a handy iPad tip: quickly toggle day/night screen modes

A little tip on using your iPad in dark places (bedroom, airplane cabin, conference cavern, whatever).

You may know it’s possible to reverse the black and white, so you’re looking at white text on a black background rather than the normal black text on a white background. The setting is part of the Accessibility preferences (under General). It does mess up the colors, but I find it superior to simply reducing the screen brightness, especially when dealing with text.

The real gem is that you can easily switch between normal and reverse modes without having to leave whatever app you are in. Once again in the Accessibility preferences, look at Triple Click action. Set that appropriately.

Now when you triple click the home button, it toggles the screen. I just discovered this setting and already it’s part of my workflow.

a handy iPad tip: quickly toggle day/night screen modes

Going to eMetrics?

I’m cruising through LinkedIn. I click on the profile of a well-known analytics person, and this ad appears on the page:

Cool to see Jim’s smile on my web browser. :) I wonder if LinkedIn showed me this because they figured I’d be interested (behavioral targeting) or because the profile mentioned analytics (contextual targeting)?

And it reminds me I should probably update my speaker bio, figure out my travel budget, connect with eBay PR to get on their approved speaker’s list, and all of that…

Going to eMetrics?

Hello eBay!

Thanks for the emails and tweets around my time off, it was short but sweet. While it would have been great to take more time to decompress, I knew what was ahead — and felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want to wait, because …

I’ve joined eBay.

eBay has many fabulous analytical tools already, both commercial and home-grown, for lots of different kinds of analysis. In addition, they are on a road to build out a whole new class of analytic capabilities based on Hadoop. They recently reorganized the data initiatives and groups to form a team that re-focuses the “many standalone tools” mindset to a “platform” for analytics. This holistic vision, and the “central data, distributed analysis” mindset aligns so well with my thinking and interests that I had to make the jump. As much as I love what Yahoo! is doing with analytics, the opportunity at eBay was too compelling to pass up. I mean, come on .. it’s the world’s largest online marketplace!

My discussions with the eBay leadership team told me two important things. First, they are ready to make significant investments in data capabilities to drive the next generation of eBay. Second, the new leadership over the last couple of years is bringing a change to the business, where the company will be much more technology- and innovation-driven than it has been in the past. Many of the leadership hires in the last 18 months are a testament to that. And I like to think I am another proof point.

Having cool technology and a leadership team that understands the value of data is a great start. But the icing on the cake is the level of data and analytics talent within eBay. It is, in a word, staggering. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to work with a group of this caliber.

And now, on a Saturday, I’m off to the ACM Data Mining Camp, hosted at eBay’s north campus…

Hello eBay!

The Last Yodel

When I started my keynote presentation at eMetrics Santa Barbara 2006, I said “there was a time when I was not at Yahoo!, and there will be a time when I’m no longer at Yahoo!.” That day has come .. it’s my last day at Yahoo!.

Lest anyone think this means I’m down on the company — it’s quite the opposite! I’m more positive than ever about Yahoo!, especially the analytics. I am very excited about where the company is going with data. After a short but ill-advised set of changes that de-emphasized a coordinated approach to data and analytics, a new leadership team (read: Carol Bartz) recently reconstituted a central data and analytics group. You may even have heard or read Carol saying we’re looking for acquisition candidates in the analytics space. I’m very glad to see the return of executive leadership that sees the strategic value of data.

I’ve never been one to talk a lot about Yahoo! and I won’t start now, especially the internal goings-on, but there’s new leadership, a new commitment, a new focus, and frankly I’m really glad to see it happening. I am also jazzed about the 2010 and 2011 roadmap for our products, including Yahoo! Web Analytics, our advertising analytics products, and for a lot of internal products you haven’t heard of. Oh, and as I tweeted previously, the YWA team is hiring…

And with that, a chapter closes. Yahoo! has been good to me, and I like to think I’ve been good to Yahoo!. But even the good things don’t always last forever, and after almost five and half years, it’s time for me to say goodbye. I’m going to take a short break, decompress a little, and then gear up for the next thing. But that’s a story for another time.


The Last Yodel

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

Palm, Apple and the language of imagery

Dear Sprint –

Congrats on the launch of the Palm Pre. I was previously a Sprint customer and have used various Palm devices, but I stopped being a customer of both quite some time ago. Maybe the Palm Pre is an amazing device, I dunno. I hope it is.

But when I saw this ad in the newspaper, I thought — what’s the imagery trying to communicate here? Why does the Palm Pre need Apple to support it? Like the Pre needs a crutch of some kind. Is it not possible for the Pre to stand on its own?

And hey — using the product-on-white-background-with-reflection image that Apple has made so au courant? I think that’s pure marketing genius but I’m not sure.

But really, the chewed up apple is still standing, holding up the Pre. What are we supposed to be thinking here?



Palm, Apple and the language of imagery