If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

Having made a moniker name called theUnknownPM kinda makes it impossible for me to push my own products so instead let me do the next worst thing for a moment and engage in random philosphy.  How do you know if you are a success or a failure at what you are doing?  Are you a good witch or a bad witch and how do you know the difference?  I mean how do you judge these things and should you?   Yeah the easy answer is don’t but then how do you improve anything if you don’t have any metrics?  OMG the person sitting next to me just read the title and started clapping his hands… which makes me laugh.   He’s happy evidently but is that the company that makes him happy or the excess sugar from the special K he is chewing on that is really making him clap? A bit over a year ago I decided to start my own company and well, we are on a second rev of a game, we have outlets in the local school system, we may get some funding for a full blown science game, we might also develop some state of the art development tools to sell in the process and we are few developing friendships in the industry.  However I haven’t got a board of directors together like I should yet, my business model(s) have yet to be tested until rev 2 is done, and no matter what I do there is always so much more.  At the end of the day how should I gauge the success?  I suppose there are three metrics 1) How much is the product helping people learn in a way they enjoy more?  2) Are the people at the company personally growing and having a good time?  3) has a sustainable business model been developed to ensure a good thing keeps going and gets out to the maximum people?

Is it a good idea to have metrics on your life and business?  Demeaning or necessary?  Sugar high or real happiness and does it matter?  You decide.

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5 thoughts on “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”

  1. Do NOT get a Board of Directors just get Board of Advisors. BoD consist of these self important arrogant people who have no imagination and waste your time. A BoA on the other hand will try to help you and the business. Ofcourse if you are taking outside money (VC) they will want to be on your Board. So choose your VCs very carefully. Some truly add value others detract from it so beware.

    Liked your post very mcuh.

  2. Thanks Shampa, yes indeed those BoD’s can have real body odor. Thanks for the reminder. I’m still not excusing myself from setting up an advisory board however. Maybe this means simply a dinner hosted at my house every quarter with some good food and I’ll hopefully soak up a bit of their wisdom while they soak up the wine. Any tips on that approach?

  3. Another point you made in your post was very important. Metrics gauged in qualitative terms. We so often assign some measurable metric to a quality “is the product helping people” would probably be assigned the metric increased repeat visit or time spent on site. Whereas there is perhaps an important co-rrelation it might be always true. People could be returning for other reasons or it seems they are spending more time on your site simply because your application is slow.

    We often don’t bother to check back in other ways to tally the score.

  4. As far as metrics for life improvement think measuring time spent on a website will tell you exactly that — time spent on a website, not whether it improved someones quality of life. I believe doing something as non computerized such as, gasp asking people if working at the company or using the company’s products is actually an improvement over the alternatives can be very revealing. One of the most famous game designers of all times says “my best metric is watching peoples faces and body language when they use the game”. That being said, in the case of learning games, time spent willingly using the game is probably important. If the game increases the overall time the student spends on a subject then it is probably improving their learning unless the game is exceptionally poorly crafted. It is hard for example, not to learn something about a language or vocabulary if you are playing word games using them. With this post, I was actually aiming at the more meta-metric question about our quality of life including the job and products produced and asking how/if we can ask those “happiness” questions without measuring in some demeaning or irrelevant way.

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