eBay’s Culture of Analytics: We All Need to Get on Board

Fast Company’s latest article about eBay describes how the new chief technology officer created a "culture of analytics."  The old approach had been to set up a new feature or interface and see if it works.  If not, roll it back, returning to the old way.

The new approach was started by Matt Carey, the CTO.  eBay would show a new feature to a sample of users, about one to two percent of the total users.  They didn’t know they were guinea pigs.  But their behavior on the site was tracked, in terms of how long they stayed on the site, how many pages they visited, how much business they did, etc.  Now one of the top developers says: "In a Darwinian sense, to be a survivor something has to keep producing."

The remarkable thing about this story is . . . that it’s remarkable.  This should be cut and dried, basic business these days.  The data needed to evaluate an experiment at an on-line business are all available, if you just set up the systems to collect and analyze it.  Let’s get on with it, guys.

(By the way, I’ve been watching what you click on to get to my page, and I’ve reacted.  Traffic is up.  Thanks.)