices flowing. So the way our dev team combined forces with our design team to do something experimental like this just makes me all giddy. They had me at pizza, but the surprise ending was super cool. Read more about the techie details over at the DesignLab blog.


If you’re into this sorta thing, check out Panic Software’s beautiful office dashboard:

The office dashboard at Panic Software is pretty awesome

The office dashboard at Panic Software is pretty awesome