After a 8 hours long plane trip, I arrived a Washington DC where the weather was magnifient. The sun was shining and the temperature was 16 degrees (Celcius). As always when I come to the US, my first impression relates to size. Everything seems bigger here. So I entered a big cab and went ahead to the Sheraton where the Emetrics conference was taking place, not very far from the airport. Aurélie was already there as she came one day early to attend to the Web Analytics Association Training Day.
I joined Aurélie after the training and some other folks at the bar. There I spoke with Nick Mihailovski from Google. Quite interesting conversation as he’s in charge of evangelizing Google Analytics amongst their best advertising customers. We also spoke about GA and how, at OX2, we were missing some kind of automatic export functionnality. I also had a chat with Robert Blackeley from the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). He explained to me what his position was inside the organisation as Web Analytics specialist (amongst some other areas of expertise). He came from IT but the owners of the Website are Marketeers so he needed to help them when it came to optimization and Web Analytics. We also discussed about WA and how Marketing was adopting it here in the States. I was happy (well maybe I shouldn’t use this word ;-)) to see that it wasn’t that different of what we see in Europe: Traditional Marketing guys don’t yet understand the importance of Web Analytics… (sounds familiar?)
We went to have dinner in a Greek restaurant and there Aurélie and I I had a very interesting talk with Andrea Hadley from the WAA about the role of the Association and it’s spread outside the US. She told us that a third of the members were non US and out of that third, one third came from Canada, an other from the UK. The rest of the planet represented the last third (around just 10% of WAA members). We weren’t surprised by these poor figures and we started discussing about what the WAA could do in order to attract more international members. Aurélie proposed to set-up online live meetings through video conferencing or something similar instead of always making ‘real’ meetings that are always based in the US. We also discussed about how we thought that the Vendors were over represented in the Asociation and that, from our humble perspective, the power should switch towards practitionners.
When we got back to the Hotel we finally had the pleasure to meet Eric Peterson who was going from table to table next to the bar catching up with everybody. He invited us to a drink and promissed Aurélie and I to make us a private demo of Visual Sciences on Tuesday… (can’t wait!). The conversations during the evening started around privacy and the difference of privacy perception in the US and Europe. We could not help ourselves to discuss about privacy in the States with the Patriot Act etc. Funny thing was that Aurélie and I seemed more concerned about defending the legacy of the american Founding Fathers. Robert then said a funny thing that we seemed more ‘americans’ than them😉
And around midnight we called it off and went to bed, excited about what was still in store for us, in the next few days @ the eMetrics Big Picture 2006.