data driven culture in startups (2013 report)

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Results of a global survey of 368 startups carried out by Geckoboard and Econsultancy into startup organisations use data to drive their business and establish a culture.


  • A global survey on the

    state of data driven

    culture within startups

  • Contents


    About Geckoboard 1


    About Econsultancy 2


    Foreword 3


    Executive Summary 4


    Methodology 7

    Respondent Profiles 7


    Findings 9

    Data Driven Culture 9

    Data Collection 10

    Data Communication 15

    Decision Making 19

    Metrics 19

    Optimisation 26

    Culture 27


    About Geckoboard

    Geckoboard is a hosted status board

    that collects business information from

    many online services and customers own

    data sources, summarises it to distil the

    key messages and displays it in a way

    that is easy to understand and interpret.

    Businesses use status boards to pull

    important information locked up in disparate

    services together into one place to give a

    real-time status on the health of all aspects

    of a business.

    Geckoboard has called itself the Chartbeat

    for everything else in reference to the

    tool used to monitor traffic and other metrics

    on websites. Geckoboards rise speaks

    of a growing trend among businesses to

    consolidate ever-growing lists of diagnostics

    and information into simpler views to be

    able to better assess that information with

    dashboards being the mainstay for how its

    presented and consumed.

    90% of customers have reported

    improving their decision-making thanks to


    Since launching in February 2011,

    Geckoboard has picked up some 2,500

    customers, including Atlassian, Groupon,

    Gdgt, SecondMarket and Stack Exchange.

    Stop spending time checking services and

    start monitoring your business in real-time.

    All your information available all the time, at

    a glance. In 30 days, you wont remember

    how your business ran without it. Get a free

    trial here.



    About Econsultancy

    Econsultancy is a global independent

    community-based publisher, focused

    on best practice digital marketing and

    ecommerce, and used by over 400,000

    internet professionals every month.

    Our hub has 185,000+ subscribers

    worldwide from clients, agencies and

    suppliers alike with over 90% subscriber

    retention rate. We help our subscribers build

    their internal capabilities via a combination

    of research reports and how-to guides,

    training and development, consultancy,

    face-to-face conferences, forums and

    professional networking.

    For the last 10 years, our resources have

    helped subscribers learn, make better

    decisions, build business cases, find the

    best suppliers, accelerate their careers and

    lead the way in best practice and innovation.

    Econsultancy has offices in London, New

    York, Singapore and Sydney,and we are a

    leading provider of digital marketing training

    and consultancy. We trained over 5,000

    marketers and ran over 200 public training

    courses in 2012.

    Join Econsultancy today to learn whats

    happening in digital marketing and what


    Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7269

    1450 (London) or +1 212 971 0630 (New York).

    You can also contact us online.




    Geckoboard is pleased to present the

    results of the first Global Report on Data

    Driven Culture Within Startups, which was

    designed to offer insights on how startups

    are dealing with an ever growing influx of

    data and the key challenges faced when

    building organisations that embrace data as

    much as intuition.

    Data driven decision-making has been

    fuelled by terms like Lean Startup and

    Lean Analytics. Eric Ries coined the term

    lean startup in 2008 and since then, it has

    grown in popularity among entrepreneurs.

    The term has now become a movement that

    has brought innovative thinking around how

    to design, build and develop sustainable

    businesses based on customer feedback.

    As the lean movement evolves, the

    emphasis on data driven decision-making

    becomes more relevant. This report offers

    an overview on how startups are using

    data, how metrics are being chosen,

    how resources are being assigned, the

    importance of data visibility and the most

    popular tools for data communication.

    The report reveals that businesses are,

    in general, actively looking to improve

    their efforts towards building a data driven

    culture. So far, most of the efforts have been

    made in data gathering and analytics, with

    very little progress in data communication

    and mechanisms to ensure that data is acted

    upon. Surprisingly, most respondents do

    not feel confident about their KPIs and their

    current challenge is to understand what the

    key drivers of the business are, to ensure

    that they build the right context for data


    We hope that you find the results of this

    survey to be informative, and thank you

    again to those who participated. We look

    forward to your participation in the future.



    Executive Summary

    This report explores the general attitude of startups towards metrics and data communication.

    It offers an overview on:

    1 How startups are gathering, analysing and communicating data.

    2 How much time and resources are spent on analytics.

    3 What challenges are involved in building a data driven culture and monitoring the right metrics.

    4 Data visibility and its impact on decision-making.

    This report is based on a global survey of 368 startups carried out by Geckoboard and


    We would like to thank all the organisations that took part in the survey and those who

    contributed with insights, analysis and valuable comments.


  • How startups are gathering, analysing and communicating data.

    How much time and resources are spent on analytics.

    What challenges are involved in building a data driven culture and monitoring the

    right metrics.

    Data visibility and its impact on decision-making.

    The findings of this research can be summarised as follows:


    The vast majority of respondents

    identified themselves as data driven

    businesses; only 5% of respondents

    stated that data is not a priority within their


    Intuition is still highly valued in decision-

    making. Despite the rapid adoption

    and evangelisation of the lean startup

    methodology (see Section 3) and the

    constant emphasis on data collection and

    measurement within the startup community,

    it is surprising to find that intuition and

    experience are still heavy components of

    the decision-making process. Only 27%

    of respondents believe that data is crucial

    when it comes to decision-making.

    There is a marked lack of confidence

    around data and metrics. Almost half of

    the respondents (49%) do not feel confident

    about the metrics they are currently

    monitoring. Based on analysis of data

    gathered in this report, this group is also

    less likely to have processes in place to

    ensure that data is understood and acted


    Metrics democracy. In more cases than

    not, respondents who choose metrics in a

    collaborative manner felt more confident

    about their metrics in comparison to those

    who do not involve the team.

    Data vs. Data communication: 44% of

    startups spend substantially more on data

    gathering than on data communication,

    with 34% of respondents spending equally

    on both. This highlights the importance of

    developing mechanisms to guarantee that

    data is collected with a purpose and that

    key insights can be derived from it. The

    improvement of data communication can

    lead to a better understanding of what is

    important to measure and what is not.

    If you can't explain

    it simply, you don't

    understand it well




  • The survey also showed that real time data and dashboards are increasingly being

    adopted by startups as a communication tool although traditional formats like Excel are still

    the most popular.

    Despite the investment on tracking, data gathering and analytics, 59% of respondents do

    not have processes in place to make sure data is understood and acted upon.





    This report is based on a global survey of

    368 business professionals working in the

    startup community, but also included larger

    businesses so that general attitudes towards

    data management were represented. The

    survey was live during January and February


    Geckoboard promoted the survey to its

    customer data base and via social media.

    Econsultancy also promoted the survey via

    social media. The incentive for taking part in

    the survey was a complimentary copy of the


    If you have any questions about the

    research and methodology, please email

    Sofia Quintero at Geckoboard (sofia@