Analytics Haiku

For the past few eMetrics Summits, Jim Sterne has been holding a creative writing contest, with the winner getting a pass to eMetrics. That’s good value for a little creative writing! For the upcoming Washington DC event, Jim decided to limit the entries to haiku.

Last night I had an urge to participate. The timing couldn’t be better — the deadline was September 15! Not to worry, since I’m already attending the Summit, I don’t need a haiku pass. Unbound from the shackles of winning the contest, here are a few haikus for your consideration.

But first. Knowing Jim, I had this suspicion that he’s thrown in haikus as “easter eggs” in his “serious” writing, probably for years. Boy was I right. I found these, buried in some of his old (old!) articles:

They'll buy. And you will
   have done something positive
for the Internet. 

— from The Internet Gift Culture (1996!)

The fact is, if you
   treat people with respect, you
can sell them more stuff.

— from Personalization and Privacy in Perspective (1999)

Variety. Choice.
   Excitement about what's
around the corner.

— from Customer Interface: Easy Doesn’t It (1996)

Smith, this is Sally
   at American Express.
How can I help you?

But what if gumbo
   recipes were exactly
what you had in mind? 

— from Customer Interface: Do You Know Me? (1997)

And then my favorite: Mr. Sterne himself embedded in the haiku — quoted in an article by Wanda Loskot:

Jim Sterne: "The biggest
   mistake is going after
too large a segment." 

— from What Makes People Click? – Targeting! (2000)

Magnificent! Emboldened and inspired by the ancient texts, I thought I’d try my hand at some original verse. While I don’t claim to have reached the pinnacle of haiku, I discovered that a little wine, a healthy disregard for tradition, and a willingness to expose one’s “creative analytical side” results in lyric such as:

Web analytics
   A great and noble journey
The long quest for truth.

(Tip ‘o the hat to Matt Cutler)

We use statistics
   thus we are never certain
of the snowflake's shape.

(er .. ahem)

The Twitter debate
   analytics or measure?
A freakin' hashtag!

(inspiration: Eric T. Peterson here)

Omniture, Webtrends
   Coremetrics and Unica 
Google and Yahoo!

(note if you substitute “Adobe” for “Omniture” it still works! Coincidence?)

And finally, the topical entry.

Gary said it best:
   Adobe buys Omniture
What are they thinking?

(Gary Angel’s blog post)

Analytics Haiku

The Behavioral Targeting Penguin

Behavioral PenguinHi kids! Today the cute and cuddly Mr. Penguin from AOL will answer all your questions on behavioral targeting! Isn’t he cute! Now you know that behavioral targeting is your friend!

Have a good day! And a tip o’the cap to the Good People at AOL who keep Mr. Penguin in anchovies in return for a little education gig he does for them.

PS oh, and did you know that Google doesn’t track you around the web? Hahahahahahaha!

PPS Seriously, why doesn’t AOL focus on the benefits of BT — like that the ads you’ll get are actually relevant? I am also concerned that they are confusing BT with tracking across an ad network. They are not the same. As it is, what I see from the storyboard is I get a TRACKING COOKIE ON MY COMPUTER followed closely by somebody thinking “I should remove that cookie”… is BT the new cookie? Is the cookie the new cookie?

The Behavioral Targeting Penguin

Twitter: Social Microblogging

TwitterI’ve been dorking with Twitter .. still trying to figure out if it’s a great waste of time, or a lousy waste of time. I’m sure the cool kids are using it via SMS, but something about having my phone buzz me to learn that one of my friends is now eating a cookie just doesn’t get me that excited. The web site seems to be the best place for browsing and discovery, but for plain ol’ status updating, I’m using Twitterific for a local Mac app that grabs updated tweets every so often. PC users might want to opt for TwitBox.

I dismissed Twitter when I first tried it, but later read that what I experienced was typical, and exploring a bit can lead to an appreciation for the nuances of the service. But it wasn’t until I read Jeffrey Walker’s two Twitter posts that I decided to take another look.

With a little web spelunking, there’s an interesting social web under Twitter. (e.g. Jenna Jameson is “friends” with Barack Obama and John Edwards) but from what I can tell, the definition of “friend” is pretty loose. The “six degrees” aspect isn’t being visualized yet, but that isn’t to say people aren’t trying various mashups: witness David Troy’s Twittervision and Twittermaps. For more, check out the Twitter Fan Wiki.

I can see a great use of Twitter: as a (non-human) status service. In this specific case, you can see BART service messages – useful if you need real-time status updates for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. Another: Red Sox updates! Having Twitter as a micro multicast/social alert system (or heck, an emergency broadcast system) is a great idea – it’s faster than the typical way one uses RSS. To that end, I wonder what Bob Wyman thinks of this “publish/subscribe” system.

I know I started the post sounding skeptical, but the Twitter crew did the right thing by providing an API to the service. That means it’ll become a platform, and taken in directions the developers haven’t thought of yet. One of these may end up being a killer app.

Twitter: Social Microblogging

Trumpet and Sugar

She: did you ever see the music man? it’s funny
Me: i think so
She: they are singing a song about the wells fargo wagon coming to town with the packages
She: basically the ups truck
She: the whole town is singing
Me: what a wonderful time that must have been!
She: the entire town is chasing it
She: all excited over a trumpet and a box of brown sugar

Trumpet and Sugar