This Is Not An Apple

Aug 23, 2016 / Finance / spreadsheets / day job

Have you looked at a photograph and said, “Why would anyone photograph that?”

Usually when this happens, it’s because we’re missing the connotation.

So let’s recap a bit. Denotation are all those things that are shown -in- a photograph. Anything printed on a piece of paper or shown onscreen like the image itself, the title, and the captionäóîthese are all denotations.

Connotation then are all those things that normally would be left unsaid. Anything that is implied, where you have to äóìread between the linesäóù - that’s connotation. What is not said is just as important is what is said.

Photographs without a connotation are too shallow. They are boring. They are one dimensional. But if you were to combine denotation and connotation, you create a fuller message of a photograph.

The same rules apply for spreadsheets. You really need to have denotation and connotation to be in sync. They should help and not contradict each other.

In the graph that I presented last week, the denotation was

New York leads in paying artists for their work

What is the connotation? What am I implying, what is really the subject?

Artists don’t starve.

I am curious how artists make it these days. If I were to become a full time fine artist, would I starve? This graph is one small step to debunking the starving artist myth for me. Artists are not poor. Artist don’t have to be poor. They are just like the rest of the population.

So when you look at a spreadsheet, think about denotation and connotation. What is the creator really saying? Read between the lines.

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