Jason Fried

February 24, 2021

The only metric that matters to me

At Basecamp we don't manage our products with numbers. No goals, no KPIs, OKRs, or WHATEVERs. We do keep a close eye on performance and speed numbers as they relate to infrastructure, serving up pages, and rendering screens, but that's the extent of our number gazing.

We aren't flying blind — there are reports available. If you want you can see signup numbers, revenue, percentage of customers on different tiers, and all that. Basic, responsible, business reporting. But none of those things affect day-to-day decision making. And none of it has anything to do with what we choose to do in our next 6-week cycle. I've never looked at it once to make a decision.

But there is one metric that's always on my mind. It's not a number, it's a feeling.

"Would I want to do that again?"

That one simple question eliminates the need to ask dozens more. And the one simple answer answers everything that matters. While you could answer it with it depends, it's really a simple yes or no question. And the best answers are Hell No's or Hell Yeahs. Definitive!

We ask it about design decisions, product decisions, policy decisions, and process decisions. We ask it about hiring, we ask it about easy decisions and hard ones. We ask it when thinking about what to work on next, and we ask it about what we just worked on. It has a way of cutting right through and exposing what's real.

Would I want to write this again? Yes.