Building a Data-Informed Startup
At MinoMonsters, we use data every single day. We spend a lot of time looking at it and we believe it’s important. Today we will monitor and record over 10M points of data. But what are we doing with all that information?
We’re building a mobile game, but we use data just like any mobile startup would. We use data to track the health of our business and we use it to inform certain decisions. Data helps us understand if we’re growing, it helps us debug product flows, and it helps us discover new opportunities for engagement and revenue.
Just as important as the data itself, the cadence we use to look at the data is critical. We can’t look at everything, we simply don’t have the time or attention. We must be disciplined in how we look at data and ensure we’re using high-yield visualizations of our data.
One way we look at data is daily health check-ups where we look at DAU, Installs, and Revenue. For each of these we look at today’s numbers and how that compares to yesterday and last week. Fluctuations are to be expected, but drops are not. This helps us see our growth and alerts us if anything is going wrong.
We put these numbers up on a TV in the middle of the office. This keeps us accountable and helps quantify the impact each person is having on the world.
(The numbers aren’t censored on the real thing)
We also use data to help us understand how players use our products. This in turn helps us optimize the products. We use this data in ad-hoc product analysis to help us better understand how our features perform.
One way we optimize is with a funnel analysis. A funnel analysis can quickly identify the parts of a feature that confuse, bore, or crash on our players. We use this often to look at our first time user experience (FTUE). Before we ship, we identify each step in the FTUE. After we ship, we examine each step and determine where users are lost.
These are two of the tools we use to improve our product. What’s important is that we display the data efficiently to quickly gain insights and that we only use the most important metrics to keep us focused. Our jobs are as game designers, first and foremost. Our goal is to ensure that players are having fun. Data helps us do just that.