Friday, August 7, 2015

Republican presidential candidate debate speaking times - August 6, 2015

A couple of years ago, when meetings at work were dragging on, I created an Android app to track the time each team member was speaking: Scrum Chatter.  In a nutshell, "Scrum" is a buzzword name of an approach to manage software projects, and part of this approach involves having a status meeting every day with all the team members.  I'm not an agile buzzword expert ("agile" itself is a buzzword), but I declare that if this definition is technically incorrect in any way, it doesn't matter squat for the purpose of this post.  I'm just giving some context here for the non-technical audience.

These daily status meetings should last around fifteen minutes, but at that period, sometimes they would last 20 or 30 minutes, with team members treating the simple status meeting as a forum to describe in great detail the technical or other challenges they were facing.  I developed this app to objectively determine, in a fun way, who were the worst offenders of verbosity.

Note that the Scrum Chatter app does not do automatic speech detection, and requires manually tapping on play/stop buttons when team members speak.

Today, I applied the app to a slightly different use case: tracking the time spoken by each of the candidates on the Fox News Republican presidential candidate debate on August 6.

The results, in minutes per candidate, are:
Donald Trump: 10:20
Jeb Bush: 08:34
John Kasich: 06:40
Ben Carson: 06:39
Mike Huckabee: 06:36
Ted Cruz: 06:34
Marco Rubio: 06:17
Chris Christie: 06:00
Scott Walker: 05:46
Rand Paul: 05:04

I like charts, so here's the same information in a pretty visual format:
The caricatures in this image come from user DonkeyHotey on Flickr: , licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA.

Unfortunately the Scrum Chatter app does not generate these pretty graphs.  It does export the data to Excel format, which allows manually creating pretty graphs in your spreadsheet application of choice.  Implementing graph generation directly from the app has been on my "TODO" list for over two years.  Yeah, I don't think I'm ever really going "TODO" it.  However, since this enhancement request was the first enhancement request I ever received on any of my personal projects on GitHub, I keep it open for nostalgia.

This is how the debate looks like a meeting, inside the app:

When I look at this screen shot, I wonder what it would be like to work on a scrum software project with developers like Jeb Bush.  How harsh would Chris Christie be in his code reviews? What kind of crazy comments would Donald Trump slip in the code?  I'll bet Ben Carson could implement some excellent optimizations.

This is what happens when I write a blog post at 3:30 in the morning.

Returning back to the purpose of this post: As in the 2012 Republican primary debates, which I followed on my blog here, we see a speaking disparity here, with Donald Trump getting over twice as much time as Rand Paul to talk.

If I'm motivated, perhaps I'll watch the subsequent debates and track the progression of the speaking duration per candidate, over time.