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How to fish data and analytics

For some time now, I’ve been meaning to start this blog.  I’ve held off for a long time because I’m hesitant to be taken authoritatively.  I do a lot of speaking engagements, and one thing I find is that the audience often wants me to provide answers.  To provide solutions to problems they are dealing with.  I have a problem with that…being someone who is so data-driven, so numbers oriented, I hesitate for folks to take what I say and simply apply it to their business or product. The reality is that what worked for me or a client of mine might not work for you.  Neither in the tracking of data, nor the reporting of it, nor the analyzing of it.  And certainly not in the optimization based off all of that!

When I was running Sepiida, one of our largest clients was Zynga Games Network.  They were a wonderful client to have for many reasons, not the least of which was that their being in our client portfolio drew TONS of other social and game developer companies to us.  I can’t tell you the number of times I heard a prospective or actual client say “we’d like to add X feature to our app because Zynga’s <insert name of app> has it, and Zynga is so data-driven, it must be a good thing”.  But I knew, from our work with Zynga, that there are plenty of highly publicized features within Zynga apps that simply didn’t deliver on the numbers…maybe they were even failures.  And that’s the trouble right?  From the outside looking in, you have no idea what works or what impacted numbers, etc.

So what can I offer?  What is appropriate to look for from these rather short interactions we have at speaking engagements, or through blog posts?  I hope to add value by sharing proven approaches to solving problems.  I can share with you what specifically worked, but I think I can help more by sharing HOW we solved the problem, how we dug into the data, etc.

That’s what I plan to do here.  Sure, I’ll include the specifics of tools that worked or didn’t, optimizations that were really successful or not, etc.  But to build off the old adage about teaching one to fish, that’s what I hope to do here.  You’ll be the judge.

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Next: Internal vs. External Metrics: Why what data you show your board doesn’t help you manage your business