Over the years we’ve seen a number of frameworks emerge that help us understand startups and the changes they undergo as they grow, find their markets, and help startups acquire customers and revenue. Each framework offers a different perspective on the startup lifecycle, and each suggests a set of metrics and areas on which to focus.
After comparing and contrasting a number of these frameworks, we’ve created our own way to think about startups, and in particular the metrics that you use to measure your progress. We’ll use this new framework throughout the book—but first, let’s take a look at some of the existing frameworks and how they fit into Lean Analytics.
Pirate Metrics—a term coined by venture capitalist Dave McClure—gets its name from the acronym for five distinct elements of building a successful business. McClure categorizes the metrics a startup needs to watch into acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral—AARRR.
Figure 5-1 shows our interpretation of his model, describing the five steps through which users, customers, or visitors must progress in order for your company to extract all the value from them. Value comes not only from a transaction (revenue) but also from their role as marketers (referral) and content creators (retention).