Vanity Metrics And Advice I Don’t Need

One of the things I absolutely love about Localeur is that I’ve been at it for over four years now. Four years is long enough to prove that this isn’t something I’m doing as a hobby and it’s not a fly-by-night concept with no legs. There’s a there there, from our partnership with JetBlue and our recent funding to our expansion to 45 cities including London and Toronto. We’ve been malleable and flexible enough to deal with the natural ebbs and flows of startups without losing focus on helping people #experiencelocal.

True, we’re not a rocketship, and we went undercapitalized for years while struggling to get VC and tech industry buy-in, but we’re also not one of those startups out of Silicon Valley that had all the right brand name Ivy League schools, got hyped by a super-angel or accelerator, ended up having one of those highly-publicized oversubscribed rounds by a bunch of early-stage VCs only to figure out 18 months later that it was all a bunch of bullshit.

I really enjoyed a recent post I read on First Round Review about vanity metrics, which touches on what I love about my startup vs. others with more funding, more engineers and more mentions on TechCrunch.

“Vanity metrics aren’t useless. They have their use case, but are points of comparison for other people to evaluate you,” Lloyd Tabb, founder and CTO of Looker, says. “Don’t focus on them internally. Tracking clarity metrics builds great businesses.”

“In 2014, a recruitment platform went viral by emailing a user’s Facebook friends after a sign-up. Their advisors and investors pressured them to increase daily active users [DAUs]. It’s all they focused on,” Tabb says. “The strategy worked: 33 million DAUs attracted $49 million of funding. All in less than two years. They were so focused on the single metric that they didn’t realize they were losing users just about as fast as they gained them, angering everyone in the process. They were a meteor until they fell to earth.”

I just met with a young entrepreneur here in Austin this morning and we walked through her startup’s investor deck. They’re a startup I’ve been admiring since they launched and already pulling in real revenue with only $50k raised from angels to date. I noticed something odd on one particular slide and asked why it was in the deck. She said it was because a potential angel investor had suggested it. I then asked, “well, did he invest?” She said no. I then replied, “did you send him the deck once you changed the slide?” She said yes. “And did he then invest?” I asked. She said no.

Long story short, I told her not to listen to people like that. A lot of people say they want to be helpful but will only distract you from what you should really be focusing on. I take advice solely from my team (collaborate), my board (guidance) and my investors (suggestions). If you’re outside of that, you don’t actually care about Localeur’s or my success enough to merit me spinning my wheels chasing what will make you happy.

Vanity Metrics And Advice I Don’t Need was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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