What do Childbirth and Web Analytics have in common? Not just time and pain.

Sorry for the long hiatus, everyone. In August baby Logan joined our family after a very fast 2 hours and 30 minute labor. Nine months of baking and he was ready! Fortunately, so were the folks in the emergency room. I had to laugh because one of the doctors requested that I "try not to have the baby just yet" since they needed to check me in and get me to the proper floor. Well, let me tell you. That was not an option.

If I were to draw a parallel between childbirth and analytics (beside the fact that they both involve a lot of time and sometimes pain), I'd point to the element of critical mass. Now, I am not an expert in web analytics any more than I am an expert in having kids, but there is a point of surrender in both processes when the stars align and the answer (or baby) appears.

In analytics this translates as not looking too closely at the numbers, but going with the gist. The analysts I've worked with so far establish a "gut feel" for the numbers. Something seems strange here. Something seems interesting there. And then a question is formulated and data tested. This is why web analytics is both an art and a science.

Just like childbirth, if you think you can control the whole process, you're going to get a big surprise. Just give in, wade into the data and let the insight flow through you.