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Day May 18, 2011

The Rawr Chart

The challenge with any performance metrics is that there is no single measure of business performance which is conclusive. The last few posts have covered mobile phone vendor performance measured by various methods. Growth (sequential, yearly and compounded multi-year),  margins, shares (units, profit and sales), rankings and time series. I’ve distinguished between smartphone pure plays and the diversified. Each is trying to shed light on what is a multi-dimensional puzzle.

I’ve used various charting tools and visualizations and they each render some clues, but the following chart is one of my favorites. It shows the way operating profit was distributed among the top vendors.

The areas each represent the profit from mobile phone sales in Q1. The horizontal axis shows the volume of units and the vertical the profit per unit. It thus shows how “efficiently” profits were captured a unit basis. It also shows at a glance the different strategies employed and how they reflect performance. It shows who made money and who didn’t. It shows the magnitude of differences.

The shape of this chart has not changed in the last few quarters but it prompts speculation on how it might change in the following few years.

I struggled to find a catchy name for this type of chart but @JustinD put it well here. Rawr indeed.