If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it
The best way to build a business is to pick a metric that you would like to optimize, and focus singularly on growing it. Through five years of doing a startup, I’ve seen that the choice of how you define your growth matters as much as your strategy decisions or your operational efforts. And it’s not just me — this approach is followed religiously at YCombinator, where startups usually pick a single metric and attempt to amplify it week-on-week.
I’ve seen the same pattern hold up in my personal life too. In years when I’ve set broad goals like “meet more people” or “read more”, I’ve fallen terribly short of my targets. When I’ve switched to quantitative targets like “meet 1 person each week” or “read 3 books a month”, I’ve not only been forced to think through my goals in greater detail, I’ve also enjoyed far more success in hitting my targets.
Can the same mantra be applied to our public lives?