The Hubris of Fancy Metrics: Lessons from the Last Decade

As we look back on the last decade, there will be many books, podcasts, and lectures about the money made and lost and the lessons learned (and forgotten) from previous cycles. In the heady days of low-interest rates and excess cash, CEOs and investors were deified as having cracked the code, with a tour circuit of podcasts and social media posts evangelizing the latest metrics and formulas for success. Confidence was conflated with certainty, and hubris was at an all-time high.

If you can bear it, you should turn on CNBC and listen to ZIRP-era CEOs bang on about their companies performance. Most of their responses are scripted talking points. However, in 2023, we will see the return of seasoned operators who are in the details, understand the product, and get back to basics. Cash, profit, and positive cash flow unit economics will again be the focus, and the tried and proven artisans who focus on simple outcomes will rise to the forefront.

Despite the challenges of recent years, I’m excited to see the emergence of battle-worn, happy warriors who are humble, hard-working, and grounded in reality. They’re willing to grow, learn, and innovate while always focusing on the bottom line. Long live the king.