Transforming into an Open Business
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Transforming into an Open Business

Being Open and Transparent is more than Git projects. We are now opening our blog and company metrics to add more transparency to our business and industry.

Many of us are firm believers in Open Source and transparency. We spend a lot of time contributing to various open source projects and promoting Open. When mentioning Open, we always assume that this means source code, but in fact, it is so much more. This concept should be applied to other practices as well including businesses.

Our goal is to peel the layers back on our business exposing more and more metrics along the way much like peeling an onion. Slowly we will start exposing metrics for everyone to see as we strive to be an open startup.
I started looking at the various services that we use for 56K.Cloud and for this blog and became quickly shocked at the amount of data that is blindly shared with 3rd parties. Not only do we want to achieve openness with our business but we want to eliminate unnecessary information sharing with 3rd parties. I decided to publish all metrics to https://www.brianchristner.io/open/ Slowly, I will convert more and more services to the Open page.

Removing Google Analytics

A first step in becoming even more open is to expose what we are collecting. Google Analytics is a service identified which we use that collects metrics and shares the information with 3rd parties by using cookies.  Pulling the curtain back on Google Analytics is quite a scary experience. It is a service which I have used for years without thinking much about it and the information it provides.

The cool dashboards and reports available from age, demographics, interests, and so much more that Google uses to profile users then applies this profile to the various reports and dashboards. GDPR helped alleviate some of the issues around information collection and sharing. GDRP is the annoying pop-up that is on almost every website asking for permission to collect and share your information. Even though the pop-up is annoying the principle behind GDPR is good in practice about protecting consumer data.

It is our job as people, website owners, and companies to review what we are collecting from visitors, how we are handling this data, and what we do with this data on an ongoing basis. As companies and tools change, we need to stay in line with the services which we utilize.

Simple Analytics

OK, so we removed Google Analytics and started looking for other tools. As we investigated our Open project, we stumbled upon a blog Coding with Hugo - https://codewithhugo.com/open/  which is about Javascript and has implemented the same Openness we are trying to achieve not only with the website but also with the business side as well.

When I started reviewing his Open metrics is when I stumbled upon www.simpleanalytics.io. This amazing website analytics tool is simple, clean, and not evil. What struck me right away is the elegant and understandable UX.

My favorite feature from SimpleAnalytics is:

"When a service is free you are the product. We won't ever sell your data. As a result, we need to charge."

I have been saying this for a long time to friends and family but somehow was not living it.  Now I happily purchased the service and am a big supporter of what Adriaan is trying to accomplish. We are still way below the 100k page view threshold to go for the business account, but we are on our way.

Below is this blog's open analytics what you see if exactly what I see as an Admin. No more, no less. We also experience a significant performance gain after switching away from Google Analytics. I am pleased to see page load times decrease and feel better about not storing visitor information. Don't be evil! This website converted away from Google Analytics on 6 February 2019.

brianchristner.io website analytics

Website analytics are provided by the privacy first service Simple Analytics.

Next steps

I have converted both this blog and opened Simple Analytics for 56K.Cloud  as well. Next, I plan on opening more metrics and placing them all on https://www.brianchristner.io/open/ Any tools I use or discover along the way will go in Git or I will link the products used.

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