Watching The Book Data

July 22, 2020

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

As Sachi will tell you, I am often preoccupied with data about our business. I spend a lot of time checking websites and dashboards to see how our projects are going. I love it, but it can also become an obsession. There have been times when my daily perception of myself and Common Craft were driven by data points. A few days of disappointing data would make me want to reassess our entire direction. It wasn’t healthy and over time Sachi convinced me to take a step back.

In Big Enough I wrote about the impact of the “Merchant Receipt” emails I received when someone signed up for Common Craft:

At Sachi’s insistence, I committed to making a big change: I turned those email notifications off. Sachi insisted that what was happening on a day-to-day basis was her business. She does micro, I do macro. She’s the CFO, I’m the creative director. I needed to focus on the future and what we could do to sell more memberships.

She was right. I had become so accustomed to the endorphin rushes that each day without them felt bland and uneventful. It seemed like there was nothing to celebrate. Eventually, I regained a better outlook and took a longer view of our work and direction. It was the right decision.

Big Enough, Chapter 7, A Platform of One’s Own

I still struggle. The emails may not arrive in my inbox, but I know where to find the data. My first book, The Art of Explanation, set off a similar habit. Multiple times a day I checked the Amazon Bestseller Rank to see how the book was doing. I still check it a few times a week. Now, Big Enough is occupying that part of my brain and I’m always cataloging where it lands on the list.

A bit of promotion regarding the ebook and pre-orders pushed Big Enough into the top 45k books and it has me feeling good. For a book that doesn’t come out for a couple of months, I’m encouraged.

Learn more about Big Enough.

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