Monday, August 4, 2008

Back from vacation


I was away at my camp for a week, totally disconnected from modern society: no computer, no cell phone, not even a land line, no TV, water comes from a well and there is barely enough electricity to sustain the fridge and the oven. The camp is at the far end of a gravel road, surounded by 500 acres of wood and farm fields. 500 acres is enough to get lost, encounter dears, racoons, porcupine, maybe even moose and bears. Disconnected.


As I shared a while back, every couple of months I take a pause pause to think about my career. I made the jump to become freelance last December, but the decision was really taken about a year ago. Lest look back at my 3 + 1:

  1. Am I increasing my value in the market?

  2. Am I bringing the right value to my employer clients?

  3. Am I being rightly compensated for my value?

And an extra one proposed by Avinash Kaushik:

  1. Am I happy?

The problem I'm facing is interesting: I can safely say a resounding "YES!" to all of those. So is there any problem? Read on.


Vacation is a good time for cleanup...

I had enough! I'm defaced, de-twitted and still alive! Some people say Facebook and Twitter are the next greatest thing in life, I simply have enough of it. I deactivated Facebook and deleted my Twitter account. I also cleaned up my RSS feeds and will now read my Hotmail and GMail only once a day, while I keep my email account strictly for business. However, I still find value in LinkedIn and to some extent, Plaxo, so they both remain in my toolbox.

I also cleaned my cable-TV, internet, phone and cell services. It's amazing how much we end up paying if we don't review all the great "extras" that gets added over time.


immeria's tagline is "an immersion in analytics". Web analytics is an emerging field and demand for experienced people is high. Consulting, developing WASP and education: I love the three aspects. The problem is I'm being pulled into many directions, sometimes too deeply. It's easy and tempting to do consulting work, but consulting is mostly a one-to-one knowledge transfer; it doesn't scale easily. However, this is also how I can "stay in touch" with the field and identify pain points and think about learning, processes and tools to make web analytics easier. So here are the results of my introspection:

  1. Consulting: Keep a few consulting clients but refer to trusted partners whenever possible

  2. Tools: Pursue WASP development, especially for quality assurance and market research, and delegate more sub-contracting work. WASP being the first of a serie of tools to make web analytics easier.

  3. Education: Continue tutoring and teaching; actively work on educational content, especially the documentation of web analytics processes, toward a new full semester class on web analytics coming up this winter at Laval University (graduate level).


In short, what I want to do is this:

As a free spirited, independent consultant, I want to seize every opportunity to make web analytics easier by fostering education, processes and tools that are solution agnostic and largely applicable.