#3 The Strategy/Metric/Tactic Lockup: A Path to Success in Product Development

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Sep 11, 2023

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#3 The Strategy/Metric/Tactic Lockup: A Path to Success in Product Development

In the world of product development, success is often measured by the ability to improve the product and increase user engagement. However, improving engagement is no easy task, as progress can be slow and difficult to measure. This is where the concept of a proxy metric comes into play.

At Netflix, for example, the high-level engagement metric that defined the product team's ability to make the product better was monthly retention. However, simply relying on this metric alone would not provide enough insight into the effectiveness of their strategies. They needed more sensitive, lower-level proxy metrics to determine if their strategies were working.

To address this, each product strategy at Netflix was assigned a clear proxy metric that would serve as an indicator of whether the strategy was successful or not. Additionally, each strategy was supported by two to three projects, referred to as tactics, that brought the strategy to life. By closely monitoring these proxy metrics and the resulting retention improvements, the team was able to double down on successful strategies and cut their losses on projects that did not deliver.

This approach of the strategy/metric/tactic lockup can be applied to various industries and organizations. By assigning proxy metrics to each strategy and implementing tactics to support them, companies can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their efforts. This allows for more informed decision-making and the ability to adapt and iterate on strategies as needed.

Now, let's shift our focus to the realm of online learning and the rise of a people-driven model. Traditional learning methods often rely on siloed information and a rigid curriculum. However, the internet has opened up new possibilities for a more dynamic and personalized approach to learning.

The people-driven model of online learning is centered around influencers rather than traditional professors. These influencers, through their curated content and expertise, guide learners on their educational journey. This approach leverages the serendipity of the internet, allowing learners to discover a vast array of information and ideas.

One key strategy within people-driven learning is the Trader Joe's strategy. Similar to the popular grocery store, this strategy involves finding an online curator to serve as a learning guide. A good curator will reduce the overwhelming number of options available and help learners navigate through the sea of information.

To make the most of this strategy, it is recommended to start with articles, summaries, and podcast interviews of the creator or influencer. This approach allows learners to get a sense of the creator's ideas and style without committing to reading their entire body of work. Only when ready to devote significant time and effort should learners consider purchasing their books or exploring their more in-depth content.

The beauty of people-driven learning lies in its efficiency and the freedom to explore a wide range of ideas. Instead of being confined to a single curriculum or institution, learners can curate their own social media feeds and access a virtual library of knowledge. This approach encourages creativity and rewards those who actively engage with new ideas.

To summarize, both the strategy/metric/tactic lockup and the people-driven learning model offer valuable insights and approaches to success in different realms. In product development, assigning clear proxy metrics to strategies and implementing supporting tactics allows for informed decision-making and iterative improvements. In online learning, embracing influencers and the serendipity of the internet enables learners to curate their own educational experiences and access a wealth of knowledge.

To apply these principles to your own endeavors, consider the following actionable advice:

  • 1. Embrace proxy metrics: Identify key metrics that can serve as indicators of success for your strategies. These metrics should be sensitive enough to provide insights into the effectiveness of your efforts.
  • 2. Implement supporting tactics: Develop projects or initiatives that align with your strategies and support the achievement of your proxy metrics. Regularly evaluate these tactics and adjust as needed based on the metrics and desired outcomes.
  • 3. Embrace people-driven learning: Seek out influencers and curators who align with your interests and goals. Start by exploring their articles, summaries, and interviews to gauge their ideas and style. Only invest significant time and resources into their more in-depth content when ready.

By incorporating these strategies and principles into your own pursuits, you can unlock new possibilities for success and growth. Whether in product development or personal learning, the path to success lies in thoughtful strategies, actionable metrics, and continuous learning and adaptation.

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