Jamie's Blog

Ruby developer. CTO. Swimmer. Always trying to write more

The Questions to be Answered (by metrics)

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I was listening to a great podcast on the Jobs to be Done Radio with Des Traynor when they started talking about web analytics (from 14min onwards).

Consumption Analytics

I’ve been looking at analytic tools a lot recently because I have a ton of questions. Who’s using the product? Which company has engaged with the product enough during the trial to adopt it? Which company needs some education on how best to use the product? How much value has each company got from the service? Which companies are likely to churn because they haven’t been consuming the service or using it effectively?

“Consumption” is a new phrase to me in the context of web startups and it’s definitely a step up from the usual practice of maximising the user’s time on the site (which is a really horrible metric). How much/well/often are the users ‘consuming’ your service? How much is that consumption worth to them? What I really want to do is start measuring the service’s value to the user, not just their lifetime value to *us*.

Unfortunately, too many of these services are achingly beautiful but ultimately shallow. As Des said, these tools (should be) in the business of answers not analytics or data collection or pretty graphs. “Answers for web startups”, as Des put it, would make a great tagline for an analytics service. I’d throw my credit card at the screen for a service that lived up to that moniker.

Don’t play to your weaknesses

It was also interesting to hear Des (around 37mins) talk about the multitude of jobs that Intercom can do -vs- the jobs it excels at. I definitely get the feeling that I want Intercom to do a job that it’s not ideally suited to (answering some of those question above instead of communicating with users).

Your service might be capable of being used in a hundred different ways but you only want to sell it on the jobs it excels at otherwise, as Des puts it:

You’re literally selling to your weaknesses

Anyway, if you’re a product owner in any shape, go and listen to that podcast now.