Research log #2 – Moving deeper into the field (and Dashboard v0.2 released)

The past three weeks have been filled with events and interviews. The more I move into the Vancouver startup ecosystem, the more I learn about the different organizations active in town. So far, I had the chance to immerse myself into two different occupational communities.

The first one is about e-learning. This group is rather homogeneous in terms of interests, since there’s a clear underlying topic connecting all these professionals, and it’s composed of both consultants and people with corporate jobs. It’s definitely an interesting example of occupational community in the most orthodox definition of the term: “bounded work cultures populated by people who share similar identities and values that transcend specific organizational settings” (van Maanen and Barley 1984, pp. 314-15).

The second community I recently came in touch with is radically different. It’s a group of freelancers without an overarching theme or topic connecting the members. Instead, the bond between participants is created by a shared experience, the experience of being a freelancer working the “free agent” lifestyle. I learnt about this community by participating to a “coworking meetup”. A coworking meetup is a moment for freelancers to work together, individually. Often talking place at the end of the working week, these events allow freelancers to share a common space (sometimes digital companies host these events, I guess as a way to attract talent and be known in the freelance community) and to strike the last tasks off the to-do list before the weekend. The events usually last four hours, split into four 45 minutes stints of deep work, followed by 15 minutes for networking and relaxing. A very nice formula which can be useful in overcoming the main issues that freelancers face: isolation and lack of focus.

Lastly, I have released a new and improved version of the Events dashboard. I though it would have been helpful to have a simple way to go from the dashboard to the event pages on Meetup.com. After having played with Tableau, I added two new links in the events’ tooltip. Now, hovering an event, you can easily visit the organizers’ Meetup page and the specific event page, in case you’d like to register. Lastly, the worksheet now has a title instead of the default “Sheet 2”. Now this seems like a small change, but putting a title to a graph is what makes a visualization memorable (along with labeling the axis, pick a proper visual encoding, of course ;))

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