The Automation Fallacy: Why Writing Reports Is More Important Than Reading Them
If you focus too much on amplifying your outputs, you might hit a hard limit to your desired outcomes.
During my tenure as the head of growth for a major tech enterprise, I oversaw the expansion of a product that catered to a vast customer base. The product had already amassed millions of users and continued attracting new customers every week. My primary responsibility was to convert most of these new users from the free version of the product to its premium offering.
Every Monday, I collected the business results relative to the previous week, neatly arranging the critical figures in a brief report and publishing an internal memo to the stakeholders. The whole process took me a couple of hours, and every time I had to do it from scratch, assembling the information from at least five data sources.
At some point, our data team deployed an internal analytics tool that collected all the data from all our sources. I invested a few days in learning this new technology deeply, and off I went to build a script that was building the report for me and publishing it automatically.
It was fantastic, and with just a few hours invested in building this automation, I could save two hours every week, reaching peak efficiency.
However, in a matter of a few weeks, something terrible happened.