Why You Need to be Wary of Vanity Metrics

Amelia Zimmerman
2 min readSep 18, 2021
Photo by M. B. M. on Unsplash

Be wary of vanity metrics.

In a world of data, it is tempting to quantify and calculate and turn our every move into points on a graph.

But most measurements mean very little.

Most measurements are vanity metrics, and vanity metrics are a distraction. They are designed to hypnotise buyers, appease board members and dazzle investors. In other words, they are designed to distract you from what’s really going on.

Vanity metrics are easy numbers to stick on a PowerPoint, to brag about at a barbecue, to post on LinkedIn. But they are not what counts.

When you spend all your time focusing on vanity metrics, you can miss what really matters. Become too obsessed with counting workouts and you might not even notice how much stronger you feel carrying groceries. Become too enamoured with book counts and you’ll focus on skimming pages, not digesting words.

Usually there is only one kind of measurement that matters. Usually it’s invisible, usually it’s pretty quiet. And, usually, only you know what it is.

Find your metric.

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Amelia Zimmerman

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