#28 The MeasureCamp story (with Peter O’Neill)

The Measure Pod
The Measure Pod
#28 The MeasureCamp story (with Peter O'Neill)

This week Dan and Dara are joined by Peter O’Neill to talk about how he founded MeasureCamp and what the journey was like from the very first one, through COVID, to what the future holds for the analytics unconference.

Detail on the new Google Data Studio (GDS) data blending SQL join features – https://bit.ly/3BRcLUY.

Check out all the upcoming MeasureCamp dates – https://bit.ly/3pemYpo.

And keep your eye out for MeasureCamp London tickets when they are releases – https://bit.ly/3LTyOPL.

If you’re going to MeasureCamp London, get in touch with Dan on LinkedIn to arrange a meet up and chat all things analytics over a beer – https://bit.ly/3JQKHEb!

In other news, Dan goes to a skate shop, Dara gets fuego, and Peter gets sporty!

Please leave a rating and review in the places one leaves ratings and reviews. If you want to join Dan and Dara on the podcast and talk about something in the analytics industry you have an opinion about (or just want to suggest a topic for them to chit-chat about), email podcast@measurelab.co.uk or find them on LinkedIn and drop them a message.


[00:00:00] Dara: Hello, and thanks for joining us in The Measure Pod. This is episode 28 of a podcast for people in the analytics world. I’m Dara, I’m MD at Measurelab. I’m joined as always by Dan, an Analytics Consultant also here at Measurelab. So Dan, what’s new in the world of analytics this week?

[00:00:31] Daniel: One thing of note Dara, and that’s Data Studio, they finally released the ability to join data in their blending tool, that isn’t just based on a left join. So now you can join data on a right join, all join, outer join, inner join and we have full control. So if you’ve never done anything with SQL joining tables together there, we have a very similar approach to joining tables that isn’t solely based on this left outer join. What it basically means is you can now take two data sets, combine them together and if there’s gaps in some of them, it doesn’t matter, you’re still plotting total data. So a really big change, a small update for them I’m sure, but a really big change in the way that we’ll probably be able to use Data Studio going forwards.

[00:01:08] Dara: And we can always gage how good or bad an update is based on how excited people get a Measurelab and this one went down pretty well didn’t it?

[00:01:16] Daniel: Yeah, exactly. It’s definitely made Data Studio a bit more useful for us, at least, without having to push everything back into BigQuery to then push back into Data Studio. I feel like there are a lot of use cases now where we can go straight to Data Studio and just blend this stuff together.

[00:01:29] Dara: Okay, so onto our topic this week. So this week we’re very excited to be joined by none other than Peter O’Neill. So, Hey Peter, welcome to The Measure Pod.

[00:01:39] Peter: Gooday guys, good to be here.

[00:01:40] Dara: Really good to have you.

[00:01:41] Daniel: Good to have you, Peter, how are you doing?

[00:01:43] Peter: Not too bad, life’s a bit different in the past couple of years, as everyone’s fully aware, this is actually the first podcast I’ve ever joined so I’m very excited about this.

[00:01:53] Dara: Well, we’re very proud to be the first and actually, Peter, just to give our audience a bit of an idea. So you’re somebody we would have been very keen to get on the show regardless, but the main reason why we’ve reached out to you now is because we are quite excited about MeasureCamp London coming back into the real world, now that things are starting to thankfully open back up after a difficult couple of years.

[00:02:15] Dara: So before we get into MeasureCamp (website) Peter, what we usually do when we have guests on the show is we ask people how they got into analytics, because we know from our own experience and from other guests we’ve had on people tend to fall into, stumble into analytics. It doesn’t tend to be a straight path. So this is your chance to tell us how you got into analytics and maybe a little bit about your journey from your starting point to today.

[00:02:38] Peter: Cool, I guess in a way I’ve always been a data geek, maths was my fun subject at school. Went through that to university doing maths, computer science. A long time ago now with a range of other things, with a bit of marketing as well, economics, et cetera, and started working back in Melbourne in supply chain, buying actually a lot of drugs for a pharmaceutical wholesaler. But when I came across to London back in 2004, I managed to land a job very quickly doing again, supply chain for Warner Brothers. So I sayDVDs, but it was VHS back in that time as well it was that long ago, and forecast the amount of quantity required for different retailers buying in the stock and looking at shipments, sales returns, and it turned into a forecasting performance reporting role.

[00:03:23] Peter: I was there for a couple of years and moved on and it went for various jobs in similar type fields. But the one I managed to get was with Ask Jeeves, ask.com. And it was the same thing, it’s forecasting performance reporting. But before I was looking at DVD sales, shipments, and returns, and now I’m in a much bigger world, a world of users and visits, search engine queries and what you’re clicking on within a page itself, what country you’re coming from, what domain you’re on, this thing about cookies. And so I was in the same job, but in a much bigger world, and for me, that combination of numbers, which is my strong point. But matching that against marketing actions and people’s usability and why people are acting the way they are acting, that’s what I found fascinating, both the data and the people. I was there for a couple of years, went to Netstat from the Netherlands for a year, Logan Tod for a couple of years and then created my own agency back in 2010.

[00:04:21] Peter: But throughout my entire career, what I’ve liked is not so much crunching data although that is my strong point in a way, but trying to understand what the data means in the context of people, because ultimately we’re looking at people and people’s behaviour, but that is their reference point for that and that’s what I find fascinating.

[00:04:37] Dara: Yeah that’s really interesting, I can completely relate to that in terms of the data and the people. I think if you’re just looking at one, it sounds obvious saying it but you’re only looking at half the picture. I think it’s trying to understand what that data means in the context of why people are behaving in a certain way. That’s what makes it really interesting, it’s not just data for data’s sake.

[00:04:52] Peter: I think you find the more experienced one gets in this field, the more they learn that data isn’t black and white, and that you can’t just trust the data. It’s like, I actually just liked the term data driven. I prefer to use the term data informed because to me data-driven means you blindly follow the data. Whatever the data says you do, whereas data informed combines the data, but it informs the actions, the marketeers, the product managers, the entire business to do things the best way possible, which at times based on experience, maybe ignoring the data and do something different instead, because that’s how people are behaving.

[00:05:23] Peter: So yeah, data driven is my trigger words going, it doesn’t quite feel right. Data informed is so much better in my opinion.

[00:05:30] Dara: Completely agree, I think you’re preaching to the choir here. Okay so onto the one and only MeasureCamp. What was the original inspiration for organising MeasureCamp?

[00:05:40] Peter: I said writing my first blog back in 2007 or something. I had a lot of ideas, I had a lot of opinions. I still have a lot of opinions as I’ve demonstrated very quickly here the past few minutes and I wanted to get them out there, and then I created my own agency in 2010, like I was saying, and I wanted to get out there more and like speak at events, share my ideas but I want to speak at conferences and I wasn’t allowed to basically, as a consultant, a freelancer. They wanted client-side people who had the breading behind them to speak, or they want the very experienced. Consultants to speak with the knowledge there as well.

[00:06:13] Peter: We had an opportunity come along to try and run something in the UK. One person, I think it was Chico wanted to run a Digital Analytics Association or Web Analytics Association symposium in the UK. Got a conference together, we tried to organise that, got to a certain point and it failed for reasons I won’t get into now, but I left open a group of people going we want to run an event in London and I’d previously been dragged along to other unconference events. BarCamp first of all, mostly developers, an entire weekend at eBay offices in Richmond. But beyond that it was a place you go to where anyone can speak on any topic and anyone could turn up and have a discussion and that was fascinating. I actually spoke twice, once Saturday, once on the Sunday.

[00:06:54] Peter: I went from that to a ProductCamp, a Social Media Camp, I helped to organise TweetCamp and a lot of the events, the enthusiasm, the energy from them, people just talking back and forth and discussing ideas. To me that’s much better than most conferences where you went along and half a talks with sales pitches and the other half some were good, some were bad, some were great, but some you go, I know more than that and I want to discuss this and I can’t, it’s five minutes at the end and you had much better time in the pub afterwards having a chat back and forth and discussing the ideas properly. And so, I was running my own agency by myself. I got some of the people involved in the event and said, hey guys, I’ve got an idea it’s something different. Let’s do an unconference for our community for digital analytics people, web analytics people as it was at the time, and MeasureCamp came out from that.

[00:07:40] Peter: We had no clue what we’re doing, we had no events background, no events experience, did it all from scratch. My original friend was at Mozilla, he’s was amazing for me. He provided the venue for it so we had a free venue to use that was a big first step. We managed to find a few sponsors somehow with that all we were doing and asking some money, we arranged food, I knew the café across the road because I worked around the corner. The guy said, yes, he’ll provide breakfast and lunch on a Saturday, we had Eventbrite. Cool, here’s some tickets. And somehow it all worked. Then the day came along and 130 people turned up and it was incredible. Then we just went for it, and I remember the first talk there we’d prearranged some talks, the very first thing, and someone was giving a talk, everyone listening quietly. Like sitting on the floor so that was different. And then I remember as well that day one of the organisers went, Peter, this is great, the day’s working so well. I didn’t imagine it would be like this. That’s the way it’s been ever since then, it’s like this magic at MeasureCamp happens. People start chatting to each other and discussing things and it’s incredible. That first day, so many mistakes, I’d actually arranged pizza and I forgot to order it that morning.

[00:08:42] Peter: We had enough food, thankfully, but yeah, so many things went wrong behind the scenes, but no one else noticed that’s the beauty of running an event I’ve discovered is no one can see all the mistakes.

[00:08:50] Dara: 130 people for the first one, that’s quite a start.

[00:08:53] Peter: Yeah I was surprised, and I think it was the very last second when we thought we need someone to sit on the registration desk all day. I had this lady help us out at a social media event. I’d run, I’ll give her a call and see if she’s willing to help out her name’s Keely, and that’s how she got involved from that point onwards.

[00:09:06] Dara: You said lots of mistakes happened the first time round, but as you said, you can kind of almost hide them because people only see the end results. Did you have a clear in your head exactly how you wanted it to work in terms of like the session board and the exact kind of way that it, that aspect of MeasureCamp that everybody loves now, which is it’s not just unconference, but it’s that whole kind of community it’s for the community by the community in a way.

[00:09:27] Peter: Yeah that’s the biggest thing for me. I decided when I was going to run it that I wasn’t going to second guess myself. It’s like, every analyst, we overthink things. We can’t say definitely it will work and therefore we admit to that. This time I went, no, I’m going to make sure that it’s going to work out, dumb confidence. I’ve kept some rules in place since then, which has probably pissed off some people, but they’re all good rules. Like it must be free, it must be on a weekend, a Saturday. I say weekend because one day hopefully it will be in Israel, it has to be a Sunday or a Friday, I’m fine with that. I picked the 30 minute time slots based on experience from BarCamps and different to them we didn’t actually try and introduce everyone who’s attending the event. We didn’t try and pitch our talks in advance, I just went no, it’s on the board put your talk up there and just go for it, but I’m very confident in the fact that actually they’ve made the experience better for everyone else.

[00:10:16] Daniel: Well whatever you’re doing is working. One of my favourite things about the whole thing is the fact that it is on a Saturday, where did that come from? Is that a BarCamp thing? Is there something that you thought of yourself? The fact that it’s on a weekend means that the only people that attend are the people that are really into it, and that actually creates that environment of that energy. That conversation is not just a day off for half the attendees because they could wing a ticket to some conference and take a day off on a Friday up in London. Yeah it’s one of my favourite parts of the whole thing and I just wondered where that came from.

[00:10:43] Peter: I stole as many ideas as possible, the BarCamps, all the ones I went to were all on a Saturday. So I went, that’s how you do things that make sense. It’s free to attend, that’s how they did it. So that, and to me, I agree that having it on a Saturday, it means you have to want to be there. You don’t just need a day off work like you said, although it doesn’t mean that you’ve got people who are passionate about it all get to go along. Unfortunately due to other reasons like childcare, Saturday is a shocking day for them, they could go during the week as a workday, they couldn’t go on Saturdays, that really sucks. All I can do is apologise to people. I would love to run a childcare facility at a MeasureCamp London.

[00:11:18] Dara: This is the thing, isn’t it. You’re not going to be able to please everybody and you’ve kind of stuck to your guns with this rationale of if it’s on a Saturday or Sunday or a Friday, if it was in Israel, that the people that are going to come they really do genuinely want to be there and they’re going to engage with it. There’s no way you’re going to, able to please everybody, especially when it’s got to the scale it’s at now, there’s always going to be somebody who’s not going to be able to make it for one reason or another. I guess you’ve got to draw the line somewhere haven’t you.

[00:11:41] Dara: So going back to that first one, you ran the first one, you made a lot of mistakes, but it went well by all accounts, 130 people showed up. You got really good feedback and I’m sure you learned a lot from it. At what point did you then think? Do you know what this really has legs and I’m going to really, I can really grow this into something even bigger. Did that happen straight away or was it more a case of it just organically grew over time.

[00:12:02] Peter: I wouldn’t say there was a plan or a strategy there, but yeah, nothing like that. During the closing, I stole the idea of doing like almost a survey at the end of it, what did you think? What was good? What was bad? What can we make better? One of the questions was, do you want to do it again? Yes. When you want to do it in 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. And the overall verdict was 6 months. So it was a case of, it was a lot of work, but yeah went for every 6 months, from that point onwards just because that was the request, this became the most regular event I was aware of.

[00:12:29] Peter: After the first two or three, and there’s at least one we didn’t even meet in person, we possibly didn’t even have a group call to discuss it, we sort of knew what we’re doing. Like put some dates together and go with that, you update the website, you call the sponsors. But then we had a third one and it was again 160 odd people and that was at Mozilla’s limits, and so we found a paid venue, looked around and found a paid venue that was great for us. It cost more, we had to get more sponsorship money on board to offset that. I think it was the fourth one, it’s a nice sunny day, we’re outside in the garden. A couple of guys went, Peter, this is really good. This is really a fun day. Could we bring this back to Paris with us? I was interested, that’s fine. But you need to do things the right way, keep it free, it can’t be about just you. I’ve never wanted this to become about one person, one agency, I’ve wanted it to be by the community for the community.

[00:13:18] Peter: We ran a session about how to let things go international, the one thing I was told I had to do was to include as part of the rules to have my cost covered to attend the first one, each new city, which I felt a bit guilty about, to be honest. But in hindsight it was the right thing because while I’ve had some great weekend trips away, that Saturday is so much work for me still just trying to run around, make sure things are done properly to help run the opening, to run a couple of talks, to talk to people as much as possible. It’s absolutely exhausting. But yeah, once we hit the first one or two international ones, I knew it could spread around the world and we’ve done well. COVID slowed things down now but i’ve got high hopes that once I can get organised at some point, I’d love to take the virtual format and use that as a way to get into more places we’ve got, we’re not in Asia, Africa, South America, and there’s people there who do digital analytics and they would love to be part of this community as well.

[00:14:09] Daniel: So that’s a really good segway into talking about how it changed over the pandemic, Peter. So, obviously it went virtual, we attended a couple of them and it had a different energy but still tried to keep a lot of it as part of those core principles, those values that you said. So maybe talk us through a little bit of how was that experience transitioning. Everyone had to transition to some kind of digital approach very quickly. How was that for MeasureCamp? How was that for you? How is it now coming out the other side of that?

[00:14:35] Peter: When COVID hit it was a funny time for everyone, I think, but for me, actually, I had my first son, my only son being born April of 2020. So based at the peak of the first wave was my son being born, which was a distraction. And then I also left Ayima who had previously acquired my agency a few months after that as well. So it wasn’t planned, but in hindsight as bad as COVID was, and is, it gave me some really nice benefits like that, but at that time as well, having a bit more free time, I mean, we want to keep MeasureCamp going, we couldn’t do it in person, but we also just couldn’t do it over a Zoom call because that’s not what MeasureCamp is, it just was wrong. So I reached out and try and find if there was a way of doing something which felt MeasureCampy within the right platform, and a contact on the events board suggested Remo, I had to look into it, this could be enough. Remo had tables, groups of like six, eight people around one table chatting back and forth. And then you go to other views and one person is presenting and you can actually can swap up on stage who’s talking on stage. So we had little chats, presentations and almost discussions on stage and that’s the fundamentals of MeasureCamp.

[00:15:39] Peter: I think we got to trial or licence originally and try to make it work. I didn’t want to just go for it because that’s not what MeasureCamp about, we have to work properly and we actually had about three attempts at it. We went cool, this is close enough for it to become a MeasureCamp, because I had to have a feel of MeasureCamp, and then we tried the first virtual, I think actually the first one was in Cincinnati because I had one that didn’t happen in real life. We had that one there and one in Europe quickly afterwards, and we had the formats and we tried to record videos, we had a help guide. We had a heap of people helping out from all over the world, and we tried everything we could to make it as easy as possible to experience. And from that, it’s not a real MeasureCamp but you can still have chats back and forth. It’s not quite right, but it feels close enough to represent MeasureCamp until we hear about having things in real life.

[00:16:22] Daniel: Having been to them in real life and the virtual one, I’d say you’ve got as close as you can. It was really interesting to know that you could just, double click and go to the go to the table where you guys were at with the tickets and the, whatever you can go to a sponsor table. You can go sit at a table with a couple of other people, go to a different floor. From a virtual environment it was definitely as close as you could possibly make it.

[00:16:41] Peter: Yeah, so there’s a fair amount of work, but it was worthwhile. I think we’ve had some experiences doing so it’s kept things going the last two years. And like I said, I think Dara, you’ve got to have the question at one point of why that one for international, the new places, because you MeasureCamp’s gone on around 25 odd cities now. The ones where I struggle the most are the smallest events. I think there’s almost like a critical mass size, like at least 80 people attending to make MeasureCamp work. Do we have enough people running a session and have enough discussion going back and forth? Or you’ve got too many people coming along who are unfortunately too junior, or are from a different field who want to learn, but can’t participate. MeasureCamp works, not just for the presentations, but the discussions, and the back and forth to learn from each other.

[00:17:22] Peter: When someone comes and says hey MeasureCamp sounds great. Brilliant, but is there a community there already? Are you already running some sort of Web Analytics Wednesday style event to start things going? Plan MeasureCamp for one, two years time, don’t try and rush it, do it properly from the very start. You don’t want to fail and I don’t want to hurt the brand that way.

[00:17:42] Peter: So first of all, get your core 20, 30, 50 people first, because that’s also the way you’re going to get your committee there. You need 10 people to run the event, it’s a lot of work. You can’t do it on your own. I won’t allow you to do so. It’s just too much for one person to try and do. So for these other communities. I’m imagining their smaller 10 people here, 20 people there, 50 maybe in a bigger city, but it’s hard to get them all in one place and while you might get people to travel from place to place, it’s hard without knowing what’s actually going on. My theory is if we can run a MeasureCamp South America and get people from around the whole continent, join together in a virtual environment and discuss the ideas. But the first one that’s there people will come across from Brazil and Peru and here and here, because they’ve met on a virtual one. They want to be a part of it, they may have the committee for this first one and support it that way. And so that’s how I imagine a building from that sort of initial beginning virtually, to in person smaller events, to doing one MeasureCamp in some city, but getting it combined across the entire continent to a degree, and from that once you’ve got it started, you can run your own local events and bringing people who are learning from it. And you want to get, hopefully at least a dozen people coming across from other parts of South America to your own event. That would be incredible, and I think the virtual events the way to start that.

[00:18:54] Dara: Do you only see the virtual events post COVID as being like this almost proof of concept for a new region, or have you looked at some kind of hybrid where people who maybe can’t attend. So let’s say in that South America example, let’s say you ended up having one in Buenos Aires. Do you see a place for a virtual event for people who maybe can’t attend, could be in any of the regions. So you have people who can, almost like a hybrid model where you can attend in real life if you can, but also people can somehow join remotely. Or is that just too complicated?

[00:19:24] Peter: I think hybrid’s hard given our model, what I mean by model is the discussion aspect. That’s the hard aspect. I mean, if you’re in a room with some people having a discussion, you’re doing a presentation and someones watching remotely and wants to ask a question it’s really hard to be involved and ask that question back and forth, like monitoring a screen that doesn’t work so well unfortunately. We’ve had live streaming before from London. We can do that, it may detract from what we were willing to say or to ask that’s the potential issue. So I think hybrid for an unconference won’t work that well apart from having live streams going other places.

[00:19:57] Dara: Peter, are you still attending the first one in each new city?

[00:20:01] Peter: That’s a good question. Right now I don’t know because my life’s changed. I’ve got a child now and at that point I’ve really enjoyed not travelling the last two years. I was sick to tired to me, aeroplanes, airports. I mean MeasureCamp sounds great and to go to everyone, it sounds great. Until you have to do three in three weekends or you’re coming back from a trip to the US for work. I think I flew across to San Francisco, up to Vancouver, across to New York, because New York’s a shorter flight back to London until you realise that MeasureCamp Istanbul is on that weekend. So you have to fly from New York over London, across to Istanbul, land in the morning you’re there for the day and you’re flying back that night, and that’s really painful. While it was fun, it was a fair amount of work as well. So doing that now it’s an extra step with the child there.

[00:20:49] Dara: If it keeps growing surely you wouldn’t be able to, even if you wanted to attend.

[00:20:54] Peter: Yeah, we’re hitting that point at times when it grew too far, it depends how fast things grow. What I’d love to do with that, I think what realistic is to find local representatives who can do what I do. Who have been to MeasureCamps before who know what’s involved, who are able to go there and work the day by helping with the opening to get a sense of enthusiasm. If need be, make them change the opening structure, the day structure so it actually works fine. To give talks, run around madly and in exchange their expenses are covered, the travel and their hotel or whatever else. Yeah, that would make more sense to, rather than me trying to fly across, to have someone who’s been with us for a long time now to go to the local one there, it’d be amazing, that makes more sense.

[00:21:35] Dara: And do you have an ambition because you mentioned earlier that it’s kind of grown organically. Do you have an ambition for it to continue to reach new cities?

[00:21:43] Peter: I have been saying for a couple of years now, and I’ve heard nothing about admittedly apart from moving countries. And as part of that, moving up a new foundation in the Netherlands to manage, to be the central part for it. What needs to happen is to actually hire people part-time to be the global coordinators, and for this people to basically be they’re almost admin, but I can imagine the amount of work that goes into creating the websites and learning how to run the website. It’s the same template that you have to learn how it works for every new city to create a MailChimp or similar template and running that. Eventbrite or similar ticketing platform, creating a sponsor pack. This is a lot of work every time to do these type of activities, but it’s the same action every time. We’ve got a Slack group they’re really helpful around the world, but to have someone centrally can coordinate this and actually do some of this work for the local cities will take the pressure right off and it’s actually not much extra work, but it’d be a couple of hours of their time would save days of someone trying to learn how to do it for the first time. That to me is a good trade-off and then to do what I’m bad at doing, just chasing people up, how are things going? Where are you at once you get done? Have you got to this point in the checklist? Yes or no.

[00:22:52] Peter: I just need to get organised enough to find that right person to then do this coordinating . It’d be a slightly weird role, they’d be running events but could never be involved actually running events because it’s still the local community. You’d have to let go totally, let people do their own thing, make their own mistakes, offer the help, but you can’t push it on them.

[00:23:11] Dara: Yeah it’s definitely not one for a control freak anyway.

[00:23:13] Peter: Yeah, there are certain things where you think, no, you can’t charge that you can’t agree for a sponsor to give them email addresses. But actually we learned that in some cities, as part of the registration form, you ask them, are you okay, us passing your details onto a sponsor? Yes or no.

[00:23:29] Daniel: So I have one last question Peter. So all of these things, it sounds like you’ve established a really good blueprint for this to be successful and to keep it true, I suppose to where it started, what are some of the concessions? What have you, not sacrificed, but what’s changed from the early days to today that you may be, if you’ve been to the first one and the one that’s coming up in London in a couple of months, that you’d be like somethings different.

[00:23:52] Peter: Some of the basic fundamentals are the same, so that’s great. I miss from the very first one, a small room has beanbags is have a chat back and forth, I really miss that. One thing I’ve found with the first couple was making up names for the rooms. We had countries at one point, I remember one of them was called Vikings one year, I think, because like it was some of the legends of digital analytics, that was really fun. And about the third one we gave it away as a sponsor benefit and it’s been like that ever since in every country, sponsors is what made MeasureCamp work, and it’s great the fact though, at the same time, that MeasureCamp isn’t about making money. We’re not about trying to find sponsors. You help us out, we’ll help you out as well.

[00:24:31] Peter: So most of the concessions have been around the sponsorship level, how much space they get, the room names, they don’t get everyone’s email address. We’ve kept the balance pretty much right. But that’s been probably my biggest sort of fear with the whole way through is to make sure that balance stays fair to both sides. I miss the making up fun room names.

[00:24:49] Peter: With the sponsors as well, we do try to as much as possible for them. So like with the virtual ones, we try at the end, they’ll ask a couple of them to bring a new idea of sponsored demos. And we tried previously in real life, the events hadn’t worked out so well, those are the first couple of them. With the virtual ones, we thought actually at lunchtime, you’re eating your lunch. You don’t want to chat to people in a virtual environment. It actually could work quite well, go to a room and get some brief five to seven minute sponsor demos to see a new tool that he helps the analysts out, helps the sponsors out. It’s a good idea, I’m not quite sure how well they’re working in person made that sort of thing that we can try and do more to try and get the balance right there for the sponsors and the attendees.

[00:25:29] Dara: Obviously it goes without saying that MeasureCamp wouldn’t be able to continue without sponsors, but who else has helped along the way over the years?

[00:25:37] Peter: In a way there’s been so many, it feels wrong at times. I am the face of MeasureCamp. it was my idea originally, but I’ve tried as hard as possible to make it not my event. It’s about everyone else. Every single event running around the world is run by a group of six to 12 dedicated people, volunteering their time, they’re incredible. I may come along and do a talk and be given way too much credit for it. I’ve done next to no work. They’ve done all the work. They’ve done all the planning for the weeks and months leading up to this. It’s all on their stress, and it’s success is due to them. But also beyond the actual organisers, it’s the people attending, like sharing their ideas and knowledge and seeing people literally shaking beforehand, or people saying how they’ve never spoken in public ever before, they’re shy and they’re terrified before a talk, but they want to do it because they see it’s the chance to give back to the community and to share their ideas. That’s why I love MeasureCamp, the sheer joy at the end of it going, that was so much fun. I can’t wait to do it again.

[00:26:31] Dara: Amazing Peter, it’s brilliant hearing you talk about the history of MeasureCamp and how it’s grown. What’s been so important to you, what the vision was for it, but we’re more excited about going to the next one. So we’re really looking forward to attending the London one, which is coming up in May, but what other MeasureCamps are on the horizon this year?

[00:26:48] Peter: A few coming up, London’s coming back on the 14th of May as a ten-year anniversary this year for MeasureCamp in London of MeasureCamp total on the same day is one in Bucharest. The next weekend, 21st of May in Amsterdam, then jumping ahead to the 11th of June Copenhagen and on the 25th of June actually is two on 25th June one in Paris, one in Berlin.

[00:27:09] Dara: So for somebody who hasn’t been before, Peter, what would be like your elevator pitch or what would be your kind of summary of what MeasureCamp actually is.

[00:27:17] Peter: It’s hard to explain, so it’s an event on a Saturday. It runs from about 10 o’clock through till 5/6 o’clock in the night. The key part though, is that at the start of the day, the session board is totally blank. No one knows what can be talked about. And who’s speaking, we’ve got about eight time slots, 30 minutes, each four rooms up to eight rooms, and that’s all we’ve got. At the start of the day we give an opening and the session board is opened up. And at that point, anyone can put a session on the board, it can be any topic. It can be very technically related, it could be how to become a freelancer. And it can be a presentation prepared before it can be a discussion, a client problem you just can’t solve. It can be a game show, anything goes. So you just go along, you go to the sessions that appeal to you the most. If it’s not quite right for you, you say, sorry, you walk out and go a different session and get involved that way. Hopefully you pluck up the courage and put a session on the board yourself and just go for it, and hopefully as well at the end of the day, you stick around for a couple more drinks for the after party as well.

[00:28:14] Dara: Amazing. All right. So, this is the point in the show, Peter, where we put people on the spot and ask them what they do when they’re not doing their day job. And for you, this is going to be tough because you’re kept pretty busy. And you mentioned already that you’ve got a, you’ve got a young son, so you can’t claim that as your answer, you have to give us something else that you do to wind down.

[00:28:33] Peter: Back in the day is a lot more when I was younger in my twenties, in my thirties, I played a lot more sports. So I played a lot of Australian rules football. I used to play a lot of netball, social netball. I was very good at it too. I’ve moved across the Netherlands, I had to try and find a local sporting team, preferably netball or something else can do as a sporting outlet. That’s important for me. It’s actually my best way of releasing stress is to play sport of some sort. For me it’s always been escaping into some books, some good science fiction or fantasy books as always been my escape, but nice wardrobe full of them here. You can always buy more books.

[00:29:07] Dara: Very true, you’ve covered indoor activities and outdoor activities, so you’ve covered the whole spectrum. What about you Dan? What have you been up to?

[00:29:14] Daniel: Well mines semi-related, it’s a sports related, but on Saturday, just gone it was the national skate shop day which sounds really odd, but it’s a day that started up a couple of years ago to celebrate independent skate shops, and there’s about 45 odd in the UK and they all joined together to do this one day, and they released a t-shirt and my local skate shop put on those videos throughout the day and just had a bit of a party really in a skate shop. It was wicked just watching loads of a skate videos, hanging out lots of people, just talking skateboarding for the best part of the day. But I have a question for you, Peter, more important than all that stuff. Have you seen the Foundation series? Because I’m a huge scifi fan, and after you said that it’s something I’ve just finished watching and it’s amazing.

[00:29:53] Peter: I read the books about twenty-five years ago, I’m really ageing myself now. And I’m usually wary of watching the TV series, like the books. I can just be so frustrating. So few actually do justice to what I saw in my own head. I’d have to weigh up to actually go back and read the books again first, or watch the series and then read the books afterwards. I’m a bit worried about it, but you recommend.

[00:30:14] Daniel: It’s been a number of years since I’ve read the books too, but the TV show is awesome. It’s not a linear, it’s not a straight copy from the book. So it does it’s own adaptation in a way. So the scale is great. I think the TV show is awesome. It’s slightly different to the book, but in a really positive way. Anyway, I’ll leave it for your own choices to be made on the TV show but I highly recommend if you get a chance to watch the show, check out foundation. If you want to read the books again, great but a bit of an undertaking.

[00:30:38] Daniel: I feel like we’re alienating you a bit, Dara. What did you get up to mate?

[00:30:42] Dara: I’ve recently started Spanish lessons. I’m a beginner, so don’t even think about trying to test me. I can say hola and adios that’s about it, but I’ve started taking Spanish lessons.

[00:30:51] Peter: I need to learn Dutch badly. But no one speaks Dutch to me apart from now my next door neighbour. One of them can’t speak English, my next door neighbour, but my son’s goes childcare and he’s learning Dutch.

[00:31:02] Dara: So he can teach you.

[00:31:03] Peter: Well, we don’t know, because I can’t tell if he’s actually babbling or saying a dutch word, we can’t tell. He’s actually smart enough to know. He’s only speaking a few words right now. He’ll speak English at home and Dutch at childcare. So he’ll say pig at home and varken which is pig in Dutch at childcare, but yeah, but I have to learn Dutch for that reason.

[00:31:22] Dara: I think you do just to keep up with him otherwise he’s going to be talking about you and you won’t know what he’s saying. Okay quickly before I do our usual outro Peter, where can people find out about, a bit more about you? Obviously MeasureCamp is measurecamp.org.

[00:31:35] Peter: Find me on LinkedIn, find me on Twitter.

[00:31:38] Dara: Perfect okay, that’s it from us for this week as always, you can find out more about us at measurelab.co.uk or email us at podcast@measurelab.co.uk, or just like with Peter, you can also look us up on LinkedIn. Please do and reach out if you want to suggest a topic or better still, if you want to come on The Measure Pod and actually discuss it with us. Otherwise, join us next time for more analytics chit chat, I’ve been Dara joined as always by Dan. So it’s bye from me.

[00:32:03] Daniel: And bye from me.

[00:32:04] Peter: And goodbye from me as well.

[00:32:05] Dara: See you next time.

Written by

Daniel is the innovation and training lead at Measurelab - he is an analytics trainer, co-host of The Measure Pod analytics podcast, and overall fanatic. He loves getting stuck into all things GA4, and most recently with exploring app analytics via Firebase by building his own Android apps.

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