I was sitting trying to figure out how to sum up what I do as a web analytics architect and engineer. When friends and family who are not in the industry ask what I do, it can be difficult to explain. I was trying to craft a statement that’s simple enough to understand but simple enough to understand without getting into messy details. What came to mind was a media campaign by BASF in the late 90’s explaining they don’t make the everyday products we all use, but they have a hand in making them better.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to apply this line of thinking to web analytics. While at one point in my career, I’ve been part of teams that built products you may have used, my current role is in figuring out what to measure, how to measure and either code it myself, or work with a team to put the tracking in place. The resulting data is then used to identify what works, what doesn’t and identify behaviors that resulted in a good result or in the bad result.
Here’s what I came up with:
I’ve designed pages, experiences and applications for the web, and I’ve built them.
Today, I make it possible to measure, report and provide insight.
Product design and technology make a product.
What I do helps build a better product.
Strategy and marketing build a campaign.
What I do makes it possible to measure success.
Reading the Steve Jobs bio, there was mention of the source for “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” he used in the Stanford commencement speech. The source was the back cover of the last Whole Earth Catalog in 1974…
I finally got a chance to watch “Meet the Robinsons” over the 4th of July weekend. I was pleasantly surprised considering I wasn’t expecting much.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a kookie Disney fan, I’m a big fan of Walt Disney, the man. There’s a great quote at the end of the movie that I think should be the credo of engineers everywhere.
There’s a tendency to play it safe, hoping to repeat the successes of previous projects. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a way of progressing forward to create bigger and better things. It’s single handedly the reason why certain companies fail to follow-up their previous success, while other companies build successes on top of other successes.
It’s the difference between 1980’s Apple and IBM, and is the difference between Apple and HP, or Apple and Microsoft.
There’s really no secret about our approach. We keep moving forward—opening up new doors and doing new things—because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. We’re always exploring and experimenting. At WED, we call it Imagineering—the blending of creative imagination with technical know-how.
…from a 1965 presentation by Walt Disney called “Total Image”
I was looking for some photos of a vacation my family took a few years ago. It was 2005, and we were there for a 2 week vacation to enjoy Florida. As things would have it, we were also there for the first shuttle launch since the shuttle accident that resulted in the loss of all seven crew members of STS-107 in 2003.
My family had a chance to witness history in the making when STS-114 and Discovery with its crew successfully launched for the first time in a little over 2 years.
Thinking back on this reminds me of the sheer determinism that we as people have to succeed despite catastrophic failures.
Anything is possible if you’re willing to learn and honor what has been learned, but most importantly to never give up.