EUWAA Update from the WAA Board of Directors
Since summer is nearly here and since I am trying to be more European in my approach towards business (read: wanting to take long holidays during the summer) I have been somewhat lazy in my regular blogging (as opposed to my lazy-blogging on Twitter, where I have also been somewhat lazy …) But thinking about being more European brought my mind around to my idea of a European Web Analytics Association (EUWAA) that I proposed before the Emetrics Summit in San Francisco last month.
Since that post a few things have happened:
- My good friend Mr. Jim Sterne, Chairman of the Board at the WAA held a nice meeting over drinks in London to discuss the idea with Europeans in attendance. You can read Jim’s summary of the meeting and some interesting notes about the WAA Board of Directors over at Jim’s blog.
- The WAA held a more formal meeting on May 22nd with some very high-profile Europeans in attendance including Neil Mason (England), Jim Williams (Scotland), Marianina Chaplin (England), Vicky Brock (Scotland), Zeljka Stojanovic (England), Tim Leighton Boyce (England), Rene Dechamps Otamendi (Belgium), Oliver Schiffers (Germany), Julien Coquet (France), Miles Bennet (England)
I certainly wish I could have been at the meeting since it sounds like it was pretty productive. Still, I have one concern as I read the summary document provided by Board Member Vicky Brock — it sound like the pro-EUWAA conversation revolved around multiple local WAA chapters in Europe as opposed to a single, pan-European organization able to respond to the needs of “chapters” across the continent.
Perhaps I’m just reading the document incorrectly, and hopefully if I am one of the participants will write me and clarify the point. But if I am interpreting this correctly, I think this is a dangerous idea and one very likely to fail.
I suspect that the organizational process and volunteer commitment to create and maintain multiple local WAAs would be far greater than is reasonable. Were this not the case, I suspect the WAA would have a local presence here in the U.S., instead of ceding most local web analytics efforts to Web Analytics Wednesday. Web Analytics Wednesday works because it is A) low effort and B) high value. I suspect the establishment of several mini-WAA’s across Europe would be the exact opposite, at least in the short- to mid-term.
Instead, I would encourage those European’s taking the lead on this issue (Neil, Vicky, Rene Dechamps Otamendi from OX2) to focus on first creating a single, pan-European organization able to provide reasonable organizational structure for all Europeans. A single organization should be able to:
- Provide focus for Europeans working in the web analytics arena
- Create critical mass for EU-focused networking events, conferences, etc.
- Publish in more languages to accommodate non-English speakers
- Develop EU-focused content via blogs, social networks, etc.
- Streamline organizational processes like reimbursement
- Schedule meetings at a reasonable time of day locally
Fundamentally the idea of a single EUWAA was put forth to reflect the need for more value and more opportunities for European members of our global community. And while I have tremendous faith in Rene, Neil, and Vicky, I suspect that many more people will be necessary to provide the level of value I think the WAA is capable of providing.
According to the document, the WAA is planning to have a vote of Europeans in the next few weeks designed to gauge member (and potential member) response, theoretically to the idea of a separate EUWAA. It will be very interesting to see how the questions in this survey are worded and how the response is managed, but I suspect this process is in good hands.
Vicky concluded her letter with the following statement:
“Every action item in this report needs volunteers to step forward. If you would like to see any or all of the above come to fruition, please find something (research, identify, explore, review) and raise your hand.”
Nothing could be more true. Any association like the WAA or EUWAA depends on volunteer action for its lifeblood. Hopefully all of you who commented on my last post, and all of you who wrote me directly in support of the idea of a EUWAA, will take Vicky’s point to heart and step up when the time is right.
Since I’m not European I suspect my involvement from this point on will be tangential at best, although I’m not opposed to volunteering my own time, but I welcome your comments and critique of the ideas I put forth in this post. Also, if you’d like to know when the pan-European vote on this subject is, and if you’re not a WAA member, please don’t hesitate to comment or write me directly and I will make sure your email address is passed along.
I must say I am tremendously encouraged by the work that Jim, Seth, Neil, Vicky, Rene, and many others have already contributed to the general idea of providing more member value in Europe, especially in such a short period of time. I only hope the momentum will continue towards a product that everyone involved can be as proud of as Rand, Greg, Jim, Bryan, Seth, and the rest of the WAA founders surely are of their work.