Learn Web Site Analytics From Capt. Kirk And The Enterprise - InformationWeek
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8/1/2007
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Stephen Wellman
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Learn Web Site Analytics From Capt. Kirk And The Enterprise

What can Capt. Kirk and the original Star Trek TV series teach us about Web analytics? Quite a bit, actually.

What can Capt. Kirk and the original Star Trek TV series teach us about Web analytics? Quite a bit, actually.Matt Bailey at The Inside Track uses Capt. Kirk and the deaths of the unnamed ensigns to demonstrate how to analyze Web sites. Here is the setup:

The Enterprise has a crew of 430 (startrek.com) in its five-year mission. (Now, I know that the show was only on the air for 3 years, but bear with me. 80 episodes were produced, which gives us the data to build from.) 59 crewmembers were killed during the mission, which comes out to 13.7% of the crew. So, that will be our overall conversion rate, 13.7%.

Then he segments the deaths of the crew members:

However, we need to segment the overall mortality (conversion) rate in order to gain the specific information that we need:

Yellow-shirt crewperson deaths: 6 (10%) Blue-Shirt crewperson deaths: 5 (8 %) Engineering smock crewperson deaths: 4 Red-Shirt crewperson deaths: 43 (73%) So, the basic segmentation of factors allows us to confirm that red-shirted crewmembers died more than any other crewmembers on the original Star Trek series.

And it gets better. Here are the data trends:

Probability of a red-shirt casualty= 53% 14% of fights ended in a fatality (with a 72% chance the fatality wore a red shirt) Probability of a red-shirt "incident" when Kirk has a "conquest" = 12%

The red-shirt survival rate is slightly higher when Kirk meets women than when a fight breaks out. This trend necessitates the question: How often did Captain Kirk "meet" women? In 30% of the missions.

As the data shows, Captain Kirk "making contact" with alien women has an impact on the crew's survival. The red-shirt death rate is higher when a fight breaks out than when Kirk meets a woman and a fight breaks out. Yet the analysis shows that meeting Kirk meeting women only happens in 30% of the missions.

I will never be able to look at a site traffic report -- or an episode of classic Star Trek -- the same way again.

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