#92 Christmas Special: Year in review and predictions for 2024
In this week’s episode of The Measure Pod, it’s our Christmas special! Dan and Bhav discuss the highs and lows of the past year, they make predictions for 2024, and shared what they’ll be up to over the Christmas period.
🎥 The podcast is now available in vodcast (video) format! Watch the episode below, or over on YouTube.
Show note links:
- Please fill out our Feedback Form to let us know what you’d like us to talk about next season, or email email@example.com to drop Dan, Dara and Bhav a message directly.
Find out when the next CRAP Talks event is happening on LinkedIn.
Music composed by Confidential – check out their lo-fi beats on Spotify.
Master Google Analytics 4 with Daniel Perry-Reed on the next GA4 Immersion 6-week cohort training course.
Quotes of the Episode:
- “… ChatGPT has allowed them to speed up the way they work you know, if you’ve never written SQL before, or if you’ve written SQL to a, you know, intermediate or basic level, you can now get really advanced code coming straight out of ChatGPT” – Bhav
- “…I’ve noticed how many hours of my life in the last five years have been talking about things like GDPR and cookies when I never thought of that, when I started this over 10 years ago” – Dan
The full transcript is below, or you can view it in a Google Doc.
[00:00:00] Dan: Merry Christmas everyone. This is our little festive end of year episode from us here at The Measure Pod. Just one thing to note, Dara’s ill, has been for the last couple of days, so unfortunately wasn’t able to join us today. So you’ve got me and Bav looking at the last year of 2023 and predicting into 2024.
[00:00:30] Dan: We cover a lot of ground in this episode and yes, it’s a kind of recap and predictions for next year. But hopefully we put a new little spin on it to make it a bit more interesting, including talking about the industry, analytics, the pandemic, redundancies. I don’t know, have I missed anything, Bhav, anything else that we talked about? We’ve talked about a lot.
[00:00:47] Bhav: We talked about ourselves as well. We talked about like, you know, what, because this year has seen a lot of change for us as well. So I think that was interesting to sort of reflect back and look at how 2023 has panned out for us personally and potentially what 2024 is going to bring for us.
[00:01:00] Dan: And most importantly, stick to the end where we talk about what video games we’re going to be playing over Christmas so this is the last recording, I think, for the year so we’re going to see you all in 2024. I hope you enjoy this episode and feel free to check us out in, well, I say in person, but watch us if you would like, we are on YouTube and Spotify has a video application where you can watch all this stuff. So our amazing producer and editor, Will, has been churning away not just the audio, but the video for this series. So starting in this series, we’re going to be doing the video. So if you’d like to watch us for any reason, then you can do that as well, so feel free to check us out on YouTube.
[00:01:32] Dan: And of course, let us know what your thoughts are around 2023 and 2024. Look, me and Bhav are always kind of thinking about this stuff, talking about it, whether we’re being recorded or not, we’d love to get your input. There’s a form in the show notes, if you wanted to let us know as well as our details on LinkedIn and things like that, so yeah, I’ll stop talking now, enjoy the episodes and yeah, Happy Christmas.
[00:01:49] Dan: All right, Bhav, so what we’re doing for this episode is we have decided to go through a bit of a year in review and predictions of next year. And now I know it’s a classic end of year thing and every podcast, every video out there is probably doing something. So I thought we’d break it into three categories.
[00:02:07] Dan: We’re going to talk about us, what’s going on for us in the world of us. We’ve got the tech and tools that we use and then the industry as a whole. So kicking things off. Let’s start talking about us, let’s add a bit of humanity into this world of analytics and data that quite often is left to be about the technology and the tech stack and things like that. How’s 2023 for you? And what have you got coming up in 2024?
[00:02:27] Bhav: 2023 has been an interesting year for me. I think you’ll recall at the start of the year, I’d made the difficult decision to go solo following layoffs that happened at the back end of 2022. That feels like forever ago now and so having done that solo track, and it wasn’t quite solo, I was doing it with my, with my co-founder and friend Nico. Nico decided to go back into full time work, sort of like midway through the year. So that left me in this difficult position of do I want to pursue it by myself, or do I want to pack it in and try something else?
[00:02:59] Bhav: Luckily for me, Tim, who’s the MD at LeanConvert reached out roughly at the same time, and he was like, hey, how do you feel about joining us over here at LeanConvert? I decided actually doing solo consulting work, whilst it was really fun, really rewarding. I liked having a team, I like having some people to work with. So I kind of made the decision to go back into full time employment. So that was what my 2023 looked like. Obviously I joined The Measure Pod which has been super exciting. So thanks for having me on that, that’s been a fun part of this year. Let’s hear about your 2023, maybe then we can discuss what 2024 looks like for all.
[00:03:33] Dan: I was going to ask before we jump into you, because I find them useful and I know a lot of other people have done. So when you went into full time employment, your CAUSL brand kind of pivoted slightly and you’ve now released a suite of tools, right, for free, which I think is a big deal and a big news.
[00:03:49] Bhav: Yeah, actually, that’s a good point. I always forget that, but I have a bunch of these little side projects I like to work on. They’re my passion projects and I work on them in my spare time when I’ve, you know, when I’ve got like an hour or two to spare in the evenings or on the weekends. So CAUSL obviously was shut down as a consultancy, but I kept the brand alive just because I really liked it. And I had been spending some time building these free self-serve analytics tool. I think if you remember from the self-serve episode, my path to getting people to be able to do some of their own work and some of their analysis, you know, to remove bottlenecks was kind of being supported by this suite of products I’m building. And hopefully I’ll do some work around education and getting people to understand how to use them, what to consider when they’re making decisions. So that was actually a really fun project. And I’m coming up to about a hundred signups on that so that’s, that’s, it’s nicely ticking away in the background.
[00:04:37] Dan: Amazing yeah, definitely useful if you’re working in the world of experimentation, specifically analytics data. These are little tools that can be, that can save a lot of time actually right. And that’s the whole point is that these are kind of hard mathy things to figure out behind the scenes that are kind of handy to have at your fingertips.
[00:04:53] Bhav: I think with a lot of this stuff, it’s you know, some of the things I’ve built, they do exist out there, but they’re all very scattered. What I’m trying to do and what you know, doesn’t exist is bringing it all together in one place. And there are a few things in there that actually don’t exist at all, which has been fun to work on. So yeah, do check them out if you have an interest in doing your own experimental analysis or, you know, calculations and forecasting and things like that. Dan, what about you? How’s 2023 been for you?
[00:05:18] Dan: How has it? I mean, Jesus, I don’t even know what I did yesterday let alone for the whole, whole earlier this year. A lot of stuff that’s happened. So my role, I always think of as two things. I work in the, I say the analytics industry, but that’s kind of lazy on a, on a data podcast, but I work predominantly in marketing analytics. And so there’s been an awful lot of industry changes there that we’ll come on to later on, which have actually dictated a lot of change within Measurelab and within my role specifically. I think of my role as two parts. I’m a, first of all, I’m a principal analytics consultant, it’s kind of a boring job title, but it just means that I work with clients and figure stuff out in their MarTech stack and understand how things like Google Analytics 4 can be used or whether we should burn it and throw it away and start again.
[00:05:55] Dan: But the other side of it that I think is maybe the thing that’s changed the most in the last year is the training aspect. So I’ve probably talked to death a lot about how I run training courses for a lot of the technology we use, like Google Tag Manager, analytics, data visualisation and things like that, but it’s truly become a proper passion of mine this year. I launched a, and worked with a couple of learning designers, some really intelligent people that we actually had on the podcast not too long ago and I launched a new training course, really focusing on the learning design aspect of teaching. And for me, this journey in kind of education or teaching has been, I’ve been doing it ever since I’ve, you know, over 10 years, but in the last year and a half, I’ve really taken it seriously.
[00:06:32] Dan: Not that I didn’t take it seriously before, but before I’ve always come at it from, I’m a practitioner. I know this stuff and I can teach you because I know it. Whereas actually there’s a lot to be said for being able to teach effectively. And actually it makes what you’re having to say land better and ultimately for the learner to have a better experience. I’m waffling a little bit, but I think for the biggest thing for me is launching a couple of new training courses, taking it super seriously from a learning design perspective and me growing, I suppose, in that aspect of communication ultimately is what we’re talking about, how to best communicate technical subjects so that people know what the hell you’re talking about. So that’s been my biggest growth over the year.
[00:07:06] Bhav: I think people also underestimate the benefits of teaching and teaching others because there’s a, I don’t know, I can’t remember how you say it in Latin, but there’s a Latin saying that says by teaching we learn, and I know on the few occasions where I’ve, where I’ve done like a training course or training session during MeasureCamp I’ve gone and built the course that I was teaching, you know, it’s usually on experimentation, but then I’ve gone and learned everything around the subject, just in case someone asked me a difficult question and the fear of having those difficult questions being asked, I didn’t, you know, I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to not have an answer so I went away and learned material that I didn’t need to learn, so I always find that’s always interesting. So that sounds cool and what about 2024? How’s that going to shape up for you?
[00:07:45] Dan: It’s hard to detach what I think about and what the industry is doing. It’s really hard, I’ve always struggled with that and it’s kind of influenced a lot of where I’ve taken my career as well. Kind of riding that wave I’m a little, a little dingy boat on the kind of the turbulent seas of the analytics industry. So I’m very, very much adapt and ebb and flow with the industry. In terms of what I’m, I’m focusing on, so I’m really leaning into more educational things. So I’ve spun up a couple of new training courses and workshops on the Measurelab website, we’ve got a bunch of like AI related, more advanced subjects, materials things like consent management, all of the kind of the stuff that is kind of fuzzy and grey, and I want to lean into that a bit more because, you know I love teaching Google Analytics 4, I love teaching Google Tag Manager and seeing people get it and seeing it click and doing all that stuff, one, because it’s a challenge to me and secondly, because I think it’s really important and really needed and needed within our industry is, is teaching the stuff like, how do you manage consent tracking? Or for example, how do you manage gaining consent on a website or an app? And what does that mean for your ecosystem? How does that affect your marketing strategy? How does that affect what you can do with your data? And so these are very amorphous, ambiguous things. But I want to lean into that side of things going forward and start thinking about how I can kind of consult and train these very loose subjects, which the worst thing you can do is assume you know what you’re doing.
[00:09:02] Dan: The amount of times I’ve been on a website and they’ve got cookie banners that don’t do anything right. And I’m sure we’ve all seen things like this, that is kind of like tick done, cool, GDPR done, yeah let’s move away. Whereas actually there’s things that are happening within our industry again, dictating a lot of this that are making me think that that’s where my 2024 is going to be focused on, on helping people kind of get it, get this a bit better.
[00:09:23] Bhav: I’m glad we have people like you in the industry who think about this stuff, because I won’t lie, it’s, as soon as people start talking about GDPR and consent and all, you know, all of these types of things related to analytics and data collection, I kind of just lose interest. I know, I know the importance of it, and I don’t mean from what you were saying, I just mean in generally that it’s for me, content and GDPR, all of these are legal challenges and I know they have a residual effect down, you know, further down the line on the quality of your data and what you’re able to collect and the insights you can draw out of them. But to build, you know, for me, just having to go into that mindset, thinking about it, it just, it puts me to sleep. And so I’m glad, I’m glad people like you are interested in this stuff because I have zero interest in it.
[00:10:05] Dan: Well, it’s also a gap in the market as well. So, I mean, being slightly self-serving with kind of like keeping on top of things, staying relevant as well. Like it’s not you know, completely you know, charitable from my perspective, I think to be, to be honest with it, all this kind of stuff is like you know, I work with a lot of analysts, I work with a lot of marketers and I speak to a lot of it teams and dev agencies and they all kind of pass the buck onto the next person. It’s like, oh, that’s legal. Okay that’s IT, no that’s the implementation analyst or whatever. It’s kind of like this hot potato that keeps getting thrown around and I’ve noticed, well, if you can be, or if I can position myself or the team that I work with as the glue between that and be like, okay, cool let’s let’s speak with legal, let’s speak with IT, let’s translate legal requirements that don’t get Google Analytics and marketing, let’s speak to marketing that don’t get implementation. Let’s talk to the developers that get implementation and don’t get marketing, let’s just kind of like glue those things together.
[00:10:52] Dan: And I suppose it’s more kind of like consulting, I suppose, communication from a business perspective, but focusing on the data collection, because what I found the biggest oversight with all this kind of stuff is that people think that, you know, very lazily think of it as a cookie banner project and they put cookie banners up on the website and let’s say they do everything they meant to do and not allow cookies to be set without consent. Half of their marketing campaigns that might be based on retargeting might just fail, right? Let alone, we’ve got the stuff that’s happening next year with the Chrome finally fazing out third party cookies. It’s all going to break a lot of potential marketing strategies that a lot of people might have in place.
[00:11:24] Dan: And for me, it’s the important thing is kind of helping them understand what they need to be set up for. And so it’s kind of weird, it feels like it’s not really analytics anymore, but it’s just kind of talking to them about like their marketing and things like that, but it’s all kind of one part and parcel of the same conversation I’ve noticed how many hours of my life in the last five years have been talking about things like GDPR and cookies when I never thought of that, when I started this over 10 years ago, you know, it’s just one of those things that’s evolved into this because someone’s got to talk about cookies and it turned out it’s me.
[00:11:53] Bhav: So I do empathise with you because my hot potato, the thing that never, you know, no one takes ownership of and just gets thrown around is event tracking. So who manages the tracking of the events? Is it the engineers? Is it, you know, like some implementation analyst? Is it the product manager? Who should be responsible for it? So for me, I’ve always felt a deep sense of ownership around event tracking. I guess that’s my cookie banner, the thing that no one wants to do, but everyone knows the value of it and without good event tracking, you know, we’re not going to be able to analyse how users behave on our website, what they do, where they go what they interact with and what the importance of what they’re interacting with. So that’s cool. So 2024 for you looks like more ownership of GDPR and consent banners and consent management.
[00:12:35] Dan: Yeah oh god, it sounds so boring and dull when you said it in, in summary there. I think it’s coming down with a point of view on it. For the longest time, a lot of people are like, I’m not a lawyer, but this is what actually I’ve been doing this long enough to know what you should do, just bloody do it right. So I think, yeah, I think it’s going a bit harder on kind of like what I know to be true, where I can help and being more confident in that. And also just leaning into the education side of this as well, of like helping people out more on these kinds of fuzzy areas. Again, I haven’t figured it out just yet. I’ll figure out that when it comes to 2024, but more importantly, Bhav, what are you up to in 2024? What’s going on for you?
[00:13:06] Bhav: I think I’m going to focus on my niche as well, like I think there is something to be said about being generalists and really having a view on so many things, but like you, you know, having something that you can sink your teeth into that you really specialise in when the, when the topics of GDPR come up, you know, you probably want people to think, oh Dan’s the guy to go to, I think for me it’s something similar, I guess, you know, to some extent having moved into LeanConvert.
[00:13:28] Bhav: So LeanConvert are an experimentation and analytics agency. I want to throw myself into helping them, helping Lean, helping us develop our analytics offering. And what that means for me, it’s going to be getting our team accredited by sort of like the major analytics platforms, so Google, Amplitude, you know, all of these sort of like big platforms that our clients use, right? And I think it’s important to have all that stuff.
[00:13:50] Bhav: And a lot of this will be supplemented with training. So I guess in some, some ways I’ll be looking at training internally. I probably won’t be the one to deliver it internally, but I do want to focus on making sure that the optimization consultants that we have within our company are well versed in data and data literacy.
[00:14:06] Bhav: I think most of them get it. It’s just really ensuring that they get it to a deep level, to the point where they can really challenge clients and bring meaningful insights to the table that help facilitate and build our experimentation programs that we’re, that we’re running for our clients. I think it’s going to be a lot of that kind of like training and development, getting people certified on the major analytics platforms. I think there’s a part of me that wants to focus a little bit on research and development and being an agency and or a consultancy that specialises in experimentation I really want to make sure that we are innovating, doing research internally with our own, with our own data, with the clients that we’re using. And when I say research and development, I don’t mean sort of like reinventing LLM models and, you know, building the next ChatGPT, it’s really about taking what we know, building that institutional knowledge about our clients and their data and, and really understanding it to the same level as they do so that when we, when we talk about data where we’re actually maybe two or three steps ahead of our clients. So I think that’s going to be the main thing professionally. And then from, I guess, from a personal level, I want to throw myself into continuously building CAUSL and getting some of those training modules out there.
[00:15:16] Bhav: I think, I don’t want to overcommit, but those will probably be the things that take up most of my year next year. And of course, there’s CRAP talks, you know, we had our planning session yesterday. And as usual, I want to have five events locked in delivered throughout the course of the year. Once every couple of months, if you are listening and thinking about coming to an event please have a look at the website that’ll be updated soon with dates for when the next events will be happening. So I think the combination of CRAP Talks, CAUSL, and just doing some cool stuff at work will be where my 2024 plans lie.
[00:15:46] Dan: Busy, busy. Well I think almost deliberately or at least from my perspective, I deliberately didn’t mention anything to do with AI going into next year. And that’s not because of me kind of like rejecting the idea of it I just think that what’s happened over the last, especially the last six months is realising that AI isn’t, isn’t a thing to invest in for me personally. It’s actually a tool that helps me do the things that I’m doing better and I think this is, this is the reality. And I think and again, just cause I know that often there’s a conversation around AI in most, most things in our industry at the moment, but it’s like just really kind of putting into context, like, of course I’m going to be using AI, of course there’s generative AI and machine learning and other stuff that we’ve been using for a hundred years already that’s going to be part of it.
[00:16:22] Dan: But anyway, I just wanted to kind of call that out because it kind of ties into the next of our three categories, which is I think the tech and tools. And obviously me using a lot of the kind of the Google stack and you having a broader experience than I, my very kind of narrow, one track mind when it comes to things like GA4 is, but when it comes to the tech and tools, I think AI is a big part of that as a tool and it’s technology that we’ll be using going forward. But when it comes to the tech and tools, 2023, I mean a lot happened in 2023. What’s the, what’s the highlights? What can we call out?
[00:16:52] Bhav: I think the big things that have, you know, that really stick out like a sore thumb for me has been ChatGPT and I know it’s not quite the tech that we should be talking about when we’re talking about analytics but it’s probably for most people been the biggest enabler of doing things they wouldn’t have otherwise done before. So if we move away, obviously the big thing has been GA and the sunset of Universal Analytics and Google Optimise. But actually that’s, we all kind of knew that was happening, I think the thing that came and hit us like a freight train was ChatGPT.
[00:17:24] Bhav: And I know having spoken to loads of people in the industry, ChatGPT has allowed them to speed up the way they work in terms of, say, for example, you know, if you’ve never written SQL before, or if you’ve written SQL to a, you know, intermediate or basic, basic level, you can now get really advanced code coming straight out of ChatGPT, which means that you can start utilising data that sits within your data warehouse that you may not have been able to access before. So I think for me, the big, big, big thing that’s happened in 2023 has been the introduction of ChatGPT into everyone’s working lives.
[00:17:56] Bhav: And of course, I talk about it from a coding perspective and a writing SQL perspective, but this could be anything from generating code to writing copy for your website, to you know, you name it. I think ChatGPT has probably changed the lives of so many people professionally in the digital space. So that’s been my big, sort of like big thing. I know you’re going to talk, I assume you’re going to talk about GA.
[00:18:19] Dan: I can’t not. I feel like it’s almost expected of me now, whether I like it or not. Yeah, let’s wrap up the, the kind of the ChatGPT side of it, first of all, because what we’re really talking about there is the kind of like the, the freight train, as you said, I like that of a generative AI and large language models, because again, we’ve been using AI in some form for a long time. Machine learning is a type of AI and we’ve doing predictive modelling and all that other lovely stuff. Even in experimentations, like adjusting your A/B buckets to winning variances all based on machine learning, which is part of AI.
[00:18:48] Dan: But enough of that, what we’re talking about. ChatGPT had its first birthday this year, 2023. We released GPT 4 as an engine, DALI 3, the code interpreter even the custom GPTs, which is the biggest update and the biggest kind of like ground shaker, I suppose. The thing that’s changing the industry slightly is creating custom GPTs so you can pre prompt your GPTs so that, you know, for example, you can create a ChatGPT bot that is programmed to understand BigQuery syntax of SQL, rather than just asking a generic bot, give me SQL forward BigQuery for this dataset. You can give it all the context in advanced and utilise it that way. So for sure, I think it’s been the biggest change within the industry.
[00:19:26] Dan: Speaking about Google Analytics 4 though, because you know how I can’t resist the, can’t resist the opportunity to do that. So we know that GA4 switched over from Universal Analytics on July the 1st this year for the majority of people and coming into 2024 it’s going to delete historical data come 1st of July. Now, of course they could pull out of doing that they’ve been known to push these things back. But as far as we currently know, the 1st of July, all Universal Analytics data will be deleted, you won’t have access to it.
[00:19:51] Dan: So it is a 2023 thing, but it’s also a 2024 thing in terms of what they’re doing. But I think what’s more interesting for me, and actually this is something that we’re going to be talking to Rick Dronkers, he’s coming back onto the podcast to talk about this a bit more because I’m really excited about this kind of conversation, is Basically what the hell is Google doing pissing off every single user of Universal Analytics into GA4.
[00:20:13] Dan: Now I get it, I understand their point of view, or at least I think I do, you know, if I can try to put my, myself in Google shoes, but ultimately what they’ve started to do, we’ve seen this with a bunch of updates they’re doing is moving into the world of kind of making this a marketer’s tool. And so any analyst, any analytics person, anyone that’s focusing on the data and having the raw data, it’s becoming less and less user friendly. It’s less useful and access to true underlying data becomes harder. And you’re pushed into a different tool like BigQuery or something else completely.
[00:20:40] Dan: So for me, I can see it happening slowly, but surely, but I think what Google’s doing and they’re going to continue doing this next year is reposition Google Analytics, not as a data tool, but as a marketing tool/CDP, which is going to be kind of powering the engine, the marketing engine of all of their wider marketing tech stack. And it’s just, I honestly don’t think they care about pissing off everyone that’s using Google Analytics before. So anyway, that’s where they going, that’s what I think.
[00:21:06] Bhav: I had a really interesting conversation with someone recently. And I was talking to Shiva, he’s a CRO professional who’s based out in the States and we were just talking and we were talking about how important Google Analytics is and how it’s still critical to almost all companies that, you know, have analytics implemented. What he said really hit home is Google sunsetted two products last year, Universal Analytics and Google Optimize.
[00:21:34] Bhav: For Universal Analytics, switching to GA4, everyone panicked and everyone knew they had to switch and move over and do a bunch of things or replace it. You know, whatever decision that was taken, it spoke a universal truth about the fact that data is still so critical for so many people. But with Google Optimize, I think experimentation was in many companies still seen as a nice to have, as opposed to an essential, because and you know, I think he put it elegantly, so I’m just paraphrasing, but basically, Shiva said that, you know, when Google announced that they were switching off Google Optimize, I think most people who were using Optimize it’s a free product, just went, meh, okay.
[00:22:09] Bhav: Whereas with Google Analytics, with Universal Analytics, when they announced that they were switching it off and, you know, when, when judgement day came and they actually switched off, people were scrambling around trying to replace Google Analytics. And I think, regardless of the fact that Google have pissed off, you know, however many people I, one of the things that won’t change is the fact that even if people are annoyed, they’re just going to deal with it.
[00:22:32] Bhav: If you have marketing spend and you’re spending on Google Ads and display and social and all these, you know, all the other channels. You still need an analytics platform. And I just think it’s so critical that I just, I think Google probably did some type of risk analysis. And they’re like, you know what, we’re probably not going to lose that many people. We’re going to piss off a bunch of people, but we’re probably not going to lose that many people. And I think that’s probably been the driving factor of their, some of that decision making.
[00:22:56] Dan: I think if anything, and again, putting yourself in their shoes, they’re probably just going to become more of a profitable product, because if you think about how much it costs them to store and process data for every single free user of Google Analytics, right? So let’s say, let’s say 50 percent of them leave and use a different product, but they keep all of their paying customers. Then the kind of profitability goes up for them because they’re having less cost and they are maintaining the same revenue or increasing their revenue.
[00:23:20] Dan: So for them, like they are a juggernaut of a business. They’re a for profit business, they’re not in the charitable sector of giving kind of like you know, rights to free analytics for everyone, they don’t care. If all of a sudden a feature you used in Universal Analytics is not there in GA4 and you’ve never paid for it why do they care right? Like it’s just one of those things that a lot of people feel like it’s personal almost, and it’s like, it’s a right, it’s a human right to have this data now as a free thing within web analytics, but anyway, I think that’s kind of covered the GA4 landscape a little bit.
[00:23:50] Dan: It kind of goes into this, it’s all part of the same conversation obviously we’re in the kind of data and analytics world, but actually this is a kind of focus going into next year, which is happening as a couple of threads that are happening, especially in the Google ecosystem, which is around the, the final, finally they’re sunsetting and deprecating third party cookies.
[00:24:07] Dan: They’re the last big player to do so. So by the end of 2024, they’ll have got rid of all third party cookies. A lot of people think that the death of the cookie is only happening next year, but actually every other browser has kind of done it already. Sorry, if that’s news to you but that that’s happening next year. But it also introduces new marketing measurement ecosystems. If anyone’s got an iOS app and you’ve used the SKAdNetwork to do attribution on iOS. Like fucking sucks for most part, and you have to get an MMP to do that. Google’s introducing their own thing next year to do it for themselves because you can’t do that cross platform, cross device, cross website reporting and attribution.
[00:24:42] Dan: So, you know, more fun for us of like not being able to understand, unpick or validate anything, but Google was introducing their version of all that next year, which is just going to add more questions, more complexity, more products, and potentially more cost for marketers to do marketing, you know, not just to continue the business as usual, but they’re going to need people like us to come in and explain what the hell’s going on, even though we can’t prove it for sure.
[00:25:06] Bhav: Seeing as we’re looking now into 2024 I still think Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, you know, BigQuery, Looker Studio, all these platforms will still dominate the conversation in 2024. I don’t think we’ve seen the back of these conversations and it’s going to lean itself to, and the reason why people keep having this conversation is that thing you say, which I absolutely love, people aren’t afraid of Google Analytics 4, they’re afraid of change right.
[00:25:30] Bhav: And I absolutely love that, like it’s kind of something I have to constantly remind myself whenever I’m introducing change to something or some process internally with clients, whatever it is, people aren’t opposed to the fact that I’m introducing the change they’re just opposed to change in general.
[00:25:43] Bhav: And I think 2024 is going to be an interesting year because hopefully the dust has settled by this point and what we’ll have is most people will be like, you know, maybe we should just stop bitching and just lean into Google Analytics and GA4. I’ve had numerous conversations internally with people in my team who don’t like GA4 and who don’t, or clients who mentioned they don’t like it, I don’t genuinely see what the big deal is.
[00:26:09] Bhav: I think it’s an okay platform I’ve used it, it’s not as intuitive as it was, but that’s only because the intuitiveness we liked about you Universal Analytics was ingrained within like our brain by Universal Analytics. And now we just have to have a new, you know, new baseline, new norm of what, of how to use this product, you know, when they change GA4 to something else, we’re going to be annoyed that we’re losing GA4. So I don’t know, for me, 2024 is, it’s going to be largely dominated by GA4 still, but there are some platforms which I’m going to be keeping a very, very close eye on because I think they’re super exciting.
[00:26:44] Dan: Well, can I throw my, my platform of choice in the ring actually for the moment. I only heard about this through you actually. So I think you mentioned how you use PostHog on the CAUSL website.
[00:26:55] Bhav: Yeah that’s my one to watch for 2024. Let’s talk about why the white PostHog is awesome.
[00:27:02] Dan: Okay well, look, I can only, I put it on the Measurelab website. I’ve been playing with the ecosystem, the interface and everything else. But there’s two things that I have. The two reasons why I’m keeping my own PostHog. First of all, it is an engineering focused company and they are building features and products like no one’s business. Like they are just launching stuff all the time. Like it doesn’t stop. It’s actually really, really impressive what they’re doing, I don’t know how long they can keep that up for because as companies grow, you know, governance layers and things like that get in the way, who knows, but anyway, for now I’m loving the speed of development there.
[00:27:33] Dan: So they started by being a product analytics tool only, and they were looking at feature updates, cohorts, things like that, which are awesome and still useful from a, from a marketing perspective or from a pure web analytics perspective. But the thing is they’ve just rolled out marketing analytics for their products, done. Okay, done. And then they’ve just rolled out like a data warehousing feature. And so you’ve got access for free to not only tracking all of your digital estate, your ecosystem of webs, apps, products, everything else. You can also warehouse within them query using their version of SQL and export it into a data warehouse. And they’re working on connecting it automatically to all of your other marketing channels. So a lot of the ETL tools that are currently being used like funnel, stitch five tran and stuff. I don’t know if they’re going to be needed in the future. If we use PostHog, we could just use it for free.
[00:28:19] Dan: I’m assuming they’re going to monetize the hell out of this. They have to because they can’t do all that for free. But Jesus, the amount of stuff I can do in there is actually incredible. That’s my rant over I haven’t used it too much. I’m not an expert at it, but as I one to watch, I’m all in for that.
[00:28:33] Bhav: I’m going to just echo it. And I don’t think that’s a rant like me fanboying this tool because I came across it just this year through a client from CAUSL. They were using it I integrated it onto my website and they have the amount of features when I first launched, just when I first installed it, well, you know, that included heat maps, it included session recordings, it included obviously event tracking, and I can do event tracking on the fly as well really easily just by having my browser and website open it’s really easy to add events in, and so it’s really interesting. And then as you said, they’ve released the warehousing capability, they’ve released experimentation and the most recent one, my favourite, favourite release of this year is notebooks.
[00:29:13] Bhav: Notebooks is incredible if you come from a very academic slash data science slash technical analytics background, because you have, you’ve always had something like web analytics platforms like GA, Amplitude, and things like that, but what they’ve missed is the ability to tell a story with the data they have. You have to take that information and you have to put it onto something else. Notebooks, for the first time ever, integrates what you’re used to with things like Python, like Python Notebooks, you know. PyCharm or whatever those notebooks are, Jupyter Notebooks, sorry, where you can take your data, you can tell a story with it, you can integrate graphs and pull them in, into this sort of like storytelling format, which I think is phenomenal.
[00:29:55] Bhav: And it’s, you know, it’s obviously not going to have an appeal to every single person out there, but on top of like breaking grounds in terms of what they offer in terms of being an engineering and product first company they’re also making things for web people, like marketers, you know, as you mentioned with the marketing dashboard notebooks means it’s nice and easy for data scientists. So, you know, people like me who want to tell a story with the data and do it directly. So for me, the platform to watch for 2024 is going to be, it’s going to be PostHog.
[00:30:24] Bhav: I think beyond that, the thing that I’m most excited about from a tech stack perspective, I know we’ve got loads of things we want to talk about for 2024 and 2023 still, you know, we’re still covering tech is the move away from analytics platforms to warehouse native. Now we’ve seen that already in some instances and actually companies like Amplitude are doing, you know, they’re really leaning into the fact that things are becoming warehouse native.
[00:30:47] Bhav: So I think product analytics is maybe a year or two ahead of the curve for, you know, compared to everything else. But I think the next big one, it may not be 2024. I think this will probably be 25, 26. And I talked about it recently at a, at a conference I spoke my talk was experimentation past, present and future. I think experimentation will become warehouse native as well. But you know, what I mean by that is right now, when we use A/B testing platforms, you know, we’ve rely them to randomise our traffic, segment it, You know, push that data into, you know, into something else, but also to, you know, for us to analyse the data within their platforms.
[00:31:22] Bhav: And actually what I think will happen and EPO are the ones I’ll be watching from an, from an experimentation perspective. We’ll be less relying on platforms to do the analysis for us. We’ll be looking at A/B testing platforms to randomise and segment, but actually all of the analysis will be done through our own native data warehouses. And, you know, when we think about what that means, actually, it’s quite limitless in terms of possibilities, because we can not just do statistical analysis on the one metric you’re looking at. We can now join that with other data. We can look at lifetime value, we can look at churn, we can look at upsells and cross sells and, you know, changing people from free users to page users. And I think, you know, things you can’t do within the A/B testing platform. So That one’s maybe more of a 2025, 2026 prediction, but I just want to throw that out there.
[00:32:11] Dan: Yeah, no I love it and I’m all behind it. One thing, and this is a note for a future episode. And I’d love to love to talk about it a bit more and hear more of your thoughts on it. But like we as an industry need to get better at selling the value of this idea of whether we call it a warehouse, warehouse native, a CDP cloud platform ecosystem, whatever we call it, like I could echo exactly word for word, almost what you said just now, I spoke to a client yesterday and it’s like, yeah, we should, you know, in BigQuery, we could join it to offline data sets. We could look at experimentation, predictive modelling. And they’re just like, yeah, but why? Like, It’s like, they couldn’t apply this idea of like a blank sheet of paper and saying, we could do this to why and how, and it’s not just us, but I think everyone within the kind of analytics space I think it’s as these things move so quickly, especially with the kind of injection of generative AI and AI as a whole to kind of speed up the development process, we need to be keeping up in terms of how to explain that and selling into our business to utilise this technology.
[00:33:04] Dan: But for me, like warehouse native, and obviously we spoke to Adam Greco on the last episode around warehouse native. So if you haven’t listened to that, then go and check that one out to hear his predictions around it. But I like that, I think the way for me, and again, thinking in my swim lane of marketing analytics. I think the terminology that’s coming back around is this idea of a customer data platform and a CDP. And I’ll stick a link into the show notes. So I work within the Google stack, so the Google Cloud Platform, they’ve got a page on CDPs and it’s like a composable CDP as we spoke to with Adam on the last episode.
[00:33:33] Dan: And it’s just this idea of actually saying marketing analytics is, it’s like the new, the new kind of go to phrase or description of it, because it’s all about collecting data, de duping data, which is identity resolution and understanding how to activate that. So can I create an audience? Can I show them a personalised experience? Can I market to them across all my different digital marketing channels? And can I measure the success of it? Which is kind of what you expect a Google Analytics to be able to do or an A/B testing tool to be able to do, but it’s actually saying, well, they can’t do that anymore because of limitations all over the place with legal legal restrictions or changes in the law or technology and browsers and operating systems and all that other lovely stuff that happens behind the scenes that we’d like to ignore and forget about.
[00:34:14] Dan: But the point is, is that you have to do it yourself. We’re not just talking about first party data for the sake of it, it’s really bloody important. And you need to start owning your own data otherwise you’re going to get left behind and to activate your own data is going to be invaluable. The only company that can do that as you, no one else can activate your data for you. It’s your data, you’ve got to do it and so investing in this is going to be key. So if we get better at explaining the value there, I think what we’re going to find is this idea of this warehouse native, customer data platform, first party data, composable CDP you know, whatever, but what we’re talking about is just own your data, treat it with respect and legally and ethically compliant and do something with it.
[00:34:49] Dan: And I think that’s what’s going to happen in 2024 is we’re going to be thinking more around this first party data stack, the CDP, if you will, the warehouse native, if you will and less about Google Analytics and this product and this tool and that tool, and actually start, I don’t know, getting your house in order.
[00:35:05] Bhav: Yeah, I agree. It’s a difficult thing to measure as well to see how, because the thing about doing, trying to predict for the future, and I’ve been listening to these type of conversations for many years now, this is the first time I’m ever actually engaging in the conversation, is how do you measure all of this? And one of my favourite books, I’m going to plug it, is called Superforecasting. Every time you get a new piece of information, you update your, you know, your prediction, your forecast. And actually, what’s really interesting is most people make these type of predictions and forecasts, they’ll never go back and check to see how right they were.
[00:35:35] Bhav: And I think that’s something I’m challenging us on here, Dan, is that can we, a year from now, go back and reflect on this conversation and say, actually, how close were we to reality? How far off are we and how are we going to measure some of these things? But that’s more of a side note. Obviously, we’ve got so much we want to talk about shifting gears back into 2023. One of the main thing that’s happened and, you know, it’s hard not to talk about is we’ve continued seeing redundancies and hiring freezes and, you know, like the slimming down of roles. And, you know, maybe we can talk about that and would love to hear your thoughts on like, what have been the big things that you’ve seen? I know there’s been personal impacts on this, you know, from you personally at Measurelab and I think I was impacted late 2022. So it’s, maybe not as much of a topic that’s been, I’ve been hit by this year, but would love, I think it’s important to talk more.
[00:36:22] Dan: Yeah, for sure. And it’s actually like, there’s like an economic change or an economic downturn, there’s also the rise of generative AI that whether or not will impact things, scared a lot of people enough to make some decisions early on about it in terms of hiring freezes, potentially thinking people are redundant even though they, they probably won’t be at least initially. And we’ve had people like, you know, Dentsu and those kinds of companies quote unquote, reshaping to right size their business going into 2024. And it doesn’t matter how you phrase it, including Measurelab you know, we had to right size as well, whatever we want to phrase it as, it’s just a, an unfortunate consequence of a lot of the, you know, people spending less through marketing, actually that’s a lot of companies are spinning down or winding down some marketing spend, which is impacting agencies, which is impacting staff.
[00:37:06] Dan: And look, it’s not just marketing and data industries that have been affected by this. I mean, look at film and TV, especially with the strikes over in the States happening there that’s affected the kind of, the need for actors and the use of AI to replace them. And that’s what they’re fighting for the rights over there. But also something I follow quite closely is the gaming industry, especially the UK gaming industry. And I’ll throw some numbers at you. So there’s now 50 percent less jobs available compared to this time last year. Only 33 out of over 1300 jobs are entry level.
[00:37:34] Dan: And so it’s a really interesting and I’m using that kind of loosely as a really scary, but also interesting position to be in where most very few people are recruiting, lots of layoffs, lots of redundancies, you know, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, they’ve all laid off a lot of staff that lots of game companies have closed, studios have closed and the same goes for our marketing and data kind of compadres in, in this space too. I think that the key thing here is that things are changing, things are reshaping. And I’ve been reading a lot about this because we have been affected and also, you know, it’s just something that’s happening in our industry.
[00:38:06] Dan: And a lot of people expect, going through into 2024, people are waiting until 2024 to make any decisions and reopen, for example, hiring positions or to reinvest in marketing spend and thus the agencies that can back those up. I don’t know, I think a lot of it has to go with the economy really, a lot of it changes with that. So here’s hoping 2024 is a more positive view. Often as you come out of winter, things look more positive anyway, that people just get into a cheerier place and start doing better in business as well as other places.
[00:38:36] Bhav: I have to ask how did we get here? Last week, Spotify laid off 1500 people, you know, and this was their third round of layoffs this year. I was impacted on a third round of layoffs last year. And I just, obviously I have my theories around, you know, like, but how did we get here? Like, what do you think got us to this situation where people are being laid off?
[00:38:55] Dan: As not a politician or an economist, I can only guess, but my perspective on this is that, or at least from what I have seen and heard other people talk about is that we, a lot of change happened through the pandemic. So through 2020 through to 2021, a lot of change happened, and a lot of companies resized to fit the new or less demand. And then as things were cut, like literally things are selling back into pre pandemic levels in terms of household spend, marketing spends, things like that. We’re now dealing with reacting to a new normal, we’re now kind of reacting to changing back to the previous normal. And unfortunately it means that some companies might have. So for example, all businesses went online and all their marketing went online. So obviously they needed more time from agencies and people like us, you know, from a data perspective became more important, but as people then as lockdown started lifting, people going and the habits started changing back into shopping back in store or changing the way that they’re shopping into maybe different places, then maybe all of a sudden it’s like, okay, well, we don’t need to spend a hundred percent of our budget online maybe we should be doing TV again, maybe we should be doing offline stuff. And all of a sudden it starts re shifting focus. That’s all I can think of it, especially when it comes to marketing, which is kind of the umbrella world I live in, but also things like video games as well. I mean, everyone, I mean, the adoption rate of video games just went fucking through the roof during the pandemic because no one had anything else to do.
[00:40:15] Dan: And yeah, I think it’s just poor reacting to scale up quickly during a period of time and not thinking longer term about the consequences and the longevity of that. I don’t know, what do you think?
[00:40:27] Bhav: Yeah, I mean, I often think about the fact that, it just goes to speak how bad we are at predicting the future, right? Like, something like the pandemic was, and again, I say this in hindsight, it was very clearly a bubble. But I guess you never realise a bubble when you’re in it. You only realise once the bubble pops that you’re in a bubble. And I think, again, it’s easy to sit here, but there were so many signs, certainly from my previous employer about the fact that, you know, we were in a bubble. But I guess when things are really good, no one wants to talk about the fact that, you know, the good times are going to come to an end and how do we deal with that?
[00:41:04] Bhav: Because okay, what’s happened has happened. And I agree with you, by the way, I’m not an economist, I’m not a politician. But having read extensively about the subject, plus my own sort of like thinking around, you know, how we got here, it was very clearly about the fact that the pandemic caused a monumental shift in user behaviour, which drove exponential growth for so many companies. It opened up the doors for like loads and loads of new companies, which started during the pandemic and pretty much ended during the pandemic. I don’t know if you remember some of those apps, house party, and, you know, some of those ridiculous apps I would never, ever otherwise would have seen the light of day.
[00:41:40] Bhav: So, you know, so I guess my question now is where do we go from here? How do we learn from this? And I’ve seen it happening in the industry for example Airbnb over this year, Brian Chesky or something like that, or whatever his name is. He, they didn’t scrap the product management role, but they’ve consolidated and merged it with product marketing. And you kind of realise that actually, maybe there is more of these areas where skills should be crossed over. And this is why I’m such, I’m so hell bent on self serve analytics and getting people up skilled because I genuinely, genuinely believe data and analytics is a life skill. It sounds ridiculous now that I say it out loud, but it’s so critical and so fundamental of you being able to do your job.
[00:42:23] Bhav: You imagine you’re a designer or a product manager or an engineer or whatever, right? You have a team of analysts, but the analysts are going to be like every other role, squeezed down to just, you know, what’s to the bare bones. So how do you differentiate yourself from everyone else? Well, you’re going to have to develop additional skills. So for anyone that is listening, who isn’t, you know, particularly in analytics I would say that for 2024 and beyond, start to upskill yourselves in other areas and other disciplines. You know, I’m not saying, you know, I could turn around and equally say, you know, should we all become designers and should we all learn how to code?
[00:42:56] Bhav: Oh, you know, obviously I’m not saying that. It’s just that analytics and data is such a fundamental and universal part of most roles that it couldn’t hurt to be able to know how to analyse what you’ve done, that feature you’ve built, how, you know, to be able to look at the data behind it, that design that you’ve, that new design that you’ve created to understand how users are interacting with it.
[00:43:17] Bhav: Okay, 2023 has happened, horrible decisions, loads of layoffs, you know, like my heart goes out to everyone that was affected, but I think 2024, there will be things that are outside of our control if companies suddenly continue layoffs, that’s obviously, that’s outside your control, but the things that are in control is ensuring you keep yourself hireable as a product manager, even as analysts, you know, there are softer skills that analysts should develop around communication and written, both written and verbal, around presentation and storytelling, around product thinking, about marketing thinking, you know, all of those things that will make you indispensable to some extent.
[00:43:57] Bhav: You know, when you’re being compared against everyone else within the organisation that does the same role. So for me, 2024 around people really should be about upskilling and it sounds horrible, but you know, no one, no roles are safe. The only way to protect yourself as much as you can is by developing skills that you can carry with you through your career and I think I genuinely think data analysis and analytics is one of them.
[00:44:21] Dan: And with the advent of chat GPT 4 and Google releasing their Gemini into their generative search next year, early next year, I think the access to learning and information is never been easier, more tailored and specific for you. Learning how to SQL, play a program, SQL almost you don’t need to anymore. I think this is the big difference now it’s like, when we talk about analysing the data, there’s a lot of historically, there’s been a lot of barriers of entry there. It’s like, I need to code, I need to do this, I need to learn this platform.
[00:44:45] Dan: That’s all fizzling away and I think we’re going to see more of that go next year when it’s going to become more accessible to be able to query with natural language. And I think this is going to be a really big gate that opens up, opens data for self serve, opens data for the masses that may previously have thought that they, they weren’t able to access that because they didn’t have the required technical skills.
[00:45:05] Dan: So I’m really excited about where that goes next year. You know, it’s a bit of wishful thinking thrown in there for good measure and it shouldn’t be done unaided or unsupervised, I think by an analyst. If anyone is looking to expand into those kinds of areas, if you’re looking at becoming a bit more kind of data literate for me, that’s the thing that sounds really weird and there’s lots of flaws with it, but I love it is this five why’s framework. And it’s just asking why five times in it, you’re basically a toddler. If anyone’s got a toddler or been around a toddler, basically act like a toddler. And for example, you look at a number that someone gives you given you, or you get yourself, it’s like, okay, well, we saw a spike on this day of SEO traffic, for example. Why? Okay it could have been this, why? And it’s like, oh, there was a sale on actually. Okay why? Oh, because it was black friday. Do you see what I mean? You uncover this idea.
[00:45:48] Dan: And for me, like, as we go into this world where our data and things like that are accessible through things like language models and using natural language and human interaction in terms of the data, I think the most important thing is being able to ask good questions of the data, what you don’t want to know is how many sessions did I have yesterday? That’s not what’s important to you. What’s important is what does that mean? What do I do with it? How does that impact? What does that change? How do I do something differently?
[00:46:13] Dan: And I think this is the really, the most important thing for people that are really data literate. Be aware that you mentioned that and it’s kind of gets, it’s kind of like a bit of a trigger word for me, but soft skills. And it’s like, they’re not soft, you know, these aren’t, these aren’t passive, these aren’t secondary. And I know, sorry, that’s not your fault, but it’s just, this is the word we’ve given to them, but it’s this idea that having technical ability and data literacy is really important, but it’s a means to an end. What is the end? And I think asking good questions and being better at asking better questions is the one thing that is going to be worth investing in over the next year.
[00:46:45] Bhav: I actually, I mean, I called it soft skills when I was just speaking there. I actually prefer to use the term life skills, but you know, I didn’t want to then go into me explaining that actually life skills is just another way for me to talk about soft skills because I don’t think they’re soft and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and I’ve had to do anyway. Yeah, and I agree, you know, I think there are things that ChatGPT will enable you to do without you having to go and do like tons and tons of learning, you know, around the subject, I guess learning how to learn, understanding what you need to learn to become data literate, because, okay, you can ask ChatGPT to write you some SQL.
[00:47:16] Bhav: Yes, of course, but you need to understand how your data warehouse is set up. And like, what are the tables within your data warehouse and which ones need to join, you know, which ones joined together. If you’re looking at GA4 and you’re trying to understand GA4, understanding what events are being sent, what are the properties with those events, you know, that are being passed over, things like that. You know, that’s not stuff that ChatGPT can teach you because it’s so fundamentally bespoke to your organisation, which is why I think you can learn like how to write a SQL query. Of course, you can learn how to navigate GA4, but actually, if you don’t know that you have to set up a parameter as a custom dimension to be able to look at that dimension within the explorer, you’re going to be like, what the hell, where are these, where is this data?
[00:48:01] Bhav: Because Dan, you mentioned earlier, Google are, you know, they’re making it really hard to to analyse this during, you know, through the interface. And there are things you have to do, but if you don’t know how to do those, all of the your best intentions with ChatGPT aren’t really going to get you there.
[00:48:15] Dan: I agree, what we’re basically saying after almost an hour of talking about this is that you should come to me for some Google Analytics training and I can work with you. You should pay me lots of money and I can teach you how to use Google Analytics 4, which is our favourite tool of choice. Is that the one to watch next year? If I’ve summarised that right.
[00:48:30] Dan: So in terms of 2023, it’s actually been a bit of a tough year for a lot of people and our hearts do go out to everyone that’s been made redundant across the industries you know, this is a almost global, definitely countrywide thing, this isn’t specific to us or the industry we’re in. There’s lots of change happening, I think there’s some resettling post pandemic that that’s caused a lot of this, or at least that’s our guesswork for it. Google’s changing a lot of stuff, refocusing towards a kind of more kind of marketing focused aesthetic with their products.
[00:48:55] Dan: We had a really good sort of series of CRAP events this year, and we’ve got more coming up in 2024. And of course, wrapping up 2023 in a bit of a recap. Obviously you joined the podcast and I think that’s been the best thing that’s happened to this podcast. So again, welcome, thank you Bhav for doing this. And yeah this is for life, it’s not just for Christmas.
[00:49:12] Bhav: No it’s been fun. And then to maybe summarise 2024, I think based on our understandings that GA4 is not going anywhere, it’s still going to be here. I think you just need to lean into it. Okay we’ve had our year to moan about it, but I think 2024, if you want to just move forward, just stick your head in and just get, you know, put your head down, just get on with it. And I think we also mentioned a product or two to watch for us in 2024. And I think unanimously we both agree that PostHog is the one to watch for 2024.
[00:49:40] Bhav: And I think from a skills perspective, we call them life skills, not soft skills, right, Dan? We’re saying learn and keep yourself hireable and, you know, expand those skill sets into include data analysis and you know, understanding how data works within your organisation because ChatGPT will be able to help you but it won’t get you there the entire way.
[00:50:00] Dan: And if you want a bit of light reading over the festive period, then find all you can around CDPs and warehouse native technology stacks. So there you go, there’s a bit of light reading when you want to shy away from the family this festive season.
[00:50:11] Dan: All right. Well, last thing to kind of wind things down on Bhav. What are you going to be doing the magic week between Christmas and new year here, what are you going to be doing around that period of time?
[00:50:24] Bhav: You know, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. We’ve got my wife’s niece and her husband’s coming up from Southampton, they’re going to stay with us. So I hope what we’ll be doing is lots of board games and lots of food and drink. So that’s what I hope we’ll be doing. I know Mara’s got a few things planned like going for a Christmas walk and getting us out of the house so we’re not like living like hermits. But I hope I don’t leave the house for that six or like four or five day period and all I do is play board games, computer games, and eat lots of food and drink and you know, have lots of jokes. How about you?
[00:50:56] Dan: Nice, nice. Well, last question then have you got a video game lined up? Because I always do that. I have a game lined up for that period of time that I’m saving for that week off.
[00:51:05] Bhav: So it’s, it’s I don’t have a video game lined up I have an eight year old and a four year old, which means that there are only so many games that we can play, and the big one that seems to dominate our house is Mario Kart on the Switch, so that’s going to be the big one. I think once the kids are asleep and we can actually have some time as, you know, the older people in the house I want to play a lot of Ticket to Ride. I don’t know if anyone’s played Ticket to Ride. It’s a really fun indie game. I highly recommend it. So I’m hoping to get lots and lots of Ticket to Ride time in.
[00:51:33] Dan: Nice, nice. I’ve got a couple of games lined up as well. The thing for me is that I’ve been, for better or for worse, I’ve played every single mainline Assassin’s Creed game since they launched many, many years ago. And Assassin’s Creed Valhalla although it should tick every box for me, it’s set in the UK it is Vikings, which I fucking love Vikings. I’m obsessed with the Viking era and everything else. It’s also about a 5,000 hour video game. Jesus Christ, it’s the longest game. And I’ve actually almost lost the will to live playing that game.
[00:52:02] Dan: It’s been out for about two or three years and I’ve been chipping away every couple of months. So my plan is to finish that game because there is a new Assassin’s Creed game that came out a couple of weeks ago and it’s a very short game. They’ve gone back into the old school kind of approach to combat, you know, very assassin, very stealthy, which I’m obsessed with. So I don’t hate my time with Valhalla, but I’m very much looking forward to it being over and I am going to write that. I want to cross that off my list this year. And I’ve got a couple of indies on my Steam deck and I’ve been playing Dave the Diver. I don’t know if you’ve played that, but Dave the Diver for a while. And it’s, oh, it’s actually so calming. It’s so good. Just going for a little dive and catch some fish and then go to sell it in your sushi restaurant that night. It’s just a really nice little game loop.
[00:52:43] Bhav: Oh, nice. I think if I have a calming game, it’s called, I’ve been playing on my phone for nearly four years and it’s called Alto’s Adventure? Oh, no, Alto’s Odyssey. Yeah, no, Alto’s Odyssey. And that is my, that is my downtime game when I just don’t want to talk to anyone. I put that on, put the headphones on, because the soundtrack on that is so amazing, right? Like, the experience is incredible. For a phone game and I’m on something like level 46, and I’ve been playing it for nearly three or four years, this game, like on and off, and I just, I think that’s my me time game.
[00:53:17] Dan: Awesome. Well have a merry festive period, Bhav, and we’ll see you in 2024.
[00:53:22] Bhav: Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you’ll have a nice time off with all your friends, family, make sure you get plenty of relaxation time. Switch off, 2023 has been, yeah, 2023 has been a busy year and I think we’re all probably close to burnout, so like, you know, look after yourselves. Same for you, Dan, look after yourself and I will speak to you soon. [00:53:41] Dan: Speak soon.