Just as some people define they’re identity by what they buy, some people define themselves by the tools that they use. There’s a certain cache about using the ACH. Or being an OCP. Or knowing enough to choose select instead of forward regression. Or the use of Bayesian methods. Coremetrics against Omniture. Google Analytics over Webtrends. R over SPSS. Graffle over Visio. And so on. There’s a large degree of tool centricity in three communities: web analytics, data mining, and marketing science. The irrational judgements about people in each of those communities, based on the degree of sophistication of tools, is dangerous. Worse – it’s detrimental. It’s detrimental because it narrows your view. For one, different tools are right for[…]

An insight is: New information Executable Causes action Profitable Or, more detailed, an insight is: A piece of information that you didn’t know before, which – Can feasibly executed, culturally acceptable and of a scale relevant to the firm, and – Causes a decision to be made that wouldn’t have been made otherwise, and – Results in profit or a sustainable competitive advantage I’m finally happy with this definition. It aligns with the best innovation rhetoric very nicely and is generalizable to both design thinking and analytics communities.

The NCDM was a pretty good show by most criterion. I got to meet a whole new set of people. I wasn’t treated horribly for not knowing their language. I learned a lot. I really enjoyed so many of the people I met – including a 12 hour stay in the airport with two people who I hope become really great allies. I really enjoyed the Kiwis (New Zealanders). I thank Emma Warrillow for the invite and keeping the dialogue between web analysts and data miners going. I’m troubled by some of the problems I see for web analysts. I’m energized by some of the problems that are common, and that are interesting. That is to say, I see it[…]

It’s warmer today. Two points from Day 3: When pressed on what DM’ers thought of web analysts, some made comparisons to ‘convenient reasoning’. The comparison wasn’t made in a nice voice. That should actually really concern you if you’re a web analyst. Broad concern about devils in details on FTC ‘do not track’ list. Reflections: I have a much better understanding of the problems that face DM’ers, compared to the problems facing WA’s. Not all of them are interesting problems. Some of them are solvable if DM’ers and analysts work together. The linkage between ‘insight’ and ‘innovation’ has been finally, for the absolute first time in my mind, been completely made. I may actually calm down about the use of[…]

Did I mention how cold it is outside? A few points from day 2: Impressed with the transparency of Bill Whymark of GE. He detailed his segmentation process, in detail, and had a large number of slides which had been redacted by legal. Words x’d out in mid sentence. My key takeaway was the ongoing gap between value proposition writing (marketing / comm strategy) and segmentation. Bill was able to prove very remarkable lifts as a result of the segmentation as a result of operational improvements caused as a result of the segments (prioritization). Pretty powerful material. A second instance of creative override of segmentation was discussed in another presentation. An automotive enthusiast/under the hood segment was to be activated[…]

It’s pretty cold in Miami – coat weather. Not quite freezing like the rest of you. But cold. A few points from day 1: I’m impressed with Jeff Robertson of Delta. It’s the first time I’ve heard a loyalty points analyst use customer centric language, doing right by people, and meaning it. His reported actions, and the manner in which he reached conclusions, is truly customer centric. His mouth was aligned with his hands and aligned with his heart. A very smart, very brilliant presentation in applied analytics. No cynicism. Loved it. Language. Much of the rhetoric is very similar to what you’ll hear at an eMetrics conference. Some of the words are a little bit different. For instance, instead[…]

I caught a fragment of comment on an analytics podcast: “Everybody has been asking me, where can I find great analysts that have the analytical skills, the communication skills, and the business acumen?” To which I laugh. Purple hippopotamus time? Mega-swiss army knife time? They are so few and far between. They exist, certainly. But in such small quantities. And there are fundamentally good reasons why this is the case. Maintaining subject matter expertise is a challenge – it mandates keeping on top of new developments and practicing them. It’s time consuming. (Seriously time consuming!) Communication is perhaps a direct statement about the ability to produce ppt’s and being concise. Being a subject matter expert does not lend itself well[…]

I appreciate how people use analytics to inquire. Let me put forward an initial schema: Sometimes an inquiry is geared towards confirmation. You’re only interested in information that supports your original point. Sometimes an inquiry is geared towards a situation. You’re only interested in knowing what was going on. So you can keep an eye on it. (Situational reporting of straight numbers is not analytics. But sometimes people think it is.) Sometimes an inquiry is geared towards explaining a (perceived) an outlier. You’re only interested in information that explains why that thing, that doesn’t make sense, happened. Sometimes an inquiry is geared towards discovery. You’re only interested in learning something new that you can ultimately use to your advantage. The[…]