Paul Silva

Don't Fear Innovation

Innovation can be scary. It changes established orders, makes jobs obsolete, creates new risks to our privacy or even safety.

But to obsess on the negative is to miss the overwhelming positives.

If we get to caught of in technophobia, it will cost us the progresses I highlighted above and thousands more. Innovation has both pros and cons, and both must be weighed. BUT, we must remember that us humans are programmed to weigh negative outcomes more heavily than positive.

If you want more, check out some articles on techno panic by the great Jeff Jarvis.

Post originally published on

Metrics that Matter, by Paul Silva

What are the Metrics That Matter for your venture? No… not the vanity metrics that so many of us were taught to pay attention to.  What are the metrics that actually show you if your venture is on the right track?

I watch my students struggle with this a great deal.  I’d like to offer some patterns that can serve as a starting point to anyone considering these questions.

  1. Cost to acquire/get a customer helps you evaluate different channels for their relative value, shows you when your website is doing a terrible job of converting visitors into contacts, steers you towards labor-efficient/scalable techniques, etc.
    1. Sales & marketing costs: out-of-pocket + labor (assume a market-rate labor cost so you do not underestimate labor-intensive marketing channels)
    2. # of hits to your website, # of cold calls
    3. % that convert to contact you, % that meet with you
    4. % that purchase
  2. Cost to keep/retain a customer helps you spot when you are using unsustainable customer service / product delivery procedures.
    1. Cost of customer service team, returns, refunds, etc.
    2. # of customers
  3. Lifetime value of a customer helps you think about customer retention and how to grow revenue from existing customers by keeping them longer or by solving other problems for them via new products.
    1. % of customers who renew
    2. Revenue per customer

These three metrics, while not all-inclusive, are a fantastic starting point.