Category Archives: Chicago

How Crain’s Chicago Got Tech Worker Pay Wrong

In “Chicago trails other cities in tech salaries and jobs“, the reader is presented with a very misleading article about tech worker pay. Between John Pletz, the woman doing the video interview and the people at Dice, I am not sure how they got this so wrong. Tech workers may look like a bargain but shhh…let’s hope the boss isn’t good at math.

Pletz says:

“Tech talent is in high demand in Chicago these days, and pay is going up. Unfortunately it still lags what techies make in many other big cities…”

As the resident tech writer for Crain’s Chicago, Pletz should be aware that he may be chasing tech workers away to Silicon Valley. The table shown, ranks Chicago lowest across what looks like average salaries for tech jobs by city. It looks like Silicon Valley workers are actually better off…with what looks like 19% better pay!
Having lived in there for a few years, that didn’t pass the smell test… 

While it is true those tech workers do make more money, the fact is that when you adjust for cost-of-living, the Chicago tech worker is actually better paid by about 11%. Here is one source of such information: ; here is how tech worker pay really stacks up:

Using normalized real dollars, looks like Dallas and Atlanta are the best with Silicon Valley and New York at the bottom. Of course these salaries are averages as are the indexes for cost-of-living – your mileage may vary.

Perhaps they were factoring humidity and wind chill?

Fascinating Stats on City of Chicago Employee Pay

Ever wonder where all the money goes that the City of Chicago takes for running our lovely municipality? Recently elected Mayor Rahm Emmanuel took a bold step in transparency to post this one!

The reason for the skew towards $77k is that is about the pay for most of the employees who are police officers and firefighters. This appears to be a union-set wage, which doesn’t make sense, e.g. as a new police officer/firefighter makes just about as much (not much percentgae  difference in pay) as one that has been on the job for many years….and like all collective bargaining schemes there is no room for management to differentiate pay on performance let alone between competent vs. incompetent.

The reason for the sharp drop off at the bottom-right is that this includes part-time employees, interns and those that receive salaries for being foster parents, police cadets and others.

mean $73,829
median $77,238
mode $77,238
standard deviation $77,238
min $1
max $260,004

  • Estimated (mean) per capita income in 2009: $27,138
  • Estimated median household income in 2009: $45,734 (it was $38,625 in 2000)

It would really be interesting to see the Board of Education and teachers (not necessarily by name)!

CIMA May 2010 Panel on Analytics

Measuring and Monetizing Digital Media ROI

– How has successful marketing ROI been measured?

– What are the standard measurements of ROI and what tools are available to support the standards?

– Should there be different ROI standards for digital media and offline media?

– Branding campaigns and DR campaigns?

– Differences in metrics associated with display and search vs. video, mobile & social.

– Examples of the best emerging tools for measurement.

– Upcoming changes throughout the next 5 years.

Pictured from Left to Right:  Moderator Cary Goss , Brett Mowry of Digitas, Perianne Grignon of x+1, Domenico Tassone and Andy Stein, both of Sears Holdings – 5/19/10.

Photo by Dan Merlo

Chicago Analytics?

I’m always interested in connecting (and reconnecting) with colleagues in the Chicago area; especially those working in the crazy field of online measurement. The other day I received an urgent request from, warning that the Chicago Data and Strategy Consortium meet-up was about to be canceled! So, I volunteered myself to prevent that from happening…

Lincoln Park Lagoon looking southeast.

Why? I personally, would like to see an informal group of professionals working in this nascent field that isn’t always served by other local groups like Chicago AMA, CIMA, national groups like IAB, OPA and the more software-oriented or social/networking groups. Ideally, less drinking and more learning. Thin overhead and easy to manage…maybe even invitation-only?

In what areas of analytics and research are people interested?

Contact me and let me know what you think…we’re all busy people and all at different stages of our respective careers.

CIMA Spring Social (attendance is limited)

Please join us for the 2009 CIMA Spring Social on Thursday, April 23rd at Rockit Bar and Grill.

View looking East from Wacker Drive in March 09

The festivities start at 6pm sharp and we have rented out the entire place. CIMA will be offering 2 1/2 Hours of Unlimited Domestic/Imported Beer, House Wine, Soda, Special “CIMATINIS” and Heavy Passed Appetizers. This event is for members and non-members! Please renew your membership or become a new member today for a discount on the event! Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate everyone so the first 500 people to sign up will be admitted.

Won’t be able to attend this one but looks worthy…

Branding only Works on Cattle (Proto-Review)

Chicago-based Ad Age writer, author and otherwise brand provacateur, Jonathan Salem Baskin shared a free chapter from his new book, Branding Only Works on Cattle.

In short, after reading Traces in a Cloud Chamber (Chapter 2), I have added BOWOC to my list of books to checkout although I am on a book diet (digital books don’t count).

While I’m not 100% on-board with the notion that branding doesn’t work or only works on farm animals (just got done reading Unconscious Processing of Web Ads by Prof. Chan Yun Yoo), JSB raises some serious issues about the qualitative world of brand effectiveness/efficacy studies. Nicely coinciding with my return to the agency-side of the world, clients have a voracious appetite and need to third-party justify what they anecdotally know works.

Some key thoughts:

  1. Manifesto? BOWOC sounds like a manifesto for the nascent concept of Behavior-Based Media Planning; More on it here from Atlas Institute and Andy Chen with ClickZ. Agencies have enough challenges to be proactive in this area but it is coming. Every direct marketer (and psychoanalyst) knows that past behavior is a better predicter of future behavior than both attitude and intention.
  2. Faux-Precision. Qualitative brand voodoo dressed up as quantitative precision…financial analysts and brand equity studies are called to the carpet – loved it. The implied precision of measuring goodwill reminds me of Damon Wayans playing the self-educated prisoner on the 80s TV – Show- in Living Color!
  3. CLV. Implicit in JSB’s talk of “connections” is Customer Lifetime Value. Such connections or touch points go beyond advertising and marketing to the front-line impact of Cashiers, Clerks, Customer Service and Sales Reps. Having come up in retail ops, this little ditty is rarely acknowledged.

Looking forward to reading more.