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The Analytics Power Hour

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The Analytics Power Hour

Michael Helbling, Tim Wilson, and Moe Kiss

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Attend any conference for any topic and you will hear people saying after that the best and most informative discussions happened in the bar after the show. Read any business magazine and you will find an article saying something along the lines of "Business Analytics is the hottest job category out there, and there is a significant lack of people, process and best practice." In this case the conference was eMetrics, the bar was….multiple, and the attendees were Michael Helbling, Tim Wilson ...
 
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One of our KPIs for the show is to keep the Topic Repeat Rate (TRR) below 1.2%. From carefully monitoring our show dashboard, we had an actionable insight: we could finally revisit episode #002. Conveniently, the topic of that show was dashboards, which explains the self-referential stemwinder of a description of this episode. That show was "a long…
 
What is a system without empathy? What is a show summary without an attempt to overly distill the discussion to the point of sounding like nonsense? On this episode, Hilary Parker (who you may know from the Not So Standard Deviations podcast or elsewhere) joined us to discuss what we can learn from the design process (as in: actual designers) when …
 
Stop for a minute and think about the highest stakes campaign or test you've ever run. Were you nervous? Now, instead, imagine that you're on an aircraft carrier with a few thousand people on board whose safety you are responsible for, and your team is about to watch 40,000 tons of ordnance detonate (in an environmentally friendly way) right next t…
 
As analysts, it can be easy to get so focused on the data that we lose sight of the imperative that we answer meaningful questions (aka: validating relevant hypotheses). On this episode, we sat down with Wil Reynolds, co-founder and accidental lead generator for SEER Interactive, for a discussion that turned out to be about curiosity and the power …
 
Have you ever worked in a large organization where the data team(s) are perfectly structured to deliver efficient, harmonious, and meaningful results to the business with 'nary a gap nor a redundancy? If you answered "yes," then we'll go ahead and report you to HR for being a LIAR! From high growth startups to staid enterprises, figuring out how to…
 
Have you ever thought, "you know, it would be interesting to take my analytical knowledge and just totally run an organization based on what the data says?" Yeah. Us, either. That's terrifying! But, that's exactly what our guest on this episode did. Ben Lindbergh, along with his stathead-in-crime (aka, co-author) Sam Miller, took over the managemen…
 
Data is everywhere and it's simply not going away. Plenty of people do seem to ignore it to their peril, but if we are trying to make sense of the world, making good sense of data is absolutely critical. In business we call it data literacy, and, truthfully, it is a mandatory skill set for almost anyone. Data and understanding data might have a set…
 
We're baaaaaaack…! Shorter show name, a rebrand, some minor formatting and structural updates, but still "Moe Kiss with a couple of guys who listeners can't keep straight." On this episode, we talk for a little bit about what we've been doing while we were on hiatus and then dive into a topic that only Cassie Kozyrkov has dared to deeply explore be…
 
Once upon a time, there was an analyst. And that analyst had some data. She used that data to do some analysis, and from that analysis she realized she had some recommendations she could make to her organization. This was the point where our intrepid analyst reached a metaphorical fork in Communication Road: would she hastily put all of her thought…
 
We can watch (sort of) what users do on our sites. That's web analytics. We can ask them how they felt about the experience. That's voice of the customer. But, can we (and should we?) actually analyze their emotional reactions? On this episode, Michael and Tim sat down with Dr. Liraz Margalit, Head of Digital Behavioral Research at Clicktale, to be…
 
Do you model professionally? Would you like to? Or, are you uncertain. These are the topics of this episode: Bayesian statistician (among other official roles that are way less fun to say) Dr. Elea Feit joined the gang to discuss how we, as analysts, think about data put it to use. Things got pretty deep, included the exploration of questions such …
 
What’s in a job title? that which we call a senior data scientist by any other job title would model as predictively… This, dear listener, is why the hosts of this podcast crunch data rather than dabble in iambic pentameter. With sincere apologies to William Shakespeare, we sat down with Maryam Jahanshahi to discuss job titles, job descriptions, an…
 
Did you hear the one about the Harvard-educated economist who embraced her inner wiring as a lateral thinker to explore topics ranging from HIV/AIDS in Africa to the impact of Hepatitis B on male-biased sex ratios in China to the range of advice and dicta doled out by doctors and parents and in-laws and friends about what to do (and not do!) during…
 
Is your organization customer-centric? Does your product team dive into the demographics of your customers to figure out what features will make them as happy as possible? If so, then you're doing it all wrong! Perhaps. On this episode, the gang chats with Dr. Peter Fader (@faderp) from The Wharton School and Zodiac Metrics, about putting customer …
 
Thanks for stopping by. Please get comfortable. We’re going to be taking a few notes while you listen, but pay that no mind. Now, what we’d like you to do is listen to the podcast. Oh. And don’t worry about that big mirror over there. There may be 2 or 3 or 10 people watching. Wow. We’re terrible moderators when it comes to this sort of thing. That…
 
Have you ever seen a one-man show in the theater? It's awesome. Unless it's terrible. The same can be said for one-person digital analytics teams. It can be awesome, in that you get to, literally, do EVERY aspect of analytics. It can be terrible because, well, you've got to do EVERYTHING, and it's easy for the fun stuff to get squeezed out of the d…
 
In recognition of International Women's Day, and because it's a really important topic, this is a very special episode. The two straight, white, cisgender male co-hosts of this podcast sat this episode out, while Moe took over the mic for an in-depth discussion with Alison Vorsatz from Fairygodboss and Aubrey Blanche from Atlassian about diversity …
 
As analysts, we often have unique knowledge of the data, specialized responsibilities for data-related deliverables, and an expectation that we'll be at the ready to dive into high priority requests. What happens, then, when we're out of the office, be that for a planned vacation, for an unexpected illness, or for bringing a new human being into th…
 
You know that sinking feeling: the automated report went out first thing Monday morning, and your Slack messages have been blowing up ever since because revenue flatlined on Saturday afternoon! You frantically start digging in (spilling your coffee in the process!) while you're torn between hoping that it's "just a data issue" (which would be good …
 
As we put the awfulness of 2020 in the rearview mirror, we thought it might be fun to look back to another bleak period: the 2007-2008 financial crisis! Why? Because Tim hasn't stopped talking about Subprime Attention Crisis — the Tim Hwang book that draws a parallel between the digital advertising ecosystem and the subprime lending crisis from a d…
 
Google bought Urchin in 2005 and, virtually overnight, made digital analytics available to all companies, no matter how large or how small. Optimizely was founded in January 2010 and had a similar (but lesser) impact on the world of A/B testing. What can we learn from ruminating on the past, the present, and the future (server-side testing! sample …
 
As unlikely as it seemed at many times throughout the year, 2020 actually IS finally drawing to a close, and that means it's time for our annual look back on the year: what happened with the podcast, what happened with the industry, and what happened as the entire world caught fire by way of wood-fuelled, climate-assisted combustion and by virus-in…
 
It's the holiday season and, despite Tim's 27-slide deck making a case for why we should do an Airing of Grievances-themed show, we went in another direction. On this episode, we explore a delightful tale that exists at the intersection of "Giving Back to the Community" and "Growing the Analytics Talent Pool." Rob Jackson joined the gang to be pepp…
 
Cookies are getting aggressively expired or blocked outright. Referring site information is getting stripped. Adoption of Brave as a browser is on the rise! Yet, marketers still need to quantify the impact of their investments. What is an analyst to do? Does the answer lie in server-side technical solutions? Well, it's not a bad idea to consider th…
 
We didn't want to have a discussion about Netflix's The Social Dilemma, but, somehow, we just felt compelled to do so. It was almost like we had a generally unlikable character from a TV series about advertisers' attempts to manipulate consumer behavior in the 1950s and 1960s transplanted in triplicate into an AI that was optimizing Netflix's reach…
 
Do you know someone who works remotely? Wait. What's that? Oh. It's 2020. I guess a better question would be: do you know any analysts who are NOT working remotely? But, that's not the question we ask on this episode. Some companies—and we're thinking agencies and consultancies here just to have a little focus—were corporate office-less from their …
 
What is data culture? And, more importantly, what is the optimal ratio of agar and the ideal temperature of the corporate petri dish to make a data culture thrive? Moe, Michael, and Tim put their various experiences under the organizational microscope and examined various solutions in the name of (data) scientific discovery! If only organizations w…
 
Do you long for the days when your mother could ask you, "Now, what do you actually do for your job?" and "all" you had to do was explain websites and digital analytics? The "analyst" is now a role that can be defined an infinite number of ways in its breadth and depth. Is the analyst who is starting to do data transformations to create clean views…
 
Did curiosity kill the cat? Perhaps. A claim could be made that a LACK of curiosity can (and should!) kill an analyst's career! On this episode, Dr. Debbie Berebichez, who, as Tim noted, sorta' pegs out on the extreme end of the curiosity spectrum, joined the show to explore the subject: the societal norms that (still!) often discourage young women…
 
How does a Bayesian tell what time it is? She starts with an estimated time as her prior and then makes a video for TikTok. If you've ever made a joke like that and then realized your audience might need a little statistical education in order to appreciate how hilarious it is (or, perhaps, what the probability is that it's hilarious), then this ep…
 
Once every four years in the United States, there is this thing called a "presidential election." It's a pretty boring affair, in that there is so much harmony amongst the electorate, and the two main candidates are pretty indistinguishable when it comes to their world views, policy ideas, and temperaments. But, despite the blandness of the contest…
 
Do you know someone who always seems to have read the latest books and can cite concepts and ideas and authors and titles in any situation? Do you hate that person? Honestly, so do we. But that didn't stop us from recording an episode that, potentially, will grate on your nerves in such a way that you have to draw on your inner grit (Grit: The Powe…
 
Analytics is hard (so they say... but we're not going to open THAT can of worms). Do you know what's harder? Managing analysts! I mean, they're always asking, “Why?” Sometimes, they even ask it five times! They can wind up, you know, analyzing whatever you're asking them to do! On this episode, special guest Moe Kiss (you may know her as a co-host …
 
A wise man once said, "All forecasts basically assume that tomorrow is going to be very similar to today, just with an adjustment or two." That wise man was Gary Angel from Digital Mortar, and he said that on this very episode as we explored the ramifications for the analyst when the historical data is not at all a proxy for the near-term and mediu…
 
Remember back when the global economy was booming and analysts were both in the sexiest job of the century and on the favorable side of the supply-demand curve for talent? Those were the days! On this episode, we sat down with Ollie Darmon from Canva to get his perspective, as an in-house recruiter, on what candidates can and should do to not only …
 
No one has ever been disappointed by a sequel, right? Especially when the original was well-received both by the critics and at the box office. Well, Episode #134: "These Are a Few of Our Favorite (Analytics) Tips" scored an 83% Tomatometer with an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. As it happened, those are the same scores that The Sound of…
 
A hallmark of the analytics community is the generosity with which ideas and wisdom are shared. One of the largest analytics conferences each year is Adobe Summit. One of the most followed Tims on the planet wrote a book called Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World. Jen Yacenda and Eric Matisoff mixed all three of these tru…
 
It sometimes seems like there must be a Moore's Law of marketing technology (or "martech," as the cool kids call it, and our site is on a .io domain, so we’re definitely the cool kids) whereby the number of platforms available doubles every 6 to 8 weeks. And, every couple of months, it seems, a whole new category emerges. From CMS to DAM to CRM to …
 
The promise of digital—and the steady shift of consumers' interactions with brands to that medium over the course of the past two decades—is that we can now see so much more of what our customers and prospects DO. But, how much does that tell us about who they really are, why they do what they do, and how they feel as they do it? What are they thin…
 
Sometimes, the best way to get alignment, generate new ideas, hash out different perspectives, or just effectively collaborate is to shift a gathering of peers from being a "meeting run by the organizer" to a "workshop run by a facilitator." Both meetings and workshops should have clear objectives, but workshops, when planned and run well, shift th…
 
These are interesting times in which we work, are they not? For many analysts, "remote work" is what they call "every weekday" or, for those who don't have things fully figured out, "every day that ends in 'Y.'" For other analysts, the current pandemic has forced them into being an unplanned — and not necessarily desired — full-time remote worker. …
 
Did you know that there were monks in the 1400s doing text-based sentiment analysis? Can you name the 2016 movie that starred Amy Adams as a linguist? Have you ever laid awake at night wondering if stopword removal is ever problematic? Is the best therapist you ever had named ELIZA? The common theme across all of these questions is the broad and de…
 
For our special International Women's Day episode, we committed a type one error and peeked at our results, so we are releasing this winner three days early. As good analysts, we set out to optimise the podcast by swapping out Tim and Michael for two guests (it's rare for Tim to be in the control group, but he's an outlier either way). Unfortunatel…
 
Have you heard the one about the four analysts who run a podcast who walked into a resort in Hungary? Well, now you can! Or, at least get a taste of that experience. Michael, Moe, Tim, and Josh headed to Superweek last month and, among other things, did a 12-hour audio livestream to try to give interested listeners a taste of the experience. On thi…
 
"QA and patience and reviews by a peer. Data viz testing, hold no chart too dear. Don’t be an asshole; automate 'til it stings. These are a few of our favorite things!" With apologies to Julie Andrews, on this episode, Moe, Tim, and Michael shared some of the tactical tips and techniques that they have found themselves putting to use on a regular b…
 
Once upon a time, website behavioral data was extracted from the log files of web servers. That data was messy to work with and missing some information that analysts really wanted. This was the OG "server-side" data collection. Then, the JavaScript page tag arrived on the scene, and the data became richer and cleaner and easier to implement. That …
 
Who would have thought that we'd get to 2020 and still be debating whether recurring reports should include "insights?" As it turns out, Tim did an ad hoc analysis back in 2015 where he predicted exactly that! Unfortunately, the evidence is buried in the outbox of his email account at a previous employer. So, instead, we've opted to just tackle the…
 
It's the end of the year, and we know it, and we feel fiiiiine. Or, maybe we have a little anxiety. But, for the fifth year in a row, we're wrapping up the year with a reflective episode: reflecting on changes in the analytics industry, the evolution of the podcast, and the interpersonal dynamics between Tim and Michael. From the state of diversity…
 
Once upon a time, there was an analyst. And that analyst had some data. She used that data to do some analysis, and from that analysis she realized she had some recommendations she could make to her organization. This was the point where our intrepid analyst reached a metaphorical fork in Communication Road: would she hastily put all of her thought…
 
How accurate is your data? How accurate is any of our data? If our data is more accurate, will we make better decisions? How MUCH better? Why do the show blurbs of late have so many questions? THAT is a question we can ACCURATELY answer: because the shows grapple with challenging questions! On this episode, Snowplow co-founder Yali Sassoon joined u…
 
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