Guest Post: Success in The Analysis Exchange!
Since Analysis Exchange has been honored with a nomination in the Web Analytics Association Gala Awards, while our community is considering their votes I figured it was a good time to share some of the great email we get from Exchange participants. This one is from David Schuette who started as a student and has already graduated to mentor! You can follow David on Twitter @TheCakeScraps and thanks to David and everyone who has benefitted from Analysis Exchange!
If you are in the WAA please consider that a vote for Analysis Exchange is a vote for EVERYONE who contributes to the effort around the world.
A Tale of Two Projects
In the middle of 2010 – 2.5 years into my career as a web analyst – I made one of the better decisions on my journey through the field of web analytics. A friend of mine, active in the community for some time, pointed me to a project called the Analysis Exchange; he encouraged me to check it out and to sign up as a student. I did some research and it seemed like a great match. I would get to help nonprofits and learn a lot in the process.
I’ll be honest; it took a while for me to secure my first project. I wasn’t sure what the problem was until Eric pointed out (to all members) that a complete profile greatly contributed to the likelihood that a student or mentor would be selected for a project. I filled it out and started applying again. At the time there were only a few projects available, in contrast to the 5+ open right now thanks to the hard work of Wendy and team, so it took some time but I was picked to work with Kids Matter, Inc. – an organization supporting foster children.
The experience couldn’t have been better. Megan, the partner at Kids Matter, was filled with excitement and ambition. She had done some great work for her organization and wanted to learn more. She wanted to let the data take away some of the guessing and let it do part of the work for her.
I dove right in and, before long, I had a great presentation that I was able to tweak based on the feedback from my mentor. The presentation went smoothly and the people at Kids Matter were extremely appreciative of the work. I even got a thank-you card that was hand-made by one of the kids. It really made me stop and appreciate just how much good can come from a little time given.
While I was busy working on my first project, the Analysis Exchange kept improving. The Google Group, a bit quiet recently, contributed in a huge way to make small but important improvements to the Exchange site. It is cool to look at some of the discussions from just a few months ago and see the ideas already implemented into the site. It made it all the easier to sign-up for my next project, at the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce.
The second project went as well as the first. My mentor and I provided a high-level usability driven analysis to Anita, our partner at Apalachicola Bay. The analysis focused on opportunities to draw visitors deeper into the site so they could really see what the Apalachicola Bay area had to offer. Again, our partner was excited about the results and was genuinely appreciative of the work we put in. It was our pleasure.
And now I have transitioned myself to a Mentor on The Exchange. If my next experiences are half as good as the first two I would be thrilled. I’m excited, even anxious, to have the chance to help another organization and provide some coaching to an upcoming analytics ninja. But I also view this change to a mentor as a re-upping of my commitment to The Exchange; I have made it my goal to bring at least 1 local non-profit to The Exchange this year and hopefully more!
Everything about my experience has been wonderful. If you have thought about joining, or perhaps have not participated in awhile, go check it out. You won’t regret it.