This is a response to Miles Bennett’s post on the WAA and the EU. Sorry for the cross-post but I don’t know when my response will be posted there and the number of emails I’m receiving suggests duplication might be the order of the day anyway.

Hi Miles –

Your concerns are shared all over the world. You post was long and detailed. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to be brief. (Wish me luck.)

The Web Analytics Association is 5 years old this month. In that time, hundreds of people have rallied around to take action. Many more have rallied around to see What’s-In-It-For-Me. That latter group tends to look at the ‘value’ of membership in terms of return on financial investment. They will always be underwhelmed:

I can get other information for free.
I can go to other events for free.
I can learn about the latest and greatest online for free.
Why should I pay for any of those things??

The true value of an organization like the WAA is in the ability to do the work.

As a member, one is in a position to help create the curricula for formal training and guide the certification process. One can help originate new research and then analyze and publish the results. One can be instrumental in defining standards. One can become a valuable member of the community and network within the structure of a job well done rather than just a pint well hoisted.

Let me use the example of one Miles Bennett – a man whose enthusiasm for web analytics has led him from employee to consultant to blogger to WAA Country Leader. As a blogger, the rest of the world got to know Miles’ views. As a WAA volunteer, the world got to know Miles as a strong proponent and a tireless and selfless worker who substantively helped others learn about, understand and excel with web analytics.

Making a name for oneself in a community is great fun. But showing that community the sweat of your brow and the dedication of your hours is proof of serious and abiding investment. The tangible Return on that Investment is stature. The intangible Return is the most important; knowing that you helped build something that will help many and continue on after your interests turn elsewhere.

Going to a community organization with your hand out is sometimes necessary. Going a community organization with an idea, a plan and a willingness to help others is the single most rewarding thing one can do. ROI.

Thank you for letting me borrow your soapbox to stand on.

Jim Sterne
WAA Co-Founder and Chairman

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