Day 16: Alistair Croll on Lean Analytics

We had the chance to sit down with Alistair Croll, an experienced author, speaker and entrepreneur, about all things analytics. Here’s what we learnt.

First and foremost, don’t sell what you can make – make what you can sell. In other words, don’t build anything that people don’t want.

At the core of Lean is iteration:

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This is because most startups don’t know what they’ll be when they grow up. Wikipedia was to be written only by experts. Paypay was first built for Palmpilots. Twitter was a podcasting company. You are most likely not going to succeed doing what you’re doing now.

Analytics can help because it is the measurement of movement towards your business goals. In a startup, the purpose of analytics is to iterate to product/market fit before the money runs out.

So, what makes a metric helpful? A good metric is understandable, comparative, a ratio or rate and behaviour changing. The last is especially key: what will you do differently based on the results you collect? If you don’t have an answer, the metric is unimportant. In this way, a good metric helps you to know that you know yourself.

Here lies the secret to being a leader: someone who knows which questions to ask. Successful startups are built upon (1) a big vision that’s obvious in hindsight and (2) baby steps to help you get there. Success comes when you ask the right questions, use analytics to step back dispassionately and find the answers, and take the necessary steps to put those answers into action.

All info is courtesy of @acroll. To read more, check out his book @LeanAnalytics


Emma Williams
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