Measuring the Golden Path

August 23rd, 2016


Funnels are fundamental: the process of turning your target market into customers. It’s often called the baseline or golden path. But what is it concretely and how do you measure it?

A brief philosophical interlude. Your target market comes to find your product in a myriad of ways: word of mouth, current employer, advertising, or integration with another product. While you eventually want to optimize for all of these points of ingress, the most effective way is to start from conversion and work backwards. At it’s most basic, our mission is to help developers build better software. We do this by providing them with the context to resolve errors (sadly, we can’t fix their code for them).

This mission is accentuated because we rely on freemium, with a focus on infrastructure pricing (more to come on that later). Converting customers isn’t the typical sales tactic of tricking people to pay.1 All that matters is helping engineers fix errors.

The funnel, thus, is simple:

  1. Do they know what error reporting is?
  2. Are they sending user errors?
  3. Are they resolving them?

These three points should be the center of everything we are doing. Sponsored content, developer meetins help spread the gospel of error reporting. Improving our clients makes sending errors easier. Building features like release tracking provides additional context for understanding and prioritizing errors.

  1. In Dropbox, you always prefer the person who adds a dozen files but then shares them, syncs them between devices, and uses them inside 3rd party apps. Conversion to paying doesn’t actually matter. Of active users, a big lump might convert within the first few weeks. Yet of the pool of active but non-paying users, a constant and not exponential decaying portion of the userbase would convert. Once Dropbox made it clear that Dropbox supercharged your files, convincing people to pay becomes secondary to getting people to create files. This was the ultimate batle that Dropbox lost (in the consumer mindshare), as files are secondary to apps.