A Day with Avinash

I wish I would have taken a picture…but I didn’t want to be that guy.

So yesterday at our Lenovo HQ, behind the secret fake waterfalls, we had a mini Google Summit along with our friends down the road at SAS and Nortel. In addition, to talking about Paid Search Best Practices/Challenges we were also graced with the presence of Avinash Kaushik, zen master of the web analytics world. I am now convinced he has the coolest job on the planet.

I’ve written about him before, but I am a big fan and a disciple, so it was a treat to finally meet him in person. Often when I am stumped as to a best practice or something, first thing I do is read his book (aka the Bible) or I check out his blog. The answer is almost always there. And then by some small chance it isn’t there, I come up with an inarticulate rambling on this meager blog.

Avinash had an excellent presentation about web analytics 2.0 world we are moving towards and getting away from just reporting and stuff like that and into actual analysis. I’ve been struggling with that very idea of data puking and how to add insights instead of a gianormous spreadsheet. I am good at Excel, but I don’t think that is why they pay me. Avinash gave some very practical ideas on how to break that mold, and I actually used them today and felt fairly successful.

If nothing else was gained by Avinash’s speech, I viewed it as a kick in the pants. And I mean that in a good way. We often get bogged down with bitching about how things are like this or that within our companies, but honestly some of the blame lies in the analysts for not rising up and showing in a concise/cohesive way why the decisions other people are making are a bad idea. We have the data, why not tell people what we see? Avinash recently blogged about it and mentioned it again yesterday, but it bears repeating…sometimes to make positive changes you have to embarrass people. You have to enlighten them with data that we are doing things in a suboptimal way before they see the errors in their way.

I already know a lot about web analytics both technically and business-wise…but the thing I am missing is the cultural revolution that needs to take place organizationally to embrace the idea that testing and measuring is the only way to come up with the optimal experience for both customers and a firm. Avinash talks very passionately about taking ownership of that mantra and become the catalyst for that cultural change. That is now my mission.

I think most folks down in the weeds of the web analytics world definitely benefit from listening to Avinash, but the whole time I felt like senior leadership would get even more from it. I encourage any company struggling with grasping why web analytics/web marketing is important to contact Google/Avinash and have him stop in for a visit (Avinash, I am now your affiliate partner). It will be eye-opening and possibly revolutionary.


One thought on “A Day with Avinash

  1. It was a pleasure to be at Lenovo, considering I am such a big fan of the company (did I tell you I even insisted my wife get a ThinkPad? she has a x61).

    I am glad the team found the presentations to be of value.

    Onwards and upwards. : )


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