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Bootstrappers and startups in general are addicted to Metrics. Measure everything, that’s the only way to succeed!!!

I’m not totally against measuring things, but if you’re just starting out I think it’s highly overrated. Even when you’re more established most bootstrapped companies lack sufficient volume and repeatability of traffic to make meaningful analysis.

It sure does make for good blog posts though.

A post with how you retained 450% more of your 10 customers when you do XYZ is prime Hacker News fodder. Does it matter though? At such small numbers it’s very hard to be sure.

When I started out there were no metrics other than basic web traffic analysis, so perhaps that’s why I don’t put as much faith in it as others. I’ve managed to sell millions of dollars in software without it. I still see plenty of metrics driven companies go out of business, so I definitely don’t think it’s a magic bullet.

To me, metrics are much more useful if you’ve already established your product. At that point, small tweaks directly == cash. Before that point they’re going to eat up lots of time for at best a small gain and at worst a huge distraction.

This is all related to another phenomenon which is the removal of gut instinct from the equation. I’m a big believer in listening to your instincts. Some things cannot be measured, sometimes measurement limits your options. There’s still a place in business for instincts. Most of the great business leaders of our time have them.

Not to say they didn’t have help, they didn’t measure, etc but there’s an X factor that cannot be calculated by Mixpanel. It can’t be pulled from your Stripe data. Optimizely can’t determine with 99% confidence the optimal outcome of all things.

Something to keep in mind.

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