Next Stop, Wonderland

FoldsIt has been a year of a lot, and now seems like the right time for an important change.

I have recently made the decision to change paths as it relates to my professional career. I'll be leaving Intuit, and my position there as the Director of Web Research & Analytics, and become an Independent Consultant.

In the last x amount of time I have had the opportunity to explore various avenues in terms of next steps. Becoming an Independent Consultant seems to be the optimal way for me to pursue my passions, do the kind of work I like doing and along the way have a positive impact on the ecosystem.

For my first assignment I’ll be working with Google as an Analytics Evangelist. In that role I’ll work with Google Marketing and assist them with internal analytics for their marketing programs. I’ll also be working with the Google Analytics team on assignments that span speaking, web analytics education and evolution of the GA tool.

On this blog I have often expressed the need for democratization of data as critical to making informed decisions on the web, my hope is that through my contributions I can help in a small way in getting more people to leverage the power of analytics.

I hope to also collaborate with other Google teams, on projects such as the Google Website Optimizer (I am sure regular readers know how passionate I am about experimentation and testing and its key role in creating customer centric web experiences).

There are also a couple of other opportunities on the horizon with other industry leaders that I hope to take on, in conjunction with my role as a Consultant at Google. These would allow me to speak, write, educate, influence web strategy and take on projects that can have a high level impact on Practitioners of the art of web analytics.

So what changes can you expect here?

    None.

    This blog exists to further the cause of changing mind-sets around web research and web analytics and share practical insights that challenge existing practices by showing what alternatives exist. This comes from a deep rooted passion of mine and it is my commitment to continue that process.

    It has been a huge struggle to keep up the blog and the book and the job and speaking and seminars and everything. If anything you can expect more contributions here, and hopefully even higher quality output.

So what changes can you expect otherwise?

    It will probably more likely that I’ll be in your neck of the woods speaking or teaching (or be on YouTube !) and perhaps I’ll get to see more of you and have more direct contact. This is certainly one of the motivating factors behind my decision.

    Perhaps my friends at other Web Analytics companies might be worried. My deepest hope is to stay true to my message, which has always been to help Practitioners of Web Analytics find the best tool that works for them in the situation that is unique to them. I will continue to do that.

    I have always been a fan of Google Analytics for bringing sophisticated clickstream analysis to the masses, for free. I have mentioned it often on this blog, and have highlighted it as a great service for anyone getting into the space. It does a lot, but it doesn’t do everything and we are lucky to have other good paid web analytics tools. You won’t hear me change my position on that.

    I have regular contact with people at almost every single web analytics company and I hope to have continued contact with all my vendor friends, as in the past, to talk about tools and road maps and users and how to alleviate pain and even do a educational seminar or two (here's the recent ClickTracks Unleash Analytics Seminar).

    To measure my own success I’ll look for your direct and honest feedback on keeping the Independent in the Independent Consultant.

Next stop, wonderland.

    (As a side note that is the title of a movie, a romantic comedy, about life, its coincidences and the quest for love.)

    It is rare for people to figure out what their true passion is. It is even rarer to be afforded the opportunity to do what they are passionate about, and to be paid for it.

    I consider myself lucky to have that opportunity. I am grateful to the team at Google for affording me the opportunity to do what I am passionate about and allow me to add value to the web analytics ecosystem.

    I have to admit that there is certainly a sense of leaving the security of a solid corporate job and jumping off a cliff, but I think it will be fine and hopefully a lot of fun. :) Next stop, wonderland.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this change.

If you are an Independent Consultant, is the grass greener on the other side?

If you are a friend at a web analytics company, what do you think?

If you are a Practitioner, would the insights here still be of value?

If you are a blog reader, what did I not address above?

Please share your feedback via comments.

Comments

  1. 1
    Clint says:

    Avinash,
    I can't say that I'm surprised. Intuit will surely miss you!

    All I can say is that I have found working as a consultant (for a vendor) vastly different than working as a practitioner.

    Welcome to the madness.

    -Clint

  2. 2
    awan says:

    well, a change is always good. talking about doing what you like to do and hoping to contribute your knowledge and experience to better what we have now on the www.

    it might be risky. but alas, risk is always good. too. i wish you all the best. :-)

  3. 3

    Hi Avinash,

    that's a great change! I wish you all the luck… As Thomas Jefferson once said: "I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

    In fact I will be very excited to hear some specific tips about GA from you. GoogleTalks, GA Conversion University, and your blog, of course. I have the feeling that even though you will keep your independent philosophy, GA users have a reason to smile :-)

    All the best in this new path, and as Hermann Hesse writes on Steps:

    At life's each call the heart must be prepared to take its leave and to commence afresh, courageously and with no hint of grief submit itself to other, newer ties. A magic dwells in each beginning and, protecting us, it tells us how to live.

    Daniel Waisberg

  4. 4

    Congratulations, Avinash. I'm very happy for you. We've seen on this blog and in your talks what a talent you have for communicating web analytics with enthusiasm and insight. I'm sure working as an independent consultant will be a great fit for you.

  5. 5

    As a Practitioner you managed to gain invaluable in depth WA implementation knowledge, which is hard to gain from another position. You also managed to discern what has business value and what has not.

    As a Consultant you will be more flexible to get a valuable overview of things (IMHO). They say that best consultants are the ones who have been practitioners before.

    In this blog you have raised high expectations to all your readership. Actually, my understanding is that you have been consulting for a long time.

    Best of luck to you Avinash !

  6. 6

    Avinash- I'm sure you'll find incredible enjoyment working across a number of clients and meeting all sorts of new people.

    I also anticipate the requests for your time will begin to pile up so please add OTTO/Offermatica to the list. :)

    Cheers!

  7. 7

    I will simply quote two parts of Thomas W.Malone in the book "The Future of Work" that I often refer too when I have to take hard decisions:

    Making choices that are wise, not just economically efficient, means making choices that are consistent with our deepest values.

    and

    For the first time in history, technologies allow us to gain economic benefits of large organizations, like economies of scale and knowledge, without giving up the human benefits of small ones, like freedom, creativity, motivation, and flexibility.

    You are wise, you are free, creative, and highly motivated, and now you've got the flexibility! And even if for most of us never met you in real life, there are people we can identify as true leaders, and there's no doubt you are one of them!

  8. 8
    Ryan Knuppel says:

    Avinash,

    I just recently started reading your blog and I love it. I wish you all the luck with your career change!

    Ryan

  9. 9

    Congratulations, Avinash, on making this life-changing decision. If becoming an independent consultant means more great content on the blog, then I don't think you'll find a lot of dissenters here.

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also looking forward to what you have to offer on GA, of course. :)

    Best of luck!

  10. 10

    Hi Avinash,

    Frankly, I was expecting this post for some time now. It makes a lot of sense. Good luck with everything, especially with the adaptation phase. Things are a little different on the receiving end of the money ;-).

  11. 11

    Hi Avinash,

    That's exciting news – good luck!

    I love reading the blog and I found your seminar with clicktracks very helpful last week.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you drive some improvements to (the already really useful) Google Analytics.

    On the 'jumping off a cliff' front – that's exactly how I felt when I started my company 2 years ago. All I can say is that it's pretty exhilarating and I wouldn't change it for the world. With your skills and experience I'm sure you'll be fine.

    All the best.

  12. 12

    Congrats, Avinash – this seems like a great move for you.

  13. 13
    Chris Biber says:

    Hi Avinash,

    Congratulations on making the leap! With your well-deserved reputation in this space, your new 'independent consulting' role should work out very well. I certainly have never looked back…

    I am looking forward to your continued independent insights from Google & Co!

    And on another note: Hats off on your decision to donate your book profits. I've already ordered my first copy and will order a few more for some of our clients…

  14. 14
    John Gauntt says:

    Yesterday, after finishing a morning's work and lunch. I explored the stream that runs next to the house, listening to not only to water's gurgling but to the land slowly waking from winter. Magic. Then I went back to the home office and kept working.

    Been independent for six years through lean and fat times. I'm effectively ruined now for corporate advancement for which I'm profoundly grateful.

    BUT…..

    potentially happy endings such as this occur only if you can maintain a single minded obsession on cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. It all follows from that.

    Also, quickly get a second or third client aside from Google. Huge mistake people make on the outset is to concentrate on a single gig. Then, you're putting in the same hours, without benefits, and the client knows they've got you. Three or four regular clients always insures a better conversation.

    But congrats and please keep this blog going…it's part of my daily diet.

    John

  15. 15
    Ned Kumar says:

    Congrats Avinash — wish you the best on your new endeavors!! Better to follow the heart in these matters than over-analyze with your head :-)

    Ned

  16. 16

    Avinash, first congratulations. You'll do great!

    Second, please, please, please… kick the product folks at Google in the shins and urge them to ship the next release of Urchin.

  17. 17
    Melinda B says:

    Congratulations Avinash!

    Good for you, and good luck!

    Melinda

  18. 18
    JIm Sterne says:

    Congrats, Avinash!

    I *know* you'll do well.

    All the best!

  19. 19
    Chuck F says:

    Congratulations Avinash – don't look back, I don't doubt this will be a positive move for you.

    As a practitioner I can assure you the blog will continue to have great value – I have to imagine your experiences and insights will be, if anything, more diverse and valuable.

  20. 20

    Congrats on your future Avinash! I wish you only the best, and tell Jeff at Google that I said hello. They're good people, and I hope that you'll bring about positive changes at Google.

  21. 21
    Hugh gage says:

    Hi Avinash,
    I am genuinely excited for you. I think it's a great move and I’ve always believed that having a passion in something is one of the most significant keys to being a success at it. On that basis alone I'd say you’re well placed.

    I’m also relieved to know you’ll be continuing with the blog.

    Very best for the future. Hugh

  22. 22

    Congratulations, Avinash. Now your expertise can benefit more people.

    It's a gutsy move. I was a consultant for several years and I miss the freedom and independence. What I don't miss is the uncertainty about where your next gig will come from and the concomitant feeling that you must say "yes" to all assignments and work as many hours as possible, for tomorrow it may rain.

  23. 23

    Thank you all for your kind words and support. In his comment Bruce captures perfectly my frame of mind at the moment.

    Part excitement but mostly a mortifying sense fear, its the cliff thing! :)

    Thanks so much again for all your comments and advice. Much appreciated.

    -Avinash.

  24. 24

    Avinash,

    I salute your decision!

    Something tells me that, should the cliff be a bit too sheer, you hve a community here that will provide a fairly decent parachute ;)

    On that note, good luck with your independent endeavour and your upcoming book (OX2 is pre-ordering a few copies)

    When you have time, do continue to bestow upon us your pearls of wisdom ;)

    -Julien

  25. 25

    Hey, your announcement and my announcement coincide with each other! Great timing!

    You will do very, very well. Your blog consistently gives people valuable help, without expecting anything in return. I think you will find that the marketplace is ready to reward you with challenging and enjoyable projects.

    I look forward to reading about your new life!

    Good luck,
    Kevin

  26. 26

    Good luck Avinash, sounds like a great move – look forward to hearing of adventures at Google and am very glad the blog will keep going – its inspirational!

    all the very best for the future
    Jon

  27. 27

    You have already delivered lots of fresh air to this emerging space, and many of us are looking forward to hearing your 'independant' voice as this space evolves.

    All the best,
    Jerry

  28. 28

    Avinash,

    You know, in the last year, everytime I saw that Intuit was hiring SEMs,the first thing that always popped into my head as a reason to want to work at Intuit was the oppurtunity to meet and chat with you while on the job. I'm certain you will be greatly missed. I'm also certain that in the next year you will have to clone yourself in order to keep up with all the people who will want you to do consulting work for them. Congratulations!!

  29. 29
    Mike Moran says:

    Congratulations, Avinash!

    I'm very happy to hear that you're getting a chance to do what you really want to do. You deserve it. Best of luck.

  30. 30

    and Re: "If you are an Independent Consultant, is the grass greener on the other side?"

    Depends. Can you spend 60% – 80% of your time interacting with only your computer?

    After my father passed away almost 2 years ago, I decided I needed a break from 9-5 and became an independent consultant. I loved the freedom. I had always wondered who those people were that would take jogs in the middle of the day and realized, "Oh, they work for themselves!" It was great to work at the hours that I worked best at; and because Online Marketing is my passion, I would even work 24 hour days and not notice it. BUT… after about a year I realized that I missed the interaction with people that an office brings. Plus, your computer can't respond to your: "So the craziest thing happened to me today stories." Fortunately I've found the perfect balance, in that I work for a company that allows me to continue to do outside consulting. So I have the best of both worlds.

    And my own advice – get the best personal health insurance that you can! Cheers!

  31. 31
    Sebastian says:

    Congrats Avinash! Well done!

  32. 32
    Anand says:

    Congrats Avinash! That's the right role for you.. Wish you all the best for your new endeavour.

  33. 33

    Congrats Avinash! IMHO, you are the last person I can think of that should have any insecurities about the change! There's no ceiling on the impact you'll make under your own steam and talent. This is where you belong. Feel certain. Cheers!

  34. 34
    Rachit says:

    (From the shoes of an Independent Consultant)

    The grass is definitely greener on this side! The fun of being able to do many interesting projects in different areas, and being seen as an expert makes it much more rewarding than a fixed position :)

    The hardest challenge is to ensure cashflow … but with your reputation preceeding you, your book coming out soon and so many opportunities, I'm sure you'll have no trouble on that front.

    Good luck Avinash … Every other practitioner out there will be waiting for your next post!

  35. 35
    Matt Zehner says:

    Congrats, Avinash, on both your decision and the forthcoming book. As a part-time practictioner (by necessity, not choice!) at a small business, I have already gleaned MUCH from your posts, and I have no doubt at all that you will continue to show us the way. All best wishes!

  36. 36
    Lars says:

    Congratulations, Avinash.

    I'm sure you'll discover that you made the right choice.

    This is good news for a lot of us, it's an opportunity for us to tap into your knowledge and experience.

    I have only two concerns:

    1) It will be difficult to get your time, the queue will be too long.
    2) We might not afford you (an effect of #1)

    ;-)

  37. 37
    Dave Morgan says:

    Avinash, congratulations on the positive. It's always a good thing when you find what you love *and* can pursue it in the way that you wish.

    And extra kudos for the Boston reference (Wonderland) … we hope your travels take you here for our "burgeoning web analytics scene".

    cheers,
    Dave at SiteSpect

  38. 38
    Noemi Berlus says:

    What exciting news!

    Don't worry one minute, Avinash. I left a job with a great pay to start my own business and I'm glad I did. You can never feel the same satisfaction working for someone else.

    As for job security, I think it is an illusion. The only and best security you can have these days, is to be the best at what you do. I think everyone who reads this blog would agree that you will never have trouble finding a job if you ever need to. If anything, it will just make your old employer appreciate you more. I bet that they will (like my ex-employer did with me) offer you a better title and huge pay increase a few years from now.

    Good luck with your new enterprise even if you don't need it.

  39. 39
    Mauricio Osorio says:

    Avinash,

    Congratulations, this industry can use more of the wealth of your knowledge and I for one can't wait to go to a workshop.

    Mauricio

  40. 40

    Avanish: I've only been a reader here for a short while, but glad to hear your good news! Sincerely good luck with the freelancing thing and as a previous commenter mentioned, don't put all your eggs in one basket!

    Gerard

  41. 41
    Marc Saarde says:

    Avinash,

    Gongratulations! I wish you all the best in pursuing you passions. Can't wait to read your book!

    Marc

  42. 42
    Jonghee Jo says:

    What a surprise. Congratulations, Avinash!

    It is always good to pursue what you really want to do. You deserve it. Best of luck!

    Jonghee @ Victoria's Secret

  43. 43
    Alex Negash says:

    Congratulations Avinash! You seem to have found your niche…this is of course an exciting news for GA users… I hope to read your insightful analysis on GA's Conversion university soon!!! … best of luck!

  44. 44
    Chris Yoon says:

    Best of luck Avinash and may our paths cross again!

  45. 45

    ..and I hope to have continued contact with all my vendor friends

    Of course! You would still be able to get a free Red Bull from me – anytime. Even if you would end up with Omniture ;-) Njahh, perhaps a Diet Coke then. Congrats Avinash!

    See you in London soon.

    Dennis R. Mortensen,
    COO, IndexTools

  46. 46
    Sasi kiran says:

    Congrats Avinash! I am sure you would have carefully considered the option before taking the plunge. Here's wishing you a great success.

    Sasi Kiran

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Richard Sim says:

    Thats great news. I've been an active follower of your blog for quite some time now. Your continued evangelism will be great for the industry as a whole… hopefully making the Web a better place for all of us.

  49. 49

    Best of luck in your change. You know my feelings on GA, and I hope you get to do some good work with them on that product. While I doubt that I will contract forever, it was a much needed break from the 9-5 and something everyone who feels the itch should try.

    If your work ever takes you to NYC, let me know. I'd love to meet up with you and talk shop.

  50. 50
    bill says:

    Congrats.. I tried to get on board to the GA team, but didn't even get to the technical interview. :( I just wish I could have made it that far to prove myself worthy.

    Nice site you have.. I have learned quite a bit.

  51. 51
    Erin says:

    Hi Avinash – congratulations! I was reading the GA blog to learn more about their reporting for my site (I left Intuit as well at the end of January to start a new business) and when I saw the headline "Welcome Avinash" I figured it was you. I'm sure you'll do really well as a consultant and have fun along the way.

  52. 52

    Congratulations, Avinash, that is awesome! I'm ashamed that I've been away from your blog for a month and it's taken me this long to hear the news. Anyway I hope and expect that the new direction will be wonderful, fun, exciting, and fulfilling for you. As one of your thousands of fans I know you will do well although there is also something a little big scary about a free-floating Avinash force out there. Like you might take over the universe…

    As to being independent vs. safely employed, I'm not a big fan of the ups & downs of being independent, but I'm a *huge* fan of not having a boss!

    I'm also really looking forward to your book, and you *know* you're giving me an interview about GA some=time soon!

    Gradiva

Trackbacks

  1. Avinash Kaushik leaving Intuit to form his own Web Analytics Consultancy…

    Wow…. Avinash Kaushik is leaving Intuit to form his own Web Analytics Consultancy with his first gig …work directly with the Google Analytics team.  I got this information from the Unofficial Google Analytics Blog – but I see Avinash, himself,…

  2. Well, duh……

    Good luck, Avinash. I think this is a great move – it's only a shame you're going to be working with the competition. :-)…

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  6. UCC says:

    Search Headlines & Links: Mar. 6, 2007…

    Web analytics consultant Avinash Kaushik announced today on his Occam's Razor blog that he's leaving his position as director of Web research & analytics at Intuit to strike out on his own as an independent consultant. His first gig is as an "analytics evangelist" for Google, working with Google's marketing team on internal analytics, and with the Google Analytics team to spread the analytics gospel to the masses.

  7. […]

    Welcome to Avinash Kaushik who joins the Google Analytics team.

    Based at the Goopleplex in Mountain View, Avinash will ”work with Google Marketing and assist them with internal analytics for their marketing programs. I’ll also be working with the Google Analytics team on assignments that span speaking, web analytics education and evolution of the GA tool.”

    http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2007/03/next-stop-wonderland.html

    For those that don’t know Avinash, he is one of the industry’s leading evangelists and web analytics bloggers (spending up to 20 hours per week on his blog! ). As Director of Web Research & Analytics at Intuit, he literally built that team from scratch into a world class web analytics outfit.

    If you want to catch up with him, Avinash will be with me at eMetrics London 29/30th March. I hope I don’t have to present after him – its a tough act to follow!

    […]

  8. […]

    March 7th, 2007 News on Avinash's blog "Next Stop, Wonderland"

    Avinash is leaving Intuit to become the most sought after Web Analytics consultant in the galaxy. First gig, working with Google. Not a bad way to start off. Congrats to Avinash! All the best to you, please stay in touch after you take over the world of analytics.

    Also, I will buying Avinash’s first book, I hope everybody else in the Web Analytics universe does the same. It can be purchased at Amazon: Here

    […]

  9. […] How you know the tech economy is booming back … … no parking spaces in Silicon Valley.  On my way to the very successful WebGuild event last night I dropped by the Googleplex to chat with their newest consultant, my friend Avinash Kaushik.  I had no idea that it would take me 20 minutes to find a parking space at Building 41 but I guess that means that "Google is hiring!" Then I dropped in on the nice folks at SimplyHired who power my premium job listing service and again drove around in circles looking for parking. […]

  10. […] On his post about the topic, he discussed some of his dreams and fears about leaving a corporate culture and going out on his own. Obviously, I can't compare his experience to mine … but I did have a few words of encouragement for him to start up – and I posted them on my blog. Here's what I said … (From the shoes of an Independent Consultant) […]

  11. […] My hope is to do value added consulting on all things related to making decisions on the web. My ideal client is one that wants to turbocharge their Web Analytics efforts or create truly data driven organizations and does not know how to do it.

    Clickstream analysis, Outcomes measurement, Web Research, Experimentation and Testing, Competitive Intelligence and more… I hope to help organizations large and small unleash the power that is inherent in this wonderful world we call the Web.

    My first client is Google, I am currently the Analytics Evangelist for Google Marketing.

    I am also looking forward to my book coming out next month (Web Analytics: An Hour a Day), should be a exciting few months.

    My first client is Google, I am currently the Analytics Evangelist for Google Marketing. […]

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    Exactly 1 in 9 had a Google affiliation.

    By design.

    Fast forward six months:

    This 1/9 ratio has leaped to 3 in 9. The additions: Avinash Kaushik took on a engagement as Google’s Web Evanglist in March (great for both sides!) and Google bought Feedburner this week (again, great for both sides!) Many congrats to Dick Costello and the whole Feedburner team.

    And it isn’t inconceivable the ratio goes still higher by fall.

    That the web’s premier organization is pulling in the nation’s premier people is to be expected, I guess. Pleased to see great folks joining a company which provides them maximum leverage to spread their good ideas webwide. No surprise, no problems, no concerns. […]

  13. […]
    Published by Wiley’s Sybex brand, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, by Avinash Kaushik, the Analytics Evangelist for Google, and author of the widely-read Occam’s Razor blog, is a must-have resource for online marketers.

    About the Book

    The book went beyond what we were expecting, i.e., how to better read analytics dashboards. What we found was a sophisticated and marketing-oriented book that teaches how to use the available data to create a clear picture of return on investment in the online world. This is more than your typical programming book, this is a marketing book.

    Kaushik does a great job with the format. As with any subject you’re committed to knowing, reading the information and applying it in small pieces is the best way to learn. Most of the content is arranged by subject and is segmented into daily readings, allowing you to focus and build upon the knowledge one piece at a time
    […]

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  16. […] es actualmente, consultor independiente y Analytcs Evangelist de Google, un trabajo en el que como el mismo bromea, le pagan por hacer lo que quiera. Pues bien, cuando […]

  17. […] Avinash Kaushik, evangelizador de Google Analytics, ofreció algunos datos interesantes durante un evento en las oficinas de Google en Atlanta. Kaushik comentó que por primera vez la búsqueda media de Google estaba formada por 4 palabras y no por 3 como venía siendo hasta ahora una búsqueda "tipo" en Google. O lo que es lo mismo, las personas cada vez buscamos cosas más concretas en internet. Puede parecer una trivialidad, pero es un dato importantísimo a tener en cuenta en las técnicas de posicionamiento en buscadores. […]

  18. […] Todo esto cobra reciente vigencia cuando Avinash Kaushik quien en una conferencia sobre Google Analytics confirmo el dato que muchos encargados de hacer SEO alrededor del mundo venían murmurando entre dientes. […]

  19. […] Avinash Kaushik is currently Analytics Evangelist for Google. He lists the ten reasons to work for Google and I pick out his number one tip: the food. It would go well with the college port in Cambridge! However AK does not have it all; he is a consultant and has no options or stock. He does not mention what it is like working with people whose options have vested. […]

  20. […] from Bruce Clay Inc. The first was a little bit of link love from Lisa Barone with her interview of Google Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik. The post, 6 Questions With Analytics Guru Avinash Kaushik, includes multiple […]

  21. […] I remember hearing Avinash Kaushik speak about their impressive analytics and testing programs a couple years back at a Frost & Sullivan conference. He may have moved on, but it seems Intuit’s sharp customer focus is firmly intact. […]

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