Less meeting geckoboard

Build. Measure. Learn.

Build, Measure, Learn is the core of Lean Startup, the concept that teaches startups and enterprises alike how to create new products with as little risk and chance of failure as possible.

Take your leap of faith hypothesis and rapidly test its assumptions directly with real customers by building the minimum viable product (MVP).

Then, iterate again and again until you reach product/market fit.

Using A Dashboard To ‘Learn’

The most important part of the Lean Startup process is the last piece, Learn. Except it’s not really the last, it’s actually the first. After you’ve established your new idea, the very next thing you must do is start building your product! figure out what you want to learn.

And a real-time business dashboard like Geckoboard is a fantastic way to bridge the Measure and Learn steps. Once you’re pulling in data, a KPI dashboard makes it easy to access that data, not lose sight (literally!) of your goals, and interpret key meaning behind a bunch of numbers.

Geckoboard Has the Right Idea

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 10.43.28 PMWe setup a Geckoboard at Less Meeting and it’s impressive out of the gate.

  • Setup is super fast. We had our first dashboard setup in ~30 minutes
  • Tons of connectors let you access all your data
  • Pre-built templates help KPI noobs

After using Geckoboard for a few days, however, the luster wore off. It’s still promising, but still not sure I’ll be using it two months from now.

Where Geckoboard Falters

They’re new (3 years old), and for that matter the real-time business dashboard market like this is too. So with that in mind here’s how they can take a great idea and improve the user experience:

  1. Change the UI – Right now I can fit a grand total of only 11 datapoints on my 15″ retina macbook pro. Sure you should display your dashboard on a big TV monitor, but at least give me something usable in the meantime.
  2. Make The Labels Not Suck – Our four labels take up 22% of the available dashboard real estate. That’s a terrible waste of space. Steven Few would be…a shade disgruntled.
  3. Give Data PerspectiveAs I’ve said twice before, perspective is everything. So why do 8 of my 15 widgets NOT have an option for a second metric to add some trend data? A number by itself is worthless!!
  4. Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 10.26.42 PMClarify Your Data – Do you know what the line chart means in this image? Neither do I.
  5. Highlight Important Data – A digest seems only obvious. Why not send a daily email with key metric changes?

With a bigger display and leveraging Google Analytics instead of Mixpanel I think we’d have a better experience.

Still though, I’m not thrilled. Before we purchase I want to try out Ducksboard. If you’re interested in other ideas check out David Cummings’ post on Real-Time Lightweight Business Dashboards.

Do you have any strong pros/cons for Geckoboard or any of the other dashboards?