I am 142, (a # less than 100), 30, 40, 1114, 730, 500+, 4, 9.7, .75.

Pounds, $$, years, error rate, friends, followers, connections, CTR, max speed on the treadmill, close rate on recent offers.

These numbers swirl around when I wake up at night (many nights) because I hold them in my mind expecting them to carry meaning, but they’re never as meaningful as I want them to be. 

I have weighed more pounds than I do now and been healthier, more muscular, faster. I have also been smaller, angular and powerful as well as smaller and more brittle, bruised, tired (while being complimented). I’ve felt more surrounded by friends but never had more across services, or had more people contacting me. I’ve designed better performing emails and processes, but not for the same types of products/organizations or systems. 

I’ve never made more, but I’ve also never felt as guilty about what I make (when I step over people shivering in the cold, screaming to themselves, begging to be allowed to use a store’s bathroom). 

I don’t have an anti-math mind; I want to quantify, I want to lose, to win, to gain or to improve. 

I hate a number, though, for failing to capture the context out of frame. I can never settle on the set of metrics I want/need to be measured or measure by, and feel perilously far from the substance of my work (building) when I settle into measuring it a single way if it's simply 'the way I can.'

One unit of work, one type of error, one pound, one user, one click, one mile per hour can feel wildly different than the next. Failing to measure, though, is usually resigning oneself to entropy.

I don't think I'm alone; some investors believe in a magic number and others don't. Some ways to recognize revenue would never pass public market scrutiny. Sometimes your own accountants give you bad advice. Your top x might be dragging down y & z you don't count. The numbers never stand alone.

Kathleen MeilComment