Schrödinger's Cat, Digital Marketing & Technology  


Allison Hartsoe 2014.jpg

If you really want to know more about Schrödinger's cat visit the Wikipedia listing. Welcome to my digital analytics blog!

Allison Hartsoe, Speaker & CEO, Ambition Data

Who is Schrödinger and what does his cat have to do with digital marketing analytics? It's an interesting story. And let me just say now, that even though I'm not a fan of cats, this particularly violent experiment was never carried out. It's just used to prove duality (the ability to be in two states at once) which is a fundamental characteristic of quantum mechanics. 

In Schrödinger's hypothetical experiment, a cat is either living or dead depending on if a sealed box is opened and the state of the cat is observed. When the box is not open, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. If the box is open, then the act of observation causes the cat to be either dead or alive. Hard to understand I know, but it's not a question. This dual state is real on the quantum level. 

The application for digital analytics is to say, you can assume your website or even your business, is alive and doing well until you actually observe how it is being used. Then you may discover you have a dead cat in the box and hence the dual states.

Before Schrödinger, there was serendipity

My background is actually journalism, a career I choose because I was so curious and it allowed me to ask lots of questions. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and promptly headed off to Prague in the Czech Republic. There I covered a tear gas bombing at a local night club for the Prague Post and taught English.

Arriving back in the states, I landed a job in public relations for a Carnegie Mellon start-up just prior to the dot com craze. I taught myself HTML and generated $2 mil in press coverage (measured by column inches). The company was acquired by Intuit. 

Now in Silicon Valley post-acquisition, I co-founded a new Internet company that specialized in syndication, prior to RSS. This company took off like a rocket. It landed $76 million dollars of venture capital and staffed 230 people with 6 offices, two overseas. I drove marketing, then operations, then international growth. I do love to figure things out, then pass them off to others who can enrich and support the vision or process. 

Prior to going public, the market crashed and so did the company. It was then I met my future husband who suggested we bike across the USA. We did, and for the record, it was supported and it takes 52 days, averaging about 80 miles a day. 

After the ride, I moved to Colorado and became the local director for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. I still love helping other women succeed. During this time, I started a second company named Aspyro. Asypro used Ruby on Rails code to optimize eBay selling choices for million dollar Titanium sellers. Would that $20 featured listing really pay off? What was the competition doing? We bootstrapped and did well, but it was clear that web analytics was the place to be.

I met Jim Sterne who runs eMetrics while speaking at an eBay conference. Jim invited my to moderate some panels at eMetrics and check out the industry, which I did. It was here that I met June Dershewitz. June helped me get started in web analytics with Semphonic. She was headed out on maternity leave and I was just coming back. When she returned, they kept us both.

Most of my grounding in web and digital analytics comes from the five years I spent working for Gary Angel at Semphonic. I have never worked with a brighter group of people, and I STILL miss them. During these years I started the blog and worked for many Fortune 500s listed on the company page. Semphonic was acquired by Ernst & Young. And if there's one kind of company that can make a technology entrepreneur ill, it's a large, slow moving accounting firm.

But shortly after I left, one person from my team dropped me a note saying, have you seen Google today? And when I pulled up the page, it was a Happy Birthday doodle for Erwin Schrödinger. The irony is that his birthday is my birthday too.   

And now, analytics, technology and marketing as an industry is on fire.

In consulting, we track billable hours closely. And whether the firm is large or small, the same ratios apply. The higher you go, the less billable you are. This has two disadvantages. One, you are less billable because you spend so much time in meetings. Two, because all your time is fractured, it is very difficult to stay as sharp as you might like on industry knowledge, or learn anything new!

And yet, our industry is on fire. New start ups and venture money are flowing from the coasts. Data science is sexy. Numbers rock. And the people who can turn them into human stories are few. I am that person.

I am the one who sees future trends and can relate it all the way back to the tactical moves you need to make today. Check out my testimonials. I love being an advisor to my clients. Together, we get analytics done. 

Do you need help with digital analytics? Let's talk!