Josh Kopelman has a great post about Domino Rally business models that are so complicated and involve so many “ifs” that the chance for success is extremely low. It’s much better to have a Two Domino business model, where you know that if you do two things really well, you will be profitable.
I think WorldVitalRecords and 10Speed Media are Two Domino business models. WorldVitalRecords needs to acquire more content every day and bring more visitors to its web site every day. (That’s the same emphasis we had at Ancestry.com in the early years: content + internet marketing = subscription revenue.) So the focus for our team is clear.
10Speed Media is also focused on two things: getting more video inventory (more merchants) and getting more traffic to those videos (more affiliates). It is clear that video converts better than most other online advertising. We are generating sales and leads for our customers. So now it’s about doing more of what is working.
So how do you keep focused on execution, day after day?
For me, goals and daily metrics are the key to keeping me focused. If I don’t have access to the right stats, every day, it is so easy for me to move on mentally to the next thing. But if I have quick access to key metrics every day, my creativity stays within certain bounds–my ideas all center on how to achieve our goals.
I like to have my teams use Google spreadsheets and update their own key metrics every day so that the entire team can know exactly what happened the day before, and at a glance, they can see important trends.
I actually get some of my best ideas while looking at statistics. Especially when I know deep down that the stats should be better than they are. I sit and stare at them, while my mind digs deep to find in its memory bank past efforts that generated better results than our current efforts are generating. Sometimes I review lists of dozens of internet marketing tactics, or I comb through my gmail contacts or LinkedIn.com to think about companies, partners, friends who might be able to help us increase our results.
When I think we can do better, and concentrate my attention on things we could be doing that we aren’t, I can always come up with new things to try. When I don’t have stats that are telling me we need to do better, it is easy for me to get distracted by the “new, new thing” and not work on the present problems.
My favorite book about keeping track of key metrics is “The Game of Work” by Charles Coonradt. It is a very quick read and is full of great ideas that will help everyone keep score everyday of their results. When a team embraces this concept, work becomes more fun, and the chances of success increase greatly.