Read Lean Analytics

If you haven’t read Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz, stop reading this blog post and go pick up a copy. No really. It’s that good.

For those of you who didn’t stop reading to go buy the book, I’ll work on convincing you.

Covering The Basics

I’ve covered analytics in bits and pieces on this blog. That works for some people. But if you need an overview of all of it, this is the place to start. They start from the very beginning covering what makes a good metric and defining key concepts like segments and cohorts.

They also take a quick tour of a number of different analytics frameworks, covering Dave McClure’s Pirate Metrics, Eric Ries’ Engines of Growth, and Sean Ellis’ Startup Growth Pyramid.

And of course, they have a whole chapter on the one metric that matters.

In Depth Look at Six Different Business Models

But if you aren’t a beginner, don’t worry, this book is still for you. Alistair and Ben take an in-depth look at six different business models: eCommerce, Software as a Service, Free Mobile App, Media Site, User-Generated Content, and Two-Sided Marketplaces.

For each, they dive deep looking at what key metrics you should be tracking and even include benchmarks for many of them. Each chapter is a great cheat sheet for how to get started with measuring each type of business model.

The real value, however, comes in mix and matching. Many businesses may span more than one business model. Alistair and Ben give you enough to work with, that this isn’t too hard to do on your own. For example, for my business, where we help employers connect with college students, we could be considered a media site, as employers pay to advertise to our audience, but in other ways we are more like a two-sided marketplace, as we are bringing together two different audiences to engage with each other. And yet, in some ways we are like a Software as a Service business, as many of our employer products are offered on a subscription basis.

This might sound overwhelming, but I found it to be quite the opposite. By applying each of the different templates to our business, I was able to develop different insights into how our business was doing. We don’t fall into just one category, but we certainly perform better in some than in others. This is a valuable insight in and of itself.

In Depth Look at Five Stages of a Business (And How to Know Which One You Are In)

Next, they outline five different stages of business and more importantly how to know which one you are in. Their stages include: Empathy, Stickiness, Virality, Revenue, and Scale.

I found this section to be the most useful, as many companies try to do too much all at once. It’s critical to know what stage you are at and as a result where you should focus your efforts.

If you are still looking for Stickiness, for example, growth and revenue should not be your main focus. Engagement should be. Similarly, there isn’t a lot of value in scaling, if you haven’t figured out revenue.

Alistair and Ben don’t just outline the five stages, they end each chapter with great questions to help you determine whether or not you should move on to the next stage.

Drawing Lines in the Sand

And finally, they end the book with several chapters on one of my favorite topics, drawing lines in the sand. It’s not enough to measure something. You have to define what success looks like. Alistair and Ben do a great job of outlining just how you do this for each of the business models they cover.

No, Really, Read This Book

Okay, if this review hasn’t convinced you to read Lean Analytics yet, I leave you with one final thought. So much of the outcomes you drive will be determined by what you decide to measure. Rather than fumbling to figure it out yourself, invest $15-20 in a book that gives you a giant head start. Happy Reading!

Have you read Lean Analytics? What did you think?

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