On June 19, 2014, Wes Grubbs, founder of Pitch Interactive, will join MIMA and friends to speak about the rise of data visualization in the digital age in which we live and work.
Pitch Interactive, founded in 2007, is a data visualization studio in Berkley, California. The shop is comprised of 7 people who are, to say the least, extremely smart and passionate about what they do. Day by day, year by year, the team's projects have grown into internationally recognized masterpieces. Their work has been featured in renowned publications such as Wired Magazine and Scientific Magazine. Their client base is comprised of digital giants such as Facebook and Google, among many others. Their work includes projects such as multitouch walls, Google Chrome extensions, web-based projects, prints, textiles, and many more pure data visualization deliverables.
Grubbs has a background in economics, statistics, and information systems, but he stumbled upon the interactive development world. He was a developer for around 15 years, but he eventually realized that working in advertising in that spirit. Rather than wanting to persuade his audience, he wanted to inform them through a unique form of storytelling. We are all familiar with infographics, but there is so much more research, talent, and mathematical knowledge that goes into their creation than we may realize.
Grubbs is a very cultured individual himself. He lived in Europe for five years. He explains that a major reason for moving overseas was to break out of his comfort zone. In doing so, one is forced to improvise and learn more about himself and the world. While in Croatia, he did freelance work for many years, which played an important role in developing several of his skill sets in marketing and technology. He gave advertising a try as well, but was more interested in breaking the status quo and starting his own venture.
Pitch Interactive truly understands the importance of the mergence of marketing and IT. “At Pitch Interactive, our designers code, our engineers design, and our project managers design and code.” In order to work in this type of role, one needs to be multitalented, to put it simply. They need to understand code and design techniques simultaneously. Strong knowledge of statistics and analytics is crucial. Grubbs states, “You need to be able to ‘humanize’ data; that is, you need to take numbers and images and be able to communicate it back to humans.” Possessing a medley of right-brained and left-brained skills is required to be successful, and will become more so over the next few years.
Grubbs’s only title is not “Founder”; he is the Technology Director AND the Creative Director. Talk about huge responsibility, let alone huge talent. Grubbs is hopeful that in the near future, digital advertising companies will have a better understanding of the importance of data visualization. Ad companies must recognize the meaning of data, how it can be digested, and most importantly, how it can be created into a visual, tangible form. Several big challenges must first be solved, including the difference between persuasion vs. information in advertising.
Grubbs hopes to help educate people in the advertising industry about the data visualization process. There is a huge demand for these services. Pitch Interactive receives one or two offers every day, but with such a small team and a high demand, the bandwidth is not sufficient. He hopes that the attendees can think more deeply about data visualization and how these types of outputs can help their companies make wiser business decisions.
When Grubbs is not working hard in his Berkley office, he is constantly on the road and in the air. He participates in several speaking events around the country and world throughout the year. He will be speaking at the Eyeo Festival, a data arts conference in Minneapolis, in June. He also teaches at Stanford University and University of California - Berkley.
We at MIMA are thrilled to host him as our next Speaker Series presenter!
Register today to make sure you don't miss this opportunity to learn from Wes.