The Measured World

What’s going on everywhere surrounding the Internet is something like a shift from flying by intuition to a an advanced flight simulation. You see it in marketing, where traditional advertising has lost so much ground to paid and organic search. We’ve always known that only half of advertising works, and now it’s possible to know exactly which half. And you see it permeating into lifestyles and career approaches – a book title like “The 4-Hour Work Week” seems to make sense all of a sudden because the metric of work hours is not connected to a metric of productivity the way it was on an assembly line when 40 hours became the norm.

Employers who deal in this new economy are searching for people who do more than furrow their brow and walk determinedly down the office aisles – they want folks that “Get things done with results to show for their effort” and “make order where others see confusion” to quote a job listing on and

All this assumes a certain level of measurability that goes beyond the old accounting metrics – the word and idea of metrics, which may not have existed outside of labs 20 years ago, is weaving into our culture as never before. The connected world, by definition, is a measured world – all of those connections can be tracked and tallied. And the more that you dwell in the connected world, the more we know about what you say and do and who you say and do it with.

At the same time, digital branding forces a premium on right-brained, hare-brained ideas. Because it’s great to be able to track everything, but in the end, you have to arrive at something that actually moves the needle. And you have to be willing to change and iterate and take risks to do it.

Which leads us to our fool-proof Easier Said Than Done Process for surviving in the measured world:

1. Figure Out What You Want To Measure – This, You Will Call A “Measure Of Success” And Others Will Know It’s Name

2. Find What You Think Is The Most Powerful Way To Influence That Measurement. Here, You Will Think Crazy Thoughts And Talk Crazy Talk. Or Try A Sensible Approach If You Prefer – Just Start Thinking.

3. Measure #2. And Then Scrap It Outright If It Clearly Didn’t Work, Or At Least Try Something Else If There’s Any Sense That You Might Do Better.

The consolation? In this world, there are no mistakes, only hypotheses and iteration.

~ by joshuakelly on September 9, 2009.

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