Saturday, June 03, 2006

Microsoft - give me a mekko chart now, you useless, greedy monopolist!

Annoying!!! I want to do something simple... plot a bar chart for a bunch of countries where the width of each bar = the population of the country, the height of the bar = its GDP/capita and hence area of the bar = its GDP. Clearly an insane requirement - who would ever want to display world poverty in such an obvious way? This type of chart is called a 'mekko' or 'marimekko' chart (example to the left). After years of new versions and irritating paperclips and lots of other rubbish, can MS Excel even do this? Er, no... Ray Ozzie was hired by Microsoft to buff up its sagging innovation record. His excellent memo Internet services disruption took the lame corporation to task for its record on innovation. Despite having a $7 billion R&D programme they've been hammered by Google on serach, Blackberry on mobile, iTunes on music, Sony on games... and so on. R&D and innovation... two very diffrent things.

1 comment:

jcmendez said...

Chris - This chart is not what the rest of us call a histogram. A histogram is simply a set of bar charts where the height of each bar represents the relative frequency for a variable in the interval represented by the bar. In a mekko or marimekko chart, the width of the columns is proportional to data represented by the columns. Individual segment height is a percentage of the respective bar total value. Most people use an add-in or external program to generate mekko charts in Excel. With some patience, you can create them directly in Excel without add-ins. Check my posting at for more info