Measuring Our Measures

Seth Godin recently made a post on one of my favorite topics — valuing metrics that don’t really matter.

Just because they’re easy to measure doesn’t mean they matter.


If you’re working with people who say they care about measurement, it might not pay to persuade them to stop measuring.

It might make more sense to give them useful numbers to measure instead.

Personally, I think he is a tad optimistic in thinking people will stop using easily measured data if presented with data that provides a more relevant measure, especially if it is more difficult to assemble.

Though I will admit to being gratified that I am reading posts and running into people who are questioning whether economic impact is relevant when attempting to assess the value of the arts.

As we move toward the next normal, assumptions and customary approaches are being challenged so the concept of relevant metrics is something to be continually considered.

If you are a little newer to my blog, here is an entry on the topic with links to other posts on the topic.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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