A time will come in your life when you are asked by your fake-titted short sale specialist boss to do some sort of project. Maybe it involves a website. Maybe it involves some sort of business process. Maybe it involves some other measurable business deliverables.
Part of what you will almost always be asked to deliver are the metrics that show how your little project is performing. Is it being used? Is it being used well? Who is using it? How often? How does it compare to the old way of doing things? etc.
These are all valid business questions, and you need to answer them in order to justify your existence and your salary (or flophouse, free van parking or whatever else you may be getting as compensation).
In today's automated world, you may be tempted to automatically collect the data and provide your boss and everybody else who may be interested with easy access to it all, so they can figure out for themselves what's going on and not constantly be asking you for all sorts of annoying reports and analysis. It is often easy to do, and if you do it, you'd have far more time to goof off, go to Starbucks and post messages on Facebook or wherever.
You will be tempted to do this.
You should not.
First, all of those annoying reports and queries they ask you for are a good source of long-term employment. You need to look out for #1, and that's not your employer. They won't fire you if they need you to produce TPS reports.
Second, and more important, you never, ever, ever want your boss or the general public to have direct access to data generated by your project. Because they may not interpret it the way you might hope they would.
By providing them a link button like this one:
You in fact encourage them to click on it.
You don't want to do that.
No, we're serious. You don't.
Forget all the bullshit about transparency, reality, "being organic" and all the rest. It doesn't apply. You don't want to do that.
That's how you get screwed.
You see, there is probably amazing data behind that silly little button that could make you look really great if you just had the opportunity to analyze it yourself, set aside the pieces that really aren't important to what you want to show, import the rest into an Excel spreadsheet, slice it and dice it a bunch of ways then put it all into a 20-page Powerpoint which is sure to wow them (or at worst, put them to sleep) at the next staff meeting.
But, as we said, by putting that button there you encourage your boss to click on it. And eventually she will. Hopefully she'll see a nice little picture of all the happy people using the cool little tool you built for her:
Hopefully she'll stop there. The problem is, she probably won't.
She might continue her little bit of fact-finding and discover that the vast bulk of the people who seem interested in her cool little tool are nowhere near her target market, and many of them not even in the same state or country:
Or, she might decide she needs a better understanding of how people found about about the cool little tool you built her, and discover that they're getting to it in ways she never imagined:
Maybe she'll even continue her research, trying to find a few more details about where all these new and supposedly interested people you attracted are coming from. Only she'll discover that rather than being generated by some positive impression you created, the primary motivator for all the attention her business is getting is a bunch of lunatics who are also taking every opportunity to call her a dim-witted, fake-titted bitch who really needs to learn how to park her obnoxious vehicle.
And that is when that big spurt of juicy activity you were hoping to impress her with:
Becomes as meaningless, irrelevant and unproductive as every other spurt you have ever created in your life. (To say nothing of it having led you to a false sense of accomplishment.)
Which is how, in a matter of minutes, you can go from being "Marketing Director" to "barely employed printer maintenence boi."
So do us and yourself a favor. Collect all the data you want. The more you have, the more ammo available to justify yourself. Then make sure you're the only one who can use it, because there's no sense in giving ammo to somebody who may find reason to use it for shooting at you.
And that's the view from FalseCasey HQ, where we are decidedly unsurprised at the unfolding of events.