Inside the Collective:

An interview with data visualization artist Matthew Daniels

Little House is a strategy-led digital collective that helps brands solve problems, bring ideas to market and create smart digital products. Our collective consists of a global pool of thinkers and doers, including artists, strategists, designers, developers, writers, photographers and producers. We would like to introduce you to as many of them as possible, because they’re awesome. Here’s a peek into the life and mind of Matthew Daniels.

Who are you?

I’m your good friend from Undercurrent, a consulting firm that I worked at for about four and half years, that specialized in digital strategy. I’ve since left to pursue more creative endeavors specializing data visualization, design and the internet.

What does “digital strategy” mean?

Digital strategy is an umbrella term that a lot of marketing agencies adopted to tell large companies, who felt very scared and threatened, about the internet. The term was ambiguous enough to cover everything from marketing to operations to product. But always related to the internet in some way. Which is basically everything. It’s a catch-all phrase.

“I’m down to keep working on an idea forever. I don’t get restless”

What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself?

Eclectic would be a good one. I have diverse interests across a range of topics. I also have high stamina when it comes to creative work. I’m down to keep talking about things and work on an idea forever. I don’t get restless.

What’s the word for that? Dedicated?

I don’t think of it as dedicated. It’s more like annoying stamina. If I was a long distance runner, in a marathon, I would just keep going.

That’s not an adjective.

Staministic. Staminal. Staminastic?

Okay, fine. That’s two. What’s the third adjective?

People tell me I get really excited and passionate about things and that it’s infectious. So: Infectious.

Who would you hire to write your biography? Someone whose writing you like a lot.

Let’s go with Bill Simmons.

What are your three favorite business books?

I read a lot of business books after graduating college. But I’ve since become really bored with that type of stuff. I was really influenced by Nudge back in the day. Predictably Irrational. The Paradox of Choice is really good. Wikinomics. But all of these business books are really impractical; it’s all just snake oil.

What’s your favorite emotion?

[Pulls out this chart on his computer. Typical Matt Daniels move.] Let’s go with anxiety. Anxiety is a really interesting emotion.

What’s your least favorite emotion?


How would you rank your senses in order of importance?

Sight. Touch. Smell. Sound. Taste.

“I need maker time. My best work happens in unstructured days without meetings, just a long day of thinking.”

What do you need to get your best work done?

I need maker time. My best work occurs in unstructured days without meetings, just a long day of thinking. I can be anywhere with the internet. And Trello is helpful. Maybe a pen and paper. Maybe a person to bounce ideas off of.

What’s a dream project?

Working with the NBA to visualize their new camera data.

You refused to build our website for us and instead insisted on teaching us how to code in a website bootcamp. Why?

I don’t like getting paid by friends for projects. And I want the favor returned. It indebts you to me in a way that money doesn’t. It’s a long con.

Check out some of Matt’s most recent data visualization work here. Keep tabs of him on his website and Twitter.

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