It’s common for a legacy business that is transforming to being data-driven to get caught in the trap of what I call Vanity Metrics - measuring something that has little meaning or relevance to the business but nevertheless looks good when put up on a dashboard or slide deck.
A clear example I saw of this is Ion Tiriac’s brain-dead tirade on Serena William’s physical attributes in the lead-up to the Madrid Open. These are the kind of metrics Ion Tiriac cares about, it appears:
With all due respect, Serena Williams is 36 [years old] and 90 kilograms, I would like to see something else . . .
This is a clear example of a Vanity Metric:
- What Ion Tiriac cares about - youth and slimness (beauty? vanity?) of Madrid Open competitors.
- What Ion Tiriac should care about - competitiveness, ticket sales, sponsorships, and how these are all impacted if Serena Williams is or is not participating in the Madrid Open.
A final warning on Vanity Metrics: as with many data anti-patterns, these have the effect of producing exactly the opposite impact of what is truly intended. Consider, for example, Ion Tiriac’s comments resulting in Serena Williams dropping out of the Madrid Open . . .
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