Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Most of the interesting things happen where the rubber of humanity meets the road of technology.

Montreal, Quebec

Areas of Expertise:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Startups
  • Analytics
  • Web performance
  • Cloud computing
  • Big data
  • Conference organization
  • Innovation portfolio management
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • training
  • writing

Alistair has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years. He's worked on web performance, big data, cloud computing, and startup acceleration. In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011), and has since helped launch Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, and several other early-stage companies.

Alistair is the chair of O'Reilly's Strata conference. He also helped found Bitnorth, the International Startup Festival, and several other technology events. He works with a few startups on business acceleration, and advises a number of larger companies on innovation and technology. "Lean Analytics" is his fourth book on analytics, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Alistair lives in Montreal, Canada with his wife and daughter, and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at "Solve For Interesting".

Propose, Prepare, Present Propose, Prepare, Present
by Alistair Croll
June 2013
Print: $14.99
Ebook: $0.00

Lean Analytics Lean Analytics
by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz
March 2013
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $29.99

Complete Web Monitoring Complete Web Monitoring
by Alistair Croll, Sean Power
June 2009
Print: $49.99
Ebook: $39.99

Croll & Power's Communilytics Master Class Croll & Power's Communilytics Master Class
by Alistair Croll, Sean Power
February 2010
Video: $79.99

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Alistair blogs at:

The dangers of data-driven list-making

March 17 2014

Editor’s note: this post originally appeared on Tilt the Windmill; it is republished here with permission. Startupfest’s Pamela Perotti asked for my thoughts on this great Forbes piece by Lightspeed’s Barry Eggers about using big data to build top ten … read more

The vanishing cost of guessing

August 15 2013

If you eat ice cream, you’re more likely to drown. That’s not true, of course. It’s just that both ice cream and swimming happen in the summer. The two are correlated — and ice cream consumption is a good predictor … read more

Predicting the future: Strata 2014 hot topics

August 07 2013

Conferences like Strata are planned a year in advance. The logistics and coordination required for an event of this magnitude takes a lot of planning, but it also takes a decent amount of prediction: Strata needs to skate to where … read more

Stacks get hacked: The inevitable rise of data warfare

January 19 2013

First, technology is good. Then it gets bad. Then it gets stable. This has been going on for a long time, likely since the invention of fire, knives, or the printed word. But I want to focus specifically on computing … read more

Thin walls and traffic cameras

October 19 2012

A couple of years ago, I spoke with a European Union diplomat who shall remain nameless about the governing body’s attitude toward privacy. “Do you know why the French hate traffic cameras?” he asked me. “It’s because it makes it … read more

New ethics for a new world

October 15 2012

Since the first of our ancestors chipped stone into weapon, technology has divided us. Seldom more than today, however: a connected, always-on society promises health, wisdom, and efficiency even as it threatens an end to privacy and the rise of … read more

Follow up on big data and civil rights

August 29 2012

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about big data and civil rights, which seems to have hit a nerve. It was posted on Solve for Interesting and here on Radar, and then folks like Boing Boing picked it … read more

Three kinds of big data

August 21 2012

In the past couple of years, marketers and pundits have spent a lot of time labeling everything ”big data.” The reasoning goes something like this: Everything is on the Internet. The Internet has a lot of data. Therefore, everything is big … read more

Big data is our generation’s civil rights issue, and we don’t know it

August 01 2012

Data doesn’t invade people’s lives. Lack of control over how it’s used does. What’s really driving so-called big data isn’t the volume of information. It turns out big data doesn’t have to be all that big. Rather, it’s about a … read more

Survey results: How businesses are adopting and dealing with data

January 23 2012

Feedback from a recent Strata Online Conference suggests there's a large demand for clear information on what big data is and how it will change business. read more

The feedback economy

January 04 2012

We're moving beyond an information economy. The efficiencies and optimizations that come from constant and iterative feedback will soon become the norm for businesses and governments. read more

The Meat to Math ratio

August 18 2011

Successful companies find ways to augment their employees, allowing them to operate at scale with customers. Big data, machine learning, and an iterative, experimental mindset are essential — and increasingly, company valuations are tied to the efficiency with which firms put information to work. read more

There's no such thing as big data

August 09 2011

Having a lot of data is not the same as using it well. Today's big companies are losing to small upstarts simply because those firms ask better questions. To compete, large enterprises need to learn how to harvest the data they have on customers, markets, competitors, and products. read more

Everyone loves a science fair

January 04 2011

Strata's science fair will showcase the creative edges of big data. If you have an interesting tool or technology to show -- the more beta, the better -- let us know. read more

Tablets, education, and unions

October 20 2010

Tablet computing can reverse the decline of U.S. education, but there's a side effect. Because tablets are digital, we can analyze how students learn and examine teachers' competence. It opens the question: What happens when the digital classroom challenges powerful teachers' unions? read more

Big business for big data

September 21 2010

Netezza sprinkled an appliance philosophy over a complex suite of technologies, making it easier for enterprises to get started. But the real reason for IBM's offer was that the company reset the price/performance equation for enterprise data analysis. read more

Why Twitter's t.co is a game changer

September 13 2010

If Twitter is so inclined, the company could turn the new t.co shortening service into a powerful analytics tool that solves the marketing and tracking issues attached to off-site engagement. read more

On the performance of clouds

June 21 2010

Bitcurrent and Webmetrics ran five cloud providers through a series of tests: a small object, a large object, a million calculations, and a 500,000-row table scan. Here's some of the results and lessons learned. read more

Promiscuous online culture and the vetting process

April 29 2010

Social networks, and the big data to analyze them, will forever change how we vet candidates, whether for security clearance, employment, or political office. Technology can help employers check candidates' backgrounds, monitor their behavior once hired, and protect their online reputations. But using the social tracks we share -- and… read more

Web operators are brain surgeons

April 14 2010

As we become more dependent on our collective consciousness, web operators will be much more involved in end-user experience measurement, from application design to real user monitoring. We're in the century of the distributed nervous system, and web operators are its brain surgeons read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Webcast: Putting Data to Work
September 16, 2014
In this free preview event, we'll look at a cross-section of the New York lineup. Join some of Strata's keynotes and most sought-after presenters for a preview of what they'll be discussing this October.

Data and Ethics: Etiquette and Law for an Always-On World
November 05, 2013
In this online conference, we'll look at where ethics and the law are headed in an always-on, data-driven society.

Big Data and the Ethics and Challenges of Living in a Connected Society
September 27, 2013
In late October, Strata+Hadoop World returns to the Big Apple. This year, we have a wide range of topics, from real-world case studies to hard-core data science to the ethics and challenges of a connected society.

Webcast: Lean Analytics 201: Five Lessons Beyond the Basics
August 06, 2013
In this webcast, authors Ben Yoskovitz and Alistair Croll take you deeper down the Lean Analytics rabbit hole. You'll learn about: using the data you already have to find new ideas to test, how to pick the right experiments, the role of subversiveness...

Strata Online Conference: Strata Santa Clara 2013 Preview
February 15, 2013
In this free online conference, we'll be showcasing some of the hot topics and thought-provoking speakers who will be joining us for the event.

Webcast: Five Things You Need To Know About Startup Analytics
March 06, 2013
In this live webcast presentation we walk you through Lean Analytics—what it is, how it works and some important concepts that can help you as an innovator in a startup or large company.

Webcast: Strata + Hadoop World: Join the Data Revolution
October 03, 2012
In this free online conference, we preview some of the hot topics, provocative speakers, and game-changing innovations that are fueling the growth of a data-driven society.

Webcast: O'Reilly Strata Online Conference
December 07, 2011
In this online event, we'll look at how Big Data stacks and analytical approaches are gradually finding their way into organizations, as well as the roadblocks that can thwart efforts to become more data-driven.

Webcast: O'Reilly Strata Online Conference
May 16, 2012
Join us for our seventh Strata online conference, as we look at Data That Matters.

Webcast: Data in Motion
July 24, 2012
In this Strata Online Conference, we'll look at data and movement across a variety of sports and industries.

Strata Online Conference: Data Warfare
January 22, 2013
From public policy to elections, from healthcare to the battlefield, our lives rely on the analysis of abundant, connected data. But if data is infrastructure, then that infrastructure's vulnerable. Enemies can confound, confuse, distort, and mislead...

Data, Crime, and Conflict
January 07, 2014
Join a lineup of thinkers and technologists for this free online event as we look at the ways data is shaping how we police ourselves, from technological innovations to ethical dilemmas.

Data Everywhere: Data Anthropology, Quantified Self, Machine Data, Human Centered Design, and more
February 04, 2014
In this free online conference, we'll be showcasing some of the hot topics and thought-provoking speakers who will be joining us for the event. It's your chance to see what we're covering and to find those can't-miss tracks and sessions.

"While most business books leave the reader bemoaning the senseless slaughter of the trees it took to produce the volume, Lean Analytics reveals a refreshing depth and breadth of insight produced through research and experience. It's an exceedingly well organized tome, presented in cogent English."
--Peter Moreira, The Chronicle Herald

"So much of the outcomes you drive will be determined by what you decide to measure. Rather than fumbling to figure it out yourself, invest $15-20 in a book that gives you a giant head start. Happy Reading!"
--Teresa Torres, Product Talk

"Typically, this is not the sort of book I read. However, I was looking for something to give me some tips on this subject (conferences) and this book was really what I needed to get an overall look on the topic."
--Luís Abreu, LA.NET [EN]

"Lean Analytics is a great book for anyone who wishes to learn more about validating an idea, building the right product and measuring growth."
--Marc Abraham, As I Learn...

"There were a number of small but important facts scattered throughout the book that elicited a small 'huh' from me as I read. For example, I learned the speed at which a user invites a friend to try a service is an order of magnitude more important than the number of friends he or she invites total, and without taking this speed into consideration the Viral Coefficient is relatively pointless."
--Christopher Millard, http://christopherpmillard.com

"Overall, I'm feeling peace of mind. For all this book has provided me with, I sincerely believe this might be the best book for entrepreneurs in 2013. I think you ought to read this book at least once and probably should have a copy handy for when you change your OMTM as you successfully move along in your startup or new business project."
--Kevin Kauzlaric, kevinkauzlaric.com

"It's a highly recommended read to basically anyone in the tech industry. One thing this book does very well is to describe other models and how the lean analytics approach relates to them (this is required to do in research but unfortunately a rare sight in more mainstream literature)."
--Thomas Hogenhaven, Thomas Hogenhaven: Online Marketing From A Research Perspective

"An invaluable, practical guide for Lean Startup practitioners everywhere."
--Steve Brock, Stevo's Book Reviews

"Alistair and Ben are in the thick of things when it comes to Lean Startup and analytics. They ran a successful accelerator and help lots of startups. If you ignore the numbers, your odds of failure go up exponentially. As entrepreneurs you should do everything in your power to improve your odds. Trusting these guys is a great start."
--Dan Martell

"I bet you'd never imagined that success depends on your ability to fail. Fail faster, fail forward. And the secret to that success is your ability to learn and iterate quickly using data. Qualitative and quantitative. Let Alistair and Ben show you how to get to start-up nirvana smarter!"
--Avinash Kaushik

"Not more numbers, but actionable metrics. In Lean Analytics, Alistair and Ben teach you how to cut through the fog of data and focus on the right key metrics that make the difference between succeeding and failing."
--Ash Maurya

"We live in a day and age where data and analytics can (finally!) be used by anyone and everyone. If you're not leveraging the power of data and analytics to figure out what works and what doesn't, then you're working in the dark. Listen to Alistair and Ben...they're not only the lightswitch to get you out of the dark, but they know how the entire power plant runs. I can't think of two people I would turn to quicker if I had a startup and wanted to leverage the power of data to make my business a success."
--Mitch Joel

"Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said 'Everyone is entitle to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.' This is never more true than in business. One of the best things about working with Alistair Croll is how he cuts through opinion with facts, turning marketing into learning, and product development into a conversation with customers."
--Tim O'Reilly

"The Lean Startup is a relentless cycle of building, measuring, and learning until you find the right product and market. It's hard work, and requires considerable discipline, whether you're a small startup or an intrapreneur in a traditional company. Ben and Alistair zoom into the measurement and learning process, packing Lean Analytics with concrete examples, real-world case studies, and advice you can use immediately. No innovator should be without this book. "
--Eric Ries

"This incredibly insightful volume clearly demonstrates how to maximize the business potential of every customer web interaction. "
--Michael L. Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing

"This incredibly insightful volume clearly demonstrates how to maximize the business potential of every customer web interaction. The authors provide permission to readers to use substantive parts of the code that they use in examples."
--Michael L. Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing