Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Pirate Metrics

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Framework for thinking about how to onboard / get people to use your product or service. Originally conceived by Dave McClure at 500 Startups.

These are totally custom for every product, but can be useful in building hypotheses about what matters / what works in getting usage, and also what kind of Product MetricsProduct Metrics
Metrics for tracking user interactions with your app / product
[[Pirate Metrics]]

[[Posthog]] – Open source, supports Deploy to Heroku, you’ll want at least a basic database at $9 / month and basic dyno at $7 / month.
[[Metabase]] – not really product metrics, but can be used to track and filter metrics directly from your app’s database

you should be tracking.

Called “Pirate Metrics” because the abbreviation is A-A-R-R-R:

  • Acquisition: this is initial sign up. You might want to say this is email sign up and verification – that someone came in, waited for a verification link, and then came back.
  • Activation: this should be doing at least one core action of your product. eg. for a music streaming service, maybe it’s listen to one song. This is the one I like to be very strict about – so that an “activated” user really has engaged with your product.
  • Retention: different products have different retention period. For an accounting or finance app, I might login and review one transaction per month. For others, it might be a daily action. So something like “We will consider a user retained if they (do some core thing) Y times over (X days/weeks/months). Otherwise, consider them to have “churned” and they need to be re-activated.
  • Referral: do users care enough about your product to share it with others? This shouldn’t really be something like “invite your team” if having team mates is a core usage – that would be activation or retention. People are excitedly telling others that your product rocks.
  • Revenue: your customer is paying you!

Useful article published in 2017 that covers this: AARRR Framework- Metrics That Let Your StartUp Sound Like A Pirate Ship by Melanie Balke.

I also have this article saved on the Fission forum.