Monthly Archives: September 2008

Wrong Model, Dumb Money

I am not a technophobic Marketeer, an old “resistant to change” type.  In fact, I’m just the opposite, and that’s why I can’t understand why Online continues to Repeat Past Marketing Failures.

I was one of those kids that built crystal radio sets and messed around with ham radio.  My favorite place to hang out was Radio Shack, back when they were an electronic parts house.  I built all kinds of circuit board stuff with a soldering iron, mostly bugs and telco hacks.  I was a geek when they were called nerds. 

In 1977 I learned the BASIC language and was writing simple programs for the mainframe at college.  In 1978, I was part of a small group of students who worked on the Synclavier, the first large scale truly digital music synthesizer.  I started working with PC’s in 1987, and had a home computer by 1991.  I was one of those people who dialed up to the CompuServe Forums at 300 baud, primarily talking about computers and music, figuring out how to rewrite .bat and .ini files to get the computer / keyboard interfaces working properly. 

And at the same time, making lots of  “online friends” ;).

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Sherlock Holmes Problem


I think this is probably the last Learning and Teaching issue in Online Marketing (series starts here) before attempting to evaluate and summarize the challenge.  I would like to receive comments from you on the Sherlock Holmes Problem.

“There are two types of minds — the mathematical and what might be called the intuitive. The former arrives at its views slowly, but they are firm and rigid; the latter is endowed with greater flexibility and applies itself simultaneously to the dive.”

Blaise Pascal

In his post How the Skills of a Night Auditor Translate into Web Analytics, Christopher Berry explores a notion we have wrestled with a lot while developing the WAA’s Certified Web Analyst Test – can you teach someone to be curious in a “business analytics” way?  Or are people just born with / socialized into this skill set?  How do you measure and test someone for “analytical curiosity”?

We have referred to these issues internally on the Education Committee as the “Sherlock Holmes” problem.  The issue is not the ability to read and interpret reports, or write up findings, or anything like that.  It’s the ability to see coincidences or oddities in the data, to conceptualize linkage or relationships others don’t see, to follow the data trail (or blaze it) right down to Root Cause.

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