On key metrics and business development strategies

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A little potpourri of thoughts for this week:

On key metrics: We talked about how different kinds of metrics can be useful indicators of growth/success and discussed important ones to keep in mind–so for example, page views versus unique users versus bounce rate, etc. This was pretty interesting to me as I (very slowly!) start trying to build up a newsletter subscription list and Twitter following for my project. There’s a little bit of a debate on the value of focusing on “one key metric” versus taking a more holistic approach. I tend to lean towards the latter, although I also see the value in focusing on just one in short-term spurts.

On business development, networking and rejection: We visited the offices of Dwolla, where Alex Taub talked to us about business development and networking. He emphasized building your network and powering through rejection.

“I get rejected about five times a day. I wouldn’t want to work with someone who didn’t thrive off rejection,” he said. And then emphasized the point again in a slide that read, “Getting rejected sucks. Then you begin to expect it. Then you love it. Then you thrive on it. Getting one ‘no’ makes me want to get five ‘yes’s’.” He does the majority of his communication and networking through gchat and has a pretty extensive contact list.

Everyone takes a different approach to BD/networking–“It’s a numbers game!” versus a slow and steady process of building relationships. I’m not sure it’s quite that simple for everyone–Alex has a lot of energy/experience, and it seems to work for him–but the point was well taken. To use a sports analogy… it’s like being a running back, putting the blinders on, and barreling through a mass of linemen and linebackers.

Either way, I definitely agreed with the point that he ended on: “Have fun! YOLO.”

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