Vanity Metrics

by nikiscevak on February 2, 2011

Eric Ries, one of the leading lights of management theory in startups, made a very good point around the wrong kind of metrics. Metrics that don’t correlate with revenue or the chief value event and says nothing about the why are vanity metrics.

I couldn’t but help think of vanity metrics when I was reading about Path’s funding by Kleiner Perkins and Index. Path is an iphone app that let’s users share private moments with friends and put a constraint on the number of friends that could happen with.

The company is founded by Dave Morin, who ran Facebook’s platform, and a series of other very talented executives. Now let’s be honest: The funding and the competitive seed round before it is entirely based upon the team and their product instincts.

But at $8.5m the company probably felt like they needed to come up with some meaningless but suitably large number and they came up with this: “The company says they have hundreds of thousands of users who’ve experienced “over 2 million moments shared.”

Now let’s unpack that 2 million into what actually could be happening. If 2,000 users with 50 friends each shared a photo 2 times each week for the 10 weeks that Path has been operational then 2 million moments would have been shared.

They should have just said nothing at all.

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