A Founder Metric That Matters

As Uber has grown as a business, we have seen a qualitative degradation of nearly every aspect of their user experience, whether it is driving safety, route optimization, or general app-to-curb time. I wonder if Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has noticed this. Frankly, I am not even sure if he uses Uber, Uber X, Uber Select and/or Uber Pool. Dara’s predecessor was not shy about using his product, though he would often get into trouble. Reality is, well, messy. Still, it would be great to see Dara post his quarterly and daily Uber usage dashboard.

In fact, all founders and chief executives in the technology industry should share personal metrics showing how many times per day or a week they use their own service. For instance, how many Uber rides did Dara take yesterday? How many posts did head honchos of blogging platforms publish in a month? Making a fitness app? Show your usage!

I know Jack uses his service pretty regularly because I can see it in his timeline. Ditto for Zuck, though a lot less now compared to back when his life was less controlled by political operatives. Airbnb founders are active users of their platform and are known to eschew the hotel experience at all cost. Just look at Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is a champion of Apple Watch, and a living embodiment of the watch as a health-focused wearable.

When founders and executives are active users of their product, it shows — both in the effectiveness of the product and the rapidity of change. I mean, if the big boss isn’t watching, do you really think any of the product people are going to make continuous attempts at improvement instead of playing it safe?

Steve Jobs might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but he did use his products obsessively. This kind of KPI is meaningful, and it reflects that these executives have not forgotten who experiences their products. If you expect people to use your product, you should be using it too. Just like everyone else.

A letter from Om

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