#052: The Year in Review – 2016

December 20, 2016

2016 is almost in the books! In a little over a week, we’ll be ringing in the new year, and we have it on Very Good Authority that 2017 will be the Year of Mobile. But, this episode is as much about looking back as it is about looking forward — looking back on how our industry has evolved, what product launches piqued our interest the most, and what Snoop Dogg-related stunt marketing occurred during the year. We even do a little navel gazing about the podcast itself: our favorite topics and guests (although we love ALL the topics and guests!), and a bit of news about what will be happening with the podcast in 2017. So kick back, bust open a few roasted chestnuts, spike your eggnog generously, and give it a listen!

Technologies, Services, and Random Items Mentioned

Transcript

[music]

00:04 Announcer: Welcome to the Digital Analytics Power Hour. Tim, Michael, and the occasional guest, discussing digital analytics issues of the day. Find them on Facebook, at facebook.com/analyticshour. And now, the Digital Analytics Power Hour.

[music]

00:24 Michael Helbling: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Digital Analytics Power Hour. This is episode 52. Wow, Tim Wilson, the year is coming to a close. 2016 is in the books, and year two of the podcast is done. What a year it’s been. How are you feeling?

00:46 Tim Wilson: I don’t know. We haven’t killed each other yet.

00:48 MH: We have not. But it’s been a crazy year, and this episode we’re talking about our year in review, and a little bit, maybe, about what’s coming up next for the Power Hour, the Digital Analytics Power Hour. Dun dun dun. Yeah, I mean it’s been a crazy year, and I think we’ve covered a lot of different topics from all the new kind of things that were happening with Google and Adobe, and Domo, to attribution, to data science, to BigQuery, R, podcast measurement, I mean the list goes on and on, but what has happened this year for you, Tim, that from an industry perspective you think is noteworthy?

01:36 TW: So for me, because I’ve been very, very open in public about being on this personal, professional journey on the R and data science front. So I don’t know if I have a skewed perspective on that. My sense is that it’s kind of a… There’s sort of two things happening in parallel. One, the big platforms, specifically Adobe and Google, have really started kind of upping their game when it comes to making the data accessible, and providing richer ways to interact with it, and slowly starting to phase out older platforms. So that’s with Google, I mean I think, well the whole 360 Suite. That was this year, right? It rolled out this year. Maybe, I think so.

02:19 MH: I believe it did. Yeah, the year’s kind of compressed now, ’cause we’re both old and so things happen… But I’m pretty sure it did get announced this year.

02:29 TW: Which it got announced, and a lot of stuff was just a rebranding. But to me, the Data Studio was kind of a big thing. I know Analysis Workspace has been out since last year. But I know from having talked to a lot of people and experienced…

02:41 MH: It got some major upgrades this year.

02:44 TW: Yeah. It’s kinda like they… It was a minimum viable product and I think you could argue how viable it was for much, for anybody who’s using Ad Hoc, I think the viability of Analysis Workspace was limited. And I still think there’s stuff that I wanna do in that I can’t. I’m back to actually, I think I’ve got three different accounts on Idea Exchange which is Adobe. It’s not me trying to game the system, I just can’t figure out how to get back in under old accounts but I’ve been putting ideas in there. So, that’s kind of one avenue, is the tools and even sort of, we’re back to having the words thrown around like automated insights, and auto do these things for you. The tool is gonna take away part of your work as an analyst. But then, I honestly think that there’s a completely almost opposite or parallel track which is a lot more interest in the industry around the Python and R, and really getting richer into the data. And I think, that’s where I’ve met a lot more people this year who are doing that, who I don’t think I knew a year, or two years ago, and that’s ’cause we’re all kind of on that little journey together. I just have no idea. I’m sure it’s a highly, highly… I’ve got a major sample bias issue going on there.

03:58 MH: Yeah. I’m probably in the same, I think, you’re creating sample bias for me too. That being said, I have seen R pop up in places this year that I have not, in areas where it’s not been before. So that’s interesting. It’s possible that it’s growing, and it should be growing, right? We should be equipping analysts with better tools, better capabilities, growing our skillset. So that’s good. And that brings back sort of the episode we did on, “Is data science the future for web analysts?” So I don’t remember exactly. I pretty much forget every episode as soon as we get done recording it.

[laughter]

04:40 MH: So, I won’t have any snappy recollections of like, “Oh, then you said, Tim,” but I seem to remember me thinking that’s not really, and maybe you thinking maybe it is, and I’m wondering…

04:51 TW: I think that’s where I started. I think I’ve evolved. So I think that’s where… ‘Cause it started with a question at eMetrics, and then we recorded eMetrics in San Francisco. And then we did a whole episode on it, and I was coming in, and I was prepared to say data science is the future, and I have drastically backed off on that, probably from that discussion partly because I think it’s just an overall maturing that the worlds of Data Studio and Analysis Workspace, there’s still gonna be a space for them. And there will probably still be full-time analysts that that’s what they’re working in, that and Excel and Tableau. I mean I think Tableau is continuing to innovate as well. But I do think there’s this other, it’s not becoming a data scientist. I think that’s where maybe I was a year ago was, “Wow. Analysts are gonna have to become data scientists, or data scientists are gonna swoop in and clean our clocks, and we’re all gonna be out of jobs.” And I’ve drastically… I’ve been now saying that I think analysts should think about becoming more data science-y, and some of that is really just getting more comfortable pulling the data with SQL, or Python, or R, getting into BigQuery, so…

05:58 MH: Yeah, data science isn’t that hard…

06:00 TW: Well…

06:01 MH: Actually… [laughter]

06:03 TW: That’s what… I guess, maybe, that’s the other thing. I’ve admitted I can’t become a data scientist. I just today, was having an exchange trying to have somebody explain factor analysis to me, and I’m not sure I get it. So I’m struggling with the basics.

06:13 MH: I will never be a data scientist. And I am okay admitting that, and that’s okay. ‘Cause I get to work with data scientists who are brilliant and I have a role to play in making them successful. So that’s what I get to do around data science.

06:31 TW: But there’s a part of where you… I think the last episode, you talked about how you’d been shown RSiteCatalyst, Randy Zwitch’s package for R. Not that you’re gonna use it, but the fact that there is that component that analysts need to be really aware, they need to be able to look at it and not say, “We can’t do that.” They gotta be able to look at it and say, “I might not be able to do that, either we need a role or I need to go add my skills, or we need to hire somebody, or we need to outsource.” But that is something that can and should be done. We gotta get out of trend line charts, trending aggregate data, week by week.

07:03 MH: Absolutely. And I, for me personally, I feel like I haven’t been able to invest the time in becoming a better analyst in terms of digital analytics, but I’ve been growing in my ability to kind of lead the group that I lead at Search Discovery. And it’s actually kind of crazy. If you look back on this year and realize that we’ve literally doubled in size in terms of the number of people.

07:31 TW: Number of head count, not like everybody’s been eating fried chicken and ice cream.

07:35 MH: Yeah, well no, hopefully we’re doing the opposite of that sort of thing.

07:40 TW: You’ve got a target overall team weight, so if you need to add people, everybody’s got to shed a few.

07:45 MH: Yeah. This is my motivation to stay on my diet, is talk about it in on a podcast, so that when everybody sees me come conference season, I can be accountable. So I’m looking for some extra motivation, so…

08:00 TW: I think there’s a Hidden Brain episode on that, where they actually go to… He was trying to quit smoking, I guess. The whole, you have to, if you publicly say you’re doing something. I guess maybe I just outed you. [laughter]

08:10 MH: Well, I’ve been working on that this year, I started out really strong, and what’s been interesting to me… And this is a complete non-sequitur, so welcome to the analytics year-end review podcast everyone…

08:23 TW: Who gives a fuck? People are listening to this in the middle of December and they’re drinking their eggnog and saying, “What are these guys gonna say next?”

08:30 MH: No, but it’s interesting ’cause I think I had a good motivation starting out and then I had really good success early, and then it got harder to stick with the diet and keep going, because I was so pleased with the initial results that I got. So it’s interesting, I’ve been thinking about that a lot, because I think there’s analogs to a lot of things, in terms of business and just overall how you live and that kind of stuff. And that’s my job, is to make everything an analogy.

09:01 TW: That’s good, ’cause I’m thinking for R, it has not been, the early wins came through hours and hours, and weekends of pulling my hair out, trying to do something simple, and it’s really only been, maybe November, where I can fire something up with confidence. Which goes to my… We’re not gonna… We won’t talk solely about R, but…

09:21 MH: In 2016, Tim learned R and I hired a bunch of people and lost weight.

[laughter]

09:31 TW: I was gonna say, you’ve been focusing on your thing and and you’re getting it. I’ve actually managed to find time to focus on becoming a better analyst. I don’t know that I have. [laughter] Not for lack of effort.

09:41 MH: Oh, come on. Well, that’s the nice thing about you and I, Tim is we both have enough self-doubt to help the other person.

[laughter]

09:49 MH: Just sort of be like, “No, I’m terrible. No, I’m terrible.”

09:53 TW: They’re gonna know that I’m a fraud. I’ll never make it in this industry. We’re doomed.

09:57 MH: That’s right. After how many years, it’d be like, “Somebody’s gonna realize I have no place in this industry.” [chuckle]

10:03 TW: I’m so full of shit.

10:05 MH: Man, but yeah, and speaking of that, industry events and things like that, we did record our first live episode this year. That was at eMetrics, San Francisco back in March. And that was interesting. We learned something that not all of us had good mic discipline. In terms of keeping the mic close to our mouths.

[chuckle]

10:28 MH: Other than that, we also didn’t bring enough whiskey, so some really big learnings there. And, but overall, it was very interesting. It was really fun to do, and I’m excited ’cause I think we’ve got some other plans ahead of us. Superweek dot whoo.

[chuckle]

10:47 MH: I like to say it like that. I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to say it, but if you’re not familiar with Superweek, it is a conference at the end of January, beginning of February, and we are going to do a live Digital Analytics Power Hour, fireside chat. So that’ll be really interesting. We’re just gonna ask random people who are there questions so, and we’ll record their responses and make a show out of it, so, I’m looking forward to that. It is in Hungary, near Budapest, Budapest, Budapest. I don’t know how you pronounce that, but I’m super excited to go there. And the roster of speakers is amazing. Quite frankly, it might be a situation where your bathroom is down the hall from your room, so, but that’s a European thing. And I’m all good with that.

[chuckle]

11:35 TW: Well on the premise, there’s some other conferences that have really been trying to experiment with the conference format, and Superweek, has gotten… I’ve never been, but justifiably, everybody who I know has gone. We’ll get our obligatory Matt Gershoff reference in, he spoke last year and I believe he’s speaking… He’s actually speaking again this year.

11:52 MH: Yes.

11:54 TW: But the whole idea is, it’s [11:55] ____ the conference organizer, it is, it’s not in a convention center in downtown Budapest. It’s an hour outside. He has rented the entire facility. It is a longer conference, I think it’s outside, there’s a workshop that Caleb Whitmore is doing on Monday, but then the conference is basically Tuesday through Friday. And the idea is, that you’re kind of holed up with a bunch of other analysts. It is like the Lobby Bar squared, and there are, we didn’t invent the fireside chat thing, [12:22] ____ was like, “Well hey, if you guys want to record, and the premise is kind of a lobby bar, we do these fireside chat things.” So it’ll be informal. So that, I’m really excited about getting to go to that.

12:34 MH: Yeah. Just imagine, far in the countryside, a snow-covered, mostly empty hotel. That doesn’t remind me of any movie, ever.

[laughter]

12:45 TW: But I think there’ve been other, it’s funny, other sort of experimental conference formats. I say experimental, I think just alternative, where there’s been something over the last two, three, four years kind of a reaction to the typical conference format. Adobe Summit is now like the blow out, but in many ways, stereotypical vendor conference. They’re throwing money at it, it’s a big party. EMetrics is kind of a traditional conference. You got key notes, you got break outs. They’re good. I mean I’m hoping I’ll get to go to some eMetrics next year. But not only Superweek, but I think the Measure Camps, which are not in the US yet. And I think that is gonna happen as soon as Peter O’Neil can get somebody who’s not just terrified of not making it as successful as it’s been in Europe. But those are… It’s on a Saturday, so it’s like, “Look, you’re only showing up if you really give a shit about this stuff.” It is… You write down on post-it notes or somewhere, what topic you could speak on. It’s very much an un-conference, in the vain of un-summit, which is more just an afternoon.

13:54 TW: But tickets just seem to disappear, instantaneously. But everybody… I’ve talked to people who’ve been to London multiple times, to Berlin, to Sydney, I think, to Melbourne, and it seems like those are pretty neat. I think that’s just kind of fun, from a community building, kind of regional stuff that people can get to. It’s pretty awesome. That’s not a development of this year, except those are… The traction they’ve gotten over the last couple of years has really taken hold, where he’s gotta manage, managing growth. What’s it become, when it’s one of the most popular events out there?

14:32 MH: Yeah absolutely. The Measure Camp seems to be popping up and really well-received everywhere. And I know there’s plans to bring it to the US, and that is… That will be awesome. And then, also, the DA Hub, the Digital Analytics Hub, started up over in Germany, and made it’s way this year to the US. I like to just call it “Da Hub”. [chuckle]

14:56 TW: But it used to be, the format is what Exchange used to be, right? So they just have a year two high…

15:00 MH: The Exchange Conference, yup. So after [15:04] ____ stopped doing the Exchange Conference the mantel passed, if you will, to the DA Hub. The first return, I unfortunately was not able to go this year, but heard very positive things from people who went, so that’s probably another one to look for.

15:22 TW: I guess that’s, you can’t really talk about the DA Hub, without bringing up the Gary Angel kind of… Maybe he didn’t surprise people. I was on the surprised list that he’s kinda jumped out of Digital Analytics for…

15:35 MH: But has he? Has he really?

15:37 TW: Well, if you read his post about it, he’s looking more at shopper behavior, and he’s saying he wants to bring those same practices. But Gary, obviously kind of an institution.

15:47 MH: And Paco Underhill is sitting over there, being like, “Bring it on, Gary.”

15:51 TW: Who?

15:52 MH: Paco Underhill, “Why We Buy”, that’s the definitive book on retail…

16:00 TW: Not a retail guy.

16:00 MH: You don’t know that book? Even if you’re not a retail person, I’m a digital analytics person and I love that book. It’s really good. Now I’m worried I’m saying his name wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s Paco Underhill.

16:10 TW: You read stuff that’s good for you. I just watch YouTube videos. Oh no, wait, that’s you who watches YouTube videos. Damn it. You’re more well read on the business book front.

16:19 MH: Well, I yeah, I try to find pop psychology that I can repeat.

[chuckle]

16:28 TW: What’s the latest personality profiling?

16:30 MH: Hey, wait.

16:31 TW: Myers Briggs, making a come back again.

16:34 MH: Easy does it, pal.

[laughter]

16:37 MH: I, Tim is making jokes because I have recently changed my personality on accident.

[chuckle]

16:44 MH: Or maybe, finally, showing who I really am. I’m on a journey of discovery and I’m not really prepared to talk about it yet. But maybe next year. Anyways, I don’t think that’s what people want to talk about anyway.

[chuckle]

16:57 MH: I wanna talk about some of the things that are my favorites from 2016, from the Digital Analytics Power Hour. ‘Cause I think, this past year, we were trying to kind of take a step up in terms of both our production quality, our focus on topics, guests that we brought on to the show, all those kinds of things. And so, I don’t know if it’s really showing up anywhere. Obviously, we’re definitely keeping the explicit tag, ’cause traditions damn it. But, we’ve had some amazing guests. We kicked off the year with Gary Angel, talking about digital transformation and now, he’s ending the year, beginning up Digital Mortar, which is his new company. So that’s really interesting to see, you already mentioned that change, but what a way to kick off the year. I still point people to that episode as, “Hey, if you wanna get a sense for how great this podcast could be, listen to that episode.” So that’s good. I also remember and love the attribution episode that we did with Jim Novo. We had done an attribution episode earlier in the year and we realized we needed to bring a real expert to the table, and so Jim came on and did a show with us and I think it was really good. We constantly make references to Matt Gershoff, because he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and that’s fine. But we actually had him as a guest this year, too, [chuckle] if you recall. What’s interesting is the topic was…

18:34 TW: It was personalization.

18:35 MH: Yeah, but it was the Faustian bargain of personalization. So, it was looking at the underbelly of personalization just a little bit which I thought was really cool. What were some of your favorites, Tim?

18:49 TW: So, I did a little reflecting. I think I’ve got to go, just the one that I just got the most sheer joy out of recording, and I keep going back to, was when somebody from your team, and Michael Healey, was on, and we talked about BigQuery, partly because he, like many other people you’ve already mentioned, really are just passionate about the space. But for me, and I think we get to do this as kinda the fun of doing the podcast, is we get to find topics we don’t know that much about. And I certainly did not know… I mean I knew BigQuery was out there. I knew whatever the basic marketing blurbs were, and I just got a much, much deeper understanding which, shocker, dovetailed with my whole investigation of R and data science and that world of things. So, that was fun.

19:36 TW: I think it’s also worth, a lot of the episodes… The number of episodes we’ve done that are listener-suggested, and because we’re recording it at the end of the year, we’ve also been doing our planning towards next year. We’ve recently kinda done our clean-up. People will say, “I’d love to hear an episode on X or Y.” And what’s kinda cool is we’ve got 60 topics that we could do, probably two-thirds of them, we even have guests that we think would be good to talk to. So, I think it’s also fun when somebody says, “I’d love to hear you guys talk to somebody about X,” or, “I’d love to hear you talk to… I’d love to hear you get Josh West on, and talk about tag management.” And those have been fun, too, ’cause it’s like, “Hey, somebody out there said they wanted to hear us chat with somebody.” And I’m like, “Hey hey, and I get to actually do it,” so that’s cool.

20:21 MH: That’s true, and actually that’s another one of my favorites from this was talking tag management with Josh West, and one that… I feel like I get along well with Josh on the TMS front even though he certainly knows more about the tools than I do. I used to be good at the tools.

[chuckle]

20:40 TW: Now you’re just a people tool.

20:42 MH: Another one… I’m just a tool. So another show that I remember really enjoying, and I think it was sort of this moment of, “Wow”, I was just really impressed with him, was Simon Rumble when he came on to talk about open source analytics and specifically Snowplow. And that’s a really good example of one where I didn’t really know a lot about that tool or those types of tools before, and it was just so fun to learn and talk to somebody who, again, super passionate about what they do, and was able to bring a lot of new information intelligence to us and our listeners through that. So, those are some of… Yeah, I agree with you wholeheartedly, Tim Wilson. And actually, gotta say, just overall, we’ve had pretty solid luck with Australian guests this year. So, Moe Kiss also being on the show, really enjoyed that show as well. So, who else? Oh, Dennis Mortensen.

21:43 TW: Be careful. We’re gonna list… There’s gonna be the three people we don’t mention, and them be like, “What?” [chuckle]

21:47 MH: We’re gonna list all but one guest. No, I mean, I just like Dennis ’cause of his accent. I just love people with accents. So if you have a crazy accent, come be a guest on… No, actually it was more about just the way that Dennis… And it wasn’t even really a topic about analytics per se ’cause he’s the CEO of x.ai, which is a scheduling artificial intelligence, but just the conversation about AI just was very fascinating. And that sort of dovetails, I think we’re years away, but you’ve kinda talked about before automation of insights and task automation, and things like that. AIs hopefully, will become agents that go in and do a lot of the tasks for the analyst, and it’s about assembling the right task doers and the best AIs to do the tasks, to analyze the data, which is just a fascinating way to think about what the future might look like. But I think we’re years away from that.

22:47 TW: But it’s still fighting… I think that’s one of those words, the cautionary, is big data, AI, and machine learning start to get thrown around so much. And I think that episode as well, I definitely went straight to then applying it to other thinking of, when Adobe or Google says, “We’re introducing machine learning.” Or, “What is machine learning?” What Dennis, how he broke it down, was this incredibly pragmatic, “We’re not achieving the singularity and now our jobs are disappearing.” Interesting, when I was in eMetrics Berlin, one of the coolest sessions there, Yan Exner from Adobe.

23:27 MH: Oh, yeah. He’s a smart dude, that guy.

23:29 TW: Yeah, and Justin Cutroni who’s, he’s a little bit of a slouch, but mostly from…

23:35 MH: Well, he was good before he was Google…

[laughter]

23:39 TW: Yeah, but they did.

23:41 MH: Sorry Justin, I’m kidding.

[chuckle]

23:44 TW: There was a session where Anna, the moderator, they wound up kinda having that discussion, and they had differing opinions, not at all from, it wasn’t from our product. It was one of those really cool things, where you’re like, “Wow, you get smart people at any vendor and they are happy in our industry to just kick around.” Like, “What’s the future? What’s the future of marketing, what’s the future of analytics, where does AI fit, what is AI?” And I definitely had the voice of Dennis playing in my head as I was watching them kind of discuss and debate where things were headed, so it’s exciting.

24:18 MH: That is great, and there’s been guests we wanted to get on the show but didn’t, so I won’t mention any names.

[laughter]

24:29 MH: I was just gonna tee that up and then see if you mention anybody.

24:35 TW: What, fucking Kevin Hillstrom.

24:36 MH: Kevin Hillstrom.

[chuckle]

24:37 TW: Kevin Hillstrom, because he is on that list, I think he might have been listed twice on two different topics, I think in the clean up I cut it down to one. But someday he’ll return our calls.

24:47 MH: Hey, we will make it another, make it a goal for 2017. No, he’s just an insightful dude it’d be fun to have him on the show sometime. The other show, we didn’t actually have a guest for this show, that I really enjoyed doing and actually got a lot of feedback from listeners on was around assessing job descriptions. So I thought that was interesting and I think that’s something that we have to do a lot as analysts, is evaluate opportunities that come our way because there are so many out there. So anyways that was just interesting, it seemed like that one hit a nerve and was well-received by people.

25:26 TW: Yeah, which not uncommon one of those that we headed into thinking, “We’ll do it, we’ll see how it goes.” But one, it was a fun conversation, and two, people seemed to enjoy it, we got two pieces of feedback on it instead of our usual, just our respective mothers.

25:42 MH: Hey, we will take it. We will take it.

[chuckle]

25:45 MH: The other thing probably worth mentioning this year we obviously saw the departure of Jim Cain our third host earlier this year. So, I don’t know, I’m sort of changing but put the sad music now but…

26:00 TW: Yeah, the maudlin opening bit to the…

26:01 MH: Bring in, slowly bring in the strings. So we’ll both tip our Guinness in for the departed. But I know it’s been fun to talk to him in the months since then just to see how things are going with him and his company and how they’re growing and it’s awesome, we wish him all the best. A tip of the hat and a wag of the, wait no, what is it? Tip of the hat wag of the, was that the old Colbert thing? Tip of the hat wag of a finger? I think you only did one. I think you just do the tip of the hat, not the wag of the… What, how, why am I asking you, you’re not gonna know this stuff.

26:40 TW: I don’t know, Stephen Colbert? You said Stephen Colbert?

26:42 MH: This was on television within the last… Yes Stephen Colbert. Anyways, so what else is on your mind from this past year?

26:53 TW: This is definitely turning into the naval gazing, but I didn’t realize it was missing until I think I hit this year and how the Measure Slack has grown and gotten back to where it’s just this really neat community, which the Yahoo, the Web Analytics Yahoo group was in my early, early days in web analytics, it was that. There were people I never met, who many of them have since moved on to other… I don’t even know where they are now. Then Twitter for a while, was kinda the same. And I think you and I basically met over on Twitter when I realized you were this guy in Cleveland who had your gangster profile with the shades and the…

27:33 MH: I was reading your blog long before that, Gilligan on Data. Back in the, back in the day.

27:41 TW: Oh blogging, yeah, that’s happened four times for me this year. But I like to think this is audio blogging. So, but Twitter had gotten to where it was… And I still, when I dip my toe back into it, it’s fun and it’s useful, it’s just this weird thing that you’re not having conversations. I guess I haven’t told you this, I’m thinking, I’ve added every guest we’ve had to a list that’s under the Analytics Hour Twitter handle, which I’ve got some ideas of some kinda interesting things to do with that.

28:11 MH: I noticed that the Digital Analytics Power Hour just followed me on Twitter, so that was pretty awesome.

[chuckle]

28:16 TW: Yeah. We’re very, very inconsistent as to which guests we were following.

28:22 MH: We’ve got our social media game on lock. That’s right.

28:26 TW: But so Twitter is still… I enjoy it when I dip in, it’s fun at events but it is not at all the level of discord that…

28:36 MH: It’s all about the signal to noise ratio. And I think in the early days the signal was a lot higher and the noise has creeped in and hashtags get taken over and things like that, and I think that you’re right. I remember the Yahoo group from when I first started in the industry and it was just this place that was so great and then it slowly started getting, I don’t know, less useful or just sort of, it lost its luster a little. And maybe that’s what happens, communities just sort of grow up and then entropy takes over. But I agree with you the Measure Slack has been amazing to watch that grow, and just, there’s 1,300, 1,500 members in it now and…

29:19 TW: Yeah, the Measure channel is starting to get to me a little over… That’s not one I regularly check which I think is kinda cool and especially ’cause there’re people who will route people to other more targeted channels, but I’m kinda wondering what happens when that grows to 5,000? And is Slack gonna continue to innovate in a way that even though we’re not using a Slack team for kind of what’s Slack’s core intended purpose is, I don’t know what’ll happen?

29:43 MH: Yeah, I can’t tell you, but big tip of the hat to Lee Isensee who’s kinda spearheaded this whole Measure Slack and really kind of kept it honest over the last couple of years here and it’s become a really amazing resource to the community, so…

30:00 TW: Speaking of Slack, the only other window I have open right now is Slack and Matt Gershoff is actually private messaging me right now, so…

30:08 MH: Par for the course. Can’t he wait til after we record this show? No, I’m just kidding.

30:14 TW: Oh, he saw me. I posted some dipshit question about statistics and he’s like, “Oh, God, Tim, you’re showing yourself to be an idiot.” I think is what he’s thinking. But he’ll clear me up later. We’re gonna have some intensive sessions in Budapest.

30:27 MH: Budapest, can I join. I wanna come. Can I come?

[laughter]

30:33 MH: So I think it’s probably not gonna work to not talk about Domo and Tableau, and how they’re setting themselves up in such a crazy way for the next year. So obviously, a couple of months back, Tableau had their conference. It’s a big show. It’s an awesome show. Tableau is an awesome product. They’ve rightfully gotten their place there, but Josh James, gosh darn it, the guy is kind of an evil genius.

[laughter]

31:00 MH: So I’ll compare and contrast ’cause obviously full disclosure, Search Discovery is a Domo partner and a Tableau partner, but we do a lot of work with Domo, so we have kind of… I guess there is stuff that we do that we should say, right? So I’m not trying to say positive or negative things about either one, but I don’t understand why they’re trying to fight each other. Well, Domo is trying to fight Tableau. I don’t look at those two and be like, “I have to choose between these.” And I really wonder, from a marketplace perspective, are they really finding that that’s the choice that people are making? Like, “I have to choose Tableau or I have to choose Domo.” I don’t see those as competitive, really, in what they’re both trying to go out and do. And maybe I’ve got it completely wrong. There is some crossover, don’t get me wrong. There is some. But it’s the difference between HitWise and Urchin, and it’s like, those aren’t competitors.

[laughter]

32:04 TW: Well, but I think because at the level that they are selling and marketing themselves. It’s interesting ’cause Tableau started out as, “We’re a much, much better alternative to Excel. We’ve rethought this. We’ve engaged Stephen Few. Your stuff needs to not look like crap.” And I feel like they played in that space for a few years and then somebody was like, “Well, you gotta put your big boy pants on and be able to deal with enterprise data.” And they said, “Oh, you’re right.” And they kind of blew up. And so I see, from not being a… Having dabbled with both, not being a partner of either one but applauding what they’re doing, it’s when pitching to the buyers of the companies they’re at, I think they’re… Well, I think evil genius of Josh James is part of it, that if you say, “I’m competing with you.” And he’s like, “What are you?” And that’s happened in the web analytics industry as well. There are plenty of platforms that won’t be named who…

33:01 MH: Webtrends was the leading analytics tool and then Omniture came along and stole their lunch money. And Josh James did crazy, crazy stuff and made crazy statements and had his people out there saying crazy things to gain attention to drive a conversation, drive awareness, and then they just stole all the marketshare. And it’s impressive, at the same time is it sort of like, “Are they really gonna be able to do it again?” ‘Cause I feel like Tableau is a much stronger product than Webtrends was at the time.

33:37 TW: It’s more mature, right? It’s been around and where it came from was a lot of the user experience for… I mean I think I agree. You look at what you can do to visualize and explore the data. I think Domo has been down, “We’ve got to create a gazillion connectors. We’ve got to have the story of hooking all this data in.” And from the last time I looked at it, it’s still pretty crude if you’re… It’s kinda Data Studio-ish when you say, “I wanna actually build something that’s a rich visualization and I truly want to explore it.” Conceptually, sure. You get two tables of data with a common key, you can join them and do stuff with them on the fly in a somewhat unique alternative to a data warehouse. But I think until you get to where you’ve got… I just feel like the Tableau user base is so passionate and that’s not unjustified. It’s not the Adobe user base that in some cases is so passionate ’cause they finally figured out how everything works and how it’s wired together. Which is not really a… This is not intended to be a diss on Adobe, but I’m sure it came across that way.

34:46 MH: Oh, well we’re gonna hear from some people about that one. Way to go, Tim.

[chuckle]

34:54 TW: So I don’t know. I think Tableau… Go ahead.

34:58 MH: Yeah. It’s interesting. And I think it’s sort of like, from a pure marketing-savvy perspective, it’s probably the right play, go to where all the people are. “Alright, well, they’re all at the Tableau conference. Alright, let’s go there too.” But I do wonder how the rank and file or the people who really love Tableau, how do they perceive that? Is it sort of like, “Well, we’ll give it… We’ll check them out.” Or is it like, “Uh, I don’t wanna be associated with this company.” So I’m curious to see how that will play out. And I think the next year will show us. That being said, there is a lot… I’m pretty open with the fact that we do quite a bit with Domo and we see really cool things happening with companies using it to operationalize data. And in ways that it’s a little easier to do that with some of the ways that Domo works then, with some of the ways that Tableau works. But I think Tableau gives you a little more raw power for the individual analyst to kind of manage the interface and how things look. Whereas, Domo is a little more buttoned up in that regard.

36:05 TW: But it’s interesting that Domo doesn’t position them as… They don’t even really think about that they’re competing with Adobe or Google ’cause they’re an enterprise thing. But if Domo really, really hits, then what I think that could mean for Adobe and Google is that, you know what? It is for Google, it’s just the data collection going into BigQuery. And then from there on out, it’s Domo, and for Adobe, it’s just the data feed.

36:30 MH: Adobe’s data warehouse capability is really kinda stuck in Adobe Premium, right? Formally Visual Sciences?

36:38 TW: Right, well not to be confused, not to be confused with what they call Data Warehouse which is just a way to configure reports that… It’s not really a data warehouse, but yeah.

36:47 MH: Yeah so BigQuery, I’d say, is further along in terms of just being better understood. Adobe Analytics Premium is just sort of arcane in that a few people know how to use it. It’s really powerful, but you got to be one of those people.

37:02 TW: Yup.

37:02 MH: And I don’t know to what extent they’ll ever get past that just because it’s a pretty expensive product. And so it’s kinda like, “Well, maybe we just use Redshift and try to do the same things, or BigQuery.” So in that respect, I think Google is in a little bit better spot. And Google this year is launching the 360 Measurement Suite. It’s not a marketing cloud. It’s a measurement suite, is what I was told to say.

[chuckle]

37:35 MH: But everybody and their brother has a marketing cloud now, right? Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe and sort of Google.

37:42 TW: I don’t see Google… Because Google was so entrenched in paid search and analytics in service of that. Even though they’ve got the measurement studio, it is still focused around the data and what you can do with it. So, there’s gonna continue to be that, Adobe’s got the broader play of, they’ve got a CMS. They’ve got marketing automation. They’ve got campaign management, so, there’s…

38:06 MH: Right, and that’s where the crossover with Oracle and Salesforce is a little more competitive, right? So…

38:11 TW: Right.

38:11 MH: Oracle has their Commerce Cloud, and those kinds of things. I think Salesforce has bought 45 companies this year. I can’t remember all of them.

[chuckle]

38:22 TW: By the time this episode comes out, Domo, Josh may say that, he’d come out and announce that once again, he completely lied to everyone as to what he’s actually trying to accomplish, and this will all be like, “Oh”.

38:32 MH: That’s right. Domo announces the Sitecore acquisition and we’re just like, “Whoa!”

[chuckle]

38:38 MH: I’m just kidding. If that happens now, I’m just, that can’t happen, first off, that is never gonna happen. Just to be clear, I’m not predicting that. I made that up. If it does happen though, I need to be paid more.

[chuckle]

38:54 TW: We’ll have the evidence. We’ll have a time stamp on the audio file.

38:57 MH: So I do think 2017, is shaping up to be really interesting because the one thing that I feel like companies struggle with a lot is getting easier and easier and more accessible, and that is getting the data into people’s hands in ways they can use it in meaningful ways. And if you think about the historical usage or the historical tools, we were all exporting this data from our tool set into Excel, right? And then we started exporting it here and there, into Tableau. And then more sophisticated companies started leveraging Tableau. But now the tools themselves, right? Data Studio, Analysis Work Space from Adobe. These are the tools that are driving forward the ability to leverage data in more meaningful ways. And that is really exciting to me. That is what our whole industry needs to embrace is, how do we create a view of this data for you that you can go in, ask questions, slice and dice the data in ways that are kinda safe for you to do it, whatever your roll in the company is and explore your own data? I, alright I’m getting, I always do this. I always get too enthusiastic, ’cause I don’t actually believe in data democracy. I don’t. I don’t believe in it.

[chuckle]

40:21 MH: But it’s sort of like, I want sorta like a “data republic”, not a democracy, but a republic.

40:27 TW: You want a “data electoral college”?

40:29 MH: A “data federation of independent states”. No I want, yeah, I don’t know what I want. We should probably go back to listen to the governance episode back in year one with John Levitt to review. Anyway, but it’s exciting. I’m excited because I think that will only continue and I love the trend that that is.

40:53 TW: Yup, I agree, I’m with you.

40:56 MH: So, everybody learn R, learn Data Studio, or Analysis Work Space. Pick a side, Tableau or Domo, or use both. I feel like I refuse to choose. I like both of them.

41:09 TW: And to be fair, there’re plenty of people, like, Moe talked about in the last episode, there are people using R with Tableau, right? That’s cobbling together a tool set that works the best and then recognizing that inside of one to two years, hopefully there will be a vendor that says, “Hey, you don’t have to have both of those. We can do it equally well.” But that causes the bloody fights of products kinda debating who can do what better.

41:33 MH: Yup, I totally agree. Well, Tim Wilson, it has been my pleasure to host this podcast with you for another year. Part of that year with Jim Cain, our other host. And who knows what 2017 will hold? Perhaps…

41:49 TW: I got some plans. Got some plans.

41:51 MH: Some plans? We got some plans, and I’m excited to launch into next year with you and our occasional guests. As we kind of explore that, if you’re listening to this show and you’ve got some recollections or some things that maybe you’re kinda grumpy about what we said this year, we’d love to hear from you. And the way that you can talk to us is you talk to us through Facebook or the Measure Slack or even though we’re down on Twitter lately, you can still talk to us via Twitter. But at the end of the day, the best way for you to get us to pay attention is to review us on iTunes. No, not really, but if you did wanna rate us on iTunes…

42:36 TW: We occasionally remember to go and actually check iTunes so…

42:39 MH: Yeah. Well no and, but we do appreciate it if you wanted to rate us there. That’s always appreciated and since it’s the end of the year, then we… We’re shilling like crazy, just shilling.

[chuckle]

42:54 MH: Anyways, we usually do a section of the show called “The Last Call”. I forgot to think of one, but Tim has one. So Tim, what’s The Last Call for 2016?

43:06 TW: I wouldn’t say it’s all that great except that it ties in in that some of it’s reflecting on the Digital Analytics Power Hour. So I’ve found as I’ve been trying to learn new things around analytics that has kind of filled up my brain and I have therefore needed to relax in various intellectual ways, my mind. And to credit to it was you and Jim Cain and it was right back at the beginning of when we were recording it all, somewhere John Scalzi came up. Who’s an Ohio based guy, a writer. I’d never heard of him. I looked on my Kindle app and realized I’ve now read six of his books which he’s written many. He’s written non-fiction. I think you guys had me start with “Redshirts” and then I went, which was kind of wacky and funny and then I read… It’s actually headed me down other paths. So it’s kind of an endorsement, because I read “Old Man’s War” and then that wound up… I just, I wound up reading “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman, which was written back like in the 70s which it’s shocking how much it does… And Scalzi kind of acknowledges he never heard of “Forever War”.

44:10 TW: And he was like, “Yeah, I’m glad I didn’t read that before ’cause I in many ways feel like I ripped that off.” But then I wound up reading… I was just looking through whatever was free or cheap on Amazon and read a little Philip K. Dick, a little “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Which then I was like oh look, Scalzi’s got a book that is a, what’s it called, “The Android’s Dream”. He’s got a… Which is one of the funnier kind of Douglas Adams… So that’s just kind of a last call of finding something outside of analytics. Although because it’s kind of futurist, I used to be a big sci-fi guy when I was a kid. Kind of to credit to you and Jim, I’ve gotten a little bit back into it and it’s been fun and it’s been fun because there are… My mind can’t help but jump back over to our industry and some of the things that are happening as reading some of those books that are sort of trying to imagine the future, dystopian or not.

45:05 MH: I like our dystopian analytics future. Wait, no. I would like to say that in some way you shaped my life this year. No, I’m just kidding. [chuckle] Actually, I mean the stuff you’ve done with R this year I’ve been super impressed with and it’s actually made me excited to try to learn more in the space of data science specifically. Not as a practitioner, just as somebody who has snappy things to say about it, but still, baby steps. I at least wanna know how to talk about it. Actually there’s a good Coursera specialization about an executive level beta science course, so I’ll probably start taking that next year. Alright, well here we are, we’ve finished 2016. Thank you so much for listening. As you think about being an analyst and a digital analytics practitioner in 2017, just never stop analyzing.

46:11 Announcer: Thanks for listening and don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Measure Slack Group. We welcome your comments and questions, Facebook.com/analyticshour or @analyticshour on Twitter.

46:26 Charles Barkley: Two smart guys wanted to fit in so they’ve made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.

[outtakes]

[music]

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