Tag Archives: Chronology

The 6 killer apps of prosperity – 2011 TED Talk

The world is constantly changing, only now it’s changing ever more rapidly. This 21 minute talk can give you an idea as to how you, your children and grandchildren may be affected. Here’s a summary from the TED Talk page:

“Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.  (My underlining)

History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)”

View the talk here.

This talk has been viewed 993,860 times.

Chronology versus Timeline


While I acknowledge this is a bit of a quibble, I’d like to see if I can explain and defend the differences and distinctions between a ‘Chronology‘ and a ‘Timeline.’

To me, the distinctions have to do with the different insights, understandings, and experiences that arise from viewing information in one format versus the other.

Let me show you what I mean with a simple example using the same basic dates and information displayed in the two formats:


  • 1598 – Juan de Onate creates first permanent settlement
  • 1706 – Albuquerque area settled and named
  • 1821 – Mexican Independence
  • 1848 – U. S. Territorial era begins

and then —


•Onate creates                  •Albuquerque                           •Mexican               first permanent                 area   settled                          independence          settlement                         and named                                      •US Territorial

To my eye, the time context of the dates seem to tell a different, and somehow more effective, story in the timeline format. I believe one gets a deeper feeling for the relative periods of time and cultural influence  from this format.

That is why I chose to use a timeline format, even though it required a lot (a lot) of trial and error to:

  • get all the information into a single coordinated format
  • keep the overall physical length to 16 feet
  • figure out where to use 100-, 50-, 20- and 10-year visual time segments
  • see that adding a true-time-scale at the bottom was necessary to really  effectively visually represent the relative time frames for the 600 year timeline period

From most comments, it seems to work OK and support individuals in seeing the fascinating interactions between time, geography, demography and culture.