Note to analytics types – this is not about analytics, but since you’re here, why not just stay for a while?
I’m in the final year of my MBA (thank flippin’ jebus!) and I’ve been researching a topic dear to my heart for the last couple of years. I initially began the MBA when I was managing a team of four. One of the four was in the same office as me in Europe. The other three were in 3 locations in the US. And my manager was in a further US location. So, between the 6 of us, that was 5 locations and 3 timezones.
During the time I was in this position, I began to feel that I was involved in an online relationship – the kind people have when they use “It’s Complicated” as their Facebook relationship status.
I felt I had to re-learn how to work, having being used to dealing with customers who weren’t in the same room, but not having all my key colleagues physically removed from me.
I’ve noticed a few things about working in an online environment, and what I really notice is that you have to treat your online working relationships like you would a romantic relationship – in that you have to keep working at it and nurturing it. Here are some thoughts:
Proof-read your emails
If your primary means of communication with colleagues is email, try to be clear. If you’re delivering bad news, try to be clear and diplomatic.
Even if you have a good working, or even personal, relationship with your colleagues, don’t assume that they are the last stop for your email. Don’t write things down that you wouldn’t want to share elsewhere. I’m a terrible wan for giving people nicknames (just ask Jojoba) – not mean ones, but still – and I’ve had people forward my mails in which I’ve referred to a person by their nickname. If the mail topic is serious, it can make you look like you’re being flippant. Tone in email is SO easy to misconstrue – be careful out there. You don’t want colleagues breaking up with you because of some off-the-cuff comment that would have sounded adorable in person but looks sarcastic and mean in print.
Face-to-facing is still important
It’s pretty easy to fall into a regular cadence with online working relationships. Meeting physically can be more effort than you want to expend. Make that effort as much as you can! It’s amazing the things you discover about people that they won’t write in a mail because it feels the other person would think it was too trivial (even if it bothers them a lot).
Keep talking about your relationship
Just HOW you conduct your working relationship is something you can’t decide on one side. It really does take two, or a village..or whatever other adage you’d like to employ.
I’ve worked with some people who can only work with people remotely over video conferences and regular face-to-face meetings. If they feel like they have to work behind a wall of words, they go dark. I know others who don’t do well communicating over the phone and are far more comfortable producing a detailed email.
If you’re a manager, you may have to deal with everyone in your team in a different way. Be prepared to be flexible – just because you like to work in the garden shouting at Facetime on your iDevice, it may not work for everyone.
If you’re being managed remotely, have the cahones to talk to your manager about how your relationship will work best. The better you understand each other, the more you can get on with actual work without having to worry about how you administer your union.
I’m fascinated by how others view their online relationships and the impact of online working on the manager-employee relationship is the subject of my dissertation. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and also have you take a short survey on the topic (below).
SURVEY ONE – VIRTUAL MANAGERS
I would very much appreciate it if you would take this survey if you currently manage (or have experience of managing) one or more employees virtually.
SURVEY TWO – VIRTUAL EMPLOYEES
I would very much appreciate it if you would take this survey if your direct manager manages you from another location and/or if you are physically removed from members of your team.
SURVEY THREE – HR AND VIRTUAL WORKERS
I would very much appreciate it if you would take this survey if you work in the area of Human Resources and your company has and supports employees who are managed at a distance or are managing remote workers.
During a discussion on online targeting yesterday, I began to think of the profile I build for myself on sites where likes, dislikes etc should theoretically be more easily determined – for example shopping sites. I show shopping sites whether I like to browse a type of good or whether I go straight for a particular item. I show them whether I look for the cheapest item or the one most highly recommended by other shoppers, regardless of price. And I open wide the door into my life and family, based on my purchases.
You’ve probably heard the story about the store that could target new mothers based on their purchase of things like stretch-mark creams in the previous few months. To some, this is a fascinating business opportunity, to others, the dawn of a frightening new world.
Then again, the evolution of online shopping services has meant that the profile you build of yourself can become very muddied.
Here’s an example.:
This is a sample of items recommended to me by Amazon.co.uk. There are items here that were recommended because of my studies, because I like photography and because I went diving on my honeymoon. Then there’s a slushy DVD, bath salts, toys, jewellery – and a book by Jojo because I like a lass called Jojoba?
Go on, you know you want to read more…
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Today, we speak to the delectable Rachael Gerson. Ask her to do supercalifragalisticexpialidcious next time you see her. Tell her I sent you.
Tell us all about Ms Rachael Gerson.
I am a total internet/technology addict, but I’m also a voracious reader, often with 4-6 books going simultaneously. A better question than “did you read ___” is to ask me if I finished it, since the books I really enjoy get finished quickly and the ones I find useless may be doomed to hang out on the pending list for months.
I live in a Philly suburb with my husband, and adorable dog, Cooper. By the way, Coop is the only dog I’ve ever seen who loves flossing, brushes his own teeth, and can climb a ladder. When I’m not hanging out with him, I work at SEER Interactive, an internet marketing firm in Philadelphia specializing in SEO, paid search, and analytics. If there’s any time left over, I help out in the Google Analytics forums and have written for a couple sites, but time’s been a little short lately!
Go on, you know you want to read more…
“Pussycat pussycat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.”
“Pussycat pussycat, what did you there?”
“I frightened a little mouse under her chair”
Tell the folks at home all about Elizabeth “Smalls” Eckels
Hrm, I don’t much like talking about myself, so I’m going to copy/paste a bio, pic is above:
Rock star web analyst in training, graduated cum laude in finance & marketing. Real life experience includes web marketing, sports marketing, retail and door-to-door sales, computer repair, customer service, legislative, and design roles. The industries I have worked in are education, retail, computer hardware & software, athletics, government, & interior design. My love for numbers began when I was 5, received my first abacus, and counted and compared (then shared my findings of) everything I could.
My introduction to web analytics began with Omniture products, specifically SiteCatalyst, Discover, Data Warehouse, and Test & Target. My experience has been focused on implementation, configuration, reporting, and business analysis. Documentation has been a byproduct of these efforts.
I am certified in Google Analytics and have further developed my abilities to provide insights based on the data. A consistent goal is to provide valuable business recommendations based on correct data.
Where I come from “Smalls” refers to underwear. Why is this your nickname, rather than, say, Ickle Eckles?
Underwear – that’s intriguing, but I am not underwear. Not that I know of at least.
Smalls is my nickname because of my petite stature. I’m just barely 5’1″ and I’m not sure I’ve ever been present on the growth chart. And that’s tough for me, because I really like charts. The nickname was given to me in college by a group of friends as a play on the quote in the movie Sandlot when Ham says to Scotty (Smalls) “You’re killin me Smalls!
|‘O stand, stand at the window As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour With your crooked heart.’
It was late, late in the evening, The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming, And the deep river ran on
Dear old Auden. His name rhymed with… not much really.
And now it is time to sit back, relax and hear briefly from Phil Mui, a man of few words, but with many fans.
Who is Phil Mui and how is your name pronounced?
“Feel – Muy”
Being a member of DAA is its own benefit.
Previous to your current job at a reasonably well-known interweb company, you were a senior research developer at the Stanford University School of Medicine. What should I do if my knee hurts every Tuesday after a mushroom cup-a-soup?
Visit your doctor.
Do you get do actual analysis in your day job?
Yes! We use Google Analytics on Google Analytics usage!
If you moved to a small village in rural Scandinavia without internet access, what job would you do?
Work on getting internet access for the village! There are satellite based connections, right?
Who is your superhero-sans-cape in the analytics community and why?
for his tremendous thought leadership to the industry & to GA.
What was your very third job?
Not sure what this question means.
Do you think that being on the vendor side of the digital analytics industry makes it easier or harder to fit in at dinner parties?
Definitely easier as long as I know that I have something worthwhile to share. I don’t wish to be part of a vendor which is not a thought leader.
What is your wish for the remainder of 2012?
The world does not end this year (per the Mayan prediction).
Tell us something about you that you think is interesting.
I used to be a competitive marksman, and WAS a collegiate affiliate member of the NRA.
Last week, as part of a trip to visit the Yahoo! mother-ship in Sunnyvale and other goodness, I attended the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Francisco. This was my second time attending eMetrics in San Francisco, a city that is getting up there with potatoes on my list of “Things Wot Emer Thinks Are Neat”.
As the opportunity to attend eMetrics succeeded my travel arrangements, I sadly missed part of the first day, thereby adding to the list of “Things Wot Emer Should Have Done Wot Didn’t”. I missed Peter Fader, who was part of a keynote panel called “Data Driving for a Good Cause”. This is the second time I’ve missed the opportunity to see Peter “Nerd Crush Time” Fader speak, so I must concede that he is trying to avoid me. This is understandable.
The first presentation I saw was by the lovely Hila Strong from Keystone Solutions. Hila’s topic was “How I find Optimization Opportunities by Cheating on my Web Analytics Vendor” during which she illustrated how to simply find optimization ideas. This included videoing her adorable (and sharp) son testing site usability in sites relevant to his age-group. This and other videos of users interacting with site functions really resonated with the audience and it was mentioned to me several times as a key takeaway for usability optimization over the next couple of days. At scale, this may have its difficulties (in that it is, as Hila said, time-heavy activity) but it is a great way to understand what elements of your site are losing you conversions or impacting your brand.
– If you are planning to present – find a way that humanises you and moves away from standard slides –
Following Hila was a great panel discussion on “Making a Career in Big Data”, featuring Bob “I’ve got earrings” Page, Joe “My name is a short poem” Megibow and John “Thank goodness I don’t have a nickname yet” Elder. This was fantastic because it featured people with real experience in the industry who have caused actual positive change to business success. These boys are titans. There was nerd-swooning everywhere – it was like The Beatles had been reborn as nerds.
– Before you talk about working successfully in the industry, change the industry! — Go on, you know you want to read more…
Last March, I enjoyed a merry old time at the Web Analytics Association (WAA) Awards for Excellence Gala – a celebration of contributors, vendors, technologies and more in the digital analytics space. This year, it’s happening all over again and it’s going to be better than ever. But you need to act quickly – nominations close on February 1st 2012.
What’s it all about?
Here’s the blurb: ”Are you or one of your colleagues a digital analytics pro who deserves recognition? Do you know of a company worthy of appreciation? At the 2nd annual Web Analytics Association Awards for Excellence, the WAA will celebrate the outstanding contribution to our profession of individuals, agencies, vendors and practitioners. Here’s your chance to get out from the shadows and into the spotlight with other industry luminaries.”
Who won last year?
What are the categories this year?
Jeez, you’re needy…
- Web Analytics Rising Star (individual award)
- Practitioner of the Year (individual award)
- Most Influential Industry Contributor (individual award)
- New Technology of the Year (group award)
- Most Influential Agency, Vendor or Group (group award)
Go on, you know you want to read more…
“As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”
If Papa Cringle has a Naughty but Nice list, it’s probably the same as the Silly Series list.
And now, for a snack to go with your eggnog, it’s time to turn our attention to Ted McDonald, a man who took six months to answer the silly questions below, bless him.
Tell the nice reader peoples about Ted McDonald.
I’ve been a full-time web analyst for almost 6 years, working for interesting brands like Nat Geo, Carfax, and now Verisign. Prior to that, I always made it a large part of my job, even if that meant sifting through log files for tracking codes used in that special email campaign. I really got the taste for web analytics when I got my hands on SiteCatalyst back in 2004. After several years of toiling as a jack-of-all-trades marketing type / entrepreneur, where web analytics was headed at the time seemed like the perfect blend of marketing, math, and web that you couldn’t find anywhere else and I never regret making the career move.
You have triplets. How did you tell them apart when they were babies? Did you secretly have no idea which was which?
You got me…I could not tell them apart for quite a while. They were very tiny at first – under 3 pounds. Even the doctors could not tell them apart when they were first born. We wanted to name the two identical Ben and Zach, but no one knew which was which until after a blood test, so the identical are now Ben and Nick. I had to use blue nail polish on one of the little guys’ thumbs for several months until we definitely knew who was who.
That’s lovely picture of you in a Jim Sterne t-shirt. How many hours a day do you spend crouched in his garden watching him?
None. I’ve moved on to other targets. Muahaha!
Go on, you know you want to read more…