A logbook (a ship’s logs or simply log) is a record of important events in the management, operation, and navigation of a ship. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.
Now here’s a thought: Captains keep logbooks. For scientific experiments, detailed logbooks with outcomes are kept. It seems like records of important events are needed in situations where uncertainty has a role and you want to reach a goal, but don’t know really how to get there. This should sound familiar to startup founders.
Why don’t founders keep logbooks? Not a personal journal (although this may also be a good idea), but a record of their organisations? It seems like navigation is easier than running an early-stage company: there is a clear and tested methodology for navigating by instruments. Learning is facilitated by well documented training material and procedures (and particularly because you have clear, historical reference of what happened, not just anecdotal evidence. Thank you logbook!). It provides a level of reflection and provides routine.
Are you keeping a logbook? You probably should. The question now is what do you track within a startup? KPIs? Roadmap? Summary meeting notes and daily interactions? Evolution of company culture? Hiring?
Going from point A to point B in a boat is (relatively) straightforward, but perhaps there is some hidden best practice in the volumes of growth data that startups generate. We would love to hear from founders who have had success in keeping startup logs, and have ideas about key metrics.