Industry Insights

3 reasons why I love the analytics community

Find out why Nicola Strand, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Unity Technologies, loves the analytics community.

Nicola Strand
January 29 · 3 min 30 sec read

Nicola Strand is a marketer at heart, a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Unity Technologies, who fell in love with the Scandinavian analytics community. Find out why:

I’m a marketer. Not an analyst, customer insights manager, data scientist or any of the other roles typically associated with analytics. But I’m passionate about analytics - as a marketer, I believe it my job to be as it makes me a better one. And so I’m still part of the analytics community, and an active part at that. Here are the three main reasons why I love being involved:

Discovery

I have never discovered so much professional content as I do now. Through Google I discovered Web Analytics Wednesday; through Web Analytics Wednesday I discovered Measurecamp; through Measurecamp I discovered Measure Slack (a place where the global analytics community hangs out). Then through all of these, I’ve discovered tons of Stuff That Makes Me Smarter like the Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast, books like Storytelling With Data, and incredibly smart people like Mikko Piippo (if you don’t follow Mikko on LinkedIn, I highly recommend you do - always brilliant content that makes you think). All of this, the discovery of people and content due to the community, always gives me food for thought - not just stuff that tells me what to do. Which brings me onto my next point.

Inspiration

I’ve always had a penchant for learning more, and the community has fed, and still continues to feed, that penchant. After an unexpected redundancy a couple of years ago, I - perhaps unsurprisingly - had a bit of a professional career wobble, and one of the first places I turned to was the community. Was I supposed to be an analyst instead of a marketer; should I be learning JavaScript? SQL would be helpful, and what about Python? What or who is jQuery and should I care? What about working with people, would ‘switching sides’ mean I’d be behind a screen crunching all day? During that wobble, I had some really good conversations with a lot of different people, both people I already knew and people who didn’t necessarily know me from Adam but they took the time to talk to me because they wanted to help. Thanks to the help of the community, I learnt the basics of SQL, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I don’t use them in the job I have now, but they’ve still served me well; knowing an outline of how everything works inspired me to broaden my horizons and understand the web better.

The discovery of people and content due to the community, always gives me food for thought - not just stuff that tells me what to do.

Opportunity

All of the above has led to incredible opportunities. Opportunities that brought me out of myself. Opportunities that I don’t think I would have gotten without the motivation and support from the community, whether in the online or offline world. Whilst I’m personally outgoing, I used to be professionally shy - I would never have put myself forward to give a talk as I didn’t think I was smart enough. I never would have dreamt about writing a blog post. Not until Peter O’Neill, the founder of Measurecamp, asked me at the first Copenhagen Measurecamp if I was holding a session; no, I said. I don’t have any wisdom to impart. How many years experience do you have, he asked. Ten, I answered. “You will definitely have something to share”. So I did (and I survived). I’ve since given further non-Measurecamp talks, have hosted the first Women In Analytics conference in Copenhagen, and have grown in confidence tenfold.

Discovery, inspiration, and opportunity. This is what the community has done for me; maybe it can do the same for you.

Nicola's checklist to getting involved:

  • Web Analytics Wednesdays are a great way to start - it’s how I first got involved. As well as talks, there’s plenty of opportunity for networking and catching up with industry friends.
  • MeasureCamp: an incredibly popular unconference which started in London and is now a global phenomenon - you can find one local to you by clicking the link. And if you get a ticket, definitely sign up to hold a session - you won’t regret it!
  • Measure on Slack: great way to meet other professionals both locally and globally. You can apply to join here

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