An Interview with Rudi Shumpert, Beyond Web Analytics Podcast and Blog

Rudi Shumpert is a web analytics practitioner in the Atlanta area. Last year he launched a podcast series that has become very popular in the web analytics community: Beyond Web Analytics. Rudi has enlisted some of the top web analytics practitioners in the world to help with his podcasts and has had an amazing list of guests over the first 11 episodes. 

1.  Rudi, this is all pretty amazing to me. How did you even get the idea for this series of podcasts? How did you have the technical know-how to pull it all together? How did you get Adam Greco on board? In short, how did this all happen??

It all happened out of a growing fascination with Web Analytics, and last summer as I spent time scouring the web for every resource I could find to learn more I noticed that there did not seem to be many active podcasts on Analytics. I have been a fan of many types of podcasts from history, entertainment, and more technical ones as well, and I have always wanted to produce one myself. A friend of mine runs a podcast called Tweak & Geek, and I was able to sit in on a few of those to get a good feeling for how to record and manage the podcasts. I already had a variety of audio and video editing software, so it was just a matter of finding the right folks to be on it. One of the things I love about the web analytics community is the sheer number of people out there that are willing to help and lend their knowledge to others. As I have been working with Omniture most of all, I was/am quite a fan of Adam Greco’s blog posts and had interacted with him on twitter for a while. So I reached out to Adam and others to see if there was any interest in doing a podcast, and fortunately he was. It has been great working with Adam, James, and the all of the other guest hosts we have had on the podcast. 

2.  You took an interesting path to web analytics, having been successful in other analytics disciplines and having strong technical skills. Can you talk about that a bit?

I am a true developer at heart, and I have been developing web sites/web applications for about 14 years now. From 2005-2009 I worked for a small company that did hosted data analytics for schools k-12. In this job I helped build a reporting engine similar to Omniture’s SiteCatalyst, that would allow school administrators to segment and track/trend the students throughout the school year. I also spent a lot of time working with the variety of raw data files from the schools to transform them into a common format and load them into our own data warehouse. So when I went to work for Ariba last March it was a natural and rather smooth transition to work with web analytics and the data collection methods that go with that. So with the developer mindset, I read a few books on Web Analytics, and then sat down with the code and web sites and starting tinkering.

3.  You have had Gary Angel, Jim Sterne, Josh Manion, John Lovett, Akin Arikan… some of the top people in web analytics as guests. Who else is out there that you would love to have as a guest? Similarly, are there topics that you have not covered that are at the top of your list?

We have been very fortunate to have the caliber of guests on our podcasts that we have had, and that we have scheduled. Adam and James were instrumental in reaching out to folks they know in the industry to be on the podcast, and the current success we have enjoyed is a direct result. One of our goals of the podcast is to remain vendor agnostic, and we have tried to ensure that we have people from multiple vendors on the podcasts, and we are open to speaking to any vendor in the space. I think this objective stance is key in establishing and maintaining credibility in the Analytics community.

Personally, I would love to talk with Avinash Kaushik and Josh James. We have some great guests lined up to record over the next few weeks, and have some great podcasts recorded that are not yet released, including the second part of the series we did with you. We would love to hear from the listeners out there that have real world analytics challenges to come on the podcast and we will have a guest host whose focus is on the specific area of the challenge, A/B Testing, Multi-Channel, Staffing…etc. Then we would be able to help the listener work through the issue and hopefully come away with some possible solutions. So if you are out there and you would like to be on the podcast to talk shop with us, we would love to have you on the podcast or you can submit a question on the web site www.beyondwebanalytics.com .

4.  Can you share your stats? How many downloads have you had on the podcasts so far?

As of March 9th, 2010 we have had over 9,500 downloads combined. And the velocity of the downloads has been increasing since the beginning of the year. 

5.  The most recent episode was the Omniture 2010 recap. What was the consensus about the Summit this year? We have been really busy so all I have heard about so far was the Killers concert.

The Omniture Summit 2010 Recap is our single day record holder. It had over 250 downloads on the 1st day and also resulted in the highest traffic levels we have seen for a single day. The consensus of Summit, is that it was a first class conference. It exceeded my expectations in being able to learn new things, and being able to interact with not only other attendees but also Omniture employees and other industry leaders. It was really cool to actually meet with listeners and guest hosts of the podcast and the scores of others that I have interacted with on twitter and other forums. And yes, the Killers were incredible! However, seeing Josh James & Bret Error sing a Beastie Boys song might have topped the Killers. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttEqjh0qwGQ

6.  You seem to have a natural ability to host these things… you even have a great radio voice. Have you ever done this sort of thing in the past?

Thank you! I have not done anything like this in the past, but I have found the whole process to be very rewarding. A few years back I might not have been willing to tackle an endeavor like this or present at a major conference like I did at the Omniture Summit. Again, I think it is the developer in me that keeps pushing myself to learn new skills and to continue to take steps to practice and refine those skills in order stay current that has driven me start blogging, podcasting, and presenting. 

7.   What is your favorite episode? 

It would be too hard to pick just one. This might sound like a line, but my favorite podcast is the next one. I really look forward to planning the podcasts and getting the chance to talk analytics with our guests and being able to continue to interact with each guest long after the podcast has been posted.

Twitter: @rrs_atl

Podcast:  www.beyondwebanalytics.com

Blog:  www.rudishumpert.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rudishumpert

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