Interview with web analytics job seeker Jaimie Scott
I got such good feedback after interviewing my friend June Dershewitz back in February I’ve decided to keep talking to some of the bright people I know who are actively looking for work in the web analytics industry. Recently I had the chance to interview my friend Jaimie Scott, formerly of Intel and one of the original Web Analytics Wednesday participants here in Portland, Oregon.
Jaimie has always struck me as someone who has really figured out the whole “work/life balance” thing that so many of us talk about but so few of us seem to pull off. Since Jaimie doesn’t have kids, I find myself often living vicariously through Jaimie as he describes hikes and trips he takes around the state and in the Northwest. That’s not to say that he’s not into web analytics … he definitely is.
My interview with Jaimie is as follows:
Eric T. Peterson: Jaimie, thanks for joining me this evening. First question: Tell me a little bit about your experience with web analytics systems?
Jaimie Scott: I’ve been doing analytics for two years, mostly on the Omniture platform.
Much of that experience has centered around establishing KPIs and fixing the implementations to collect the right data.
The emphasis has been primarily on optimizing the site design and marketing efforts for each company.
Eric T. Peterson: Very cool.
Do you mind saying where you worked? Since you’re here in Portland, I know your employer is pretty well known locally …
Jaimie Scott: No, I don’t mind. I worked at Intel for 12 years, doing web analytics for the last 18 months, and then at Powell’s Books after that.
Eric T. Peterson: At Intel, how did you get introduced to web analytics?
Jaimie Scott: Well, that’s long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief.
In my 12 years there I made five career changes, which is pretty common at Intel.
Each time I changed careers I figured out a little more about the types of things I enjoyed doing.
All of the positions I held had a few things in common including data analysis, translating between technical and non-technical folks, and communication.
When my next to the last position went away, I came across the analytics position and it sounded intriguing to me.
So I applied and got the job and that was how I got my start in web analytics.
Eric T. Peterson: I’ve found, in my research, that the ability to translate technical findings for non-technical people is critical. Can you describe briefly one instance where you were really successful doing that? You don’t have to be too specific …
Jaimie Scott: At Intel I was tasked with creating a dashboard that would at a glance tell the managers that used the data what they needed to know.
Each manager that used the dashboard had their own requirements.
So I had to evaluate their individual business needs and the available data and then develop an Excel dashboard with logic and pivot tables to represent data in a way that would empower management to see enabling program performance by business group, functional team, field audience, and geography.
I accomplished this in a single dahboard that allowed each user to select their own pivot tables to view the data that was important to them and they were ecstatic with the result.
Eric T. Peterson: Very cool. So you are adept with Excel then I take it?
Jaimie Scott: I am.
Eric T. Peterson: Excellent! So tell me this, what do you like BEST about web analytics? What gets you up in the morning, as it were?
Jaimie Scott: I’d have to say it’s the challenge. I really enjoy trying to glean understanding of customer behavior, and the motivations for their behavior from pouring over the data.
Eric T. Peterson: What, would you say, is the hardest web analytics problem you’ve ever run up against?
Jaimie Scott: Well, I suppose that would be establishing KPIs for a non-retail site for which the website owners were not clear on what they hoped to accomplish with the site.
That makes things very difficult.
But I learned quite a few tricks in the last UBC course that should help me the next time I encounter that situation.
Eric T. Peterson: Hey, speaking of, you’re one of the first WAA UBC class graduates, right? What did you think of the courses?
Jaimie Scott: I am. I really enjoyed the courses and look forward to applying everything I learned.
I thought that the last course in particular, Creating and Managing The Analytics Businesss Culture did a great job of tying the material from the previous courses together and filling in the gaps.
I felt that the content in all of the courses was excellent. I’d strongly recommend the courses to anyone considering taking them.
Eric T. Peterson: Did you have a favorite instructor? (Note: I am not asking Jaimie to say “Eric Peterson” since I am not a teacher in the UBC classes …)
Jaimie Scott: Yeah, but I can’t remember his name. Better not include this.
Let’s just say they were all great.
Eric T. Peterson: Would you say you’re more technically minded or more business minded regarding web analytics? More of a coder or an analyst, or both?
Jaimie Scott: Well, I’m not sure how to answer that. I’d say I’m more technical than business oriented only because my math and engineering background is more technical.
I’m definitely more analytically inclined than a coder. I’ve written a fair amount of code in my day and let’s just say I’m glad I’m not a programmer by trade.
It’s kind of funny. I took one of those “social style” classes at Intel and I was told that I was an analytical-analytical by nature.
That means I am more detail-oriented and deliberate in my pace even than other analytical types, so I have to be careful in that regard.
Eric T. Peterson: Okay, last few questions:
You’re looking for a job doing web analytics, right? Describe your ideal job …
Jaimie Scott: Yes, I am. I really want to find a position that will give me the chance to apply what I’ve learned in my last two positions and the UBC courses. I’d say if I had my choice, I’d like to find a local company that would allow me to focus on an e-commerce site.
To really delve into the site and all of the available data sources and understand customer behavior.
Working with the marketing and design teams to optimize conversion on the site.
And since we are talking “ideal” I’d rather not travel more than a few days once or twice a month.
Eric T. Peterson: Great answer!
You mentioned the Omniture product, have you worked with any other web analytics platforms?
Jaimie Scott: Very little to date, although I just entered into a temporary collaboration today with a local company that will hopefully give me some more experience with Google Analytics on a retail site.
I’ve had some exposure to other platforms since I read a number of blogs and the Yahoo Newsgroup daily, but other than that I haven’t really worked on other platforms. Yet.
Eric T. Peterson: Good answer. Last question. If my readers or recruiters want to contact you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Jaimie Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric T. Peterson: Excellent!
Jaimie, thanks so much for talking to me this evening. I owe you a beer at the April Web Analytics Wednesday here in the Rose City … unless you find your next job because of this blog post, in which case you can buy the first round …
Jaimie Scott: Yeah! Thanks Eric!
If you’re like Jaimie and looking for a new job in web analytics, you should check out my premium job board where there are always great jobs listed.