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Case study: A data-driven video streaming company with a magic number

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BoxCast is a video streaming company based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Using pocket sized, breakthrough technology, BoxCast makes it simple to deliver live, HD video from anyone with a camera to anyone, anywhere.

Gordon Daily, President and Co-founder at BoxCast, told us about their magic number, the importance of focusing on behaviour-driving metrics and encouraging team effort.

A non-traditional approach that fits right in your pocket

Video streaming is somewhat of a technical exercise, and there’s lots of equipment and expense and expertise required to make it happen. We’ve taken a different approach. We made the assumption that people don’t know anything about technology, especially those that have really great content. The way we’ve been able to solve that is by making our own little piece of hardware. It’s small, fits into your pocket, and plugs into any kind of video and audio equipment, or even a single camera. Then we use the cloud to capture the video by just plugging it into the box and transmit that video to any site, anywhere in the world.

Defining success: The magic number

The dashboards, for us, are used in two ways. One is to energise folks, see if you can get people excited about the progress the company is making because we’re growing quite quickly. And secondly, and just as importantly, we use the dashboards to drive the behavior on an individual level. Then everybody can understand that they’re being measured and everyone sees what they’re doing. It’s not a function of trying to call anybody out. It’s a function of having fun playing the game. They want to rise to the occasion. It’s makes a big difference.

We’ve got a guy in Atlanta, We’ve got a lovely woman in L.A., we’ve got someone in Syracuse, New York, AND we’ve got someone in Indianapolis. It’s not fair if you’re playing a game and keeping score if the people that aren’t able to be in the office don’t see the scoreboard. You lose the effectiveness. People don’t know what they’re being measured on or how they’re doing.

Everybody in the company makes an effort to try to have three distinct things that define success for them in their individual roles, whether it’s sales, customer support, tech or the management team. Everybody can be provided with direction, and you don’t want to give them 5,000 metrics to try to achieve. You don’t want to give them one or two, because they can usually game it.

Our magic number is three.

I think it all starts with role definition and having clarity on what their job is. Then you put together the infrastructure to help them know how well they’re doing and everybody else in the company knows what they’re doing too.

Choosing metrics that drive behaviour and create excitement

If you’re not defining what metrics need to be on your dashboard, then you’re just wasting time trying to put pretty metrics on graph. It was my advisers who put in the request for a dashboard, but they said, ‘Only do it if it’s going to drive behavior.’ You don’t want to just have stuff all over the place in a collage of color. You want to either drive behaviour or build confidence and excitement around the morale of what’s happening. Find the metrics in your company that’ll do just that.

In terms of what we did. We just figured it out as we went along. I mean, looking back on it, I’m very pleased with us having gone down that path. I think that the objective of what we set out to do has been very successful, which is to make sure that everyone understands that this is a team effort and we’re all doing this together, and everyone has got their weights to carry. It turns into a game. It turns into something that’s exciting and everyone wants to win or compete well. It gives everybody a chance to do both of those things, and the company is better for it.

The right people with the right focus

The process of removing metrics from the dashboard is fairly straightforward. If no one’s looking at it, it’s simply not relevant. That’s when it’s time to go back to your employee and make sure that you’ve got them in the right role and that you’re challenging them in the right way. I think it’s a tool to make sure people are doing the right thing, and you’ve got the right people to do the right things. It’s an iterative process for everybody. Again, we’re not talking about accountability. I mean, it’s inherently there. What we’re talking about is focus on what’s important.

Bringing a sense of realism

The idea came from my advisers. They said, ‘We don’t know what’s going on.’ Then I realised, ‘How does anybody know what’s going on?’ Especially if they are coming in from the outside, they are not going to be aware of what’s happening unless we can put it up in front of their face. Having our metrics visualised brings us a sense of realism, and it helps to communicate much more effectively.


Visit BoxCast to learn more about a smarter way to stream.

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