After a recent business trip to California I stranded in the airport bookstore trying to find a book for my 6 hrs flight back to NYC. I usually avoid the bestseller shelf (how cool!) and head straight to the "business" section (quite boring heh!). Usually I just look at the cover and try to figure out if the Guy Kawasaki's, Seth Godin's or Malcolm Gladwell's released another one of these marketing books. I usually know the books from past reads or am just not interested in the topics, then turn around grab a water and head back to the gate. However, this time I actually didn't leave, but rather walked over to the finance books section.
The finance section is usually stuffed with "how to become rich" or MLM type books. However, this time I saw Debunkery from Ken ( CEO of Ken Fisher Investments // Nasdaq) and ended up buying it, b/c it covered topics that I am interested.
The book covers pretty much the same problem that webmaster and web analysts have: A red checkout button is supposed to be worse than a green one. The link navigation should be on the left. The landing page shouldn't have distracting banners. Seasonality has a huge influence on profit margins. On-page optimization is key to rank higher...
If you really look at these statements closer...they are often mythology as well. This is why reading a book from experts in a different industry is just a nice way of getting the mile high view again.
Often our industry comes up with predictions based on data that's pulled from different silos such as SEM tracking software, web analytics software, internal business data, enterprise organic search engine optimization software, SMO tracking software and not really anyone has connected all these silos.
Also "our" industry is swamped with people, who didn't study or grew with this industry (which is not surprising since the industry is just 15+ years old and advanced university classes for web analytics are rare).
This leads too often to complete wrong assumptions, predictions and false reporting. Predicting outcome is extremely difficult and the dollars made in "our" industry just doesn't allow companies to invest enough money to come even close to advanced forecasting technology that the finance industry utilizes for predicting the stock market.
Overall the financial markets like the "web traffic markets" are less predictable than we often think.
Long story short.....I'd really love to see one of the top web analysts to turn into mythbusters for our industry. I'd also like to see a company to take forecasting and traffic analysis to a different level. Products from SAS, Adobe or IBM are on a good way, but far from being mainstream and not as good enough to change our industry. Let's blame the free solutions such as Google Analytics for that :)