#9: Measure everything

October 4, 2007

Trade Me generates an insane amount of data.

We work hard to turn this data into information and then into suggested changes and improvements to the website.

It’s too easy to get bogged down in silly debates. So, when this happens we ask what the numbers say.

This quickly separates fact from opinion.

Most ideas can be quickly proved or disproved using numbers.

When we make changes to the website we can quickly see whether the impact is positive or negative.

Paying attention to the data has allowed us to develop a much better understanding of our product and our customers. This gives us confidence to make changes that we believe will be positive, even when they might not be popular.

Where sensible, we make this information available to users too.

For example, on the community pages you can find the details of the busiest day of the week and hour of the day.

Even the sell-thru rates (the percentage of listings that sell) for every category are public.

Ever since the very early days (when the numbers were very small) we have published a count of the number of members, the number of current listings and the number of people online at that exact moment.

This transparency means that there has never been a gap develop between what people assume the numbers to be and what they are in reality.

Other posts from the Trade Me Manifesto series: