Last week was Superweek, the annual web analytics conference high in the mountains in Hungary. This year several of us from the Data Runs Deep crew made the trek for a solid five days of web analytics.
There were over forty sessions, an increase on previous years and the first time that I'd stuck it out for the whole week. A bit like an endurance race (not that I've ever done one) and a bit like Burning Man (not that I've ever been.)
It was brilliant.
With so much on offer throughout the week it's hard to distil everything down into something bite-sized, but the big themes this year can probably be summarised as:
- GDPR, and what it means for anyone that's tracking data about anyone
- Machine Learning; last year was "how might" and this year moved into "how can" territory
- Attribution might not be as much a waste of time as you thought. Or, it's even more a waste of time than you thought. Definitely one or the other
What really struck me most was how varied and broad the topics were. My first Superweek in 2015 had a lot of practical, how-to stuff with a heavy Google bias. This year practical techniques barely got a look in. As the industry has grown in the complexity and breadth of application, there's more to talk about and more to think about.
The Golden Punchcard
A big highlight of Superweek is the Golden Punchard, where anyone can throw a five-minute talk about a tool or technique they've come up with.
The entrants were solid this year, but I really enjoyed Danny Mawani Olsen's social media sentiment analysis in R (which he's already released the source for), Erik Driessen's Pintro, which uses beacons to play bespoke intro music when someone enters the office, and Charles Farina's use of the Google Analytics Realtime API to send instant alerts when metrics change.
The winner this year was Steen Rasmussen and Mark Edmonson who demoed their technique to use Google Tag Manager and predictive algorithms (or something) to prefetch the the next page that a user was likely to request, speeding up page load speeds.
It's all insanely smart stuff and to think that a week or so ago I was surrounded by such world-class smarts is kind of humbling (sitting as I am, right now, accompanied only by a dog and uncertain which of the two of is the smarter.)
So Overall, Then?
Overall, we had an absolute blast. Superweek isn't all about the talks, or the scenery, or the evening activities. You need all those things to bring the people together, and when that happens there's something genuinely magical going on.
Returning Visitors enter a state of excited relaxation as they walk into the venue at the start of the conference. New Users have a bit of trepidation which dissolves into a state of wonder once they realise what the event's all about. Mash that together with an egalitarian sense of everyone-talking-to-anyone and you've got an intoxicating mix that you don't find anywhere else in the world.
Oh, and don't forget this guy: