Growth January 3, 2020

Announcing Analytics for Indies: An e-book that shows you step-by-step how to set up great analytics for your product

Blake Ellison @blakerson

Hey, IH. I've seen lots and lots of threads here from people not sure about what to do to set up analytics for their products. I've started writing an e-book that tells you:

-which tools to use, and why
-what data to capture, and in prioritized order

The goal for this book is to take you from "not sure what to do" to "done" in a couple hours, with future-friendly analytics data capture all set up.

Why me? I've spent the last 8 years in the analytics industry, building scalable, billion-dollar analytics for PlayStation, Rakuten, and a chunk of the Fortune 500.

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  1. 2

    Hey Blake, you offer some recommendations for products in the book. Since you are someone who has done analytics for so long - what gaps do you see in the market? Is there a gap for indie makers to make an analytics product or is it only possible by the big guys? (Not competing with GA, but more mixpanel etc).

    1. 3

      Hey @viperfx, thanks for the question!

      There are opportunities, but I would encourage an indie maker to think small.

      The market for end-all/be-all analytics tools (to fight with GA or Mixpanel, or Amplitude, or whoever else) is very crowded, and very difficult to succeed in. To make a tool that's really great requires killer execution across a pretty big team: great technical product people who know how to store + process data and how to visualize it very quickly, great ops guys to deliver a data pipeline that can scale while handling tenancy, great marketers to speak to both sophisticated buyers and their unsophisticated checkwriters...

      But there are absolutely gaps in the market, and I think that's where indie makers can come in. There are some makers here who I think are moving in great directions. To name a few:

      @gainsightsPatrick (one of the earliest responders on this thread!) is expanding upon the GA ecosystem by adding anomaly detection, and also adding new outputs for data (Slack).

      @utkarshbhimte is making the GA experience better by improving its very outdated scheduled email report.

      @tobiaslins is giving A/B testing a free tier (and also keeping a laser focus on great UX, which the big tools struggle with as they grow their feature sets).

      @alicia has a "hook," which is a proprietary method for categorizing users. She's still building up a full-service tool from scratch, which may be scary to some, but that hook is going to be catnip to executives she pitches.

      Thematically, I see several opportunities for indie hackers to make a dent (and serious money) working on analytics:

      There are even more ideas when you think about being indie but solving big companies' problems, such as:

      • Putting some guardrails on "democratizing data" through giant Snowflake databases that can really easily burn lots of money on the query side, without feeling restrictive and corporate

      So - it's not a closed-off space at all. Keep the focus very narrow and go for it!

  2. 2

    Hey Blake, looking good!

    I run a business-analytics platform, with 3kMAU and 6K signups. I'll DM you, perhaps there's some synergy in working together.

    I hit your root site ( and there's some default WordPress content there you might want to remove.

    Looking forward to the ebook!

    1. 1

      Hey Patrick, thank you! Got your email and will hit you back. I like your product! Tight scope, provides clear benefit. Very cool.

      You caught me. It's still a work in progress. Thanks for the callout - it made me do a quick scan ahead of sharing the first post today.

  3. 2

    Hey Blake, this looks great.

    8 years of experience shared with examples - I am buying it.

    1. 1

      Thank you! This is my first project in a while. The validation is really satisfying :D

  4. 2

    Hey Blake, great job on this idea.

    I think Analytics is probably the one business component founders pay less attention to, and it really slows down any data-based improvements their projects might need.

    Now, will this e-book also work for e-commerce and regular websites, or is this for a more technical, app-founding audience?

    1. 1

      Thank you! I agree, analytics is often needed but under appreciated. Installing it can be like planting a seed and waiting for a tree to grow. So, it’s time to speed that process up.

      The audience for this e-book is at least semi-technical. If you’re unafraid of adding and modifying some JavaScript snippets, you can totally do it. For the fully technical crowd, the book will work well. I’m considering a special edition with code snippets in a variety of languages/frameworks later on.

      For non-technical founders who are on Shopify, no-code solutions or similar tools where you only get the option of pasting in a Google Analytics ID, this book may not work the best. I’d love to address this audience in the next project, though.

      Thank you for the question and making me put the thoughts into words!

      1. 2

        I see.

        That's a great thing, but I'm more on the e-commerce side, so do let me know if you ever publish that second e-book.

        There's a lot of need for good analytics education in e-commerce since there are almost no good/reliable education materials available.

        In fact, all the successful e-commerce founders I know want to learn their analytics better, so you have a great target audience there if you ever decide to write that second e-book.

        Nevertheless, good luck with this one Blake. I'll keep an eye out for it.

        1. 1

          Thank you for that! I actually wanted to start by addressing the e-commerce market like you mention, but I've struggled to find a market and actually reach them. (The SEO space for analytics is extremely crowded.)

          If it's all right, I'll email you to get your thoughts on what would make for good materials for this crowd. Having cut my teeth in e-commerce and spent the last 5 years educating non-technical audiences internally, I appreciate this group and would love to help them out.

          1. 1

            Sure thing Blake, my e-mail is in my profile.

            Reach me out when you prefer.

  5. 2

    Great idea, looking forward to it!

    1. 1

      Thank you! Coming from you, that's an honor.

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