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May 28, 2007

The Web Analytics Dip: Oh my god, MATH!

By Alex Cohen

I have a dirty, little secret.  It's the kind of thing that might cause me to be shunned by the industry.  I'm... not really a math guy.  Amazingly, you can be a decent strategist and web analyst (according to my title, I'm half of each) without being a grab-your-TI-86-and-pocket-protector sort of numbers guy. 

The key word in that sentence was "decent".  But, I want to be awesome.  Chances are, you want to be awesome too. 

Our CEO let me take one of her copies of The Dip by Seth Godin, which I read over the holiday weekend.  To oversimplify it, The Dip is the period during a difficult but worthwhile path that you must work through in order to become one of the best.  This begs the question: What separates a good analyst from a great one?  Well, there's a long list of things, but the one that struck me personally was, you guessed it, math.

Thedip_3   

 



The most web analytics math involves algebra (think conversion rates) and descriptive statistics (think, distribution of the number of pages viewed per visit.  Sometimes phrases like "statistical significance" will sneak into our conversations when we're talking testing.  That's barely scratching the surface of the kind of number crunching you can do. 

In my quest to get through The Web Analytics Dip, I'm going to search out (mostly) pain free lessons in math. Take, for example, Wendi Malley's new blog Coremark Analytics (her post on predictive analytics to determine optimal placement for promotions spurred my idea for this post.  Thanks Wendi!).

Where do you learn about math?  What's your professional "dip"? 

Learn More:
The Dip Blog

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