#001: Becoming a Better Digital Analyst

January 3, 2015

In this inaugural episode of the Digital Analytics Power Hour, Michael, Jim, and Tim discuss how a digital analyst working today can become better at what he or she does. Tending bar? Cold calling the CFO? The guys share their own origin stories — what drew them to web analytics, as well as what made them stay — and tell a few tales of what worked for them as they evolved their own careers.

Show Transcript

The following is a straight-up machine translation. It has not been human-reviewed or human-corrected. We apologize on behalf of the machines for any text that winds up being incorrect, nonsensical, or offensive. We have asked the machine to do better, but it simply responds with, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

[00:00:25] Hi welcome to the digital analytics power hour. This is Episode 1.

[00:00:30] My name is Michael Hobel and the Director of Analytics at search discovery here in Atlanta Georgia. I’m joined by my two other hosts Jim Kane CEO of napkin and also the CEO of Babbage systems. Michael has it gone. It’s going great. And of course we’re also joined by the inimitable Tim Wilson partner at web analytics demystified. I am an inevitable inevitable hello to yes. It’s something like there’s a snowman associated with that abominable Tim Wilson who isn’t the inimitable inadmissable. Now I don’t know how I can pronounce that word. You nailed it the first time. All right. Well I would have preferred one. Let’s move right along then let’s get into our topic. Just so you guys understand everybody understands the format of this show. We spend a little bit of time talking through some of the things that we think are important about the industry and digital analytics today. Tonight we’re talking about a topic that I think is going to be near and dear to many hearts which is how do I get better as an analyst. What are my opportunities for self-improvement and how to white pick the best ways to get better today. You know digital analytics is in a place where it’s going through a transition. If you think about how the three of us got into this industry most of our skills and information is self-taught and self acquired. I think there’s more interesting ways of getting up to speed in this industry and that’s what we want to talk about.

[00:02:01] So noble analyst sit back and learn about how you can increase your skills all while getting the big money and accolades that you deserve. All right well let’s get into it. TIM WILSON How does an analyst improve themself themselves.

[00:02:22] It’s interesting. I mean even listening listening to your setup it’s interesting because it’s one word. It’s one of those cases where it’s probably not what we did.

[00:02:33] I think I mean it’s probably it’s not what we did but it’s probably also it kind of is what we did because even though I think we’re going to use this there there’s a lot of a standard tropes you know go take the course at the University of British Columbia. Sign up with market motive.

[00:02:51] Read books you know read blogs.

[00:02:54] Then there’s.

[00:02:56] It’s it’s weird because I’m not sure if I had all of those 10 years ago how much that would have directly made me a better analyst.

[00:03:07] Well my perspective is I agree with you. Like when this was 15 10 whatever years ago you know analytics digital analytics is only about 20 years old.

[00:03:19] You can not learn it the same way as we did because there’s a lot more opportunity for information and selection of information than there was at that time. You know if you think about it we had to go through years of trying to figure out am I doing this the right way because there was literally not enough inputs to say hey this is the right way to do things. These are the best practices. I think what’s important or what be useful in an episode like this is to actually try to talk about some of the things we did kind of coming up in this industry and then look at maybe what are some things that are transferable like what did we do that you should still do and what are other ways like OK you don’t have to assemble a hundred blogs on analytics in your field to try to keep up with this industry anymore. You know that’s probably not something you have to do you know them the measure hash tag might be enough.

[00:04:11] But Jim came to me I just to say one thing that I would add in as well is that we all really like what we do. And I think we’re active members of the community and we’re always just big stumpers on who should do this. It’s awesome. But just to kind of put it into a real world context. There are literally thousands of high paying jobs sitting out there on dice for people who know how to be an analyst. Like this isn’t just this is cool you should do it. There’s hundreds and hundreds of companies trying to hire someone with any level of experience whatsoever and a great economy. And this is definitely a very high demand very low supply kind of gig you know.

[00:04:55] So which means you can turn out to be that good. Yeah. What do you make your analyst you can be you could be interested in your have a job which I think is a topic for us.

[00:05:10] Looking at her looking for a career indorse able to operate a mouse as well.

[00:05:18] So is that. Oh I can’t touch that. I am not even touching that.

[00:05:25] I think Jim actually I think you actually did kind of call out this the other to me becoming a better analyst. A huge part of it is actually being is actually giving a shit about the about the field in your job and saying you know what this is what I want to do because because we you know we sort of settled on this topic a few days ago and you know made a few notes and I’m like you know I feel like I’m rattling off a bunch of tropes but it comes down to me. It’s like just do shit you know do stuff I care.

[00:06:01] I’m I actually play this show for my kids. Way to go Tim. No I’m not. I am. I love the explicit tag on that. It’s true that as you are I’ll try to turn it I’m just a kid that unbroken in check. We got them on here.

[00:06:20] If we don’t have an f bomb in inside.

[00:06:23] I was going to be good and you blew it all in Temple Templeton the George Carlin of measurement seven seven words you cannot hate America.

[00:06:33] Yeah right. But I think that’s to me. That’s what I don’t think has changed about any of our what we did. You know I think we’re all pretty good analysts was you know well we did dive in. We did kind of take some risks. I mean the number I could I can I can list out specific times where I get dropped into something and it was of my own making of yeah sure I’ll figure out the site catalysts and I did. You know it took me took me a while to get somebody who was to help me. But I’ve also managed people who have waited for like what’s the formula I’ve got. I’m in a good comfortable routine. I can I know what to do and know how to pour this data and if you’re not pushing yourself you’re you’re going to become a worse analyst because things are moving too fast you have to be moving faster than a rapidly changing industry.

[00:07:33] But I would say there’s a I would say that’s a caveat to that. I agree with you that you have to move quickly however you know if you look at sort of say a practitioner of analytics versus a kind of what we do on the services side of of analytics the practitioner side it stays relatively still in comparison and actually being a good analyst in that context is having a deep understanding of the context in which the the business operates and how the data the analysis applies to it.

[00:08:09] Right. And being a better analyst may not be learning everything about all the new things that are happening in the industry as much as it’s digging deeper and getting more proficient in bringing to bear things within the current set of solutions that you run as a company and not to.

[00:08:25] You see where I’m going with that is that magic it’s super revalidated.

[00:08:29] And I think that an analyst can only go as fast as the business will allow them to go you know and the bigger the company that you’re embedded in is the more there’s organizational inertia like you did the coolest crap ever. If no one’s going to read it I mean this is the metrics bar 101 stuff right. Why doesn’t anybody look at my awesome work. God.

[00:08:51] Well I say so. So maybe I maybe a frame that a little unfairly I would I would disagree. I would say that maybe I didn’t I didn’t articulate it well I think you could always be going out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily chasing the latest you’re chasing you know slack analytics Herger chasing the latest you know social media. But I think actually to Jim’s point why are people listening to me Well you know what I got. I couldn’t figure out how to communicate better. I’m going to go and I’m going to be bossy and I’m going to set up a meeting with our CFO and we’re a half million our half a billion dollar company and I’m going to just ask him some questions. I’m going to learn the business more so I think I would never recommend the first meeting be with the CFO.

[00:09:40] I would find another friend in finance first that I was going a little bit out of work on.

[00:09:50] Do you know I mean I had I had an opportunity he had set up a meeting with me on some very specific project and I used the opportunity to ask him some questions about some fairly like major business decisions that have been made and he is as happy as a clam to explain to me like what they had what they had done so. So I guess it makes push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t do something stupid right there. There’s a but find it set up a new process. Figure out a new way to visualize stuff.

[00:10:25] If you’ve got a question. Yet I catch up to it. We’re going to do that on that.

[00:10:30] Yeah from that or whatever will never ever happen.

[00:10:34] We all totally came into this like we all day kind of the same gig and we came at it from three totally different ways. And like you know one of the ways that I look at how to work on my chops is to find out how somebody else came into the discipline and then do what they did because I probably didn’t do it you know like people they started off in a server room mash and logfile and they ended up in the marketing department. I mean I came from a sales background I kind of have a weird story about how I came into measurement maybe would be helpful for you guys to kind of say I was doing this and someone got me to do that. Next thing you know I’m an analyst you know.

[00:11:12] I mean that’s that’s kind of a break. So I think we all have a quick one was I backed into it from a technical writing to the internet web development to business owner of a community before the word community was used and the web always towards us came along with it.

[00:11:32] And when I went to drop that web analytics tool to the B team instead I went with it to the B team and then my seminal moment was going to a data warehouse Institute conference. And in the light bulb light bulb going on to me that’s like how do you get into it as opposed to how do you actually get better at it.

[00:11:52] Well but I see your point. So like yeah I came from a business analyst background on technical implementation and web dev projects and just got into the logfile analysis side of it and then started seeing hey there’s more to this and just started taking it from there. But yeah I will.

[00:12:14] I love to hear people’s stories about how they got into this field because a lot of times people’s entrance into the field especially because it’s so new. A lot of that dictates how they perform as an analyst and how they think as an analyst or the connections they can make to kind of where they were before. I think as people start in careers you know analytics explicitly which we’re starting to see that you know there’s people who I’ve been a web or digital analyst ever since I got out of law school right. And they’re starting to become programs in schools where you can just go study this or have it be a bigger and bigger portion of what you study in your undergrad not necessarily even you know master’s degrees or external you know post collegiate studies.

[00:13:03] So I’ll it’ll be interesting to see what happens there. But I do think there’s something to be learned from where people come from.

[00:13:11] You know I would think you know Tim was starting to really focus in on kind of a process and program management which I know are kind of near and dear to the way you approach things like conversations conversation with me lead there.

[00:13:25] So and I don’t we all kind of have it. The people I’m a people person.

[00:13:32] So Jim you have to be the technology one so people process and technology. Guys you know a technology company. That’s right.

[00:13:41] Meetings and weekends we have you guys like him in business from sales right. I can never forget them fortunately.

[00:13:49] So I mean I don’t think I’ve actually heard that story that I know I was selling out web personalization software and I wasn’t selling any of it because this was 10 years ago and the companies I was trying to sell it to said great so I can personalize messages too because I don’t know who to point it out. So I missed quota for about. Two quarters and I finally started to say to people if you let me look in your web analytics data and I could build you a five times return on your investment use case what can I say this hour. And I figured they’d say no because NDA and sensitive business data like it was a bluff and 10 years ago nobody gave a crap so people started going yeah here’s my log in a web trends to urchin to core metrics. So I had to learn how to do it and I started crushing pipe. I mean I was just closing deal after deal because people were going finally someone is doing something with this data and it was a lot of fun.

[00:14:44] I like data because it helps me win arguments you know like that’s Yeah.

[00:14:50] So it does seem like it’s coming back to there’s a little bit of an introspection and if anybody sitting through listening to the three of us drone on that probably is a pretty qualifier that day they really do care about the space or you out their mom.

[00:15:09] And I don’t think my mom needs to know how to be a better better analyst. But.

[00:15:16] I guess is going to wind up being like a soft answer like there are resources out there. But man there’s an introspection part that says am I hungry for. Doing this stuff.

[00:15:30] Yeah I mean when I think about the characteristics that I look for in an analyst none of them are hard skills on most like certainly there is a modicum of you know facility with mathematics and statistics and numbers. But I find that intellectual curiosity critical thinking and business acumen are kind of like top level stuff and I’m looking for that.

[00:15:55] That’s actually that’s drawing an interesting parallel to early in my career kind of pre when I was technical writer and we were recruiting technical writers at a high tech companies were talking to journalism were going on campuses talking to journalism majors and English majors in one of the questions we’d asked was you know tell us about your computer. This was late 90s early 2000s or early early aughts as Jim would probably say. And one of the things we were looking for we would say Have you ever done it. You’re taking the back of your computer and the fact is if somebody said oh no like my dad my dad takes care of that or my girlfriend or my boyfriend does that. It was like a killer because like we’re hiring you to be a technical writer at a technical company and you don’t have a passion for technology right. And I think that’s the same thing when I talk to people like getting into the field. It’s like you get better go get google analytics on something start your site.

[00:17:03] Do you have a Web site. If the answer to that question is No that’s a problem for you or her. Do

[00:17:10] you have a relative or a friend who has a website and you’ve got links on it.

[00:17:15] So that’s like the that’s the bar for entry. But I think there’s there’s other part like if if an analyst that there exists this is a hugely roundabout way of saying yes there are soft skills but I really want people to actually understand the ins and outs of it.

[00:17:34] But that’s where the intellectual curiosity comes in people you know there are certain personality types that just want to know the answer to the question why or why is it doing that. Well let me see if I can figure that out. Couldn’t that be better. Like those kinds of questions those have to drive you like they really have to drive you. The weird part of the balancing act is that they can’t drive you so hard that they make you alienate all the people you work with. That’s the skill that you have to let it go. Yeah.

[00:18:04] That’s why I was asking about orge origin stories. I had a feeling we were all going to start to go off in directions that are kind of close to how we tick. Like when I’m looking at her analyst I love philosophy degrees and I love bartending experience.

[00:18:20] That has nothing to do with them as their skill as an analyst. It’s just kind of a usefully you want to have a lot of those people around you is that.

[00:18:28] Yeah I’m a double female I’m not going to mix my own drinks.

[00:18:30] I mean let’s be honest.

[00:18:36] When former bar staff made great analysts because they know how to make get people to talk and then listen to what they want and give them what they need so they can move on. It’s funny that I’m not even kidding. The ability to be a great listener and then give someone what they want is a hard skill to develop and people with a subpar experience are really good at it.

[00:19:01] But what if you have your choice your latest job posting.

[00:19:04] I mean if you’re but if you’re an analyst now say you know that you are not the super well liked sought out to to have people tell you what their problems are their business problems are and you should you go 10 are you go 10 bar. And what’s with the Tintenbar quibbling. I mean I struggled with that because there’s how much of that is a talent which is not teachable versus how much is a skill right. They can’t be taught. If I go. Absolutely. You know you need to be a better analyst. You need to get better at communication and people skills. OK so what do I do.

[00:19:41] Well I mean Dale Carnegie you are. Yes Coach bar in the evening. Or just keep some booze in your desk at work. I’ve never done it.

[00:19:50] Totally different skill set. That doesn’t necessarily work out.

[00:19:54] That’s not really that hard. We have pretty easy guys. Dale Carnegie Carnegie Carnegie. This is my inimitable I don’t know how I pronounce his last name. I’ve read the book. I have never attended the courses but I doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re awesome.

[00:20:10] How do you become a better communicator. I mean that’s what I do. I think your boss or mentor is going to be one of the biggest drivers of that capability honestly because they’re going to see what you need to do and they’re gonna guide you in that and that path. What I would say to people is hey if your mentor or your boss is not making you better find other mentors in the community that will spend some time with you. Talk to you about what you’re working on and what you’re trying to do. That’s actually what you know I’ll just be really blunt. How I Learned to do analytics was to go seek out people I thought had good information that I could learn from and spend time with them just go hang out listen to what they talk about how do they act like I’m a huge observer of behaviors and so I just go out there and pick stuff up from people but I’ve had bosses and mentors along the way who’ve also helped me kind of here. Michael here’s what’s happening when you do this. This is here’s what you could do to make yourself more effective in these scenarios. It’s a huge help. If somebody says I want to be a better analyst you can’t say we’ll make make your boss how he’d be a better analyst. Right. I mean when you call people who are and say hey I’ve got a terrible boss I should maybe I need to think about getting a new one. One like.

[00:21:26] Just plug the fact that search discovery is always like that.

[00:21:34] Well Daryn Kagan is episode one. That’s right.

[00:21:40] I read the membership and the good boss thing is important and let’s be honest most analysts don’t stick for longer than six months at a company because of a combination of good recruiters and not having those people. If you go into an organization as an analyst even if you’re Junior you need to behave in a kind of mature way to be able to to win. And I actually think that there are tricks like not sneaky tricks but like in sales there’s a thing called feel self found when you’re overcoming objections. I’ve provided some training to my staff and you know tem virtual high five but I like your hypothesis generation requirement for a question. I think it works really well. My staff now do it with our stakeholders you know the ability to say if you ask a question like this and you say Sorry I can’t do it until we figure out the question together like you can train people and how to solicit requirements doesn’t just need to be like an apprenticeship.

[00:22:39] You know that’s those listening skills. Right.

[00:22:43] But with a lot of structure like Madlib selling skills like you just said and that’s literally like listen well and learn to sell or to actually to really major aspects of becoming a better analyst in my opinion. I think you and I are actually pretty aligned on some of that.

[00:23:06] I’m going to I’m going to pick up some things that I need to.

[00:23:09] It’s a great I mean I look at the sales the sales guys I know who are relatives or in the industry who are the ones who I want to actually continue to hang out with. Some of them are some of them were wired for sales. But I think that’s actually a good well and of taking that. I mean there’s there’s training on that too right. Like how to how to actually if you’re selling you’re trying to understand that’s I know I know I’ve read enough to know that you’re saying you don’t so you don’t sell your features you only get to so benefits you understand what their problem is. Then will probably solve this problem.

[00:23:47] Yeah and let’s see it. Let’s distinguish between what it means learning a saw doesn’t mean just like sell for selling sake or to close a deal. But sales in this construct is what you just said it’s a consultative approach to let me understand your problem fully and then bring you the right solution to that and then show you how to connect those dots because that’s you know that’s really what they what I think of when I think of sales because I’m not I am not a sales guy. Like I like I couldn’t cold call people that would that would like Huttle me into a little ball and I’d go hide somewhere but if somebody says if somebody says to me hey I’ve got this problem. Well OK let me dig into that with you and let’s see. And then suddenly it’s like oh you know what we have. We’ve got a solution for this. We can help fix that problem.

[00:24:37] Suddenly I’m selling something to someone and I didn’t even know I didn’t even enter the conversation with that in mind. And that as an analyst I think that’s how an analyst wants to wants to think as well you know when somebody comes in with a here’s here’s what we see is our problem. All right. Perfect. Let me tackle the problem in a number of ways and give you some options about here’s how we solve it. You know the specific optimization approach or a specific way of structuring data or whatever that is. And then on the other side the analyst is also learning all the stuff they can learn about how to be a better analyst in terms of just analytical skills approach to data problem solving all those kinds of thing data visualization. You know all these other aspects of the job really when you think about it guys. Not to pat ourselves on the back too hard but we do.

[00:25:28] Pretty cool stuff. Just the three of us right. Well all analysts.

[00:25:38] Are examples of what you could possibly become as an analyst.

[00:25:42] Sorry the software did or what it looks like when you peak earning it and of that bombshell. Now the Genting no one’s talked about technology one could after your first technology it does not matter.

[00:26:02] Wow.

[00:26:03] But that job all the job descriptions that are out there for analysts have implementation skills required javascript skills required.

[00:26:11] So the marketplace is looking for it but we’re not talking about it. Just I think that’s interesting.

[00:26:16] I I think we might have hopped on our on our perfect world ideal. Yeah maybe too high horse right because I I do and I’ll say you know what. Well so that the Jeff West has it demystified as written two or three if it’s like this ongoing bipolar. He’s just he is just going to describe how cookies work. Come hell or high water in every aspect of cookies and you know if you’re an analyst for the next five years at least you’re going to need to understand how cookies work. And so there’s there’s there’s good. How do you get hired if boosted. How do you get a job. Well we can say all day long that well it’s more about the talent and the intellectual curiosity but the fact is if you don’t if you can’t list specific tools you’re going to have a hard time getting that conversation. You know what if you’re an analyst it behooves you to know your way around javascript a little bit know your way around cookies a little bit. It communication and presentation and statistics and all of those fall in but yet you do Kennedy to know the tool. And so yeah dig deeper on your tool if you’re using the study say surveys say that if you have Adobe analytics installed you were using less than 50 percent of the possible functionality.

[00:27:41] You know you should dig in and figure out you know you’re not using fall out reports or you’re not doing anything with padding out your comfort zone and figure out those things do it and they also goes back to kind of well my description of a well-rounded analyst is on sort of this continuum right from the very technical all the way up to you know the more funks I guess functional analysts right or the business problem solver. And so I think all analysts kind of start out on that continuum.

[00:28:14] But the ideal would be to become well-rounded and across that continuum across that spectrum right develop the technical skills you need to really understand hey is this a good opportunity for me to use you know the new list for things that I heard about for Adobe analytics or whatever knowing the tools in that capacity is very much so a thing that you should develop.

[00:28:37] It does seem like there’s if we accept the premise I don’t know the guys entirely have you need to push yourself.

[00:28:45] There is a whole other world of if you’re a practitioner or inside a large company that moves slow. And how do you push yourself in there is kind of the it almost sounds like a laundry list. Take classes he got you know learn go take the Coursera class on are you may not use are. But it is going to force you to think a little bit differently about something to get your butt to a conference because you’re going to talk to somebody who’s doing something that you hadn’t really thought of.

[00:29:18] Yeah. No I completely agree with that. So you know the metrics Conference and other conferences when I was first you know becoming an analyst were very influential to the way that I thought about it both from the interactions the people had and even the speakers at the time. So you know the whole concept of creating dashboards and things like that back and that they will not everybody was doing that were just generating reports. And I went and I saw Clint Ivey do it dashboard presentation and I was like I’m going to go back and I’m going to build dashboards you know. And that started a whole new journey.

[00:29:54] Right. And with that success would you fall for having Facebook but learn from it. Oh I hope I’ll forward any.

[00:30:01] I feel like I went right back into a meeting and I started getting posted notes out and I started saying OK what metrics are we going to put this dashboard. And I started a slap and post it notes down the table with different metrics and we like storyboarded that thing out. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a blast.

[00:30:20] Now microlight I say this to everybody get out of hand this is this is classic Jim Kane right here. They came in KPI doesn’t stand for a thousand. All right. Oh classic.

[00:30:34] You just write that down to the blue a few minds out there. But yeah yeah there’s more and more classes available there’s more and more opportunities to do things like code academy and get really easy and easy to understand lessons and things like JavaScript Jake Query and those kinds of things to develop your skills. And I think it comes with sort of like what’s the right next step. Like well should I get into the data science side of things. What does that even mean to do that. Should I be you know should I be trying to learn are or should I be specializing in and visualization of data and that to me is like I think a person is sort of like each person kind of has to figure out kind of hey I’m going to put my flag down in one spot or I’m going to continue to kind of develop Engineer general skills. And everybody’s going to have to figure that one out.

[00:31:26] I think I mean I think I think you actually really hit on it like find it doesn’t it.

[00:31:32] I don’t think it really matters because there’s there’s too much there’s too much breadth and depth for you to be a master of all. So figure out. What it is you really kind of have a hunger for me you get to cover the bases if you’re if you’re like jabba what if you actually don’t know there’s me Java and javascript. You need to go chase some technical stuff but if he say I’ve got a basic grounding and you know what the statistics like how correlation versus regression which which one do I do first. You know what. That is a clue to you. You need to go take a free course on statistics and in the evenings or take a local community college get your how your company works. But it is that way. I mean maybe I’m going to sound like a broken record because I get better be self driven like that. To me is probably the number one thing self-serving and them in a meaningful direction going in finding out.

[00:32:29] You know.

[00:32:30] Well you know better under better underwater basket weaving techniques. No. But yeah you can you can paint which you could be better at. And what do you want to pursue and challenge yourself.

[00:32:42] And I also you know I think it also goes back to the people again they way like I look at specific people at different points in time and they’ve had a big influence on kind of how I would erected things like that. So look we look back at the last 20 minutes of conversation. We’ve ranged all over. Right. What could we take bank is like a punch buddy who didn’t want to listen to that. Just skip to the end of the show Jim.

[00:33:12] I mean my recaps would be that you know I think it again it is interesting that we kind of hedged at the end and said yea you need technical chops. But at the end of the day being a successful analyst in 2015 is a qualitative skill it requires a lot of business person skills and not a lot of server skills.

[00:33:37] I think the other thing I think are data scientists friends are going to not be happy with that assessment. You mean our Y2K programmer friends we know the Internet is very silly. Our jobs will be replaced by machines right.

[00:33:51] Yeah well that’s that’s a debate for another day.

[00:33:54] I know I’m just saying I love how we’re going to polarize the marketplace with our opinions here.

[00:33:59] I mean I would rule. I just wrote a blog post back in April for the napkin blog and I said that there’s a big difference between an analyst and a senior analyst and I feel a lot of people in the market place who you know it’s almost like I worked at the grocery store for five years so I could be a manager now you know in this concept of senior analyst or senior digital analyst. To me it’s like being a senior developer at IBM you know you don’t get it based on tenure you get it based on skill set. And I think that if you can do for other people’s jobs you get to be a senior analyst. You need to be a basic web analyst who pulls reports together. You need to be a entry level salesperson is a requirement solicitation convincing people of value. You need to be an entry level project manager and you need to be able to operate as a director of marketing or marketing manager if you can do those four jobs you can be a senior analyst at any business out there. And I didn’t say technology wants. I mean that’s really the wrap up from what I was hearing from you guys what I was trying to focus on today.

[00:35:01] Timothy thrummed throwing my rap. Yeah I mean I’m probably going to try and leave a little bit of agree to disagree or will or won’t cover this over again is that the next geometrics.

[00:35:12] I mean I think technology matters. So I think my I’m going to stick with where I unintentionally started which was you know push yourself and that’s a generic kind of broad thing but if you can point to what have I done this week that were I consciously got myself out of my comfort zone knowing that it would make me a better analyst.

[00:35:37] And then you’re you’re not you’re not trying. All right.

[00:35:43] And around the horn really quick. If an analyst will want to get better and there was one blog that you recommend they read to do that. What would it be. Go. Only one just one oh my god.

[00:36:02] Jim I mean I honestly I would I would actually probably point them to a flowing data point because I think that’s one one aspect which is data visualization and in fact medication but it’s it’s a high volume of content and there’s no way you wouldn’t get better if you don’t follow the stuff that you post in it. And it’s fun enjoyable also.

[00:36:31] You know I think Michael kind of nailed it earlier when he said that there’s a small group of people like us who have been in the game for a long time. I mean there are a lot of us is out there people with 10 to 15 years of experience. And I think everybody has got a good week on their block you know I find that the hash mark measure like I find Twitter to be much more valuable to me than anyone blog. So I’ll find two or three things a day where I go. There it is. But I don’t know if I’d focus on a particular source.

[00:37:05] See way to a way to really camp out there. I was going to say Tim Wilson but you know it’s so but you know okay yeah.

[00:37:14] Pittances had written it and like a month that will come and you want to do some work around my concept of canine standing for a thousand time.

[00:37:25] You take that you run with that. You’re not done Stinson’s we’re going to be unspecific of when we’re recording this post them and say I’m going to publish that tomorrow if you go with any and all mystified that count search for that you will you’ll find that’s a great idea. Thanks Jim I appreciate it.

[00:37:40] Chris let him off. All right. So wrapping up obviously what it takes to become a better analyst is something that we’ve given a little thought to and hopefully a little help for those listening but there’s there’s obviously always more. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. We’ve got a Facebook page that you can check us out on. And we’d love to hear your questions may give us some ideas about other topics we could cover. Thank you for listening.

[00:38:07] And get out there and analyze some stuff. We’re not doing that this week. You’re not doing it. The words welcome. All right. See you next time.

[00:38:21] Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. We welcome your comments and questions. Facebook dot com slash atomistic now or on Twitter.

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3 comments on “#001: Becoming a Better Digital Analyst

  1. Paul Mouawad Jul 26, 2017

    Hello! My name is Paul and after a friend suggested i hear your podcasts i’m stuck now!

    The reason i’m writing is because i have literally 0 knowledge in the analytics part but i know it’s my passion (i work in a media agency handling all Search accounts for P&G, the thing is my main focus is pre click metrics).

    What i would love to have is a bit of guidance and orientation in the subject – since i’m ready to take the jump, i wouldn’t want to be wasting time on something that might not benefit me long term…

    Any recommendation would be amazing (classes to start with like Java or C or python) and if you have any tips as to where to focus or where you see the industry going then i would be very thankful.

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Paul! Welcome to the world of digital analytics! It’s a broad and deep area! One way to think about your development is along different aspects of the work:

      Data collection — it’s not sexy, but whole careers are built on it, and, in my experience, too many analysts don’t fully understand how it works; since you’re on the media side, getting really comfortable with how the various platforms actually record impressions and clicks and conversions will serve you well. Unfortunately, I don’t really know of good classes for that. But, it’s JavaScript and cookies, so some Googling will almost certainly turn up good content.

      Analysis — if you’re ready to go beyond the native interfaces provided by Google Adwords or your in-house platforms, then getting into programming with data makes sense; the hosts of this podcast have a bias towards R over Python, but that’s just because there seems to be more energy there on the digital analytics side of things currently. I would say Python or R — both of which have plenty of open courseware options (R also has dartistics.com, which is specifically geared towards digital analysts).

      Presentation/Communication — there are lots of resources for this, too. Lea Pica is something of a star in the space and she has a Resources page on her site that has lots of suggestions (as an interactive tool!): http://www.leapica.com/resources/

      And, of course, we like to think this podcast is a useful resource. Episode #059 was a media-focused one: http://www.analyticshour.io/2017/03/28/059-display-ads-ad-fraud-john-nardone/.

      Best of luck!

  2. Hi,

    Saw Tim speak at Seer’s event last week and heard about this podcast. Love this podcast; super helpful for a new analyst who just graduated from school.

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