I have absolutely no clue who you are!

It might sound a bit weird, but I do not remember my daughter’s frist words. Nor do I actually care that I cannot remember them. Ah, that sounds harsh, doesn’t it? So, I am a bad dad now? I don’t think so. My daughter is the most important person in my world, and love her with all my heart and everything I have, but I simply do not remember what her first words are. Neither did we archive her photos in a photo album, we do not have a lock of her first hair and I cannot remember what the time was she was actually born. It was night, and it was late… that is what I remember.

What I do remember is the look on her face, that grin, when she looked at me in the middle of the Starbucks while she was not able to walk yet – or simply refused – and stood up, and simply ran away. No first steps, the first achievement was running while I chased her through the store.

I also remember the moment we tried the first ‘real’ food with her, you know, the pureed vegetable mix that taste like the inside of a car-tire, what the chair was she was sitting in, and where we got it.

I remember walking with her in a baby carrier through our street to do the groceries back when we lived in the Netherlands. Sure, not completely manly to walk around with a Baby Bjorn, and I do not mean to be with that, she loved it, giggled and wiggled her little legs while she got attention from all the women in the street – who almost all then seemed to be 80 year old plus.

I remember the smell of her hair while I held her and talked to her in gibberish, a quality I still do – at work mostly.

What I am trying to say, society cannot tell me what I do have to like or not like to be a good parent. I don’t love her less than another parent, maybe even a lot more. It has nothing to do with the things you remember. I am very sensitive for experiences, emotions, and I almost remember anything that triggered a certain emotion ith me.

This is also why I always feel a bit weird when a project owner knows what his/her audience is thinking, should be doing. With their noses in the reports, scanning every single detail and trying to understand what people are doing on their site.

My opinion: It doesn’t work.

Planning user behavior is just as reliable as predicting the weather; you can be completely off. It can 23 days of sunshine and mild North-Western winds, but tomorrow might be freezing cold, 10 inch of snow. You don’t believe me? Remember the blizzard in the middle of August in Jeruzalem, I thought in 1996? I’ll rest my case.

Use reports only to see what is being used or not. If you have 10 products in your website, and daily 1,000 visitors, and 1 out of those 10 products is never viewed, there is something wrong. But when all products are being viewed, only one is being viewed 3% less than the others; let it slide. Don’t worry. You cannot predict the people who are visiting your website. You might, and you might get it right, but usually the changes you make might hurt the business before it will help.

I work for a client that not likes, not loves, but adores reports. In every little detail, everything needs to be viewed, and if one day is showing a slightly less number than the day before, it is broken and needs to be replaced. The replacing takes time, and usually is replaced with something worse, which in it’s turn will be replaced again a bit later on. Resulting in a declining number of visitors every single week.

Don’t think you know your visitors if you don’t know them by name, and what they like to do and how they would prefer to spend their spare time. If you do not drink coffee with them on a regular basis and talk about the latest game or what the dog has done wrong this time… you don’t know them.


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