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Outsider Thinking and the Age of AI

by Jason Packer with contributions from Juliana Jackson People in our field of analytics come from lots of different backgrounds. It’s such a common trope that we don’t generally think about this fact. Sometimes, people regret this, like, “Oh, I wish I had started in analytics earlier in my career so I knew more about […]

incognito

How Many People Use Incognito Mode?

Private browsing modes have been around in browsers since Safari 2.0 in 2005, but are topic of interest again among analysts as browsers in general — and Safari especially — have started enforcing more tracking protections when users are in Private Mode. With Safari 17, users in Private Mode may simply disappear from your analytics. […]

hll

How Accurate is HyperLogLog++ in GA4?

There’s a lot of reasons why your GA4 data may not line up with expectations, but one of the most confusing is HyperLogLog++ (HLL++) cardinality estimation, which is used to estimate user counts. This estimation algorithm shows up in the GA4 UI for all counts whether they are flagged as “sampled” or not, but will […]

Google Analytics Alternatives book cover

On Self-Publishing My Analytics Book

Me: “Can you give me any advice on self-publishing?” Paul: “So — have you written the book yet?” Me: “Umm, yea.” Paul: “Well, there goes my biggest piece of advice.” I had this conversation with my good friend Paul back in September of 2022, when I was trying to figure out how to turn my […]

jpgg

Who Wants to Be Tracked?

“We value your privacy…”, the clichéd beginning of many a privacy notice. I value my own online privacy, and whenever I read that phrase as part of a website consent banner it sounds like lip service at best. Consent banners ostensibly exist to give users control over their privacy and how their data is used. […]

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Why Are We All So Bad at Math?

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” If you’ve ever wondered exactly how long ago and how far away this iconic opening line of Star Wars means, you’re in good company among analysts. A desire for for specificity and the need to quantify everything are hallmarks of the trade. Aren’t all galaxies […]

90's computing

A Startup Post-Mortem, Twenty-Five Years Later

Let’s set the scene. It’s July 1996, and I’m holed up in a small Michigan Avenue office psyching myself up for my first ever internet startup all-nighter. I’m a college student working for a small company that does online restaurant reservations in Chicago; un-creatively yet descriptively called “Reservations On-Line”. It’s 8 or 9pm, I’ve filled […]