Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Web Analyst Interview: Julien Coquet

Here is the first of my interviews that I promised in my last post Interview With Web Analysts

What is your current position and the name of the company you work for?

I am currently employed as a Web Analytics Specialist/Consultant at OX2, in Brussels, Belgium.

How long have you been working in this field?

A little over 5 years now

Tell me about your work, education prior to making a switch.

I’m originally a foreign language major, but computers and Internet technologies in general have always been a passion of mine.

Why did you decide to switch to Web Analytics?

I’ve been an avid Internet user since the days of Compuserve and AOL, moving on to university networks, etc… Built my first website with emacs back in 1994 then moved on and followed web trends (no pun intended). Being very involved with the websites I built, both personal and corporate, I always felt very frustrated with early Web Analytics tools , or rather, the lack thereof. So I went ahead and developed my own tools, which remain functional even today ;) So you can say I received my calling very early on ;)

After that, it’s not so much that I decided to switch to a career in Web analytics but I pursued one as a Web techie.

At some point in that career I had the chance to manage the Web Analytics program for the EMEA division of a large consumer electronics company.

After that contract expired, I went on manage other Web-related projects but strangely, call it professional deformation, I couldn’t help but approach new projects with a Web Analytics angle. Which made me pass as a black sheep. Who cares about that web counter thing anyway? It’s just for personal home pages, right?

How did you find your new job? How long did it take? Did you interview a lot?

I found my current job through a series of social network relations; using tools such as LinkedIn really helped.

On the bright side, there is a lot of demand for Web Analytics professionals in Europe and the circuit is almost… closed circuit ;)

OX2 and me were an ideal match from the start. I interviewed twice with them before I got the job.

I had also received offers from WA vendors and other large companies who wanted an in-house WA expert.

Total time of job search took under 6 months, including my leave from my previous employer.

What, if any, education or work experience helped you in your current job?

Speaking multiple languages helps, especially since the European market addresses up to 20 languages J

I like to think I’ve been around quite a bit and being exposed to multiple cultures helps me better understand and reconcile differents aspects of a project, especially in a multi-cultural context such as Europe.

Obviously, prior experience with Web Analytics tools made a huge difference and, as I mentioned, there is a very low supply of Web Analytics specialists in Europe…

What education is lacking, education or experience that would have helped?

I like to rely on common sense and intuition more than I rely on numbers. Having had formal statistics classes would have helped bring a more rational component to my line of thinking.

What are you responsibilities now? Describe your typical work day.

Having both a technical background and a good understanding of how a company works and does business, I like to think of myself as the ideal buffer/mediator between IT and Business.

This is most helpful in Web Analytics projects where everyone needs to understand the relevance of proper reports to their individual interests. If people see what’s in it for them, then my work is done! ;)

I do mostly consulting work now, running pre-sales pitches, product trainings and workshops. Lately a lot of my time has been devoted to market research and OX2 branding for France, which is going to be my new dedicated market.

Typical day starts with coffee, in massive quantities ;) Then WA-related RSS feeds, our own blog stats, market research, searching for new prospects. And of course other projects I’m working on ;)

Work day starts at 9AM and ends around 7PM, give or take half an hour.

How do you make sure you are learning and growing in this field?

I keep myself informed (RSS, blogs, forums) as much as I can and stay open to new ideas, concepts… and rumors ;)

What web analytics/online-marketing books have you read and/or own?

  • Eric Peterson’s "WA Demystified” and “Hacks
  • The Eisenbergs’ Waiting for your cat to bark?

  • Currently reading : The Long Tail (Aurélie had a spare copy)

What were the major challenges you faced or are facing in this industry?

Market maturity when it comes to Web Analytics, especially in larger companies

Do you have blog? If yes, what kind of article do you write?

I co-author the blog at with Aurélie Pols and René Dechamps.

I also have my own blog at where I discuss my views on websites of interest, Web Analytics-related information, current events, cooking recipes ;)

What is your advice to aspiring web analysts?
Being proficient with one given WA tool is not the key to better understanding how your reports are being used.

Try to see the big picture first, then focus on details : that goes for everything from business requirements to implementation to reporting.

And finally, get people to realize they can (and should be) held accountable for their website’s results.

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