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Measuring effectiveness

The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, initiated by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The members have committed to giving away half their wealth to charities and causes.

In his podcast this week (Akimbo), Seth Godin talks about how 'Bill Gates has a problem'. The problem, as he describes it, is that the wealth of these individuals who have signed up for The Giving Pledge is growing at a much faster rate than they are giving it away. That is, they are making money at a faster rate than they are giving it away.

One of the reasons why these generous people are unable to give away the money that they have already pledged to do so is a lack of ability to measure the effectiveness of the money that they do give away.

Just because they have money to give away doesn't mean that they will simply hand it over to the first cause that they come across. Instead, they will want to see that the money that they give away is being used effectively and is making a difference.

This idea reinforced my practice of measuring the effectiveness of the ideas and practices I invest my time in. This is an extension of the way of life of a Product Manager who needs to constantly ensure that the time and resources being invested in building new things is investment that is proving to be effective in improving the value delivered to the users and the company.

Just like The Giving Pledge has an abundance of committed money than can be spent effectively, we all have an abundance of time than can be spent effectively. But too often, we don't end up measuring the effectiveness of the time we spend and simply spend it on the first thing that comes our way.

Measuring the effectiveness tells us whether we are doing the right thing.

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