My 2009 Annual Report

Throughout 2009, I recorded several dozen statistics about a) the pop culture I consumed, b) the people I talked to, c) the beer I drank, d) the places I visited, e) the vehicles I took to those places, and f) the amount of sleep I enjoyed each day. Those statistics spread across several thousand cells of a spreadsheet, which I then condensed and animated into the 2.5-minute video clip embedded below. That process took about a month, all told, which isn’t a ratio I’m proud of, even if I’m happy with the result.

Dan Meyer’s 2009 Annual Report from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

I’ll add a post shortly after this one that will address some technical notes I made throughout the process.

BTW: My 2009 Annual Report — Behind The Scenes

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Hey Mr. Meyer,
    First off, this is awesome. I was surprised in going with a video but it really came our great, great quality too. Liked the categories, but seems like the “books” was a blur, you didn’t have a countdown like the others. Liked the solid Background was distracting. You didnt go overboard with the graphics and kept them subtle. Like the beer bottle and the gallon filling up.

    I have a question though, you should me LastFM but seems like you had a lot of information that would seem hard to get. Were there any other programs that you used to keep track?

    Looking forward to the next post on notes.

  2. Nice job! I can’t wait to see the technical notes. I’ve always wanted to learn more about these kind of targeted animations, rather than the cheap ones offered by Animoto or Keynote.

    Now that I think about it, most of the great infographics I’ve seen were videos. (Ex.,

    and Video, quite literally, adds a whole new dimension to the infographic: time. You exploit this dimension to good effect.

    In particular, I loved seeing the animation around the “other” elements. Its interesting that in some categories they’re the massive majority, but in others (like texts) they’re definitely the minority.

  3. Just awesome – I’ve been thinking – during the info-fiasco of Australian government publishing stats on schools this week – just how important it is not not only keep records – but to present them in a way the means something.

    Just the ticket.

  4. Three comments:
    1) Nicely done. Kept my attention the entire time.
    2) Photo credits? I’m thinking about the tv shows and movies here…
    3) You’re going to use this in your classroom….how? guessing this is a “Dan Meyer is really cool project” vs. “Mr. Meyer uses cool multimedia in his classroom” post.

  5. @London, let’s chat at school but I can say that music and phone were the only data sets I collected “passively,” which is to say that I didn’t have to do anything to collect them. handled music and AT&T kept records of my mobile use. The rest required a lot of note-taking.

    @Jason, me neither. My artists list turned out weird this year, with hip-hop holding down four of the top five slots but mopey folk rock at the top.

    @Matt, (1) Thanks. (2) I used promotional stills for the TV shows and movies which exist to be publicized and reused. (3) I’m not using this in my classroom. This is just a document of my own learning.

  6. very nice indeed. This is a good example of how the choices one makes about how to present data shows not only the basic understanding of the data, but also the way the points inter-relate to tell a story.

    I also watched it with the audio muted, it had a very different effect.

    I also am looking forward to the technical notes.

  7. So cool. That’s some extreme dedication to a long term project. Curious to know how your vision for what you would do with your data mutated and was refined over the course of the year. Well done!

  8. Wow, this makes me feel we should all try this once. I’m sure it would throw up some interesting data / stats that is maybe not in synch with our world view of ourselves.
    Great stuff Dan!

  9. @Sunil, once I started collecting certain data sets, I didn’t deviate much from that course. I couldn’t decide in March that I wanted to track something new. The toughest consideration at the end was deciding which sets and visualizations to cut. A lot of data I had spent a lot of time gathering over 2009 ultimately went unused for the sake of brevity and clarity.

  10. I like this too. I think it’s early enough in the year that I can start keeping track of certain things.

    My beer consumption graph is already at 0.0 gallons, since I don’t drink beer. Books I could do. Movies I could do. TV would be hard but I could estimate.

    Thanks for the cool idea.

  11. An excellent way of summarising a bunch of stats that holds the attention of your audience. It also provides an interesting insight into your life!
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. You actually made me care how many texts you sent and what kind of beer you drank. That’s tough to do. Nice.

    How accurate are you with your stats?

    Glad to see Porterville got some air time. If you look close, you can see my backyard.

  13. You don’t really need another person to tell you how fabulous this was. But after watching it I can’t walk away without sharing that.

    I’m amazed at both the technology and design and the data. Also amused by what you decided to track.

  14. This is me doing my best golf clap.

    Any thought as to how visual data works in video as opposed to print? Obviously for different purposes but I was just wondering about how you felt about how you would distinguish between using either and how each conveys or tells your story differently? I think I know what you might say but I’ll toss it your way first.

  15. Sure, and my apologies to Morgante for not delivering these goods when he asked it earlier.

    With video, I’m able to keep your eyes fixed on one point and then, in a single frame, swap out the infographic you were looking at with another for contrast. Like turning “12 books” into “102 movies.” Or comparing my workday schedule to my vacation schedule at the end. There’s more, too, but that difference stands out most to me.

  16. Guess I can put down at least 10:04 of my time spent watching Dan Meyer videos in my 2010 (most likely vaporware) annual report. Btw, my kids liked it too, esp. the beer bottle.

  17. Well done, Dan. I’m planning a course module for an Ed.D. cohort of current school leaders where I’ll have them document the time they spend “doing leadership.” You and your muse (Felton) have provided incredible examples of how those data can be “reported.” Looking forward to it and thanks, again, for the inspiration.

  18. After ten years, how will you know how much time you’ve spent keeping statistics? And, will you incorporate the time it takes you to measure that time?

    The video goes too fast for me. I am barely comprehending some of these graphs when they change. I think to myself, “Ok, this is a clock chart with bars of different heights representing different amounts of xyz,” but never get to “oh, interesting, this mostly happens at 4 PM.” You give me 3 or 4 seconds to look at the depiction of your favorite tv show, read its title, and memorize its number. I get 4 more seconds to try to understand your #1-#5 graph, remember which show was which, and find something interesting in that information. I can’t easily compare previous statistics.

    I think I might want a thesis or something. Some organizational structure. The statistics themselves are not personal enough to be gripping for me. The production quality seems great but I’m too busy trying to understand to get anything out of the video as a whole. I need more leadership towards the interesting relationships between data.

  19. @Riley,

    First, this isn’t, in a technical sense, an annual report, which is the sort of document published by corporations for their shareholders that includes infographics like mine, but also body copy, explanation, clarification, the leadership you’re looking for. Which isn’t to say I didn’t attempt to provide that leadership through judicious editing and careful sequencing. While acknowledging I have a lot of room for improvement next year, I tend to think you’ve discounted some of those methods.

    Second, a clear debit of video is that I had to set a pace for the viewer, whereas with print the pace is set by the reader. For a lot of reasons, I decided to roll with video anyway. So I set a pace I was comfortable with, erring on the side of something faster rather than slower because, c’mon now, it isn’t as if the pause button is some sort of power user tip for video. If you want to examine one of the infographics more closely, I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

  20. I’m totally jealous!! Dan, you inspired me to keep data on myself in 2009…so I did. Unfortunately, I haven’t created anything with it, because I just don’t know how to present it. I wish I knew how to create video like that.

    I was thinking about not collecting data this year, but after watching that….I’ve been inspired again. Kudos!

    By the way…my adult beverage intake for 2009 was 1067.5 servings!! I don’t feel that’s problematic yet.

  21. Would you be willing to put together a post on how your methodology for tracking the data day to day? I’d certainly like to do this, but I find it difficult to stay the course. Hearing some insight on how best to track (i.e., your excel template?) could be useful.

  22. I am inspired by this presentation and will do something similar to this for Lent. I think I need to take control of what I am doing and this is a good first step in recognizing my daily habits. Thanks!

  23. A number of people have asked Dan how he recorded his data (he uses Google Tasks and Excel, I believe). If any of you are looking for an alternate method for this type of data gathering and introspection we created a iphone app and web-app

    Full Disclosure: the website is free to use, the app is $1.99.

    Really-full Disclosure: Before posting this I reached out to Dan to see if he was cool with a self-promotional, but relevant comment. He was. Hopefully still is :)

  24. @Jon

    The answer is…sort of…coming soon…hopefully.

    The deal is this. We are concentrating our efforts on the iphone app and website. In the next couple of weeks we are going to release our API.

    Ideally we would like one of our Android partners to take this up. We are in some discussions with some developers now, but the API will be open to all.

    I can be reached at ari[at] tallyzoo [dot] com for further discussion.

  25. Wow, I’m tempted to try something along these lines myself, but pretty daunted at the thought of keeping track of all that… probably I should instead focus on applying some of that organizational motivation to things like my classroom closets.

    Also, I just have to say that while I’ve been enjoying reading my way back through your archives here anyway, seeing the Avett Brothers as your #1 most listened band made me like you even a teeny bit more.

  26. Anthony Escobedo

    January 3, 2011 - 10:16 pm

    Just watched this after linking to it from your 2010 December in review SLIDE. The stark contrast made me tear up even more. My condolences to you and your family. Plenty of us have leaned on you and your amazing skills for the past few years, so I hope you take the time to lean on us and those around you. Is there anything your followers can do at this time to help you?

    I’m glad to know The Cool Kids have a following on the West Coast. I saw them fall 2008 at the Dallas HOB and they are coming back around here in January. Definitely hitting up that show.

    I’ll have to check out “The Hood Internet” group you enjoy so much. I also agree with you that The Hurt Locker was the best film of that year.

    I wish you the best with 2011.

  27. i came here looking for math education resources and stumbled upon this video. i find it funny that someone else likes lil wayne AND the avett bros., but i am wondering…where is the annual report for 2010??