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Revenge of the Modular Approach + A Product Growth Journey + dbt Announcements + More (PAN #27)

Edition #27 - January 20, 2020 Originally sent via Mailchimp

Good morning product friends 👋

There is a pending clash between forces in the product analytics world and it feels like a long-due sequel of Revenge of the Nerds to me.

In our Top Pick story below, we talk of a movement that promotes modularity against the industry’s movements towards acquisition and the formation of modern analytical infrastructure’s mammoths. This is a latent backdrop to many stories we’ve presented since I started publishing that newsletter. But there is something interesting about those Segment, Amplitude and Drift of this world joining forces and trying to promote the advantages of staying modular.

I’m pretty much already sold to those ideas. I’ve seen how being locked in to a vendor can be a painful experience and wouldn’t want to work in an industry where our only choices would be to get to pick between 2 major vendors. Our modern analytical stacks are efficient and scalable precisely because there is ease in how we can switch components and take advantage of specific services for some of our specific needs.

So as with the original movie, I’ll definitely be rooting for the nerds again 🤓

And with that, on with the 27th edition of the Product Analytics newsletter!



Top Pick

What has been my highlight?

The “Platform of Independents” Movement by @reinpk and other signatories

In our last edition, we had shared a piece by Sisense, which predicted the following:

What we started to see in 2019 was a motion to combine several of the more popular point solutions into larger stacks. Google acquired Looker, Salesforce acquired Tableau, and Sisense merged with Periscope Data. This is a trend that will continue for the next few years until a few major players emerge as viable end-to-end solutions.As the industry continues bundling, organizations will buy one of the new monoliths; it will no longer be a tenable solution to customize a BI stack with a combination of preferred point solutions.

Well, that’s not exactly how Segment, Amplitude, Drift, Mixpanel, etc. see the future. The opening of their joint declaration states:

We, as independent software companies, have built our products with the belief that a business should never be locked into a suite, never forced to have a one-size-fits-all technology approach, and its data should never be siloed.

There’s certainly a clash of visions here. As consolidation sells integration, that walled-garden ideal, on the opposite end the coalition is selling “a world of choice […,] flexibility [… and] opportunity>. They will be presenting those ideas in a live webinar on February 5th, 2020. Follow the link above to register.

Data Strategy

Growing your product with the help of data.

Meltano December 2019 in Review by @meltanodata

Here’s a story I love following. Meltano is ambitious in its mission and very transparent in its product-market fit process. It’s driven by data and is freely sharing their journey for everyone to learn the lessons they are learning themselves.

Their December 2019 overview is honest, clear and full of insights. If you’re building a product and trying to achieve product-market fit, read this update and subscribe to their newsletter.


Factory operations to transform data into analytics.

Observability for Data Engineering, by Evgeny Shulman

Here’s a story that made the rounds this week. It’s about increasing observability in your data stack, which you can probably never get enough and there’s always room for improvement. Anyways, it felt like there was excitement initiated by this article as I saw discussions spark about implementing some of the ideas here.

Personally, I wish we had some kind of DataDog platform that would give us more visibility into our data stacks. Not that it’s opaque right now, but I don’t feel like there’s any great unifying platform to make it easier to have an overview of the whole stack and utilities to dig deeper when needed.

Data Analysis

Deriving insights from your product’s data.

User Lifecycle Analysis of a Newsletter Product by yours truly, @olivierdupuis

It has been a while since I published a blog post, so I’m shamelessly squating a space in my newsletter to share my latest. It’s titled “User Lifecycle Analysis of a Newsletter Product”.

It’s an emotional roller coaster about a newsletter product owner that tries to better align its newsletter with its original mission, fighting evil forces along the way and prevailing with the help of data jedi masters. Ok, there are no evil forces nor jedi masters, but the emotion is real 😐

I hope you enjoy it!

Market News

What’s happening the product analytics market.

The Wonderful World of dbt by @getdbt

There’s rarely an edition that goes by where I don’t talk about dbt. What can I do, it’s an effervescent community 🤷‍♂️

Fishtown Analytics (the folks who are building dbt and hosting its community) has officially made their browser-based IDE available to all. That means you won’t need to configure your own computer to take full advantage of this amazing tool. Just point your dbt Cloud instance to a github repository and a data warehouse, and you can get going.

Not sure where to start though? Well, there is my slightly-outdated-and-in-need-of-a-refresher post on introducing dbt into a project, but dbt’s documentation and Slack community is just amazing. Need a more hands-on approach? The dbt Learn events are what you need. And they’ve just announced a few dates. I’ll attend the one in Montreal, so do let me know if you’ll be around, it’d be great to meet in person.

Finally, and this is just so fresh out of the press, Fishtown has released the dates and venues for their conference, named Coalesce (love the name, can’t wait to buy a t-shirt!). It’s in New-York on August 21 and 22, 2020. There is a dbt Learn event the 2 days prior if that’s of interest. And it’s freaking dirt cheap imo for really-early-bird tickets. I will also be attending that conference, so again, do ping me if you’re attending 🙂.