How do You Measure Success?

Almost any broadly accepted measure of productivity contains self serving holes. GDP grows every year because it incorrectly account for costs as productivity. For example, GDP shows a gain when there is a natural disaster, when we deplete resources, or when we replace healthy social relationships with destructive chemical ones. Any financial activity is treated as a good thing with GDP, even if we are destroying the planet or replacing natural supplements with expensive drugs, manufacturing diseases that need to be treated, or treating people for abusing drugs.

You can save up a lot of money, but what happens when there are fundamental shifts in energy supplies? You can print more money, but you can't create energy from nothing.

Published: May 19, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


May 24, 2007 - 7:07pm

I will reply to your original question. How do I measure success? I count the smiles I can generate a week with what I do, refrain myself from doing, with what I write —as I have an e-magazine too— and what I plan. After every week, I end up a little surprised with all I have already done.

About the petroleum problem, I think we should have already gotten rid of it by now, but we have not. Besides the fact we need petroleum and its derivates in our daily lives, there are a lot of people here and there making what it may take to ensure our dependency will go on a couple of decades more. Evangelists, they call them.

If more people managed to reconnect with what they really are, maybe things would be a lot different.

Paul J. Bruemmer
May 26, 2007 - 4:10pm

Aaron, first I'd like to thank you for your valued contributions to the search community. Thought-leaders like yourself, who take the time to do things right, promote and represent our industry professionally to a universe of businesses large and small. This indirectly benefits everyone in the industry and therefore, I thank you.

Defining success is a topic worth further discussion; recently I was speaking to a big brand Fortune 1000 company who spends over $100 million a year in TV advertising. Lead Generation is their definition of success and if you can believe this...they could not grasp an understanding of how organic non-brand keyword traffic would help them online.

I felt like an idiot; that I could not get through to them.

Defining success with critical path blueprints to very specific measurable results is the only way to go when selling SEO. I wish there were more tools to facilitate this objective, well; I'm working on one such tool but it's a long-haul with many data points.

I'll keep my eyes out for more info on defining success. Best regards, paul

Terry Reeves
May 19, 2007 - 9:03am

Thinking a little deep today?

Our existence as we both know it has played out in an era of fundamental shifts in energy supplies. The thing is, as fat content Americans, we do not pay much attention to real dangers until they are literally in our own face. Frequently when it is too late.

Here is something to dwell on. The world is at it's most volatile existence compared to the history of such times. No one really sees the dangers all around us. People are blaming our President for a war that has been planned in the minds of these extremest for hundreds of years. We have been attacked on our home turf more than once and more attacks are coming.

There is more to worry about in these times than the fragile condition of energy supply.

The bible clearly describes the environment leading up to the end times. If you are not familiar with what the bible describes, just watch the world news for a few days.

The best times as a country and a world are behind us. The future holds violence the world has yet to know. The media will always point the ignorant in the wrong direction.

I like to think deep as well.

May 19, 2007 - 6:40pm

Aaron, you sound depressed, frankly.

After the recent careless, thoughtless 'fluff' type blog posts on here recently, and now this, consider me unsubscribed.

I'd say the decline of what once used to be an interesting blog with something to contribute is a direct reflection of your declining mental state, Aaron.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, brother.

There's something going on inside your head that requires immediate attention.


May 19, 2007 - 9:01pm

It appears one of your readers is confusing a perceptive mind that can draw parallels from the "real" world to teach a lesson about metrics that are self serving with depression and the need for medication. This is especially ironic given your statements in this post about replacing healthy relationships with expensive drugs as an example of a "positive" for GDP.

Choosing what to measure for success dictates people's actions the same way framing the language of a discussion can determine the outcome. As you frequently discuss, all systems are gamed by people trying to come out ahead. That's why CEO's are "worth" hundreds of millions of dollars a year for "performance" when they devastate local economies (and their companies) and why we discuss the "Patriot Act" and "supporting our troops" instead of Criminal Indictments for lying to the American public or violating the constitution.

Measurement can changes behavior of the system you are measuring, regardless to the outcome you want to obtain. This fact can make a destructive action appear to be beneficial. Its my a corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Instead of the promised "unsubscribe", I am sure you will wind up with a long, threaded series of flame and posturing. You occasionally encourage controversy generated by statements that give you plausible deniability, so this counts as a job well done.

May 19, 2007 - 9:25pm

Searched for it and couldnt find anything on this.
Hope you dont mind me asking a question in the post comments.

Does the placement of the link affect the amount of PR to be passed ?

Say i place a link on a good PR site, one my left hand sidebar and one on the footer, does the first crawable link get more SERP love ?

tyler dewitt
May 19, 2007 - 9:29pm

LOL keep up the good work aaron :)

May 19, 2007 - 9:30pm

Hi Kiviniar
They may have a way of trusting in content links a bit more...but there are many occasions when real links are placed in sidebars, and there are many occasions when spammy links placed in content or the sidebar still push link weight through to the end destination.

May 20, 2007 - 10:31am

Thanks Aaron, that cleared my doubt

May 20, 2007 - 6:40pm

Great post Aaron, I absolutely agree with you. It's a shame when others treat volatile profiteering as a positive thing even while it actively corrupts the social and economic environments surrounding it. It illustrates how shallow our appreciation for human life can become. And I know some people would smirk at a statement like that, but how far from the truth is it? We've made it to a unique point in human history, one where unparralel opportunity is offered to all who seek it and still the thirst for wealth is enough to distract us from protecting our most valuable asset, human potential.

How much human potential is destroyed when the reckless pursuit of wealth is valued above the social and economic frameworks that have allowed wealth to exist in the first place?

May 21, 2007 - 10:33am

Are you sure that you can't produce energy out of nothing?

Nikola Tesla was talking about it so I'm sure it is possible we just don't know how yet ;)


mark mrushworth
May 21, 2007 - 11:56am

thats a tough one... if you're on about SEO then its about traffic (conversion is usually up to the designer)

as usual for the client is either about

a. financial return on investment
b. brand building metrix

and rarely b at that!

A Reader
July 14, 2007 - 7:31am

i keep thinking that why i feel not confident...why i said iam not ready for it...this is not anyone answers...its just the answer could be said to ourself....if u fell in to a u blame an innocent cat for doing it that is what iam tring to said everybody..just rmbr ,yr life is just like padiling a bikecycle...if u stop paddling..u wil not arive were u want to go..but if u keep paddling..u wil arive to your destination..if u work hard.-tips frm meeeeee

May 21, 2007 - 1:50pm

Sure you can produce energy from nothing look at real estate its doubled in price the past few years without any actually change to most of the properties

Its magic ..... quick buy as much as you can .....

"The bible clearly describes the environment leading up to the end times. If you are not familiar with what the bible describes, just watch the world news for a few days."

lol, dude believes in the bible

May 21, 2007 - 11:40pm

Very perceptive Aaron very perceptive,

I hope the gentleman that has promised to unsubscribe does as his comment lowered my IQ by about 20 points.

in the end though, the important thing isn't "where do we get energy from next" but "how do we lower rate of consumption." on topic linky

May 22, 2007 - 10:05am

Wow. There are a lot of socially progressive people here, Aaron. Congratulations for bringing us together.

I'm glad Pete will be leaving. There's enough snake oil marketing weblogs out there without this one going down the tubes.

Here's the deal - in a head to head run, capitalism beat out communism. Not much competition there. The eight decades it took to win, suggests that capitalism isn't much better.

And the capitalism that won, was capitalism in check. What do I mean by that?

As long as the Soviet Union and communism were a real threat, the captains of industry and Western governments had to be careful how they handled labour.

Left to their own devices, well, they've pillaged the planet and are busy seeking to "legally" enslave generations more.

Whether we are at the "end of time" as the first commenter suggested, is not something I'm qualified to comment on.

Anyway cool post.

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