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Metrics and Stories

"[The amount of time it took you to do it the last time] minus [the amount of time it will take you next time] 
If you come up with something close to zero, then you're running the path, doing it consistently and spending almost no time at all finding a path. You've already found one."
- Seth Godin

At any given point of time, you are likely doing one of two things. You are either working on improving metrics or you're bringing to life a story. Like Steve Jobs' story of wanting to put a thousand songs in your pocket that lead to the iPod. 

If you are working on improving metrics, that's the best approach to make incremental improvements. There is immediate feedback on every action you take, every feature you ship, every experiment you undertake and the decision on what to do next is dictated by a handful of things that can move your metric of focus the quickest and/or the cheapest. This is running the path.

If you're working on bringing a story to life, there is no immediate feedback. You are driven more by intuition and less by metrics. You may still have only a handful of ways of bringing your story to life, but now the decisions on which way to go about is dictated less by feedback from users or audience and more by your capabilities. But this can result in a leap from the current way of doing things. This is how you find a path.

Both ways of working are necessary. You can't always be leaping or you won't have anyone adopt what you ship (early adopters are less than 2% of total users). And you can't always be making incremental improvements or someone will leap right past you and leave you behind.

Are you spending enough time finding a path?

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