Square, Analytics, and Some Insight


I was fumbling through my RSS feeds reading a few entries and found this one.  One of the quotes quoted in this article sums up a massive shift in business in the US.

"I can buy an iPod touch] for $200, get the app and I'm in business. I don't need a contract with AT&T or anything. I'm in business.  – Jack Dorsey in The Economist "

Think about that for a minute.  This brings a massive amount of consumer power back to the individual.  This brings back something that had been gone for a while now.  There are of course, hurdles to be leapt, bureaucracy to avoid, and other unseen glitches in this shift but the possibilities are awe inspiring for sure.

A number of my fellow developers & other assorted friends have mentioned Square.  I have not used it yet, nor have they, but we each see unique possibilities.  I for one, just like the straight forward, clean, and easy interaction the service has with customers.  That alone is refreshing.

Another friend has pointed out the empowering nature for smaller businesses.  This is really part of a shift that has been occurring, but now brings home the concept decisively.  Anybody can get hold of a iPhone, Droid, or otherwise and utilize something like Square.  Someone could run a transaction in their living room if they're selling their couch, or their TV, and run it against someone else's credit card.  That is an awesome idea.

Web Analytics, Please Toss the Waterfall

Over on the Web Analytics Demystified Blog, John Lovett inspires a Manifesto for Web Analytics.  Reading the Manifesto draws attention to another idea that keeps popping into my mind about the larger analytics realm into which web analytics is really becoming.  Web analytics is type specific to the web, but in reality it reaches well beyond that now.  If not in function in ideal, and bridging that ideal into a central analytics view for a marketing department, executive staff, or whoever needs the information available for decisions to be made.  Each of John's points of the manifesto are well laid out.

Several of the points; Listen to your constituents, roll up your sleeves, assimilate to the culture, and others point out something that many software developers may simply think of as good individual Agile Practices.

#7 however really hits home with me.  Actually solve the problem, John writes.  Too often, too many groups simply band aid things.  Of course, there are always times when band aids will do just fine.  But a simple test is to ask, will you throw away this solution?  If you do not intend to throw away the solution in the near future, then following #7, is fundamental to ongoing success.  I will just add, be proactive, solve the problem.

#8 I read with some disdain.  Waterfall, being a software developer, is a vulgar word in so many ways.  The Waterfall methodology has sunk more projects, wasted more millions, blown schedules, and all in all been a poor practice in software development.  HOWEVER, John is not talking about the Waterfall Methodology.  But boy did it trigger a negative response from me at first.  I have helped out John here and removed the vulgarity and put in place a more software developer friendly word.

Strategy Credo #8: Establish a central mind-map strategy. By this I mean strategy should flow from the headwaters of the organization and align with the corporate goals set forth by the executive team. Once your measurement team is clear and united on the goals, then identify objectives as the next tier in your central mind-map that supports the corporate goals (these are your business promises).

etc, etc, etc…  you get the idea at this point.  πŸ™‚  Note:  John, I'm just giving you gruf, please don't take any offense.  πŸ˜‰

That is it from me today.  Hope all have a great first work day of 2010.  Cheers!