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With so many types of companies to work for, and analysts being in high demand, we’re at a point where many of us find ourselves in the enviable position of being able to pick which company — and which type of company — we want to work for. Oh, bother! That means… we have to choose! In-house? Consultancy? Agency? Product? What’s the “best” option? If you already know the answer is, “It depends,” then you just might be the perfect fit for consulting!
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash
0:00:05.7 Announcer: Welcome to the “Analytics Power Hour”. Analytics topics cover conversationally and sometimes with explicit language. Here are your hosts: Moe, Michael, and Tim.
0:00:22.1 Michael Helbling: Hey. Welcome to the “Analytics Power Hour”. This is episode 186. And we have definitely made reference to the amazing amount of job flexibility that we all enjoy in the analytics industry. It’s pretty cool. We’re very in-demand and that means we have a lot of ability to shape our careers however we want to. But with that, there’s still a lot of things to figure out like challenges as you build your career. And this question actually came from a listener, John Domingo. Thanks for sending this question in, which is basically, “What’s better? Being at one company or joining, say, maybe a consulting firm and having a bunch of different clients at a single time?” And as luck would have it here at the “Analytics Power Hour”, we have all worked on both sides of this equation, and actually, I’ve even spent a little time in a product-focused company, so that gives us a little bit of that, too. But Moe, how are you doing?
0:01:23.3 Moe Kiss: I’m doing pretty great.
0:01:25.7 MH: Do you have a simple, quick answer? We could just shut this podcast down right now?
0:01:29.5 MK: Do what you love.
0:01:30.7 MH: Hey. That’s actually not bad. Tim Wilson, I bet you don’t even have strong opinions about this topic.
0:01:38.8 Tim Wilson: Love what you do. No, do analytics podcasting full-time.
0:01:44.8 MH: Do analytics… That was a perfect and missed opportunity to tell people to just do their fuckin’ job.
0:01:48.2 TW: Just do their…
0:01:51.5 MH: Anyways.
0:01:53.1 TW: I’m slipping, I’m getting old.
0:01:54.7 MH: And I’m Michael Helbling, and it used to be part of my job to make sure people submitted their timesheets on time so I’ve seen it all. But yeah, let’s get into this. So I think it’s a really good question and I’ve heard this question many, many times as people are coming up in their careers, sort of talk about which is better for career growth? What’s gonna provide the better opportunity for growing their careers? So how do we start this convo, you two?
0:02:22.6 TW: [chuckle] Well, I can give my two cents that at the opposite of what I did… Well, one. I didn’t start out in analytics but I started out in-house or client-side but both of those are… They make me giggle a little bit ’cause they’re defined purely from the perspective of the consultant like, “Oh, you’re in-house.” No, aren’t we all in-house? Or “You’re client-side.”
0:02:42.6 MH: Yeah.
0:02:44.0 TW: And then I have been more agency or consulting kind of for the latter parts of my career and from a pure, generic, average generic recommendation, I think that’s kind of backwards. I would generally recommend doing it in the other direction.
0:03:03.3 MK: Yeah, totally.
0:03:05.4 TW: To get the earlier breadth of experience.
0:03:07.6 MH: Oh, so do more consulting…
0:03:10.1 MK: Earlier, yeah.
0:03:10.8 MH: Experience earlier and then move over? I think, actually, that makes a lot of sense to me, too. It’s interesting, though, ’cause I do think it’s a very personal path. I think it has a lot to do with your personality and what you want out of your work life.
0:03:25.7 MK: Yeah. I do think there are different, maybe to Tim’s point, different points in time in your life, as well, where one or the other might suit more. I know when I was in the agency, I feel like I… And it was probably also ’cause I was new to the industry, but I reckon I learnt in one year at an agency what it would have taken me three years to learn in-house and that’s just because of the breadth, depth, and pressure of being in an agency. I do thrive under pressure, but at the time I didn’t really enjoy it. I’m grateful for the experience now because I learned a lot, but I know a guy who just started working with me who’s been in an agency for the last 15 years, and I don’t know how he’s done it. I mean, Tim, most of your career has been… I don’t know how people do agency long-term, long haul. I think it’s a good experience. I think you learn a lot, but it definitely wasn’t for me forever.
0:04:20.0 TW: Well and I’ve seen a danger of being agency starting out is that what you can miss is kind of internal organizational dynamics and I think the way that it tends to get talked about is agency or consulting: Broader set of projects, don’t get to go as deep, fast-paced, tracking your time. In-house, client-side: Generally speaking, slower pace, not that people aren’t working hard and overworked and not enough hours in the day, but you get to go much deeper. But when it comes to you need to build a relationship and knowing who’s who and not being able to… If there’s somebody who is a perpetual blocker, they’re probably not going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere. You’re gonna just have to keep dealing with them which can be a large part of your job whereas at an agency or consultancy… I guess, I’ve never worked at a consulting role where I’m full-time on any given client. I have been in-house at times where we have consultants who have the team on the engagement and they’re on the engagement for six months. I’ve never been a consultant in that role where you’re really in… You’re not… I mean, staff augmentation has a dirty connotation to it, but eight hours a day…
0:05:42.1 MH: Does it? There’s some companies who just that’s their thing. I don’t know if it’s terrible.
0:05:46.1 TW: Well, I think it’s… Well, that’s… Yeah, I guess I feel like staff augmentation gets treated as not being very strategic, I guess.
0:05:55.2 MK: Well, if you’re working on one client full-time from an agency, I think you’re probably missing a bit of the benefits of both because you’re not getting the variety that comes with an agency, but you’re also not getting the stability, the embeddedness or possibly the relationships that you’d get by working directly for the company, but that… I mean…
0:06:17.4 MH: Yeah. I guess the one time in my career that was true is when I worked at McDonald’s ’cause I worked through an outsourced firm, so that’s…
0:06:24.8 MK: Did you feel a part of the team?
0:06:27.3 MH: No, not at all. Not because there weren’t really nice people there, but it was just sort of definitely… There were employees and there were contractors and that was a pretty different experience, let’s just say. Yeah.
0:06:42.5 TW: Which I, having observed that, there are times as a consultant where I am a consultant at the consultancy and typically working as a, “Oh, this is search discovery, they’re our analytics agency.” And then there are people who I barely even know, whether they’re on-site and they’re contractors, it’s more for accounting and financial reasons that they are treated as though they appear to be employees. They have an office, they have an email but they’re actually working through some third party agency and that always seems weird ’cause the communications come out and they’re still not full-time employees. They don’t have benefits through that, they don’t have vacation through that. That has always, to me, seemed weird.
0:07:31.1 MK: They sometimes don’t get the professional… Well, almost always don’t get the professional development that comes with being a full-time employee.
0:07:37.5 TW: Yeah, so I guess we don’t have… Any of us have experience doing that who can make the strong case for… I think it sometimes that’s like a temp-to-perm mode. I think of my wife’s company. Yeah, they will get contractors for a six-month engagement and it is totally fine if they hire that person on full-time so from a trial perspective. But I feel like I have various clients who, nope. That’s just the way they wanna staff.
0:08:03.6 MH: Yeah, it depends on the company why they do those things.
0:08:07.5 MK: But it can be a way to get your foot in the door, too.
0:08:12.2 MH: Oh, 100%.
0:08:12.3 MK: There are some big companies who shall remain nameless who do that a lot. You basically get taken on as a contractor and that’s a way to possibly get a position.
0:08:21.0 MH: Yeah and actually before I left the aforementioned McDonald’s, they were offering me a full-time job so…
0:08:31.8 TW: When was this? Between… This was between Lands’ End and…
0:08:34.2 MH: It was like 2007 and 2008. It was during that timeframe.
0:08:38.2 TW: Is this after Lands’ End?
0:08:41.6 MH: No, before Lands’ End.
0:08:42.1 MK: Before Lands’ End.
0:08:42.8 MH: Before Lands’ End, yeah.
0:08:43.8 TW: Okay.
0:08:43.9 MH: This was my escape from Cleveland, it was… I was like, “I’ve gotta go to Chicago to get… ” But actually, it’s worth talking about ’cause I started my career in consulting and I was very much trying to find a job on the inside to figure out if any of the stuff I’d learned over my consulting years actually worked for real. I had a real problem with all the things I “knew” and whether or not they actually worked in the real world. And so I was very much trying to go from consulting into working inside because I wanted to prove that, “Okay, this actually is not fake and all the things I learned… ”
0:09:29.9 TW: So it’s like you said, you made it inside and you’re like, “Oops. Didn’t work, better go back to consulting.”
0:09:33.0 MH: Well, no. I really… I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it and I don’t wanna speak ill of any company, but I would say the pacing for me… And I think, actually, this is something really good to talk about because as a general rule, I feel like pacing of work inside of consultancies tends to go a little faster.
0:09:52.7 MK: Totally.
0:09:53.3 MH: But I would argue that there’s a layer of companies, a la like Moe at Canva, you’re moving it quickly, moving very quickly. So I feel like pacing at a company, like a fast-growth company like Canva or some tech company, that might have a very similar feel to it and offer some of the benefits of working inside. And that might be a really nice… If you want a kind of a job where you’re moving and clipping along at a really nice rate, that might be where to go look then. And I haven’t had that experience, but I don’t know if you could talk to that, Moe?
0:10:24.8 MK: Yeah, I think the interesting… I do think the pace at agencies is definitely, definitely faster. It’s actually more the expectation of deadlines that I find is different is like… At an agency, I remember being up at two or three in the morning ’cause it was like there was no option to not deliver. You had to deliver or… I felt under immense pressure to make sure I met deadlines. I think when you’re in-house, there is more flexibility. There’s a reasonableness of like, “Look, we might hit eight out of 10 goals this season and if we miss two, that’s reasonable.” And that’s the difference or… I feel like Tim’s gonna be churning over. I don’t feel like deadlines have the same threat to them when you’re in-house.
0:11:15.7 TW: I agree but let me ask this ’cause now it’s been a while. I didn’t feel like I learned the language of consulting and the deliverables ’cause you were talking about delivery. In agencies and consultancies there are deliverables and for a range of reasons, that’s the way the statement of work in the engagement which means there can be less flexibility. And this was in many ways easier when I was a little bit closer to an independent consultant to kind of build the flexibility in to say, “Look, we’re gonna do right by you as the organization and if we need to pivot part way through, then we can do that.” But I do feel like… Certainly, and I will a distinction between agencies that are creative agencies and I’ve spent three and a half years mainly… The other ones were kind of weird hybrids, where the analytics is like a checkbox in the SOW. There was not gonna be flexibility from our account team. If we said we were delivering a weekly report, we were delivering a weekly report, goddammit, whether it made any sense or not and that was not gonna be negotiable.
0:12:27.0 MK: Totally.
0:12:27.7 TW: Whereas in-house, if you say, “Uh, hey guys. Anybody using this weekly report? No? Okay, let’s stop doing it.”
0:12:34.4 MK: Totally.
0:12:35.9 TW: It’s a little bit easier to factor in opportunity cost. On the flip side of that, I think in-house things can be really hard to turn off if there’s not a lot of organizations that don’t have… Analytics operates just as a cost center and if that cost center isn’t being charged back, there can be… When I was in-house, there were cases where reports just never got shut off ’cause there was no cost. No one was cognizant of the cost and so things just kept getting done, whereas at least when you are writing defined agreements to say, “This is when it’s gonna start, this is when it’s gonna end and dollars have to move between two companies to continue this.” There is, I think, a little more rigor around, “Does this make sense?”
0:13:23.8 MK: But at the same token, when you’re in-house… And this is actually one of the points I wanted to touch on, I do think the depth of work is different because I know I would deliver an insights deck to a client, an agency, and you’d come back a couple of months later and they’re like, “Give us more insights.” And you’re like, “Fuck. You didn’t action anything I did last month or the month before.” Whereas in-house, I found that the projects I have worked on, you can get so much deeper because even if the agreed project at the start is quite small, if you realize that there’s more value to the company by putting more resources on it, by making the project bigger, the scope bigger, the depth of the work, you can do that, I think, more easily. Because people, soon as they can start to see the value, are like, “Yes, actually this makes sense,” and you can pivot a lot more quickly. I don’t know. Maybe you guys have a different experience, but I’ve just found that the projects I’ve been able to work on in-house have been able to be more successful because you have all that knowledge to be like, “We can add more value with this.”
0:14:33.4 MH: And I think as you get more senior on the consulting side, you have more ability to make sure that things are set up the right way but when you’re earlier on, a lot of times the job just gets handed to you as written and you’re not really expected to come up with a great idea that expands the budget or changes how we’re gonna deliver this or… And for someone who is a thinker, which is all analysts who are really good at being analytical, you see those things a lot of times, quite easily, and it can lead to a lot of cognitive dissonance, I find. Or at least I experienced a lot of that and it took a long time for me to not handle it in negative ways. I might still handle it in negative ways but as a consultant, I was probably not really a very good consultant for the first many years of my career because I would see like, “Well, we should be doing it this way based on what I’ve… Hearing from the client.” And they’ll be like, “Well, shut up and do it the way we wrote it down because that’s what everyone expects.” And sometimes that could be a real problem ’cause it’s hard to go with the program sometimes when you think you know a better way.
0:15:41.3 TW: Which, to some extent, both of your thoughts are making me think there’s a degree of… I think in both, or maybe just a question for you guys, is one of them less likely to be a, “Do it. It needs to be done this way.” I feel like I’ve run in in both cases where there’s an expectation of how to do analytics well or what analytics is. The old… Hell, I might have run into it in the last two weeks. “We’ve got all the data. We built the dashboards. Can you please come in and get some insights from the dashboard?” That can happen, I think, internally and externally. You can get hired into or look at the analytics subreddit on and constantly people are saying, “I’m just being told to do things this way and that just doesn’t seem right. I’ve been doing it now for six months. I’m going nowhere.”
0:16:33.8 MK: That’s the people around you, though. I don’t think that’s an agency or a client thing, I think that’s the people you’re working with.
0:16:40.4 MH: Yeah, but it goes to picking the company really carefully. ‘Cause yeah, the experience of walking into a situation where the client, your boss, the agency boss, whoever you’re working for, has these completely terrible expectations of what you’ll be able to accomplish. I was just talking to a leader who got put into a new role and her boss basically expects them to have a massive impact on this other department. And I said, “Do you have control over that department?” “No, we do not.” Alright, so that means for you to have success, based on the criteria that you’ve been… You have to figure out how to influence that department with no control. And that’s a tough challenge. So it’s sort of like, “Yeah, if you’re gonna ask me to actually make that impact, then put me in charge of that impact.” But that’s where it gets pretty… It can get really difficult ’cause I don’t think there’s a great deal of sophistication a lot of times within companies around, “Well, what do analytics people actually do and what do we expect them to produce?”
0:17:46.1 TW: So that’s making me realize that there is… Another difference is when you’re in-house, once you’re in-house and you get through the initial couple of months, six months, of meeting the team and knowing the people, at that point, you know everybody and then you’re occasionally getting… Trickling in somebody who’s new or somebody’s leaving which can be a lot more comfortable from establishing new relationships. You’re always part of the, “I know what’s going on.” Very quickly, you’re part of the “I know what’s going on,” whereas on the consulting or agency side, typically, you’re the new person having to start from scratch. You don’t know who they are, you don’t know who you’re dealing with, how easy they’re gonna be to work with. You don’t know their business and there is a… I have high anxiety every time I roll into a like, “Well, congratulations. You’re now gonna be working in the shipping industry or pharma or healthcare.” I’m like, “Ahh.” And it takes… And these are the people and these are their roles, every organization is different.
0:18:47.6 TW: And then getting to the point where, “Oh, we’ve been working together for a month or two months or three months,” and… But that cycle gets repeated, I think a lot more on the consulting side. You’re rolling on to another engagement, and that means you’re meeting more people. I think it’s healthy, from a… Maybe then this is, for me, that’s not something I relish doing, but I think it’s the sort of thing that does probably… Has helped me grow. Like you can’t slip into complacency ’cause you’re kind of having to reprove yourself, re-educate, figure out how and where to meet them, what sorts of influence you’re gonna need to try to exert and what tools you can use.
0:19:31.8 MK: I actually know an engineer who would only do contract work because he personally found that the pressure meant that he always kept on top of his game, because like you’re only as good as the contract that you’re currently doing, right? I mean I think that sounds like a horrendous way to live. There’s lots of financial benefits to it, but he really liked it because he was like, “I’ve worked in-house and I just, I felt myself slip, whereas now I constantly have to push myself to be better.”
0:20:00.8 MH: Yeah, actually, that’s a good point, Moe, and actually that’s a category we didn’t even really bring up, which is people who do contract or freelance on their own, which sort of similar to what I do, I guess, being an entrepreneur. And, yeah, the stressful part is definitely the not knowing where the next piece of work is coming from. Although thousands of people found out during COVID that the “jobs” they had meant nothing, because they just were laid off or furloughed. So I don’t know that it provides more security, I also think that… I don’t know, I have this belief that the nature of work is changing a little bit. And I don’t know if maybe that’s a little bit too forward for this conversation, but the idea of being employee, I don’t know how relevant that’s gonna be in the next 20 years.
0:20:49.4 MK: Interesting.
0:20:51.5 MH: I just sort of don’t… I, honestly…
0:20:55.3 TW: Deep.
0:20:55.3 MH: I know it’s a little bit off the wall, but I just sort of see us changing and there’s more and more people in our industry, for sure, that are going out on their own or doing their own thing and successfully and that’s a really great example, Moe. Like that’s not why I went out on my own. And the reason I went out on my own was not to make sure my skills stayed sharp, it was because I didn’t want anybody else to tell me what to do anymore.
0:21:18.4 TW: He didn’t wanna work with me, admit it.
0:21:19.7 MK: Whereas I liked working for the woman.
0:21:23.3 MH: Well, no. Listen, some of my best bosses have been women, so I agree with that, Moe. But no, it was more about my vision and what I wanted to accomplish and how much I wanted other people to have direct influence on that from the top perspective, ’cause if I work… Let’s say I went and worked inside a company, I’ve seen people who were way better than me, have their entire departments just get totally realigned just on a whim, seemingly, and then in the consulting space, like you just deal with the regular stuff of consulting and it wears on you unless you get to call the shots. So I don’t know, I feel like I’m a little unique probably, but I think there is a sense that a lot of people at least wanna test those waters at various times, go out on their own, and I’ve noticed some things… I see you wanna say something, Tim, so maybe I should stop, but I’ve noticed some things about that that I think would be worth saying.
0:22:20.8 TW: Well, you could say it. I feel like the number of times that I have read your body language, and continued talking is quite high, but the going out on your own, which is that, there’s the consulting at a consultancy or an agency. Like I do think there’s a point where there’s the “What value am I bringing? And how self-driven… How much of a self-learner am I?” Like when there have been times where somebody’s… I’m talking on a career panel at a university and they’re like, “Well, I’m a graduate and should I just hang out my own shingle? I’ve taken the GAIQ test?” I’m like, “Well… ”
0:23:01.4 MK: That’s an awful idea.
0:23:03.8 TW: Yeah, it’s like you’ve gotta… So I think, that’s the other, one of the whether you’re on a… If you’re the sole analyst inside a company, that can be very, very lonely.
0:23:16.7 MH: Yeah, and if you’re a freelancer, that could be very lonely.
0:23:19.0 TW: Right, and those are both ones where like who are you surrounding yourself with? Now, I think in the last five years between… Because of things like the Measure Slack, because honestly, podcasts, because of, there are lots of ways to… Because of Twitch, because of YouTube, it is now… You can build some level of a community, but you still need to be pretty motivated to grow like this. If it’s like, I’m gonna learn analytics, and then if somebody is like, I know GA inside and out, and then all of a sudden, GA4 comes along, and, okay, are you equipped to fully ramp up on that? So I will say that that’s been a benefit of being in the consulting work that I’ve done having peers in consulting who are also on yet other clients. It’s much more common for somebody to say, “Hey, has anybody run into this challenge?” And they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve worked on it, and this is what we ran into,” is a lot easier than being a sole proprietor.
0:24:21.9 MH: Yeah. So I like it, and I think the thing you’re kind of starting to circle around is the idea of development over the course of your career. ‘Cause I think it’s very different when you work inside a company, your development is built around what the company needs to have happen for their programs, their systems and things like that, which can be great ’cause it can be very dovetailed with what your interests are and where you’re trying to go. I think in a consulting environment, it’s a little bit more open because there’s opportunity around a lot of things, so if you’re like, “Hey, I wanna go from what I’m doing over here to jump into maybe this over here.” It’s sort of like, “Okay, we see a path for you and that’s good. Let’s do it.”
0:25:03.9 MK: Really? I think the total opposite.
0:25:05.5 MH: Well, in my experience, that’s been the case.
0:25:08.1 MK: I think in consulting, you can often get pigeonholed as like, you’re good at this thing…
0:25:12.7 MH: That’s true.
0:25:13.2 MK: We don’t have anyone else that’s good at this thing. You need to keep burning at it.
0:25:16.6 MH: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, that’s true.
0:25:18.8 MK: Whereas like…
0:25:19.5 MH: Because if it’s a small team. I was thinking about Search Discovery…
0:25:20.4 MK: Yeah, sorry. I’m thinking, yeah.
0:25:21.3 MH: And that’s a really big team, where we really encourage that, too, at that time.
0:25:24.7 MK: Whereas, yeah. Like in Canva, I absolutely have multiple staff members that are like, “Okay, I’ve done marketing analytics for a while, I wanna go do product analytics,” or “I wanna go… ”
0:25:34.3 MH: Good point.
0:25:35.6 MK: Sit close to finance or that sort of thing. So I guess it does. It’s maybe more a reflection of the size of the company than…
0:25:39.3 TW: But I mean, well, I think it’s back to where, Michael, you were with the changing way of work. So yeah, Search Discovery definitely encourages that a lot, so speaking specifically for that environment kinda the, “I wanna shift around.” But I think even if you’re doing consulting and you’re really good at something and you’re like, “But this is now mind-numbing. I don’t wanna do it. I want to explore something else.” You have… You can… Probably a transferable skill, and you can start looking for an organization where you’ll say, okay, I come in with a strong thing, but I wanna pivot, I wanna go a little bit broader, and so it behooves the consultancies to accommodate what the employee’s interests are.
0:26:24.0 MH: Right, and I would say on the freelancing side, the biggest challenge is you have to take your own time to do that work and development, and so often it’s very tempting ’cause you’re working super hard on your clients and getting new clients, that you don’t take the time to do that and you feel trapped as a result of that. So that’s a trap to avoid in the freelance side of things.
0:26:45.8 MK: I was just gonna say on the recruitment side, one of the things that I’ve noticed, some people are a bit funny about hiring from agencies sometimes, like if someone doesn’t have a heap of in-house experience. I love people that have come from agencies, like hands down when I’m looking at a resume, if you have agency experience, I upweight it, and the reason the… Well, there’s a couple of reasons is like, one, they tend to be stronger communicators with their stakeholders. I find that just… I think… Well, maybe this, again, depends on the size of the agency you’re in…
0:27:21.4 MH: Depends on the agency, I think.
0:27:24.4 MK: But, typically, you have to keep your clients updated on your work, and so they have these built-in processes around that. I do find often agency folks are a little bit better at managing their time, because if you’ve ever had to do a time sheet, like you have to be accountable for how you spend your day, and I never ever wanna do a time sheet again, but I find that that’s another good skill. And the third skill that I see come a lot from agency people, which is just utterly, like you can’t teach this shit sometimes, is how to project-manage a data project. And when you go in-house, I actually feel like sometimes that becomes even more important because you’re often doing these really deep long-term pieces of work, and if you’ve worked really closely with a client success manager or account manager, and you’ve seen how they break a project down into different components, how they add timelines to it. That is a skill that I love to see, and I typically have seen that come more from people who have moved from an agency.
0:28:33.0 TW: I completely agree, but there’s the inverse of it that makes my… That I twitch when I hear it, because on the consulting side, when we are talking to candidates sometimes, and I’ve heard this multiple times with multiple people, they’ll be like, “Well, they’ve never been in consulting, so we’re just worried about their ability to do that.” And that, I think, is super dangerous ’cause one, something has drawn them to the role and two, they’ll either love it or they won’t. And I’ve talked to people, and technically, I switched from… When I switched from being in-house, which was the first 10, eight or nine years of my career to being at an agency consultancy, I didn’t bat an eye. It was very different, but it was fine, and so I twitch when somebody puts that as a possible negative, because I think what they do bring is the reality, especially having been inside a large enterprise, over what’s been mostly agency and consulting for the last, I don’t know, 15 years for me, had one nine-month period where I was in-house at a large insurance company where the entire nine months I was there, and I was running a project that nothing got pushed to production until two weeks after I left, so then, that was moving at incredibly slow pace.
0:30:04.2 TW: Still pretty useful, ’cause I have got clients that move at that kind of pace and being able to empathize with what motivated stakeholders who are, when they say, “We can’t get it approved.” Just add the person as a user to Adobe Analytics and you’re a few weeks into it. And being able to empathize with your stakeholder who’s frustrated without judging them ’cause that… The people who are career agency side, boy, they can be a really annoying fucks, too. They are… We are better than, we are… And that really sticks in my craw, so the people who started out their career in agency, and they’ve been there for a five… It’s quick, some of them, within a year or two, they’ve been taught that they are better than the in-house people, and that drives me nuts.
0:30:58.2 MH: Yeah, and I think there’s one thing to watch out for that I’ve seen sometimes crop up in certain agency environments, which is a misunderstanding or a misplacement of confidence in lieu of competence. And so people think, because I’m bold about it, I must be right. And especially in the world of analytics, that can be very damaging. And I think that’s where, when you get on the agency side of things, you do have to watch out for those kinds of things, and I think, Tim, you kinda were maybe side referencing that may be a tad. I don’t know.
0:31:32.9 MK: I think I was just gonna say, it sounds like a lot of what we’re coming back to is if you want a really rich career where you learn a lot, it is probably a good idea to consider doing it a bit of time at each, if you find the right companies to work for, because I think you’re gonna have a miserable time one way or the other, if you work for a shit company. But if you like the company, you could be very happy in either setting, but it does seem like you have a… The people that we’re talking about, or the skills that we’re talking about come from having a good experience with each.
0:32:05.8 MH: Yeah, I think if you were to find a perfect career, right out of college, you go to work for JD Long, our previous guest, because he sounds amazing. [chuckle] Actually there’s a lot of previous guests who would be amazing to work for, and after three to five years you go to work for Moe, and she can really help you develop, and then after you’ve been in the industry for about 10 to 12 years, then maybe what you do is you go work alongside Tim and they take it to the quintessential level. [chuckle] I think maybe that’s the path you should be looking for.
0:32:35.6 TW: And together we can try to go work for Cassie.
0:32:39.3 MH: That’s right. Ooh, yeah. Okay, actually that brings up something that’s not unimportant, which is, I found, especially as you’re earlier in your career, what companies you work for weighs heavily on people’s minds so like, “Is this gonna be the right look on my resume?” I think there’s two parts to it. One is, how quickly am I progressing? Like getting promoted and going to the next level. That’s one piece…
0:33:04.3 MK: Which is really, really stupid, but we can touch on that in a minute.
0:33:07.9 MH: We can say that now, but I’m just saying these are real concerns that people, I definitely think people have. And then I think the other one is, is like, “If I don’t have one of these blue chip-type companies on my resume…
0:33:18.2 MK: Totally.
0:33:19.8 MH: Am I gonna get overlooked for big jobs later on. If I can’t get in at a Google, let’s say, or Facebook or Canva, whatever the cool company is. And Canva is a really cool company, actually, so you should try to work there, honestly. [chuckle] But you know what I mean? I think, especially John, who brought this question up, he’s sort of thinking, well, after this many years in this job, probably in his mind, there are both of those questions kind of at play of like, should I care about this? Should this be something… ‘Cause I know that was true for me. I had a little bit of a disadvantage in that I worked in a small consulting company my first job. I didn’t finish my college degree, and so I had a lot of doubt about whether or not big companies would ever even try to hire me. And it took a long time, but eventually a bunch of companies did try to hire me and I did get hired, so I was like, “Oh cool, I don’t need to finish my college degree. I’ll just be an analytics person.” So super awesome for me. But I still see those job postings on LinkedIn where you gotta have an advanced statistics degree or an MBA, and I’m like, “I wonder if I would get pushed out of consideration for those?” Luckily, I don’t need those or want those jobs, but I always wonder.
0:34:33.8 MH: Let’s step aside for a brief word about our sponsor, ObservePoint, the leading platform for ongoing auditing of all of your website data collection. Hey, Tim, I know you work with a bunch of clients. How often do you see tagging that’s broken.
0:34:49.1 TW: 100% of the time. Actually, the first thing I do when working with a new client is run a script, an R, of course, that looks at like the top values for every variable, and it’s like, I almost always find that like a quarter to a third of the variables don’t actually have any data at all in them for the last 60 days.
0:35:09.4 MK: Really? That seems crazy.
0:35:09.5 TW: It is a little crazy, but to me, it’s an indication that the implementation was basically rolled out without enough thought for how it would be properly monitored and maintained kind of over time, and ObservePoint is a great platform for doing that, ensuring not only that the expected tags are present across the site, but that they’re actually collecting the expected values.
0:35:30.1 MH: That’s so true, and it’s a core feature of ObservePoint and it can actually do a lot more including checking for compliance with the privacy regulations, right?
0:35:39.4 TW: That’s right.
0:35:39.7 MH: Yeah, it’s definitely worth checking out. If you wanna learn more about ObservePoint’s many capabilities, go request a demo over at observepoint.com/analyticspowerhour. Alright, let’s get back to the show.
0:35:55.8 MK: One of the things I would say just about the cool companies on your CV, recruiters at cool companies care about that shit, like the recruitment or HR team or whatever, are like, “Oh, they worked at Facebook or Google, or yada yada yada.” The people hiring don’t give a shit. They care about your actual experience, and if you have worked for a really amazing company with a great culture, you’ve learnt a lot, you’ve got the right skills, people don’t mind what company name is on your resume, it’s about demonstrating your skills.
0:36:30.2 MH: Yeah, certainly I agree with that, Moe, but I do think people do get worried about it.
0:36:36.7 TW: Well, and that makes me… I think I saw a discussion, somewhere might have been at the Measure Slack or maybe it was… There was a question around if you’re working… If a company has a reputation of having a shitty or unethical or horrible culture, how much should the employees worry about being tarred by that? And I think as I recall, the general consensus was…
0:37:00.5 MH: Oh, that was a good question.
0:37:05.5 TW: That people aren’t gonna equate that. Now, if in your interview, you say, “Yeah, this was the best place ever.” That takes me way back when I was working where we were getting… We’d get candidates from Dell, and we had people who had gone to Dell and had come back from Dell. And we sort of knew what the culture of work at Dell was and it didn’t really align with the company I was working with. It didn’t mean we wouldn’t wanna interview people. They’d have a good experience, but we would kind of probe to say, “Did they like the culture at Dell and they were leaving for some other reason? Or was the culture at Dell kind of bothering them and they could articulate what it was that they didn’t feel like they were a good fit?” It’s kind of another way to come at that.
0:37:47.0 MK: And one of the things, actually, we try and delve into… I’ve been interviewing a lot over the last couple of weeks and I did ask someone about this yesterday is like, “What about the culture?” Have they… Well, I tend to ask about people’s personal values when it comes to particularly for interviewing for leadership position, and what have they actually done to demonstrate those values, particularly if there is a negative culture. Like how have they tangibly tried to stand up for the values that they believe in and I can rattle on about this for days, but personally, I think if you don’t believe in the company and you don’t align with their values, you need a new job. And I think we’ve talked about this before, but that is something I would be looking for in an interview as well as like, if this company does have a notoriously bad reputation, have you tried to do anything to change it? Or I guess, to protect your team from that while you’ve been there? And if you’ve reached that point, you’re ready to move on, like how do we help you do that?
0:38:44.9 MH: Yeah, it was actually Jason Thompson on Twitter, I think, Tim, just to give proper attribution. And since…
0:38:51.2 TW: Ah, that’s where it was.
0:38:52.1 MH: Since we brought up Jason, another big topic for him… It’s a good friend of mine and yours, too, I think. Is his company, he’s very against the concept of a billable hour, and I think that’s interesting as a consultancy, sort of time and time tracking is sort of part of all of that. And I think it’s interesting ’cause it’s sort of like, we won’t bill by the hour. It’s like, well, time is a constraint that every human operates under, so I tend to not have as strong of an opinion about a billable hour or not. It’s just a way of measuring a unit of time or work, it’s… I don’t know, it can be good, but it can also be bad. I think what thirty two six is trying to do, if I understand it correctly, is fight back against the bad aspects of it, but it is interesting, ’cause that’s certainly… If you go and, Moe, you made mention of this is sort of like the time tracking and never wanting to do another time sheet again in your life.
0:39:47.0 MK: Yeah. [chuckle]
0:39:47.6 MH: And I’ve been amazed… And I took a long time because I started my career in consulting. So obviously it was time sheets and I had this… And I was the worst. I was terrible at it and hated it, and I have felt the same exact way as you, Moe. And then when I became responsible for all of the people on my team and all those things, I had to relearn that whole process and that gave me a better appreciation of the purpose and meaning of all of that, which then allowed me to try to share that with the team and inculcate that into our culture a little bit more and make it less of a negative. But so many companies do it so poorly that it just leaves people with such a terrible taste in their mouth.
0:40:28.5 MK: I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I actually think it’s a good practice to understand how you spend your time. I think the burden on recording time so you can bill it is pretty unpleasant. I actually, as we’re talking about this, I’m like, maybe I should go back to measuring how I spend my time a little bit more, because I actually think it’s a really good skill and thing to do to understand where you’re productive, where you’re losing time or meetings or sucking your will to live.
0:41:00.4 TW: As an individual person tracking your time, or you can organize it in a way that is meaningful and use any of very smooth user interfaces, as soon as you go to a company that has more than like four people, they decided they’re guaranteed, they will have bought the thing that’s gonna give a nice report to finance or something, and it’s gonna be… And I have to enter time in two different time tracking systems, and clearly they went and recruited from like the fourth circle of hell for candidates to design the experience. [chuckle] ‘Cause it’s just brutal, like and everybody hates it, and they’re like, “Oh, you hate tracking time.” It’s like, “No, I kinda hate the fucking user experience. Like Harvest is great. I’ve used that for my own… I still use that ’cause I’m like, I’ll actually have an accurate measure of my time, and I will organize it in a way that is meaningful to me, and then I can use that to fill out this utter train wreck of a UI that replaced another train wreck of a UI.
0:42:01.5 MH: Wait a second, Tim. Are you tracking this time right now?
0:42:05.0 TW: Absolutely.
0:42:05.9 MH: Oh, my gosh. You’re so quintessential. You’re my hero.
0:42:08.0 TW: And I’ve got multiple, and I’ve organized it under multiple… There are like 15 different things that I have for me to track time that all roll up into like one little bucket for Search Discovery, but… Yeah, this is… I have recording time. I have recording prep time. I have publishing time.
0:42:25.6 MH: Oh, Jesus. If I had to go back and say something… I wanna make a statement. I wanna see how you both feel about it. If you can find the right people to work with, and the right company culture, then in the first five to seven years of your career, it doesn’t even matter where you work.
0:42:41.6 MK: Totally.
0:42:42.5 TW: I had a thought. Having the discipline to not equate the… Say I’m in-house. I’m in-house at a company and I’m not happy. Is that because I’m in-house at a company? Or is it because I’m in-house at this company on this team? Same thing for an agency, which is tough, you get 20 years into your career and you can look back and make that call, but it’s not like, “Oh, I’m unhappy or I’m not growing. Consulting must not be for me.” It’s like, well…
0:43:12.1 MH: Yeah.
0:43:12.5 TW: Not necessarily, it just may not be this team. So that’s my… Worrying about what’s gonna look good on the resume, I go back to my, “Fine, follow the stuff that you’re interested in and that you feel like you’re gonna get to grow and you enjoy the people,” to a point. Be cautious of, “Oh, look, I’m most comfortable with these other White dudes.” Like, have that in the back of your head that you don’t necessarily wanna be surrounded by the like me’s, but…
0:43:44.0 MK: One thing I would say that Helb’s touched on, just to add on to your thought, Tim, is, I swear, like the whole thing about how quickly you’re progressing, the biggest thing, the hands down biggest lesson I’ve learned is to focus on breadth and like try and have diversity in the type of work that you’re doing and the people that you’re working with. Like all of that stuff, I know that right now it feels like your friend has just been promoted to like a manager of some sort or some other crap, but like in the scheme of it, it’s like what will set you up for success is learning the most you can possibly learn. And you’re going to have a really fulfilling career and a really rewarding career, if like, I’m struggling now, personally with the fact that I’m not learning as much as I want to, and I’m like, I’ve still got another what, I guess, 40 years of working probably, and if you’re in a place where you can learn, don’t rush it, don’t rush to be a people manager.
0:44:43.9 MH: Forty? I was like…
0:44:45.3 TW: Forty?
0:44:45.7 MH: Ten years.
0:44:47.5 TW: Jesus Christ.
0:44:47.8 MH: Yeah.
0:44:48.7 MK: I just keep figuring retirement age is gonna increase and increase and increase…
0:44:52.6 TW: Yeah, just keep going and going.
0:44:53.0 MH: Oh, my God.
0:44:55.4 MK: We’ll probably still be working at 90 by the time I get there.
0:44:58.2 TW: This is episode 18,000. [chuckle]
0:45:02.9 MH: No, it’s a good point, Moe. But I think that’s the thing is… Yeah, and I was guilty of this, so I just know how easy it is to fall into this is just, man, that person is now in this job and they’re… I should be like… And boy oh boy, that comparison stuff, you gotta throw it right out the window. ‘Cause I just don’t think that’s the way to judge it, and honestly, the amount of ability to take steps in our industry kinda makes it so that you don’t have to craft it a certain way. Unless you’re going into a very specialized… Like, “Oh, I want my entire career to be focused on data visualization and specifically around Tableau.” Or something. Then maybe you need to be really careful, I don’t know. But if you’re in the world of analytics, there’s so much you can just change course. Like I’m doing all these projects that have so much to do with the modern data stack and ETL and BigQuery and Looker. Do you think I spent time doing that seven years ago? No, I had no idea any of that existed. Well, most of it didn’t exist seven years ago, but you know what I mean?
0:46:13.4 MH: It’s sort of like, no, you just get in there and learn it now. And the nice thing is the skills you learned previously still apply to the process, so you’re gonna be just fine. But I think that’s the thing is people get real stressed about exactly how that works and I don’t think you gotta worry about it too hard. You just gotta look for a team that will develop you. You gotta look for a company that you feel good about, their culture, and you can work within. And then spend time figuring out what you want from your work. ‘Cause some people wanna put everything into their work, they want the work to be life. Some people wanna balance, and that’ll determine where you should probably end up, as well.
0:46:54.2 MK: And those things will change during the course of your life.
0:46:57.1 MH: You can go through phases. That’s a good point.
0:47:00.0 MK: There are times where your work is everything, and then there’s times where it has to take a bit of a backseat. And I don’t see anything wrong with that.
0:47:05.1 TW: What? What’s that statement? Yeah.
0:47:07.8 MK: What? Huh? Huh?
0:47:07.9 MH: Tim and I are like backseat, what? Turn the computer off and go home? What? Yeah.
0:47:14.2 TW: I carry my laptop into the living room for the weekend. I wasn’t doing work. I was doing play.
0:47:19.7 MH: When I worked at Lands’ End, that was my experience with a good work-life balance where you didn’t even have a laptop to take home. You just turn your computer off and you go home and you spend time with your family, and in my case, play a lot of video games. But choices…
0:47:34.5 TW: Turn on another computer.
0:47:35.2 MH: Yeah, well, I am who I am. Anyway, so John, did we answer your question? ‘Cause I hope we did, at least a little bit. There’s no wrong answers, but Tim does provide free career guidance. No, who… Did we offer that one time on an episode? I think we might have.
0:47:55.3 TW: No, free consulting. I’d come in and spend half the day with the…
0:47:57.5 MH: Oh, that’s right.
0:47:58.2 TW: With a senior executive to map out what they really needed. Yeah. Gotta go find that episode and do a little editing.
0:48:05.3 MH: Do a little editing on that.
0:48:07.1 TW: Nobody’s taken me up on it. So…
0:48:08.8 MH: There you go.
0:48:09.7 MK: Actually, I might take you up on that. Thanks, Tim.
0:48:13.5 TW: Well for… Oh yeah. Moe, definitely.
0:48:15.4 MK: That sounds fab. I’m gonna book in a half a day workshop.
0:48:20.2 MH: Alright. You know what time it is? It’s time for the quizzical query. The quiz that quickly makes everybody wonder what they learned in school. It’s the Conductrics Quiz. The Analytics Power Hour and the Conductrics Quiz are sponsored by Conductrics. Conductrics builds industry leading experimentation software for AB testing, adaptive optimization, and predictive targeting. Definitely go learn more about how Conductrics could help you by looking over at their website at conductrics.com. Alright.
0:48:55.0 TW: It would be really awkward if the Conductrics Quiz was actually sponsored by a competitor of Conductrics.
0:49:03.2 MH: Yeah. Now brought you by…
0:49:05.5 MH: Yeah. No. Okay, so Tim, would you like to know who you are competing for?
0:49:11.0 TW: I would.
0:49:12.3 MH: Alright, you’re competing for listener Glenn Schmelzle. I hope I get his name right. Glenn. And Moe, do you want to know who you’re competing for?
0:49:23.4 MK: Absolutely.
0:49:23.6 MH: Okay. I think it’s also a Glenn. Glenn Hanson.
0:49:30.5 MK: Oh.
0:49:31.2 TW: Oh. The Battle of The Glenns.
0:49:33.5 MH: So, unless I made a typo, and if you’re not a Glenn and you’re still the winner, we will find that out, and that might be a typo on my part, so we’ll come back to that. Alright, the quiz must go on, though. So here we go. Alright, here’s the question. There are times when we would like to know not only if the average value of a metric is the same between two groups, but also if the distribution is the same. For example, perhaps we are running both an AB test and a follow-up customer satisfaction survey and we would like to know if the test treatment affects the average satisfaction score. But also if the distribution of satisfaction scores differs between the test treatments. Perhaps the average scores are similar, but the test treatment experience is polarizing leading to more users reporting either being very dissatisfied or very satisfied relative to the control experience. What would be a reasonable statistical test to compare and test if the distribution of satisfaction scores, say from one to 10, are the same under both treatment and control experiences? Could it be, A, Stevenson’s Median Test. B, Haskell’s Dispersion Test. C, Dirichlet’s Distribution Test. D, Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test. Or E, Kramer Rowe Independence Test.
0:51:04.8 MK: Do you know what I really appreciate about Gershoff right now?
0:51:08.9 MH: Yeah.
0:51:10.7 MK: As frustrated as I am, this is something I should have probably used previously.
0:51:18.1 MH: [laughter] You’re like, “I need to step away once I know the answer…
0:51:19.8 MK: Yeah.
0:51:19.8 MH: And run this. [laughter]
0:51:23.2 TW: I am definitely prepared to eliminate one, at which point I will be lost.
0:51:27.9 MH: Okay.
0:51:28.9 TW: Am I good to start with that?
0:51:29.6 MH: Yeah, you can.
0:51:30.9 TW: I’m gonna eliminate C, Dirichlet’s distribution test, ’cause I think that is… Dirichlet’s the second word in LDA, which is…
0:51:41.0 MH: Dirichlet’s?
0:51:42.2 TW: Yeah. And LDA, and now it’s like a text kinda grouping analysis. So I’m pretty sure I know where that came from. So I’m gonna eliminate C, with confidence.
0:51:53.1 MH: Alright. With confidence. So everything’s on the line for your Glenn, which is C. That’s correct. You can eliminate C, so you are still alive.
0:52:03.4 MK: I’m gonna eliminate D just because it has Smirnov in there.
0:52:06.3 MH: You’re gonna eliminate D?
0:52:08.8 MK: Yeah.
0:52:10.4 MH: Kolmogorov-Smirnov test?
0:52:10.5 MK: Yep. [laughter]
0:52:12.0 MH: Well, Smirnov is a pretty smart person, as well as being a brand of vodka, I think. So here’s the thing, Moe. By doing so, you have made Tim the winner of this quiz.
0:52:29.1 TW: Wow.
0:52:29.6 MH: Because is the answer, D, Kolmogorov-Smirnov. One could argue that a chi-squared test is more appropriate. And while not wrong, it would be a more appropriate test if the response variable was categorical, something like, What is the reason for your visit for our satisfaction question? The data has a meaningful rank order, which the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test can take advantage of. All the other tests were just made up, so they are doubly wrong.
0:52:58.0 MK: Well, I’m very excited now. I can never forget it, because it’s got Smirnov in the name. Everyone’s gonna remember this now.
0:53:04.3 MH: And, Moe, I think you could say, subconsciously, you recognize that all the others were fakes, and that one stuck out to you, even though you did make the wrong choice. Anyways, we can now say that, Glenn Schmelzle, you are a winner. And Glenn Hanson, unfortunately, you are not. But hey, you’re both still named Glenn, and that’s good enough for me. Go check out conductrics.com. They can help you do Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests on all your experimentation efforts… Probably.
0:53:34.1 TW: Smirnov with a V, while you’re sipping a Smirnoff with an F.
0:53:38.9 MH: Exactly. A Smirnoff with an S. Alright. Thanks. Let’s get back to the show. Alright. Let’s start to wrap up here. But one thing we do like to do is go around the horn and share last calls. Something might be interesting that we’ve seen out there. Moe, would you like to kick us off?
0:53:57.6 MK: Yes. Well, I guess we’ve been talking a little bit about productivity and how to do work well. So I have a weird thing that’s going on. Everybody hates Jira. If you’ve ever used Jira, it’s just painful. And I don’t understand how such an incredible company can build a product that is so frustrating. But my team have started using Team Central. They actually started using it while I was on leave, which is another Atlassian product. And I have to confess, I’m still getting my head around it, but I’m just fucking loving it. It is so good. And part of it is also the way the team are using it. Basically, I get an email once a week, so they all update on a Friday afternoon, literally a sentence on major projects. I get an email in my inbox on Monday morning that basically tells me where everything’s up to, any comments. I can add little reactions or be like, “Yeah, you got that code merged. Awesome work.” And it’s just, as a manager, I’m really into it. So it’s called Team Central. It’s a new Atlassian product, which I think is still in beta. If you’re struggling to keep up with what the team’s working on and stuff, I’m… Yeah, I’m really enjoying it.
0:55:11.5 MH: Wow. Little product plug there.
0:55:13.7 MK: It is… Un-sponsored, to be clear. But I feel like we’re always looking for better ways of working.
0:55:22.6 MH: Absolutely.
0:55:22.7 TW: Michael, you wanna go second, just for giggles?
0:55:24.8 MH: Yeah. Why don’t I do that? I’m actually gonna re-bring up a couple of things we probably talked about in previous episodes, but actually I really wanna talk about ’em again. So first off is Measure Camp North America, which is coming up on February 26. And if you go to the URL, which is northamerica.measurecamp.org and use the code APH, special code, you can still get tickets, because I know tickets are going very quickly, but you can still do that. And then a little update I think on something I mentioned in a previous episode, I believe, which is this thing called Flow Club, speaking of being productive. I have now become convinced that I love it, and I’ve subscribed, so I’m now a paying member of this startup called Flow Club, flow.club. So if you wanna benefit…
0:56:18.5 TW: How often are you flowing?
0:56:18.6 MH: I’m usually doing about three to four times a week right now, as I can schedule it. And it’s just one hour at a time. But it’s something super crazy about you get in the session with a bunch of other people. In the first five minutes you all say what you’re gonna work on. You work on stuff for 50 minutes, and then the last five minutes you say how’d it went. And it’s pretty crazy, because it really works. So I’ve got some referral things, so hit me up if you wanna try it out. I don’t know what the referral code gets me, but I’m happy to share it with whoever. Anyways. I just thought it was funny ’cause I was like, I mentioned it when I was still on the free trial, and over the holiday, I was like, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna actually do this, so.
0:56:57.8 TW: I will give you a $20 Starbucks gift card if you will do a flow session where you announce that you are gonna work on reading Finnish. [laughter] Or that could go on record, do that, and report back.
0:57:16.7 MH: Okay, 20 bucks. That’s easy money. I’m not too proud.
0:57:20.1 TW: You can do it, and it’ll make me giggle, so.
0:57:23.6 MH: Alright. What’s your last call, Tim?
0:57:25.8 TW: So in the vein of reading books that are explicitly not targeted towards me. So we read Emily Oster’s “Expecting Better” and “Crib Sheet” long after I had young children. I recently read “Machiavelli For Women” by Stacey Vanek Smith, who… I’m a total NPR nerd. So she was on Planet Money and then she created the Indicator podcast. So I’ve always enjoyed her as a reporter, but… And my daughter had just read “The Prince” actually, right when “Machiavelli for Women” came out.
0:58:00.8 MK: Sorry. Your daughter has read “The Prince”?
0:58:01.9 TW: She read “The Prince” in… Yeah, for high school.
0:58:04.2 MK: For school? Oh, good. But anyway.
0:58:06.2 TW: Yeah.
0:58:08.2 MK: Interesting.
0:58:08.5 TW: And she went through a period where she was an NPR junkie, as well. So I liked… It is not a book that breaks an enormous amount of new ground. What I liked about it was… And I read Machiavelli, I read “The Prince” because I had a boss who quoted him constantly, and I really struggled with that manager, and I’ve said, “Maybe, and it’s just not that long of a book, I’ll just read it and see if I can understand this guy better.” And I did, and it made me cringe a little bit ’cause I was like, I don’t really wanna live in a world where Machiavelli is giving good advice. And I think in Vanek Smith’s book, she probably uses the word cringe like 10 times because she is unabashedly saying, “This is advice for the here and now. This is not advice about fixing the system, it doesn’t pay any lip service to… ” If you’re a guy reading this, you can, nope, doesn’t say anything about that, but if you’re a guy who reads it, to me from being an ally or an advocate, there’s lots of pretty useful tips. I think a lot of women will read it and say, “I see this all the time,” and to me, it’s giving a little bit of permission to say, “I gotta swallow my morals and play the game a little bit here.”
0:59:28.8 MK: Totally.
0:59:29.6 TW: But she even has passive aggressive secret ways to not completely sell your soul. So it’s a pretty quick read. I enjoyed it and…
0:59:40.0 MK: And also reading a book that your manager frequently references is why you are the quintessential analyst.
0:59:47.1 TW: He and I shut down a restaurant and we were yelling at each other…
0:59:48.8 MK: Oh, wow.
0:59:49.4 TW: And I think that was before I read it. It had gotten to a point of… We looked up and realized that: One, all the wait staff was standing around, looking at us, and we thought it was ’cause we were yelling at each other and then realized we were the only two people…
1:00:04.1 MH: So it wasn’t just me then. That’s really comforting. I’m just kidding. [laughter] Well, next up, Sun Tzu, right? So good.
1:00:14.3 TW: Yeah.
1:00:14.4 MH: That’s… No.
1:00:14.7 TW: And then “The Art of the Deal”.
1:00:18.3 MH: That’s… Oh, too soon.
1:00:18.7 MH: Alright, well, thank you, those are excellent. Alright, as you’ve been listening, you might actually have some words of wisdom for our listeners, as well. We’d love to hear from you. If you wanna send us something, our Measure Slack is the best way to do it, or our Twitter, or LinkedIn, and we’d love to hear from you, whatever. Or if you have a show topic you think we should cover, please feel free to reach out. We’re really thankful to you, John, for submitting this topic and hope you get something out of it. And if you end up working at Search Discovery, I’m gonna be like, “Tim, come on”. No, I’m just kidding. It’s fine. A fine place to work. I have no problem with that at all. But. Anyway. Alright. Obviously, no show would be complete without talking about our wonderful producer. Another great way to get ahead in your career is become an executive producer on an explicit analytics podcast. This is Josh Crowhurst, our awesome producer, we thank you, sir, and all the good things you’re doing for the community and for us. Alright, well, I know, no matter what your resume says, no matter how long you’ve been in your current position, whether it’s client side, practitioner or consulting, or product evangelist or whatever it is, I know I speak for both of my co-hosts, Moe and Tim, when I recommend to you that you keep analyzing.
1:01:43.4 Announcer: Thanks for listening. Let’s keep the conversation going with your comments, suggestions, and questions on Twitter at @analyticshour, on the web at analyticshour.io, our LinkedIn group, and the Measure Chat Slack group. Music for the podcast by Josh Crowhurst.
1:02:01.8 Charles Barkley: So smart guys wanted to fit in, so they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.
1:02:08.1 Thom Hammerschmidt: Analytics, oh my God. What the fuck does that even mean?
1:02:16.8 MH: I’ve told this story before about how at the end of the fifth day of orientation at Lands’ End, I raised my hand and I was like, “Where do we fill out our time sheets?” And they’re like, “We don’t do that here.” And I was blown away. I had no professional experience where that had not happened. So I was just like, “What is this world?” Anyway.
1:02:39.7 TW: “Do I have to work?”
1:02:41.3 MH: Yeah, it’s like, “What?”
1:02:44.8 TW: Rock flag and fill out your time sheet.
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One of the big differences for me, and why I prefer client side, is seeing the long term impact and results of what you do. At the agency I would help set things up, be it Analytics SDR or some initital implementation coding. Once done, I neither saw what happened later or had to deal with the restuls (positive or negative). It gives me such a stronger sense of the reality vs theory of what I’m setting up.
Also, being able to build longer and deeper relationships with others, which allows for smoother and more efficient work processes.
That’s a fair point. Although, I think this is possible consultancy-side as well, to some extent. Having had some clients for multiple years (and, in some cases, having breaks in between engagements working with them), I feel like I’ve built pretty strong relationships *and* seen work play out over time. BUT…I agree that agencies and consultancies are going to have engagements that are shorter, too, and that won’t happen—the core scope of the engagement gets completed, and then there’s just no mechanism for maintaining ties over the longer haul.
Thank you all for taking the time to thoughtfully answer my question on the podcast! You each gave valuable feedback and perspectives on how to think through consulting vs being in-house.
I think Moe summarized everyone’s advice well at minute 31 by saying that a rich and well-rounded career will come from spending time on each side and working for the right companies.
Also, I hope Michael’s prophecy around minute 20 of there no longer being any employees comes true!