Itzik: “I think this version of eType* solves most of the bugs and is very stable, we also included some of the features we were talking about lately”

Daniel (Me): “Let’s assume this version is a great improvement, how would we know that the changes we have made are the ones that will turn this into the viral software we were planning on? What are our indicators?”

As soon as the word “indicators” came out of my mouth, it dawned on me that although we have greatly improved the software, we were still lacking clear indicators that signaled if we were on the right track, and what is “the right track”?

I’ll make a quick detour to explain what I mean. The DNA structure of both DNSR and DMG (other startups I have been fortunate to be a part of) have daily reports that serve as indicators, showing us exactly where we stand in terms of sales, new customers, leads, expenses, division goals, segment margins and anything else you can think of. I’m not talking about end of the month reports; Management actually receives automatic hourly reports that serve as the pulse of the business helping us discover problems as they happen and not in retrospect. These reports are reviewed every once in a while to ensure we are still chasing the right things.

But those two companies are sales oriented and you might argue that it makes perfect sense to have hourly reports to easily feel the pulse of the business. eType*, on the other hand, is very different – without a revenue model or an income stream, figuring out the indicators is a challenge.

Note that I wrote indicators and not reports, as per reports we have by the dozens in eType, such as: total number of installations, installations by country, conversion rates, click-through rates, uninstall rate-you name it, but reports are not a pulse – reports in fact sometimes actually block your view by throwing a lot of information at you without giving real insight into the business.

This led me to think back at lean startups that fail, in part, because they lack simple, clear indicators and instead they bombard themselves with reports filled with inconclusive information.

So how do you find your business pulse? here is one way:

  1. Before you start pulling more reports from your database open an excel sheet, we’ll call it the “dummy report”. Name your column and row as you would if you were building a real report for example, revenue by country, leads by time, visitors by gender, whatever. Now go ahead and put in numbers inside, imaginary figures.
  2. Once the numbers are in the “dummy report” ask yourself: “based on the figures there (whatever they might be), are you able to take action that would substantially affect your business?” I bet 9 out of 10 times the answer will be a distant maybe.
  3. Loop through steps 1 and 2 until you reach the 1 out of 10 that actually has a chance of making a big impact on your venture.
  4. My last tip would be to have as many people as possible in your organization giving their inputs into this pulse searching process as you never know who can come up with the right tick-tock.

If you wonder about eType, we are in the process of pulse searching ourselves, or as the song goes… “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…”

* Did you ever make a silly spelling mistakes or were uncertain of how to spell a certain word? Well eType, a new startup I’ve co-founded, completes words as you type and shows you their meaning while you type in various languages. For the past 4 months, eType has been in beta testing and we have released close to 100 updates with improvements and bug fixes. Currently eType does not have a revenue model and is focused on product improvement and usability and traction.