Simplify for Success - Conversation with Adriaan van Rossum

Adriaan van Rossum was on #SimplifyForSuccess, a podcast series presented by Meru Data and hosted by Priya Keshav.

Adriaan talked about a more privacy-preserving analytics platform called Simple Analytics and other alternatives to Google Analytics.

Thank you to Fesliyan Studios for the background music. *Views and opinions expressed by guests do not necessarily reflect the view of Meru Data.*

Listen to the full podcast here:


Priya Keshav:

Hello everyone, welcome to our podcast around simplifying for success. Simplification requires discipline and clarity of thought. This is not often easy in today's rapid-paced work environment. We've invited a few colleagues in data and information governance space to share their strategies and approaches for simplification. In today's episode, we will talk to Adriaan van Rossum, one of the founders of Simple Analytics. After the recent decision by the Austrian Data Protection Authority against the use of Google Analytics, many are searching for alternatives. I'm sure you'll find this podcast insightful.

Hi Adrian, welcome to the show.

Adriaan van Rossum:

Hi Priya, thanks for having me.

Priya Keshav:

So tell me a little Bit about yourself and how did you get started on Simple Analytics.

Adriaan van Rossum:

Yeah sure. So it was about four years ago and that I started Simple Analytics but before that, I had some experience as a web developer. I'm from the Netherlands, now live in Amsterdam and I always had an interest in building websites, I learned from people around me and I also learned that you could do a lot of stuff that is not super privacy-friendly. And as a developer, I think and many other developers probably notice is, you know, to look what the web is capable of.

For example, when I started building websites, it was still possible to get someone's clipboard history. So you would copy-paste something in a Word document, you would visit the website and that website could get your clipboard. So it could be very personal data, right? Like you copy-paste everything. So this made me realize that hey if this is possible, how would it be for the end user? Like it's no one expects this. So then it started to, yeah, be of an interest of how this all works, and then I basically started to have interest in privacy and what it entails. But then it was like, always a little bit on the background and didn't really do something in privacy that much, but I always had an interest in it. And then like four years ago, it was in 2018, I needed to install some analytics tags for a customer. And I was like, yeah, I don't really want to do this. I'm kind of...yeah, I don't want to feed all this data to Google Analytics. So what should I do? What is the alternative? And I didn't really find an alternative that suited my needs.

And then I realized, like, maybe I should build it myself. So, then I started building Simple Analytics, a super simple version at the time and people already had an interest in it. Like there were quite some people that just wanted to know how many page views they had or how many pages were visited. So for them, it was already like providing value and in the years after we developed the platform, we did quite a bit. And also, GDPR made a few of those changes in the landscape that people actually