The Problem with Numbers and the Things You Measure


Anything that we can put a number to gets super easy to measure. So measure away we do. We measure likes, subscribers, traffic, conversion rates, response time, cases resolved, sign ups, number of sales. We count our stars, our 10s, excellent ratings as well as good and bad reviews.

When you measure something, it means you’re giving it your attention. And when you pay attention to something, you’d usually see an improvement.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of numbers. Numbers can easily give you snippets of the picture. But most of us don’t realize that that’s where the problem lies. We never get the entire picture with numbers. And most of the time, we never question if we’re obsessing about the right numbers.

Ask yourself: Do you really need a huge following to do your most important work? To create the difference you want? Does a faster response rate actually solve your customers’ concerns? Do they walk away happy and listened to? Or did you just make them walk away disappointed? Do you ever consider if the reviews and comments you have been getting are from the people you actually wanted to serve in the first place? Keep in mind that the more mainstream you become, more people will have an opinion about you. And roughly only a small percentage of these opinions are from the people you designed your product or service for.

Just because something is measurable, doesn’t mean you should measure it.

So how do you figure out what to keep track of? You have to go back to what matters to you.

And oh one more thing. Not everything important can be measured. There are just some things which values are intangible. And these intangibles - you should obsess about and pay attention to.

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