A Christmas cover standoff

This is about the time of year when horse trading starts over who’s watching the numbers over Christmas. Especially in the retail business, the chaos monkey tends to strike at just the moment when everyone really wants to be at home and offline for once, and definitely not thinking about work.

If you’re lucky, there’ll be someone who doesn’t fancy Christmas, and will welcome the excuse to earn extra martyrdom points for covering the holiday. But if everyone is a Christmas-celebrator, somebody will just have to suck it up and take a look at the dashboards on Christmas Day, in between rounds of Monopoly, to make sure that all is well back at the ranch.  Read the rest of this entry »


The strict patterns of Strictly Come Dancing

Seasonal patterns are fascinating. The basic building blocks are so simple, and reveal interesting facts about consumer behaviour, but they layer into incredibly complex patterns. Unfortunately, it seems that too many businesses forget to take regular seasonality into account, and spend an awful lot of time chasing wild geese as a result.

You can look at the cycles of most popular topics with Google Trends. They don’t give absolute numbers but you can still see the general shapes. For example, “fat” peaks in January. Read the rest of this entry »