When telling a data story, we sometimes don't give enough attention to one key factor.
The right metric to track.
If data is the new oil, and storytelling is the new refinery, then metrics are ... the products we choose to refine?
A petrol car will not run on diesel! The wrong metric can derail the entire story.
In my courses, I talk about having clarity on your 'metrics tree' - knowing the core/root metrics that matter in your business and the sub-metrics (and sub-sub-metrics) that branch out from the core.
In the latest Feb-22 edition of The Visile newsletter (highly recommended!), Sajith Pai and Rohit Kaul made an interesting observation about choosing the right metric.
They were referring to a podcast conversation between Eric S. Yuan (Founder and CEO of Zoom) and Sarah Guo (General Partner at Greylock Partners).
In the conversation, Eric makes this point about the staggering growth Zoom saw during the pandemic:
"I think, prior to the pandemic crisis... I had a peak-day run with 10 million daily meeting participants, (in) December 2019. And back to March or April 2020, guess what? The daily meeting participants all the way jumped to more than 300 million daily meeting participants. More than 30-times more traffic."
Here's what Sajith and Rohit found interesting in the above para: (This is from The Visile newsletter):
"The metric Eric uses to describe Zoom’s growth was one that struck me - daily meeting participants! Talk about setting the right North Star metric."
Zoom could have chosen other metrics:
- Revenue from subscribers: might be too short term
- Number of app downloads: That would not track actual usage
- Number of users in a month: That would not indicate the regular daily usage
But they chose well.
A key foundational element to your data story is the metric that you choose. Choose wisely.