Brad Feld

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Do More Than Just Try It

Aug 24, 2010

I’m banging away on a bunch of new things these days.  I’ve happily switched to a Mac, am halfway through my week of Gmail, and am contemplating what new thing to try next week.

I’ve always been a tech junky and love to play with new stuff.  I’m quick to set up an account on a new web service and try it.  It’s the best way for me to understand something – much better than an executive summary or a presentation.

I found that my switch to a Mac took two weeks to get really comfortable, but once I crossed the line I was all in.  Gmail feels similar – after a few days of it I’m loving it but now running into a few issues (that I’m quickly resolving – such as the email send rate limiting thing that I mentioned last night.)  I haven’t yet tried to move my calendar fully over, and I know that moving to Google Apps is going to be hairy because of all my family members using accounts on (currently an Exchange server) in a variety of different configs, but that’s part of the fun of this stuff.  Well – maybe not.

While it’s obvious to say that “just trying something out” is much simpler than actually incorporating that new thing into your work flow, it occurred to me today that there isn’t enough focus on this on the part of most startups.

I’ve learned the incredible power of focusing on “daily active users” from my investment in Zynga.  While I’ve been obsessed with DAU’s for a while now, I haven’t been paying enough attention to the specific DAU’s that come back day after day (rDAU’s – recurring DAUs).  While I encourage everyone to measure the number of them, I haven’t been encouraging people to “measure what they actually do.”  As I ponder my own behavior, I’m seeing a huge difference in my (a) fly by and try, (b) try and use periodically, and (c) become an rDAU behavior.

Note to everyone I work with – start measuring what your rDAUs actually do.  It might surprise you.