Dave McClure runs a very cool conference called Startonomics. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever seen done in the conference business.

Startonomics is all about instrumenting your startup business and using measurable metrics to determine how you are doing. It’s about using numbers to improve your marketing, your product, and your business.

It’s happening this Thursday, Oct 2nd, in San Francisco. I’d encourage anyone who is based in the bay area and doing a startup to attend. It’s affordable (students for $195, entrepreneurs for $295). Register here.

Dave has graciously offered 2 free passes to AVC community members. I’ll give one each to the two best comments with a quick (twitter size) comment about how you use startonomics to run your business. Comments have to be in by 5pm eastern today.

For those readers who are in NYC and wish they could attend one of these, Dave has promised us he’s going to try real hard to do one here next year. I can’t wait.

UPDATE: Chachra and Khawk are the two winners. It wasn’t easy but I liked the brevity with which each of them outlined their approach to startonomics. Chachra said "Use startonomics to build what people need, measure what they want and
and deliver what they don’t know they need! Iterate & $profit :)".  I love iterate and profit. It’s right on. And Khawk introduced a new c-level position, the CBO – Chief Burnrate Officer. Very nice!  I also think both of them are in SF (a guess) and hope they’ll actually use the free passes. Thanks again to Dave for providing them.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. MattKane

    Interesting stuff. My economics degree has made me a bit obsessive about trying to model all aspects of our business. I’m in the UK, so couldn’t go to the conference, but these are some of the things we’ve learnt at CleVR:Measure EVERYTHING, and keep graphing higher derivatives until you get a flat line. You may find interesting patterns. As a simple, non-commercially sensitive example, at we’ve found that our new user signups show a constant month-on-month percentage increase. Use Google Analytics etc, but your own database should be your most useful source of information. Don’t forget that you can use the Google __utmz cookie yourself: it has useful information in it.

    1. fredwilson

      Ooh. I love the idea of running derivatives until you flat line. Very nice!

      1. davemc500hats

        that’s a pretty unique idea. got my vote ++

        1. MattKane

          Thanks! The conference sounds really interesting. Shame I’m a continent away, really. Any plans for one in Europe?

  2. khawk

    I’ll use the free Startonomics pass to learn how to become a better CBO: Chief Burn-Rate Officer.

    1. davemc500hats

      Chief Burn-Rate Officer is awesome. nice job.

  3. davemc500hats

    thanks fred!guess now we’re on the hook for NYC in 2009 eh?I’ll make sure Debbie Landa at DealMaker — my partner in crime producing Startonomics — knows we gotta bring the noise from the left coast next the meantime we’ll be streaming the event online and tweeting updates real-time @ starting thursday.

  4. andyswan

    Use startonomics to define the metrics that tell you the problems that your friends, customers and employees will not.

  5. Arvind

    will use it not to bankrupt myself

  6. chachra

    Use startonomics to build what people need, measure what they want and and deliver what they don’t know they need! Iterate & $profit 🙂

  7. Christopher Golda

    Should do the whole workshop on user acquisition – retention — that’s where all the iteration goes on, before even thinking about revenue

  8. Brandon B

    I use startonomics to not only measure the basics like churn rate and acquisition costs for our service, but also some non-traditional metrics like connect time for our customers, # of forum posts by our customers, and use of our API to understand how engaged customers are with our product and service.

  9. Nick Molnar

    Spend each marketing dollar like it was your last. Divide, conquer, and abolish the nonperformers. Multiple domains make print media measurable.

  10. Edwin Khodabakchian

    SHORT VERSIONIf you can not measure it, you can not manage it. Applied to user acquisition and profitabilityLONGER VERSIONIn the feedly case, AARRR looks like this: visit -> install feedly -> keep feedly installed -> uses feedly once a week -> uses feedly daily -> tweet or write a post about feedly -> more people visit We have also defined infrastructure cost = f(users) and ad revenue = f( users).Thanks to this model we are laser focused on streamlining each step and increasing users to the point where ad revenue > infrastructure cost + salaries. This also enables us to determine for each feature we push out if it has a positive impact and we should invest in it or if it a bad idea and we should learn and move on.

  11. aschobel

    Make something people want by measuring what works. Instrument or die!

  12. CDC

    I’m preparing to launch my new startup and would love to attend Startonomics to better understand how “to get focused, get better, get leaner, and ultimately to get profitable”.

  13. iHearAmericaSnoring

    I’ve found countless times with startups that they may set decent kpi’s however they do not follow up with aggressive analytics research. Combining both the traditional (quantitative) with the current (qualitative) data and throw in some serious segmentation gives an enormous amount of real actionable insight. This stuff is really invaluable yet dismissing this data happens over and over again.

  14. Kevin Elliott

    I’m very excited to attend STARTonomics! I recently wrote about it in an article on my blog (… — I think it’s going to be a great event for anyone building a startup. My startup (WeLike LLC) is still very young, but I hope to gain some insights on Thursday that will give me the tools necessary to be successful.

  15. Robi Ganguly

    Ugh… I wish it was possible to comment on your blog from my blackberry Fred. Is this a Disqus limitation? Totally missed your 5 pm deadline as a result.I would’ve said, measure and listen to everything that your customers say AND DO. Too many teams just listen to each other, or a few paying customers at best. Startonomics seems to really be about matching your aspirations with customers’ behavior.

  16. Michael Weiksner

    Well, everybody knows about “measurable” metrics. How about instrumenting for unmeasurable metrics? I’d be up for that! 🙂