To meet the growing demand for our web consulting services, we are recruiting newly graduated college students as well experienced analysts. As the use of the web becomes a requirement rather than an option, web analytics is becoming an increasingly popular high-paid career. (In the early days of electricity, there were electric companies - companies that used electricity - and non-electric companies. Today every company uses electricity and the distinction between an electric and non-electric company is meaningless. Similarly the distinction between a web company and a non-web company is rapidly disappearing.) In this environment, we've met some very good candidates. Many of whom have a choice between us (while we're the largest independent web analytics consultancy, we're still less than 20 people) and a large agency or general purpose consulting firm. Even though our starting salaries are equal to or greater than the large firm's offer, the candidates often choose the larger organization.
Is this a good decision or not? For those who know me, you know that one of my favorite saying is: "Know yourself and know others: in one hundred battles you will win one hundred times." Well what does that have to do with choosing an employer? Very simply, before you make the decision you need to know what you like, what your strengths are, and what the opportunities and success requirements of your future employer are. If you really like analysis and are good at it, you will do best at Semphonic. On the other hand if analysis is something you don't mind doing, and you have very good political skills you will do best at a large firm (agency or consulting).
With only one basic kind of service, web analytics, Semphonic must provide outstanding, cost effective consulting with every engagement. A large firm provides a wide range of services. Services that can range from web design, IT operations, media buying, to consulting not even associated with the web. Since their relationship is based on a wide range of services, each one does not have to be excellent, just good enough. Consequently, after a certain point, increased analytic capability is irrelevant. When that point is reached, politics becomes the critical success factor in one's career. Being a powerful, skillful member of the compensation committee, being able to smooze with other senior partners as well as client executives is more important than insightful analysis. The super stars of a large firm are those with exception political skills, and they make the really big bucks, more than a successful analyst at Semphonic. However, as with super stardom in any profession there aren't very many super stars and the competition is intense. The high salaries of these super stars requires that non-star employees (everyone else) work long and hard as they have to generate the billable hours that generate the revenue needed to pay the super stars super salaries.
Semphonic on the other hand has very little politics, a flat organization, and low overhead so that a much greater proportion of its revenue can go directly to the analysts doing the work. Its critical success factor is excellence of service. "Good enough" is not good enough. Consequently, increased analytic capability is very relevant. Semphonic gives its analysts more responsibility, more opportunity for different types of analysis, less stress, and more money than any large firm.
So what's the bottom line? If you're good at politics and like the trappings of a big firm and want a chance for super stardom (remember most people don't make star status) go for a big firm. If you like web analytics go for Semphonic. Choosing an employer is an important decision. You spend a large portion of you waking hours working. Make sure it's something that fits who you are.
If Semphonic sounds like a place for you, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume and a letter telling us why you like web analytics.