By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/
Numbers (and the magic of measuring the right thing)
“What you measure usually gets paid attention to, and what you pay attention to, usually gets better. Numbers supercharge measurement, because numbers are easy to compare. …
Income is easy to measure, and so we fall into the trap that people who make more money are better, or happier, or somehow more worthy of respect and dignity. Likes are easy to measure, so social media becomes a race to the bottom, where the panderer and the exhibitionist win. Five star reviews are easy to measure, so creators feel the pressure to get more of them.
What does it mean to ‘win’? Is maximizing the convenient number actually going to produce the impact and the outcome you wanted? Is the most important work always the most popular? Does widespread acceptance translate into significant impact? Or even significant sales? Is the bestseller list also the bestbook list?…
When you measure the wrong thing, you get the wrong thing. Perhaps you can be precise in your measurement, but precision is not significance.
On the other hand, when you are able to expose your work and your process to the right thing, to the metric that actually matters, good things happen.
We need to spend more time figuring out what to keep track of, and less time actually obsessing over the numbers that we are already measuring.”