Today, in this our eighth edition of 21 Questions with decentralize.today, we are here with Marko Saric, co-founder and digital marketer with Plausible Analytics which describes itself as:
an open-source project dedicated to making web analytics more privacy-friendly. Our mission is to reduce corporate surveillance by providing an alternative web analytics tool which doesn’t come from the AdTech world
decentralize.today: If you could choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be and why?
Marko Saric: Starting with the difficult questions? I'm not much into describing myself. I prefer to talk about my point of view to people who are interested and I'm happy for them to decide how they see me and how they'd like to describe me.
dt: How/when did you get into privacy focused analytics?
MS: I've been a blogger for more than 10 years so have been using different analytics tools for a long time. In recent years, I've become more informed and less ignorant about the different issues with the big tech and the surveillance capitalism. I started using better, more ethical and open source tools and started blogging about them too. That's how I got to know Uku and we joined up to work on Plausible Analytics.
dt: What were you doing as a profession before Plausible Analytics?
MS: I've been a digital marketer which is also my role for Plausible Analytics. I'm a co-founder with focus on communication, social media, content marketing and that side of things. In the past, I've worked in digital marketing with focus on affiliates, social media and content marketing for a public gaming company and also for a venture-funded startup.
dt: How would you describe your current work to a 5 year old kid?
MS: Does a 5 year old even know what a website is these days? I'm not sure! I may need to start with that :) In short: I work on a tool that helps your parents understand whether their website efforts are working.
dt: What was your first ever job (even as a kid)?
MS: My parents used to own a grocery store so I would take some of the items they sold such as chewing gums, unpack them to the individual pieces of gum in their individual wrapper and sell the individual pieces with a margin in front of their store :)
dt: Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to work/business?
MS: I like startups such as Ghost and Basecamp. I like the way they think, the way they run their businesses and the philosophies behind their projects.
dt: What’s the best life and work advice you’ve ever been given?
MS: Something along the lines of "work to live rather than live to work" that I may have picked in one book or another.
dt: Your favorite superhero or fictional character, and why?
MS: I'm not a fan of superheros and all these blockbuster movies. I don't think I ever finished watched one of them in its entirety. When I was a kid, I was a fan of Italian comic books including characters such as Zagor. I'm not sure how widely known they are.
dt: What were you like as a student?
MS: I didn't enjoy school that much. I would probably show up to the classes at the last minute and sit in the back row thinking of some projects and other stuff to do after the school day is over. This was pre-mobile phones and fast internet and I assume it's much easier these days as you can simply work on the projects you like while sitting in the class room :)
dt: What would be your dream project if money was no object?
MS: I like what I'm doing right now. It's something I'm very interested in and very passionate about and I can see some progress being made every day. We've had hundreds of websites remove Google Analytics and replace it with Plausible Analytics in the last few months and it's a great feeling to do this tiny bit to make the web a little bit better for everyone else.
dt: What is your favorite sport or game to watch?
MS: Football. I like to play it and to watch it too.
dt: As a pioneer in privacy focused analytics, what was your first thought when you realised just how much information previous providers were requesting or scraping?
MS: It's something I became increasingly aware of due to all the media attention over the last few years. I was a big fan of Google and their projects for many years but with Snowden, Cambridge Analytica and other news, I realized that they were not very healthy for the web and that something needed to be done to create better options and get them out to more people.
dt: Who are your real life heroes?
MS: Not sure that I have many real life heroes. If I had to pick someone, perhaps best name would be Greta Thunberg. It's amazing what she's accomplished at such a young age and how strong she is to power through all the hate she is getting.
dt: What does your family think of your work and advocacy of online privacy?
MS: I think they think it is cool to take a stand and work on something that's trying to make the web a better place.
dt: What was the last book you read that you would recommend to others?
MS: Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman. Just read it and it's a great analysis of the Facebook-centric world we live in today even though it was written some 35 years ago.
dt: What grinds your gears or is your pet peeve?
MS: I'm very outspoken about Google but I hate Facebook even more. It's just that I feel Facebook is very easy to get away from when you want to while Google is so ingrained in pretty much every website or app, and they actually produce some really useful tools so you really need to do a lot of work to get away from Google and/or replace it.
dt: Do you have an “I lost my private keys” story? Or a crazy internet privacy related story? Do share!
MS: The fact that I have to spend my time having adblockers, running VPN, clearing cookies and all that stuff just to surf the web is a crazy enough internet privacy story. This should not be necessary. And the worst thing is that only those tech savvy or those who spend hours on researching the options can do it. Everyone else has to be exploited simply because they want to read news or they want to communicate with their loved ones.
dt: Where do you see online analytics in ten years?
MS: It's difficult to say. It's probably going to go the same way the web itself will. Either we're going to have a more humane, independent and ethical web run by the people for the people or it's going to go even more commercial, even more centralized and built and run by evil bots and different AI systems. Time will tell.
dt: What’s your go-to form of entertainment or pastime? What do you do for fun?
MS: Walk outdoors. Run outdoors. Explore new places. Watch series and movies.
dtt You have the power to solve one world problem forever. Which one would you choose?
MS: Climate change is our biggest problem I think. Air pollution, the inhumane treatment of animals, us destroying the nature... they're all part of this same big problem.
dt: You have one thing to say to your 18 year old self. What would it be?
MS: Don't listen to anyone giving you advice. Just do what you feel and think is best for you.
Fantastic, thanks, Marko.
And Plausible Analytics at https://plausible.io/about
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