Ship Web 2.0 Features Early, and Don’t Fear User Hatred, Investor Dave McClure Tells Dogpatch Labs Audience

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back better than ever. The advice came as an inspiration after one of McClure’s earlier points, said in jest to get attendees to understand why they should kill features: “The reality is you suck, your product sucks, and you will fail…hard.”

That perspective was woven into McClure’s slide show presentation on what he calls pirate startup metrics, so dubbed for the fact that the acronym for their five tenets spell out AARRR (a sound McClure playfully made after roughly each point he made in the presentation). Those five tenets would be acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue. These elements are a better guide to customer satisfaction than traditional measures like unique visitors per month, he said.

Acquisition metrics signify how users are directed to a Web page, and activation is defined by what keeps them there. For activation metrics, McClure said, entrepreneurs should look at how long a user spends on a site, how many pages they click on, and whether that converts to a sign-up.

Retention metrics should track how often a user returns to a page, an action companies should encourage with regular e-mail communications, McClure said. For him, referral means how existing users get their friends to a page, which can be through non-traditional methods of social media or widgets. And revenue—well, that’s how a Web startup makes its money, which McClure suggests shouldn’t be solely through Google ads.

For McClure, it seems less is more. In addition to advising attendees to pare down their list of features, he also cautioned them against cluttering their products’ homepages. A company’s main feature or call to action should take about half of a Web page’s real estate, he said. Next should come roughly three smaller but recognizable storylines, and a list of all the other stuff available on a website should take up only a small slice of space, he said.

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