Guest Lecture on “Web Analytics in Entrepreneurship” at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt

goethe-uni-entrepreneurship-web-analytics

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer in the course Entrepreneurship at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. To fit in with the topic of the day which was metrics and analaytics, I wanted to give a primer into web analytics as it relates to entrepreneurship.

Why is it important? Not only will most entrepreneurs be using the web and digital campaigns as primary marketing tools when starting their company, and thus be well-served by understanding the fundamentals. Web Analytics is built on the same foundation as any business analysis and also serves as a great practical and introductory example of using an analytical mindset and lean framework which can then be extended to other parts of running a company.

I want to thank Dr Schäfer for inviting me to give the lecture and of course thank the great class. No lecture is better than its audience. If you are interested, the slides are available publicly online though I wasn’t manage to get a recording done of the lecture itself. I would definitely hope to give more lectures as part of university courses and in the entrepreneurship area.

(Thanks to Nicki Eirfeldt for the photo.)

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Web

On making continuous, “just enough” progress

One of the things that definitely does not come easy to me is doing small chunks of work on projects continuously. I would much rather sit down, be in the zone, and power through something right away and be done with it.

Someone I met once, told me that this was because I was young, and that I would realize the right ways when I am older. Looking at people, old or young, I however often see the same behavior. I refuse to subscribe to a theory that how you do things purely depends on age.

You have a lot to win to teach yourself to made continuous small progress on many projects. One of the reasons is that doing the big chunks of work at once requires you to be “in the zone”. Sure, when this happens work is nothing but pure enjoyment. But really, ask yourself. Do you spend all your weeks “in the zone”?

When you learn to do a little work all the time, you are essentially trying to lessen the impact of the days when you are not feeling up to it. You are making it easier for yourself to get started and get at least something done. As a consequence you will be overall much more productive and efficient.

Business / Productivity

On Clearing Your Mind and Focusing

I’m always asked how I can manage everything that I do. That is, run a successful business, study economics full time at the side, while still finding time to friends and some time off too.

I wrote about prioritization and focusing your efforts a while ago, and while this is a must as well, you still need to manage what is left. What this most often comes down to is sheer mental power.

What sets a productive person apart from a less productive peer, is his or her ability to just get down to it and just focus, regardless of how unappealing and daunting of a prospect it is.

Fortunately, there are some tricks. My best tip to you is to write down a list of things, a recipe, that you can use to try and clear your mind and get focused. For me, this list includes going out for a walk or run, putting on some good music or reading something inspiring (I like magazines—Harvard Business Review and The Economist).

By clearing your mind, you are able to get down to focus, a skill that truly is what sets apart productive, and dare I say successful, people from the rest. It takes practice. It is not always easy. But in the long run, it is very rewarding.

Productivity

On Privacy, Sharing on the Internet and Social Media

Last week, I shared my personal story and thoughts on being a public figure online. This week, I want to turn my attention to social media in general. The social media debate is one that I usually find interesting, for a variety of reasons. One of them relates to the notion of our express wish to share.

Falsely, we often make the assumption that people want to share everything. When someone tells me this, I look at my Facebook feed. The people who are sharing things are those we would call influencers. Us who, in one way or the other, have chosen to be public figures and be spokespeople of topics. Us who people turn to for information.

See, just like most people before the internet didn’t all dream of becoming public figures—just the same holds true today. As always, the internet is yet just another technical catalyst (like the book once was) that has the benefit of allowing things to progress infinitely faster.

That being said, the internet lowers the barriers of entry considerably and opens the door for publicness. We could argue the effects this for a long time—whether this is good or bad. As long as you are aware of these effects, they are to me only abundant possibilities with easily manageable risks.

Speaking of the risks, it means that we as fellow human beings need to respect that we don’t all want to be public figures and thus respect the attempts of privacy that we do try, even online (where you really shouldn’t expect privacy). Because in the end, what is privacy if not a mutual agreement between parties? Internet or no internet, privacy is no different and something we create together.

Technology / Web

On Being a Public Figure Online

Several years ago I made the decision to become a public figure online. Now, I can’t say that I sat down and made an informed decision but nonetheless, it was a decision. As I have recently been thinking over the effects this has had on me and my life, I wanted to share some of them this week.

Why did I do it? Truthfully, much by chance. I’ve always had an ambition for creating something bigger and a passion for education and teaching. Incidentally, as I was growing up came the internet. Though being active on forums, sharing your knowledge, you ultimately become a figure in the community.

By jumping on the Twitter bandwagon in 2008, starting an educational website (with Adobe tutorials), the smaller community that was forums could quickly grow to a larger global one. What had I just done? I had (consciously or unconsciously) decided to become a public figure.

How has this affected me? There are some obvious implications. Where most people my age are able to have personal social media profiles, mine still have to reflect a public brand. It also means that I have given up any notion of privacy online a long while ago. Why? Because people read and expect you to always be your public self.

This becomes especially apparent when you meet someone who cites something you wrote on Twitter or from a blog post. I’m very flattered when this happens, and very humble that people read what I write. However, it always serves as a wake-up call that you have to moderate not just what you share, but what you do quite extensively (basically, you have to grow up even quicker). You have to exercise far more self-control, which is not always easy.

At times I’ve wondered how life would have been different if I had never done this. Often I have wondered how it would be if I had just been a “normal” teenager growing up. I shall never know…

Only recently have I been able to come to terms with this, and realize that in fact being this public figure is who I am, what I do, and a necessity for doing what I do. And if I love what I do? You bet!

General