The problem with “what matters” is that it changes all the time, every day, often several times per day. So how do you decide what matters most? We use two fairly simple algorithms:
Does this contribute to hitting our month-over-month growth goal?
If/when the answer is “yes” to several things, the following question is:
Which one requires the lowest effort and the shortest time to generate the biggest impact with the highest chance of success?
(1) These rules help you prioritize projects and can also be used for resource allocation. Are these resources helping me hit my month-over-month growth targets? If I reduced resources here, would it impact my growth rate over the next x months?
(2) The follow up question actually contains 4 criteria (lowest effort, shortest time, biggest impact, highest chance of success). Which do you prioritize? You could weight the factors, and chose the project with the highest weighted outcome, or rank the factors and use lower priority factors only in the event of a tie.
(3) In Seeking Alpha, we prioritize the project with the highest chance of success, not the project with the highest probability-weighted outcome. This is because we want to optimize for speed of learning, and you learn only from successes, not failures.
(4) Re. “Does this contribute to our month-over-month growth goal?” — see Growth rate in revenue or active users is the paramount startup metric and The three steps to building a great company, and why most startups fail on the first step.