Category Archives: Personal

Best Music of 2012

I used to have this thing called a blog where I would write about music, sports and web analytics. It’s a new year, so let’s try to get back on track shall we?

Here are the albums I enjoyed in 2012:

1) Frank Ocean – “Channel Orange” I find myself listening to songs from this album everyday. I think Frank has an interesting talent for making mundane everyday kind of things sound extraordinary. Almost like an album made from ramblings from Twitter. Plus the dude can sing.

2) Passion Pit – “Gossamer” – Their style has changed from their last album and I think for the better. I think some of their songs are written a little heavy handed but still a damn good album and sounds unique.

3) Andrew Bird – “Hands of Glory” – I love the sound of the album, the rustic nature of it. It isn’t his finest work by any stretch of the imagination but I like the sound. I listen to “Three White Horses” constantly.

4) The xx – “Coexist” – not as good as their debut but still decent

5) The Walkmen – “Heaven” – growing old gracefully.

6) The Avett Brothers – “The Carpenter” – sound nothing like they did 4 years ago but you have to keep moving. Also, I had to have an NC band on the list.

7) The Weeknd – “Trilogy” – technically this stuff had all been out there before but was re-released as a cohesive package in 2012. For some reason in 2012 I was really into dark R&B.

The jury is still out on as I haven’t listened to them enough to properly evaluate them:

Kendrick Lamar – “good kid, m.A.A.d city”

Grizzly Bear – “Shields”

 

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Best Music in 2009, according to me

Well, I don’t really have my pulse on the music scene these days, too busy of sorts, but I still listen to a crapload of music on a daily basis, so here is what I thought was relatively decent in 2009.

1 – Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (I almost listen to this album everyday)

2 – Passion Pit – Manners

3 – Handsome Furs – Face Control

4 – The xx – xx

5 – Avett Brothers – I and Love and You

6 – Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Pains of Being Pure at Heart

7 – Bon Iver – Blood Bank

8 – Grizzly Bear – Vecaktimest

9 – Franz Ferdinand – Tonight:Franz Ferdinand

10 – Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures

11 – Dinosaur Jr – Farm

12 – Megafaun – Gather, Form & Fly

13 – Flaming Lips – Embryonic

14 – The Antlers – Hospice

15 – Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

My new gig and other assorted items of interest

Greetings to all my loyal readers (all 3 of you)…

Its been a while and for that I apologize. Lot of things going on…

1) I switched jobs recently. I am now working at a fantastic advertising/pr/communications/interactive agency in Raleigh called Capstrat. Yes, I made the plunge to the agency world. Its definitely an adjustment (billable hours) but one I think we will offer me a different set of challenges and a chance to do some interesting things in web marketing/analytics. Really, really excited. Being around people paid to be creative and the unique workplace has been energizing in a way that I needed at this point in my life. That being said, it was tough to leave a lot of my colleagues that I worked with at Lenovo. I’ve been at IBM/Lenovo for almost 10 years and largely its all I know professionally and with it all the relationships that were built up over that time. I will always miss the people there, but needed a different path.

So what am I doing at Capstrat? Basically I am here to set up a worldclass analytics program to not only help Capstrat measure and optimize campaigns and sites that we create but also work with clients in helping them measure their business. In addition to offering guidance into what needs to be measured, we’ll also have the capacity to help deploy tools (Omniture, Google Analytics, etc) as well as maintain (or improve) them. I’ve met a lot of companies over the years that already have web analytics solutions in place but either have it set up wrong or don’t know how to use it. I plan on helping those companies.  On top of that, a majority of companies lack internal staff with expertise in web analytics and we can help by acting as a virtual team member to help with reporting, analysis, and optimization. If your company needs help in these areas, please feel free to contact me or go to capstrat.com. OK, sales pitch over. 🙂

2) As part of #1, I am immersing myself in what Google Analytics has to offer as a lot of our clients are using it, so I figured it might be a good idea for me to become really good at it. As a result, I took the certification test last week and passed…so now I am certifiable. I have a post in the works about my impressions of using GA after years of Omniture experience. There are definitely good things and trade-offs as well. Hope to post more within a week on that. I also plan of taking a lot of time learning some tools I haven’t dealt with in the past such as Yahoo Analytics, Unica, and Webtrends to see what they have to offer.

3) Been reading Avinash Kaushik‘s excellent 2nd book, Web Analytics 2.0. Its been refreshing to read especially during the transitional period I am in now. I’ve been reading it almost as it was a playbook on how to approach new clients where I don’t know too much about the business. It offers step by step instructions on the process of analytics which is helpful even for people that have been doing it as long as I have. Additionally, I think Avinash has great views on campaign attribution as well as the big topic of the day, social media measurement. Its a must read for anyone wanting to get into web analytics or marketing in general in 21st century and because Avinash is about as passionate (and humorous) as anyone in this space. As a side-note whenever I mention Avinash’s name, traffic spikes on this blog (from 3 to 6), coincidence?

4) Finally, but not leastly (is that a word?)…I’m going to be a father again in late November. Super excited, but also not mentally prepared for the sleeplessness! As a result of the late nights, maybe I’ll write more?

So there ya go…you have a quick synopsis of what I am doing. Once I get my head on straight I hope to right a lot more than I have.

The exile ends in 7 days

Last class in grad school is 7 days away, and the blogging exile will end. Back to the incoherence. Thanks for your patience and patronage.

Best of 2008: Music

Such is the time of the year for Best of lists…here is my music mix of 2008.

1 – Vampire Weekend  – Vampire Weekend (it took the whole year to grow on me, now I love it)

2 – The Black Keys – Attack & Release

3 – TV on the Radio – Dear Science

4 – Shearwater – Rook

5 – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

6 – Deerhunter – Microcastle

7 – Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid Singles

8 – Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8

9 – Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak

10 – Beck – Modern Guilt

11 – My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

12 – Ryan Adams – Cardinology

13 – The Rosebuds – Life Like

14 – The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

15 – Kings of Leon – Only by the Night

16 – Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead

17 – Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

18 – The Dodos – Visiter

19 – T.I. – Paper Trail

20 – Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

The exile

Hola amigos…been a while.

Just so you know… the exile/hiatus has ended.  The semester has mercifully come to a close and I can once again regain my cognitive senses (and blog). I ain’t going to lie – getting an MBA, working full-time, and trying to keep a semblance of sanity has been a major challenge the past 5 months. I spend most of my weekends and nights reading and writing or worrying about what I need to read or write about to the point that its maddening. My performance academically and professionally haven’t up to the level I expect as my mind is constantly swirling with too much stuff. The good news though is I’m almost done. Graduation May ’09 is not far away. That day will kick off a party that will make Billy Madison’s look like a church bingo night.

Theoretically, I have less demanding courses this coming semester, but I might change my mind and put myself back into the cauldron for another few months with the lithium-ion battery company. Just not sure yet. I can’t think all that clearly at the moment to know what I’m going to do tomorrow, let alone next semester.

But either way, in May I’m done.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be working less and writing more. Some exciting things going on in the world of web analytics that I need to dive into here. So stay tuned.

Dream Jobs

So…it seems like I’ve fallen behind again on the blog. It happens. This semester has been pretty tough, and maybe I’ll get into what I mean by that at a later date, but I’ve been thinking of other things lately as well.

Over the last few months I’ve had quite a few companies and headhunters contact me about various web analytics jobs around the country. Despite a crap economy, web analytics remains a hot job. In fact, in poor economic times this stuff probably becomes even more important to make sure you are actually do the right things with your web business/marketing. I’ve turned many of these down for common reasons like location or pay but it also got me thinking what kinds of jobs would I jump at? I’ve had no real plan to how I’ve gotten to where I’m at, wherever that may be, but the interest in me of late has got me thinking a bit more what is I want to do career-wise. A colleague thought a great blog post would be what would my dream jobs be. So without further adieu, my top 10 dream jobs…

1) Working at mlb.com in basically any capacity. Churbuck would say he’d want to be webmaster of redsox.com, but why limit yourself to a team? I say get the whole thing. I am a baseball freak so saying I am even remotely related to the Majors would fulfill a lifelong dream. MLB.com is a fantastic site with bleeding edge video capabilities and I think it would interesting to work there especially in web analytics and web marketing. Wonder if I could do that from Raleigh.

2) Working in the front office of one of the doormats of Major League Baseball in somewhat of a Bill James-esque fashion. Why do the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and Washington Nationals always finish in the cellar? Bad management and not developing their farm system. I’d love to work in the general manager’s office involved with personnel decisions, like drafting players, should we sign this free agent, etc. Tons of data analysis and using my years of accumulating useless baseball knowledge would be an amazing career. Again, I could brag that I’m in the Majors.

3) Google’s  Web Analytics Evangelist, Jr. – I’ve told him this before, but Avinash Kaushik has one of the coolest jobs in the world. I’d like to be the junior version of that. Of course the travel would probably kill me (recall the Japan trip?), not sure how he does that part of it, but its got to be fun teaching the virtues of actually measuring stuff to improve your web presence. Like bringing electricity to cave men.

4) Professor in Web Marketing at Appalachian State – I’ve always sort of thought about eventually getting a PhD and kicking it in the mountains of NC at my alma mater. Going to school any further would kind of suck, but I still think the job would rock. Get the summers off to travel or whatever. I think I could handle that.

5) Something in green energy. I firmly believe this will be like the Internet was, but probably bigger. One of the projects I am working on with my team at NC State is to create an electric car battery and bring it to market, so I’ve been immersed in this stuff over the last 2 months. This market is ready to explode as gas prices and climate change come to a head. I want to be a part of it to cash and be the Bill Gates of Green Energy.

6) Product Development for Analytics Software company like Omniture or Google Analytics. I love thinking about the kinds of problems marketers have in the web analytics arena, actually solving them for people by making improvements to the tools would be even better.

7) Brewmaster for Rogue. Best beer on planet. They could pay me in Double Dead Guy beer, or at least put it in my pension. Plus, I am fairly certain no one would care if I came to work with a big beard and wearing flannel everyday. What does this job have to do with web analytics or marketing? Absolutely nothing.

8) Salary cap space-filler/player in the NBA. You know there are guys on the roster of NBA teams that are solely there to give teams cap flexibility? Like I think Keith Van Horn makes like $4M a year just so he can be traded to make sure the salary cap isn’t exceeded in trades. Like salary cap buffer. I can be that guy. And I’ll do it for half that. And I’ll keep your stats while sitting on the bench. At halftime I can hand over regression analysis to the coach that says there is a negative correlation with points everytime the shooting guard touches the ball.

9) Video Game tester. I mean how awesome would that be? “Honey, how was your day at work?” “Well, I got stuck on that board with the ogres again, just couldn’t get past them. It was a rough day”. Also, working on the assumption I would wear sweatpants to work and drink beer at lunch without HR getting involved.

10) The Sports Guy’s intern. Those that don’t read Bill Simmons on ESPN’s page 2 probably have no idea what i am talking about. But I would get mad street cred within my crew which would be worth the pay cut.

If you guys out there have other suggestions, feel free to add…