General

25 May More than one leg to stand on

pi-1327145_960_720I recently came across an idea that interested me in The Way to Design, by Steve Vassallo, award-winning designer and entrepreneur. He elaborated on a concept familiar to many engineers (and one that’s increasingly been adopted in the marketing world), that of “T-shaped” people, those who know a certain field very well and have enough understanding of adjacent disciplines to allow them to develop and launch products successfully. But Vassallo says that more is needed. In his words, “if you want to build enduring companies and really earn your seat at the table, I think you need to be π-shaped. That is, you need to have depth in both the creative and the analytical. Left- and right-brained. Empathetic and data-driven” (The Way to Design, Chapter 4).  There may be certain people for whom developing strengths in more than one discipline comes easily: not just T-shaped, or even π-shaped -- picture a three-legged stool of talents. But for every person who finds this a breeze, there are probably many more people for whom one area of expertise is plenty. Given the value that such breadth can bring, Is there something that we can do in our organizations to help people get to the place where they have more than one leg to stand on?
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17 May Tracking First Newsletter: May 17, 2017

Take a look here, to see what we’re reading and talking about. Some of the headlines:   --Marketing Technology May Never Consolidate (But That's a Good Thing) Marketing technology has consolidated to the point where it looks like a pyramid: a few billion-dollar giants on top, dozens of $100 million firms at the next level, and thousands of companies with less revenue below that -- with that number increasing steadily. By revenue distribution, the industry is consolidating. But by number of firms, it's expanding: a common market structure in the digital age known as a "long tail." The result could be a market that is consolidated at the platform level, with diverse specialized products available to plug into those platforms. Ad Age  (4/17/17)  
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20 Apr Tracking First: Company Update

Tracking First is hitting a growth spurt. Since the new year we’ve renewed six annual contracts and brought on three Global 500 clients, two financial services companies and one leisure and hospitality provider.  We are actively seeking agency channel partners to help us develop a white label partnership model that will allow us to work seamlessly with other analytics consultants.
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05 Apr Signs that this Job may not be for You

No EntryA friend of mine recently shared a post about what it’s like to work for one of the Super-Innovator companies: Google, Apple, etc.  It’s a great read (you should check it out), but one paragraph in particular jumped out at me “At Netflix...there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’...They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”   Think about that for a minute. What would it be like to work for an organization that truly prioritizes innovation over cost controls? It means the company trusts and values their employees enough to empower them to act on their unique insights. Kinda makes me want to cry. Maybe you’re lucky enough to work for such an organization. In reality most companies, for one reason or another, can’t follow this model fully. Tracking First for example, is a lean, boot-strap startup. I hope we get to the point where innovation is our most advantageous use of funds. I expect it to be a while. If you’re not one of the lucky few who ends up working in a super-innovator culture, there are still guidelines you can use, to evaluate if the culture is a fit for you. Here’s what I watch out for:
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30 Mar Improve your team communication–Improve your bottom line

handshake-2009183_960_720How would you describe your competence at using data to improve your decision-making? How about your organization’s competence? Using information to do something more effectively is something we think and talk a lot about at Tracking First. I’m all about leveraging information so you have a single version of truth within your team.  When I owned a tech company in the 90s, people began to approach me for help with job search and business advice. Before long I had a little side hobby, helping friends and family to get jobs, and get their businesses launched. Eventually I decided to compile the things I was telling people in a book.
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02 Mar Get to know the team — Jenny Peel

JennyWe are proud of our team at Tracking First — collectively we have decades of experience in digital media and technology. TF Marketer Alyssa Edwards recently sat down with our Director of Channel Partnerships, Jenny Peel, to learn about what led her to Tracking First. Q- Tell me a little bit about your career, where you come from, your background: I’m new to this industry, but I’ve been involved with tech startups for quite a while now. I’ve always been really intrigued by creative ideas, people developing some new product that solves a problem. I come from a creative background; for 8 years I was an interior designer and had my own firm. When I was running my business it was so challenging to be everything, to wear all the hats. I started thinking about how I could scale my business, and how to use ideas I had for doing interior design electronically. So I decided to get an MBA and really explore how to create scalable businesses.
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15 Feb The Importance of Data Cleanup

cleaner-1816361_960_720 One of the biggest changes in the world of marketing technology in the last decade has been the rise of Analytics. We’ve arrived at a point where Analytics is an accepted word and a legitimate specialty. But (and I know I’m preaching to the choir here), we shouldn’t break out the bubbly just yet. As it turns out, it is a lot more difficult than anyone thought it would be to reap the benefits of all our new data streams. To put it simply: though we have the tools to create bits of data, making the bits work together is hard. Jim Sterne, founder of the Digital Analytics Association and Tracking First advisor, recently shared a startling anecdote. The good folks at Analytics Demystified have created the Analytics Exchange, a place where analysts can meet up with like-minded industry colleagues, to find mentorship around analytics best practices. According to Jim, almost everyone comes to the forum for the first time with questions about how to streamline and synchronize their various data flows, in order to make sense of it all. And virtually every time, the answer is, “Your tags are a mess. You have to redo everything.” Every time.
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08 Feb Get to know the team — R. Craig Adams

Craig Adams croppedWe are proud of our team at Tracking First — collectively we have decades of experience in digital media and technology. I recently sat down with our Chief Information Officer, Craig Adams, to learn about what led him to Tracking First. JR: Let’s start with a bit about your background. Tell us the story of your career. CA: My degree is in Civil Engineering, but early on I was drawn into programming. Right out of college, I was a freelance contract programmer. I began to make business connections and eventually formed a corporation called Rhyse Development. Seven years later, we were on the Utah 100 (list of fastest-growing companies). We figured out how to make Rhyse grow, but in a competitive industry profit was a challenge. We eventually closed the doors, but it was a terrific learning experience.
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