111: Reader Mailbag (XIV)
Your responses re: metrics and growth.
Last week's recap explored growth, "progress", and scale.
At the end, I asked :
100 people feels like a lot, in-person.
But relatively insignificant on the internet.
How do you measure "progress" without metrics?
Here's what Fire Jar readers said :
On the internet, we don't know how much each depth there is to each interaction.
When someone shows up to a theater: They bought a ticket, got dressed, made time in their schedule etc. You might even see them smile / laugh / cry / clap / stand.
When someone clicks something, you don't know if it was a life-changing click or a total accident.
I use things I've learned as indicators of progress.
I also measure inputs (feelings, things I do) more than outputs (users, customers) because I find outputs are usually lagging indicators.
What metrics reflect a thriving life force?
I’d guess joy, meaning, purpose, love, connectivity, and creativity are in the mix.
100 true fans, dog.
- Alignment to core values
- Saying "yes" and "no" with clarity
- Health improvements
- Depth versus growth
Could it be to what you are comparing yourself?
A "successful" Twitter account has millions of followers. A successful show is a packed house, but that house varies in size, whereas the internet is massive. A physical event can be sold out, whereas you can never have too many followers online.
I too suffer from imposter syndrome.
The pull of external validation can be a nice motivational boost and a hindrance toward authentic creation / sharing. Seems to be a balance game.
What happens as more people follow one's work? Is what I share more valuable when more people like it? Or when it speaks deeply to a few people? Or both?
When I started publishing consistently two years ago my eyes were glued to the analytics. But now I rarely check them.
I still care about audience growth. Of course I want people to read my stuff! But I focus more on responses to my newsletter and more of those real connections. I haven't been too focused on audience growth because I've been more focused on producing content but I do think there's a balance to strike and I just haven't figured it out yet.
We all need external validation.
It’s hardwired for the learning process.
As we get older and choices widen, doubt can creep in. That’s when we especially need the signposts that say "you're on the right track".
I appreciate signposts that say "you are lost now but in a very good way" or "be patient this path will be harder than expected but you’ll be glad you took it".
I think a good way is to ask for feedback from the subscribers: What do they like about The Fire Jar? How does the site help them in their day?
You may have to wait for responses, but even a few can clearly point to progress.
If each of those 100 people mention The Fire Jar to 10 people, the pyramid effect goes to 1,000.
There are no metrics that can measure the progression of personal growth, mental acuity, business acumen, relationships, opportunities (to name a few).
Metrics are finite and two dimensional. Therefore they cannot be used to measure intangibles that are constantly evolving in unpredictable ways.
Is there a number of people that you think would make you feel relevant or important? What would this post have been about if your subscriber base went from 11 to 10 people, or from 1,100 to 1,000? You're onto something here.
Maybe this is the same reaction that people are having around the world every day, whether subs go up or down, and it's leading to depression and an unhealthy society. The endless pursuit of "empty" rewards.
What is the road back from here?
Ask anyone who has been in business for a significant amount of time to draw a chart of their progress and I can assure you that (when compressed) they will all look like sound waves.
Thanks for the mail!
I love reading your replies.