stephane hamel

Rachael Gerson – Lovely Woman

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


Today, we speak to the delectable Rachael Gerson.  Ask her to do supercalifragalisticexpialidcious next time you see her.  Tell her I sent you.

Tell us all about Ms Rachael Gerson.

I am a total internet/technology addict, but I’m also a voracious reader, often with 4-6 books going simultaneously.  A better question than “did you read ___” is to ask me if I finished it, since the books I really enjoy get finished quickly and the ones I find useless may be doomed to hang out on the pending list for months.

I live in a Philly suburb with my husband, and adorable dog, Cooper.  By the way, Coop is the only dog I’ve ever seen who loves flossing, brushes his own teeth, and can climb a ladder. When I’m not hanging out with him, I work at SEER Interactive, an internet marketing firm in Philadelphia specializing in SEO, paid search, and analytics.  If there’s any time left over, I help out in the Google Analytics forums and have written for a couple sites, but time’s been a little short lately!


Matthias Bettag – Ger Man

The Silly Series is a toe in the ocean of amazing talent in web analytics.  Learn more about your colleagues and perhaps wonder if this is a practice for slightly odd people…

It’s time to talk to Matthias Bettag.  If you figure out what he says his wish is for 2011, let me know!

Matthias, tell the lovely readers all about yourself.

I am a half Belgian, bi-lingual-raised “fish-head” (my home town is Bremen, Germans appreciate northerners with that honorable term). I went to Berlin in the mid 90s in order to cure this crazy city (impossible, but worth a try). After two years working as a nurse in a brand new and very well visited ICU my social interaction KPI-performance decreased dramatically due to the shift work. So I did something completely different: I studied media computer science. There, I was informed about my future by loo poetry: “Life sucks, but the graphics are great!”.

So my first business plan was to sell postcards with b/w motifs of industrial ruins in Berlin to Japanese tourists (I am a little bit color-blind and got serious advices to stop working with colors). But then I got stuck with my classmates in exploring intense team play on Unreal Tournament and Quake III. During a server downtime someone showed me where to find the angle brackets on a keyboard. And I learned that CSS is not only the abbreviation for Counter Strike Server. From then on, web development had all my attraction. Later I was hired to do this for money. Wow. What a turn for someone who “hopefully never ever have to use computers” (said in a weak moment at the age of 20). After my job as a webmaster I worked in the global E-Marketing support of Bayer Schering Pharma for the last 4 years where web analytics became my profession.

When looking back I must say the loo poetry statement is partly wrong. When looking at the present the greatest gift is my wife and our two kids who prove me every day that life is great. And so are the graphics (we live on the waterside).


Jim Cain – Hoser Man

If you are new to the Silly Series, you have a lot of catching up to do!  It’s a plethora of people profiles, where I ask the questions no-one cares about and get answers for which few are ready.

Today, it’s the turn of Jim Cain, a man not afraid to say he’s afraid of clowns.

Who is James Cain?

James Cain is a famous American writer, known for creating the romain noir genre of hardboiled crime novels.

Jim Cain is the President of Napkyn Inc., a 7-person managed analysis services business in Ottawa Canada.

Kidding aside, I am struggling with writing a bio – everyone else seems to have a really cool one.  I have been in Digital Sales and Analysis since 2000, and for the last few years I have been building Napkyn Inc., home of the Analyst Program, some great analysts, and some amazing ‘virtual bosses’ in Retail, Publishing and business to business.

If you could only choose one for an 8-hour flight, would you choose 1) extra legroom, 2) free wireless connection or 3) back-to-back episodes of “The Real Housewives of Orange County”?

Wireless in a second.  I’m not a big guy, so I can curl up fairly easy, but with nothing to read I get pretty snarky – access to internet means I never run out of things to read. No feedback on the Housewives show, I only watch hockey games and cooking shows so I haven’t seen that one yet.

Why is Napkyn called Napkyn?  Why not call it Serviette?  If you’re the president, does that mean I can run for election to your job?

Whoa – that should count as three questions…but I will play along.

Napkyn is called Napkyn because I came up with the idea to start a managed analysis services business at the pub.  There was only one place to write down my ideas, and that’s what we ended up calling the company.  If you look at our logo you can even make a good guess at the kind of beer I was drinking at the time….  A friend of mine calls the company Servi@, and even created a fake logo – I like Napkyn just fine.

As for the President thing, you’ve touched a sensitive nerve 😉  While I lead the charge at Napkyn around selling and delivering our suite of Analyst programs, I don’t fancy myself much of an executive.  I also don’t think a company comprised of 7 people and a bulldog needs a Chief Officer.  I ended up with President by default, and if you want to run for election you will win for sure – so run!


Michael Notté – Car Man

As part of the Silly Series, several previously well-respected members of the web analytics community have consented to answer several foolish questions.

Today, it’s the turn of Michael Notté

Bonjour M. Notté.  Et vous êtes…?

I am Belgian, French-speaking and leave near Brussels, the capital of Europe.  I am working in Web Analytics for more than 6 years – as Web Analytics specialist at the European HQ of a big car manufacturer. I discovered the world of Web Analytics when I joined this company. It turned into a real passion for me, a passion that I try to share with others through my blog: Kaizen-analytics.

When I am not doing Web Analytics, I am a happy married man, father of 3 lovely kids.

If you were to write a book on Web Analytics, what would be its title and to whom would you dedicate it?

I think I would call it “A journey into Web Analytics – a practitioner perspective” or something like that – like the series I wrote last year on my blog.  There are plenty of great books on web analytics but all are from consultants, experts or gurus, not from practitioners. Maybe that’s because we (practitioners) do the hard work and don’t have time for writing books 😉

I would dedicate it to my wife – for all the time she patiently listens to me talking about my work and passion, for supporting the geek that I am. Oh, and I would also dedicate it to Aurélie Pols and René Deschamps – they showed me the “way” when I started in this field.


Eric Peterson – Demystified Man

No animals were harmed in the making of this Silly Series on the people of web analytics.  Probably.

Today, we turn our attention to the simply marvellous Eric Peterson.

Eric, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a father of two beautiful children, married to a wonderful (and understanding) woman, and live in relative comfort in Portland, Oregon.  I am fortunate enough to have written some books, started blogging early on, and made one or two decisions that in retrospect turned out to be fairly good.  Now I try and surround myself with people who are more or less smarter than I am, keep my head down and my nose clean.  I fail at the latter quite often but, for the most part, things have turned out well so I just keep doing what I do.

3 Web Analytics Demystified partners walk into a bar.  Who pays for the second round of beers?

I am honored to work with John and Adam and so if buying a few rounds of beer is the price I have to pay then so be it.  In fact, while I was working to convince John Lovett to join me as a Demystifier we closed down a number of “lobby bars” in the wee hours — a skill I learned from Mr. Jim Sterne and one that has served me very well.


Stéphane Hamel – Model Man

The Silly Series of web analytics people profiles aims to bring the people of the industry into your hearts, while hopefully not frightening you too much.

It’s time to talk to Stéphane Hamel, a man with a plan to rule the world.

You live in a 200 year-old house on an island – who are you?

Some people would say I’m a “web analytics advocate” – I’ve been leveraging data & technology to bring the most optimal and realistic solutions and recommendations to my clients for over 20 years. As you might guess… I started long before the Web – thus my gray hair!

I live in a house built around 1815 on a nice island called Île d’Orléans, a couple of miles away from Québec-city – first settlers arrived here around 1650 and the area is now considered a world heritage. I like the contrast of history and modernity.

I understand that you’re hoping to have published a first edition of the Online Analytics textbook by the end of this year.  If someone was to write a textbook about you, what would it be called and in what font would your name appear?

It would be a novel entitled “Destinations” – with the title written in Morse code. My grandfather gave me his telegraphs and an amazing learning machine when I was young – it fascinated me! They are ancestors of everything that supports our modern life with 0 and 1s! The story would be a tale of the big WWWWH (who,what,when,where,why,how) of my life and how I landed where I am today – with my unique strengths and weaknesses!


Lawrence Dyson – Web Man

Continuing a series to mark the silly-season, I’m profiling some folks to be found in the web analytics industry (see also: Jeff Katz – Twitalyzer Man, HiPPO – Obnoxious Man & Michele Hinojosa – Jojoba Woman).

Today it’s the turn of Lawrence Dyson, who claims he is not James Bond (wish I’d known that before I decided to profile him, sheesh).

Lawrence, tell the nice people a little about yourself.
No longer the youngster I once thought I’d always be, I’ve been being doing web analysis of sorts for a number of companies, currently for a retailer in the UK. Before that I’ve been involved in local geography economic forecasting, and database analysis.

If you were a metric, which one would you be and why?

Bounce rate segmented by social-economic class, gender and sartorial elegance. I can happily spend an hour sitting in a café people-watching, seeing how different types of person interact with each other.