Omniture SiteCatalyst Variables 101

Data analysis begins with understanding the available data. To social scientists, this usually involves understanding your data type — nominal, ordinal, scalar, ratio. Web analysts, however, must always be concerned with the level of measurement as well — page level, session level, user level. If Omniture SiteCatalyst is your data source, understanding SiteCatalyst’s levels of measurement is key to being a good analyst. Those esoteric SiteCatalyst variables: sProps, Success Variables, and eVars, are easy to remember once you’ve seen their levels of measurement and Continue reading “Omniture SiteCatalyst Variables 101”

Jeb’s Macaroni and Cheese

In my experience, mac and cheese from a box tends to beat most of the recipes for homemade you’ll find on the Internet.  This version starts with a standard Bechamel sauce, then adds some spices and three different kinds of cheese to give it a little more flavor and color.  The addition of a few toppings give the dish some texture make it an acceptable meal for grown-ups.  The kids and the guests alike will love it.

Base:

  • 1 pound cavatappi, macaroni, or rotini pasta, cooked al dente
  • 6 TBS butter
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 C milk, warmed
  • 3 oz Colby Jack cheese
  • 6 oz Medium or Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz Muenster cheese

Spices:

  • 2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp if using iodized)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco (optional)

Toppings:

  • 1 C crushed Ruffles potato chips
  • 1 C ham, petite diced (or cut into 1/8 ” cubes) (optional)
  • 1/2 C grated Parmesan (don’t use the canned stuff, but pre-grated is fine)

Preparation:

  • Heat oven to 350 F.
  • Cook pasta al dente, per package directions, and set aside.
  • Warm 4C milk (the microwave works great for this)
  • Melt 6 TBS butter in a large saucepan or pot (3+ quarts) over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly with a whisk for 2-3 minutes until you get some tawny color, but stop short of tan or brown.
  • Slowly whisk in the warm milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for the next 2 to 4 minutes.  The mixture mixture will continue to thicken as the heat increases.
  • While stirring, add in spices: salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, mustard, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and (optionally) cayenne and Tabasco. (Note that with all the cheese, the cayenne and Tabasco won’t make the dish too spicy even for the kids, but then again, cayenne isn’t for everyone.)
  • Stir in the Colby Jack, Cheddar, and Muenster cheeses until melted.
  • Pour as much of the cheese sauce as you want (but probably not all of it) over the cooked noodles. Add mixture to a casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the chips, bacon, and Parmesan on top and bake for 35 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Green chile cornbread muffins

Great cornbread recipe from my mother-in-law.  I made a couple of changes… namely, the addition of canned green chiles and going with muffins instead of one big pan.  This recipe is fantastic: the cornbread muffins are crispy and buttery on the outside, moist (and buttery) on the inside.  Continue reading “Green chile cornbread muffins”

Black-eyed peas Bercy aux crevettes

I got Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas, and I’m totally inspired.  New Year’s Day traditionally requires at least one meal with black-eyed peas, so I put two and two together: black-eyed peas with some 16-bean mix for color, shrimp for flair, and a bercy sauce to push it completely over the top. Continue reading “Black-eyed peas Bercy aux crevettes”

Winter weekend mushroom and cheese risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that takes a lot of time if you’re making it at home.  It’s totally worth it.  This recipe makes a huge batch — enough to last the family through a winter weekend — making the time investment even more worthwhile. Continue reading “Winter weekend mushroom and cheese risotto”

Sunday Morning Biscuits

If you work with spreadsheets and text editors and web apps all day, using your hands to make something tangible can help you feel like you’ve actually done something real.  This is my favorite recipe for homemade biscuits… I make them with my daughter on Sunday mornings.  She gets flour all over the kitchen and loves to taste every ingredient by itself.  Continue reading “Sunday Morning Biscuits”

LinkedIn Best Answer: What should MBAs learn about marketing research?

A question was asked on the LinkedIn Q&A forum: “What should MBAs learn about marketing research?” My response was selected as Best Answer to this question, so I wanted to share.

enter Question (paraphrased):

What should MBA students learn about marketing research? Which research methods should they be exposed to?

follow Answer:

MBAs should learn to be advanced consumers of marketing research; they should NOT be learning how to actually perform the research.

Ultimately, business managers are more likely to be making the call about whether to spend resources conducting research than to be doing the research themselves. Accordingly, one of the most important things for MBAs to know about marketing research is how to make the decision of whether to initiate a research project.

On its face, the decision calculus is simple: Will the benefit of having this information exceed the cost of acquiring it? Real-world scenarios can sometimes be less clear, but this question is where you should start. Overall, becoming an educated consumer of marketing research offers a much greater benefit to the MBA than does seeing a few examples from the vast catalog of research methods.

Jeb’s Better-Than-Yours Waffles

For years, no waffle recipe out there seemed to have the perfect combination of textures and flavors I wanted: Crispy and brown on the outside.  Tender on the inside.  Cooks in a typical consumer waffle iron. Has enough flavor to compliment a topping besides your typically overpowering American syrup.

And I tried them all:  Alton Brown’s waffles are too doughy. Emeril’s waffles are too soft and cakey. Paula Deen’s waffles are dry and nothing to write home about. Top-rated waffles on AllRecipes.com aren’t crispy or particularly flavorful. Our family recipes were hardly better than Bisquick.  The last recipe I found online, a Joy of Cooking waffle recipe, was so cakey and flavorless that I finally decided to stand up and do something about it. Continue reading “Jeb’s Better-Than-Yours Waffles”

Is it impossible to start a start-up as a non-programmer?

A question was asked on the Facebook Web 2.0 (Entrepreneurs) forum: “Is it impossible to start a start-up as a non-programmer?” My response was selected as Best Answer to this question, so I wanted to share.

http://grownupinsights.com/page/27/ Question (paraphrased):

My situation is that I have an idea, I’ve been working on planning it for sometime, am finishing off my business plan, and want to start looking for some seed funding in the near future. But. Niether myself, or business partner, have any programming experience. Is it impossible to move forward without any?  Is it impossible to start a start-up as a non-programmer?

Answer:

I think it’s entirely possible, but there are a lot of potential pitfalls.  Here are a few things I learned the hard way:

  1. Trying to get seed money is somewhat like trying to be an NBA star; most people don’t make the big-time. If you really believe in your idea, make a plan for getting it done that doesn’t require millions of dollars in seed money.
  2. Great ideas are nice, but implementation is what makes money.
  3. If you’re investing your own money, streamline your product down to its core value. Be ruthless in doing so. Getting it out there, and getting some users who are excited about your core value, is much more important than squeezing in a couple of extra features. (And it’s easier on the credit card.)
  4. As many posters have already suggested, there are plenty of programmers out there who’ll work for equity. Also, you can hire very affordable international labor for just a few bucks an hour; you can even get in touch with those resources through Guru.com these days. In either case, always make sure you have COMPLETE, water-tight product specs and use-cases before putting your developers to work.
  5. Make sure you know *exactly* what you’re building. Technical implementation details excepted: If you need to incorporate a lot of feedback from your devs back into your business plan and/or your product design, you don’t know where you’re going.
  6. Crowdsourcing is emerging as a potential avenue for startups (e.g., Cambrianhouse.com.) I’ve put a couple of projects on Cambrian House myself recently; however, since it’s a public forum, you may not want to give away any singularly brilliant ideas. Also, sites such as Prosper.com are very accessible funding sources.

Selloscope Comps

This post is just a quick way for me to share some comps and comments on our soon-to-be-released site, Selloscope.  Selloscope enters the market in an exploding new industry: recommendation technology.  From a startup perspective, Selloscope makes a terrific case study in how to start an online business on a shoestring budget — I’ll be posting lessons learned soon after launch.

Here’s the logo, I’m very proud of it.  Professionally designed by Mary Norvell in Dallas, TX.

And here are the comps… a home page, a form page, and an administration page.  At this point these pages and many others are up and running in development.

Click for the bigger version.

Enjoy and look for us in August 2010!