Build resilient systems at scale
May 27–29, 2015 • Santa Clara, CA

Picking the right metrics

John Feminella (Pivotal)
11:50am–12:30pm Friday, 05/29/2015
Location: Mission City M1-2
Average rating: ***..
(3.56, 9 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Prerequisite Knowledge

You should have some familiarity with entry-level statistics -- means, percentiles, variance, and so on. Other than that, you won't need any specialized technical knowledge to get the most ouf of the talk.


The major arc of the talk will center around some of the common situations we encounter when trying to pick metrics, and how we can ensure that we make the best choices we can.

In particular, I’d like to discuss three major points:

  • The essential features of what makes a good metric-visualization pairing, and how to tell whether your existing metrics are working for you or not
  • The advantages and disadvantages of statistical features of different flavors of metrics: geometric and arithmetic means, percentiles, rates, ratios, and so on
  • How to map the metrics you’ve picked into real-world decisions, and how to know what to infer from correlation and causation in different metrics
Photo of John Feminella

John Feminella


John Feminella is an avid technologist, occasional public speaker, and frequent instigator of assorted shenanigans. He recently co-founded UpHex, a startup providing analytics management for digital agencies and their clients. John is also a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia, mentors budding entrepreneurs, and has earned a lot of meaningless Internet points.

He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and likes meta-jokes, milkshakes, and referring to himself in the third person in speaker bios.