Wealth Inequality In America – The power of illustration, storytelling, simplicity

As I write this, the Wealth Inequality in America video has already garnered over 9.8 million views, since it was first published in November 2012.

I was drawn to highlight this video because I thought it was a great example of how to present a smorgasbord of numbers in a compelling, captivating way. Having recently presented on statistical findings, I know there is a huge challenge in conveying data point after data point while trying to avoid “death by PowerPoint”: riddling one’s presentation with bullets or blinding people with slide after slide of charts.

Here, the Wealth Inequality in America excels, kept to three important principles:

  1. Illustration – The main idea was conveyed very powerfully through illustrating just how much inequality existed. When it arranged the depictions of wealth into comparative stacks of cash, one could clearly see just how far apart the wealthiest Americans were compared to the poorest.
  2. Storytelling – Yes, it is entirely possible to convey statistical data through effective storytelling! In the case of this video, this was particularly true when it highlighted the vast difference between what a CEO makes compared to its average employees.
  3. Simplicity – Above all, the video sought very hard to keep things simple. You could see how the video tried to “make sense” of the numbers by illustrating them using terms that people could easily grasp and understand.

 

By using these three principles, they created a video that powerfully conveyed its message. Coupled with a format that was particularly effective to share from – they had a very share-worthy video.

It’s not always easy, but done well, it’s very effective!

Business Leveraging Explained

I got this via email, which I normally dislike – but thought it would make a great illustration one day:

Here is the story of a father…

Father: I want you to marry a girl of my choice
Son: ‘I will choose my own bride!’
Father: ‘But the girl is Bill Gates’ daughter.’
Son: ‘Well, in that case… OK’

Next Father approaches Bill Gates.

Father: ‘I have a husband for your daughter.’
Bill Gates: ‘But my daughter is too young to marry!’
Father: ‘But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank.’
Bill Gates: ‘Ah, in that case… OK’

Finally Father goes to see the president of the World Bank.

Father: ‘I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president.’
President: ‘But I already have more vice- presidents than I need!’
Father: ‘But this young man is Bill Gates’s son-in-law.’
President: ‘Ah, in that case…OK’