The Blue Hook Philosophy [4/10]

This post is part of an upcoming e-book which will be released in 2015.

“How important are visible figures, metrics, and quantitative objectives to your startup?”

– Question #4 from the Startup Quality Survey

Whether you are part of a rapidly growing company or a boutique consulting firm, there is always pressure to win new clients and grow the business. We often look at changes in the number of users, employees, and revenue as a proxy for growth. Rather than focusing on adding employees or growing revenue directly, be proactive in keeping your existing customers and team members happy.

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Not everything can be measured

The multiplicative effect of an unhappy user or former teammate is tremendous! Even more important is the compounding that takes place when we empower engineers to exceed users expectations by fixing bugs quickly and building awesome features. Both the engineers and the users are going to tell all of their friends, and the results are incredibly difficult to measure.

Venture backed startups often face more severe challenges than companies attempting to grow organically. With a round of capital, quantitative objectives are agreed upon, and newly hired employees burn out after scrambling around for months. At Blue Hook, we have seen teams of 3 developers who were infinitely more productive than teams of 10 or 20.

“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” – Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month

People often read the question above from the Startup Quality Survey and react defensively, but there are many places where a quantitative approach is completely appropriate. If you don’t manage your cash flow carefully and are unable to pay your bills, your company will go out of business. However, focusing only on visible metrics can be extremely misleading. Happy users and team members are the ultimate factor in determining whether or not your business will be successful.