[thelist] Log Analysis!

Bob Davis bobd at members.evolt.org
Fri Jun 29 18:29:50 CDT 2001

Since I was working on some log analysis this week, this thread kind 
of got me thinking.

I started thinking about the kind of stuff that we as "the smart 
ones" can do that will make our clients trust us, depend on us, and 
recommend us to other people.

It seems that making them feel good about their roll in the process 
is one of the best things you can do, and explaining the logs and 
what the output means is a great place to do it.

You can at once show them how smart you are, and make them feel 
comfortable with how you tell them about all of the "tech stuff".

So, some thoughts...Sandy, I hope you don't mind my using your post 
as a catalyst. :)

(all instances of "you" are the sort of *big* you...you know, all y'all.)

At 4:04 PM -0500 6/29/01, <sales at iibiz.com> wrote:

>  > Maybe "How the web works" from the Analog site?
>>  http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/analog/docs/webworks.html
>ohhhh - that's good.

Yeah, between that and Marlene's article that Dan pointed out, you 
should be able to come up with something that your clients will 

The best way to teach something to someone is to find out what 
language they speak and use that language.  For instance, in the 
winter, I teach people how to drive in snow and ice safely, how to 
get out of skids, the basic physics of car dynamics, and the 
fundamentals of getting it all to work together in bad weather.

If I were to walk into every class talking about  coefficients of 
friction, polar moments, traction circles, and inertia, they'd all be 
glassy eyed in about 3 seconds (except for the one guy there in the 
back...the one who's taking notes and furiously punching numbers into 
his HP calculator). They wouldn't learn a thing, and they'd be 
dangerous when we got to the ice course.

Instead, I talk about putting weight on the wheels that are working 
the hardest, I talk about "lifting off", I talk about "gentle", I 
talk about tire choices, I talk about all of this stuff, but in terms 
that the audience can understand. When I have them one-on-one in the 
car, I find out what they do for a living, what they know, what they 
understand, and I try to come up with analogies that mean something 
to them.

You'll still have to explain some things to them, but maybe not as 
much if they've read the articles.

>I've had to work with clients on this stuff before, and I get such stupid
>quesitons (i.e. Can we email these people?)!!!!!  I swear, they just don't
>understand, or don't want to!

Well, think about it for a second.

If you're talking to another web developer, it's pretty ignorant. If 
you're talking to a small business owner, marketing folks, or anyone 
else who hasn't been working on web stuff for a while, it's not a 
stupid question at all.  It's just something that never came up.

I didn't know how my knee worked, until I snapped a ligament in it. 
The docs told me all about it though. It just never came up before, 
so I had a lot of questions.

They pay *you* to understand it. I have had plenty of clients that 
have paid me to decipher output from Analog for them. Sometimes, they 
want specific information (what's the top entry page), and don't care 
about other stuff (are we seeing a lot of 404's). Sometimes they want 
a narrative without all of the numbers. Sometimes they want 

It's not their job to understand it. They have their job, you have 
yours. It's your job to tell them this stuff and answer their 
questions in a way that makes them feel good about the choice they 
have made to hire you. If you can do this, you not only will assist 
them in deciding to pay you for more services (like extensive log 
analysis, for instance), but will get good word of mouth from them.

"Not like the other web folk,", they'll say. "Not a hint of arrogance 
at all. I really feel good about what we're doing."


It makes a difference.

I'd recommend Dr. Carr to anyone needing surgery on a knee.  He kicks 
ass, and I felt great about having him as my surgeon.


bob davis
bobd at members.evolt.org

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