Happy New Year!
It is with great pleasure that I say farewell to 2010 and greet 2011 with open arms.
2010 was a very exciting year for me:
1) I finished 5 sprint triathlons! Read more at http://aricintraining.com
2) I set the foundation for my triathlon training dashboard. More to come later.
3) I survived a near death experience thanks to being stung by a bee while riding my bike!
4) I am the author of one of the top not for profit flight simulator blogs in the world. Check it out: http://arealityofmyown.wordpress.com
5) I learned the value of what it means to be honest and sincere in a good friendship.
6) I was able to help a leading cloud computing company understand their business better with some creative analytics and visualizations.
7) learned that I still have a lot to learn.
8) Universal Studios Hollywood is a much smaller park than I expected.
9) I learned how wonderful it feels to have someone by your side through thick and thin.
10) I know that for all the wonderful changes that occurred during 2010, I know 2011 will have many more to come.
11) Learned that there is never a perfect answer to anything.
Overall, I think 2010 was a year of challenges that truly tested my devotion to achieving my goals. I know that I will only achieve them if I am consistent with my perseverance.
Cheers to an awesome 2011!
Knowing something is half the battle. Communicating that something is the other half, but that is the subject of another post.
Knowing how your customers use your product and how they want to interact with you is a great thing. Two major steps toward becoming customer oriented.
But then you realize that what you know, might not be what you know. You see signs that your data may be incomplete or inaccurately measured. What do you know now?
1) You need to stop and reevaluate what you know.
2) Depending on the issue, you might be realizing that what you know, might be valid to some degree.
3) On the other-hand, you might be realizing that an entire rebuild of the data warehouse is in order.
4) You start making a mind map of the situation to visualize the scope of the problem.
5) You start counting the knowns, the unknowns, the could-be’s and the what-if’s.
6) You then start to think that maybe if you ignore it, it might, with a one in a trillion chance, actually fix itself.
Then you realize you just reconstructed the famous Donald Rumsfeld speech:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
” – Donald Rumsfeld (more Rumsfeld quotes)
In the end you may know much more than when you started. But the process of determining what you don’t know and what you do know is a great one! It is called validation.
Everyone should have a process of validation.
Metrics are the individual numbers that relate to other numbers that tell a story. Often, these are the numbers that people of all levels of the company use to make decisions.
If a company has a firm grasp of their metrics, fully understand their engine, and have reporting in the right places, there can be some pretty impressive looking dashboards available that tell the health of business at a glance.
However, those fabulous looking metrics and dashboards might be completely meaningless if the there is a broken link between the customer touch point and the data server. As companies grow, data grows exponentially and marketing landing pages pile up on the server, there is more and more potential for something to break. Undetected breakage can kill a company!
The best way to resolve this is to assume that the entire system is broken and one must test, test, and test again. Keeping records at the major data transfer points is one way to keep track of records dropping out and why. Doing routine quality checks on the data is also a way to keep confidence levels up.
Knowing the data, the trends, and the engine is a great way to detect breakage. If sales from search take a dive and they have been consistent for the past three years, maybe something broke… maybe your campaigns need a refresh. A good analyst usually has great instinct on the issues.
Patience in drilling down, slicing and dicing, and becoming intiment with your data is the only way to understand it, make sure it works, and that the story is non-fiction as opposed to some strange, poorly written fiction novel.
How confident are you in your metrics? Is it fiction or non-fiction?
“Self Data” is my term for any data set that I collect about myself. From financial statements, to trips to the bathroom to how much each meal costs, they are all data sets that have interesting patterns.
An extra special data set I have are the results of my VO2 test that helps my track my fitness level. From the first test to the second test, I about doubled my caloric burn rate and dropped my VO2 max by 15%. I had made great strides in terms of fitness.
This is why tomorrow morning’s test is so exciting to me. How much further have I improved over the past year? Can’t wait to see the impact of my behavior on this metric.