The Move To The Metric System

by The Guy February 21st, 2008 

Einstein's definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Look or sound familiar?

For example, having the same dialogue with the same client and expecting different results. Or having the same conversations with a peer or associate and expecting different results.

Words get tossed around in such dialogues and conversations; words like stubborn, non-responsiveness or negativity more often than not with fingers as pointed as the barbed dialogue behind them. At first blush, bad words all but in reality, not so much bad as emotionally charged, which may in fact be good because they intimate an emotional investment in projects, clients or responsibilities. Whether good or bad, they tend to be taken to heart, and taken personally.

And while there are those who say actions speak louder than words, I personally think numbers and metrics convey more than actions.

When interviewing for a job, the baseline metric is this job is worth that much. When making a purchase, this item is worth that much. When negotiating a divorce, this marriage was worth that much. Baselines mutually agreed upon in love, in business and even in war.

Some numbers are more arbitrary than others, and some live in specific context: growing impressions doesn't necessarily grow clicks or conversions. Growing cost-per-clicks doesn't change available impressions. Growing clicks may not lead to growth in conversions. Right ad, right place, wrong prospect. (Like a waiter desirous of becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company: laudable ambition but that's as far as it goes unless something changes — see Einstein's definition of insanity as above.)

Interestingly enough, Ask.com has added a new feature to its search engine binoculars which allows for a little statisical insight. The numbers, however, seem a little suspect. Moreover the suspect numbers seem to carry from search to search to search. A little forensic comparative research suggests the numbers shouldn't be taken at face value. They do, however provide value as the starting point of the dialogue for anyone who sees the value in them.

That's ultimately the average Ask.com user. Ask.com provides the search results, an image to go with those results and a metric for associating visitors with the site. The most basic metric is does this site have more or fewer visitors (as defined by the metric tool) than the site listed before or after it and is this compelling enough to warrant a click, my attention and perhaps an action subsequent to that.

More often than not if our baseline requirements are met, we stay. If not, we move on.

The lesson is not so much in and of the numbers themselves, but creating a dialogue compelling and engaging enough to move us from an emotional position to one of objectives, actions and results we can all live with.

Have a good one.

~The (SEP) Guy

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One Response to “The Move To The Metric System”

  1. Claudio says:

    nice blog! very intresting, keep up with the good work