I heard some confusion recently about: what exactly are metrics? What’s instrumentation? How do they differ?
Definitions from dictionary.com)
  • Metric: a standard for measuring or evaluating something, especially one that uses figures or statistics
  • Instrument (-ation): a means by which something is effected or done; a device for measuring the present value of a quantity under observation.
With yesterday’s 4th of July and 47th Annual Peachtree Road Race, I’ll use running as an example to illustrate the differences.
Important metrics for runners:
  • Time
  • Distance
  • Average speed
  • Heart rate
  • VO2 max (lung capacity)
Examples of how to instrument:
  • GPS (for distance)
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Stopwatch (time)
  • Metabolic cart (VO2)
As you can see, instrumentation (“instrument”) is the way to which results can be captured to provide insight — metrics. They are not the same, but rather, one feeds and enables (instrumentation) the other (metrics).

Instrument early on to answer questions and drive the startup forward — backed by data. Check out these 8 metrics for startups from proper instrumentation.
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