Retiring a session

The other day I tweeted that it was time to retire one of my most successful sessions - the Untruthful Art - Five Ways of Misrepresenting Data. This resulted in some curious questions from the community - questions why I would retire such an important and obviously successful session. I dedcided to write a blog post on the state of this session and where I’m going with it next.

A little bit of background

First of all - “retire” (in this case) does not mean “put it on a shelf never to be used again”. Quite the opposite; the session will be retired, but not the content. I first started writing this session for Data Grillen 2019. As we all know Data Grillen 2019 was cancelled due to the pandemic, and said pandemic had a profound effect on my desire and drive to create content in general, and to work on this specific session in particular, and I put it on the back burner for quite a while.
It was finally completed and made its debut at the virtual version of DataMinds Connect in 2020.

Little did I know what kind of a ride this session would take me on - I have never produced anything that has gotten such traction, sparked so much discussion or received so many comments. Clearly this is an extremely important topic, and I was not quite prepared for just how much information people would start sending me to add to the session. It’s been tweaked, altered and added to so much over the course of the last two years it resembles the Good Year blimp from a content perspective.

Going forward

I have also had the fantastic opportunity to talk to so many people - audience and fellow speakers alike - about it, and I have learned more than I ever thought possible. And that is why it is time to retire the session: it has simply outgrown its current shell.

I intend to take the session apart, reorganize and rewrite the content and turn it into at least two new sessions. These sessions will each have a distinct take on the topic, and who knows, I might even create a third session. Parts of it has been incorporated into my full-day workshop “Making Data Matter - Combining Data, Visual Storytelling and Presentation Skills for Maximum Impact”, and I get ideas and new content for the upcoming sessions just about every day.

I will be delivering this session for the last time at DataMinds Connect in Mechelen in October of 2022. It bears the same name as the session that made its debut there two years ago, but it is, as I’ve said, a very different beast. DataMinds Connect will be the 20th time I get to present it (7 times in person, 13 times online) - many, many more times that I had ever expected. I think it is fitting that it will come full circle and end where it began. I have some special additions and tweaks planned to make sure it goes out with a bang as well.

I’m excited to see where this content will go next.