At the bottom of this blog there is a little gizmo that counts page views. Every time this page or any page from the blog's archive or comments is viewed, the little counter increases by 1. I check it out every now and then to see how much traffic is coming through the site. Imagine my surprise about 10 days ago when the number shot up by 10,000 in one day. I've worked in internet metrics in the past so I was pretty sure it was artificially boosted. There are little computer programs called spiders that get sent out be search engines to categorize websites. Still, in the back of my mind, I had the thought that maybe it was real traffic through some new source. There was this mixed excitement and fear that the number of readers had just increased exponentially. Alas, when I checked the little counter on the following day, it was only up a little bit. I was then sure that the initial boost was from a spider.
Ever since then, I've found myself periodically thinking about how and why we measure things. Look around and you'll see we measure lots of stuff. We measure how fast and how far we drive. We measure our weight and height. We measure our cholesterol, our heart rate, and in some cases, our portion sizes. We measure how well we do on tests and we measure how long it takes to do certain tasks. And in the case of most businesses, we try to measure things that indicate success. Things like gross sales, profit margins, research spending, return on marketing expenditures, and a multitude of others. The problem is, often times the things that really indicate success can't be measured. The little counter at the bottom of this blog is a neat little gizmo but it doesn't mean success. Growth and changed lives mean success. I like it when my kids do well on their school tests. However, ultimately as parents we want to grow kind, well rounded, well adjusted kids and the school tests don't really measure this. I like it when my bank account gets bigger. And I've often looked at this financial measure as an indicator of success. I suppose as a measure it will point out success or failure with sticking to a budget but we too often get net worth and self worth intertwined in ways they shouldn't be. Money in my bank account doesn't mean that I am becoming more loving and kind to my neighbors.
This week, when you get a chance, give some thought to the things you measure. Are you putting too much value in some measurements that really don't matter in the long run?
Have a great week and a great fast.
4 years ago