Founders are magpies, chasing the shiniest new thing they see. They use the pivot as an enabler for chronic ADD, rather than as a way to iterate through ideas in a methodical fashion.
But one of the keys to startup success is achieving real focus and having the discipline to maintain it. You may succeed if you’re unfocused, but it’ll be by accident. You’ll spend a lot more time wandering aimlessly, and the lessons learned are more painful and harder won. If there’s any secret to success for a startup, it’s focus.
Focusing doesn’t mean myopia. We’re not saying that there’s only one metric you care about from the day you wake up with an idea to the day you sell your company. We are, however, saying that at any given time, there’s one metric you should care about above all else. Boiled down to its very essence, Lean Startup is really about getting you to focus on the right thing, at the right time, with the right mindset.
Eric Ries talks about three engines that drive company growth: the sticky engine, the viral engine, and the paid engine. But he cautions that while all successful companies will ultimately use all three engines, it’s better to focus on one engine at a time. For example, you might make your product sticky for its core users; then use that to grow virally; then use the user base to grow revenue. That’s focus.
In the world of analytics and data, this means picking a single metric that’s incredibly important for the step ...