Having spent the past dozen years in an Analytics role, both as an individual contributor and as a manager, I’ve had the opportunity to see the analytics function work within centralized, decentralized, and matrixed organizational structures. The relative merits of building a centralized versus decentralized Analytics organization depend largely on exactly what you expect to get out of the Analytics function in your organization, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons — and to structure the Analytics function correctly to meet your organizational goals. Continue reading “Centralized vs Decentralized Analytics: All You Need To Know”
Just wanted to share the news that my startup Selloscope got some great coverage by Haydn Shaughnessy over on his Re:Thinking Innovation blog at Forbes.com! It was a pleasure to speak with Mr. Shaughnessy, and while I appreciate the feature, I’m particularly looking forward to following Mr. Shaughnessy’s work on innovation moving forward.
It’s a fact of startup life that you win some and you lose some. Mostly you lose some. I’ve tried my hand a few times at bootstrapping a startup. I have one now that’s just ramping up, but I have to admit that along the way there have been a couple of times I just let a domain expire so I could move on.
Speaking of “moving on,” there’s a hugely popular yet dangerously bad idea out there that’s captivating more and more decision-makers: this idea of “Fail Fast.” I thought Mark Suster had put this one to bed early last year, but amazingly it continues to gain momentum. Here’s why I’m not buying it.
There are four things you absolutely have to know and do if there’s any possibility you’ll be involved in bootstrapping a startup:
1) Define and build your minimum viable product.
2) Aggressively keep your run rate as low as possible.
3) Iterate to find your product/market fit.
4) Don’t die.
If you live in a world where the flavor of the week is the most important thing — and I get it, I’ve worked there myself — then failing fast is a great strategy. Maximize your “successes” and get out while you’re on top.
But if I’ve done my marketing homework, the monthly bills are manageable, and I’m iterating toward market adoption, then as far as I’m concerned those “fail fast” guys can pry my startup from my cold, dead hands.
This past Thursday I attended the Dallas Startup Happy Hour 2.0 to do some networking for my startup, Selloscope. I thought, “I have a Dallas-based startup, these guys are Dallas-based startups, it’ll be great to get out and meet some people.” I was expecting it to be a little difficult to break into the conversations. (Actually it wasn’t so hard.) What I hadn’t counted on was this:
The first question everyone asks is, “Why are you here?”
So I give them the honest answer… I have a startup, I’m in Dallas, doing some networking, etc. etc. Turns out, that is the WRONG answer.
Continue reading “Startup Lesson Learned: Know Why You’re Here”
There are two very commonly known things about search engine optimization (SEO).
1) Great, targeted content drives PageRank.
2) Google’s page rank algorithm is recursive.
Given how common this knowledge is, it’s surprising that so many Web sites haven’t put 1 + 1 together: Your pages earn a PageRank based on content and links, and then they lend that PageRank power to your other pages based on how you link to them.
In effect, your internal link structure may be causing your most powerful, highest-ranked pages to spread their PageRank weight across your entire site, instead of to the specific campaigns or initiatives you mean to support with those individual pages.
The takeaway: Instead of thinking of your SEO efforts as a collection of channels (FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and the obligatory blog) meant to drive content — think of SEO as a structured set of Content Tiers, each of which are built and interlinked to support your marketing and SEO objectives.
Enter: the SEO Matrix.
Continue reading “Enter the ( SEO ) Matrix”
I’m always surprised that you don’t see more direct marketers hired into Web analytics roles — they’re expert in a number of skills such as predictive modeling, experimental design, and statistical analysis that really turn the Web analytics role into a strategic source of business revenue. Along those lines, I wanted to give an example of how a tried-and-true direct marketing technique — using regression modeling to predict how likely each user is to convert — can allow media buyers and SEM managers to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to determine which campaigns are winners and campaigns are losers.
Companies rely on pay-per-click and online ad buys to drive growth. While buying clicks is easy, ensuring that individual campaigns are profitable – before significant losses have been incurred – presents a host of challenges to media buyers. Continue reading “SEM for Longer Time-to-Convert Businesses: How to Stop the Bleeding”
In his recent post Are You Rational?, Seth Godin makes a broad argument that nobody is rational all the time (true enough): that some decisions fall squarely within the domain of rational methods (e.g., analyzing your Adwords click-thru rate) while other things are best approached irrationally: falling in love, appreciating music or wine, or generating ideas for new businesses and startups. He goes on to say that “irrational passion is the key change agent of our economy.” Simply put, he proposes that there are entire domains of human endeavor that are better managed with the “gut” — a common belief and arguably a staple of American culture itself.
A great professor once told me, “If a good essay is one that’s fun to argue with, yours is a great essay.” It’s in this spirit that I can’t resist offering a counterpoint to Godin. My argument: that passion and irrationality are two different things. Passion has place, but the time when it was OK to “go with your gut” is well behind us. Continue reading “A Rationalist Responds to Godin’s Blog Post “Are You Rational?””
There is a perennial question in Web analytics: “Are the numbers up?”
Certain web metrics can be highly variable on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. Daily Unique Visitors (UVs) and Daily Visits are just two examples of metrics that can change dramatically from one day to the next. These big swings in day-to-day numbers can make it difficult for managers to tell whether their KPIs are really trending up or down.
Continue reading “How to identify real trends in user behavior”
LinkedIn is not just Monster.com 2.0… it represents an entirely different way of thinking about and managing your career progression.
Many of us (most of us?) begin a job search reactively in response to something — maybe we didn’t get that promotion, the culture changed, we’re not getting the training or support we want, or one of a thousand other reasons. But most of us put off changing jobs or even careers until we’ve reached a very high point of frustration.
What LinkedIn does is this: Continue reading “How to use LinkedIn to get a job and get ahead”
Let’s start with a simple premise: The more often something happens, the more often people write about it.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Albert Saiz and Uri Simonsohn, in their article “Downloading Wisdom from Online Crowds,” demonstrate that the relative frequency of documents returned by a search engine can be a good measure of how frequently a phenomenon occurs. For example, if you want to know the relative cost of living in all U.S. cities (or the relative amount of corruption, or perhaps even how good the golfing is) then simply searching for “Dallas cost-of-living” and “San Francisco cost-of-living” may give you a great index. If it works as advertised, this is a fantastic general research tool for analysts and marketing researchers. Let’s take a look.
Continue reading “Using search engines to measure social behavior”