Inadvertently simulating pigs

As an ex-magician, there are a lot of metrics I COULD have used to track my performance.

– I could’ve analysed the number of new tricks I’ve mastered…

– Or how many witty retorts I had in a quick-fire quiver, ready for the inevitable “no seriously… what do you do for a proper job?” lines…

– Amount of phone numbers collected*…

* “I bet you get loads of numbers” is a common misconception about being a magician. Or at least it was for me. Maybe other magicians were swimming in slips of paper, filled with hastily written digits. Me not so much. Though I did once share a lingering glance with a lady with a glass eye.

Even on the business side of things, I was pretty lax about metrics.

I just did stuff that got the best results.

For me, that was sending funny emails to agencies, bookers, and event companies that might have use for a weird chap who can make people laugh every once in a while.

There was only one performance metric I kept a close eye on…

I even invested in a measurement device to keep track of it.

Amount of snorts.

That’s right, I collected snorts.

In a world where a Nobel prize was given to someone researching people who collected belly button lint, I should probably come up with a formal name for snort collecting.

(I’ll go with “Oink Fancier” for now, but won’t commit to popping it on my business cards just yet)

The device I used to collect these knee-jerk nasal blasts was a tally clicker.

Yep, the same tool favoured by doormen and 12-year-old ride operators at amusement parks was always in my right jacket pocket, ready to bring out should a member of my group inadvertently simulate a pig.

(Mental note – make sure “simulate” doesn’t autocorrect to “stimulate”)

The best snorts were always from people you’d least expect – elderly ladies or the prim and proper crowd – folk trying their best to maintain their best social face.

Magic has a great way of yanking that mask right off you.

In one second, the Royal duchess you’re doing a trick for goes from:

“Oh yes… very spiffing. Well done, that man!”


“Bugger me sideways with a kettle. Where the fuck did that coin go?”

Most magicians prize gigs, applause, and tips as measures of success.

Me? Snorts.

To each their own.

There are two reasons I could be telling you this:

1) To do my best to convince you to learn one solid magic trick, so you can experience the majesty of this mask pulling power for yourself, or

2) To help you realise that, even though there are lots of metrics you COULD look at…

… most of the time it’s about choosing the right ones for you.

Business owners always ask me:

“What’s a good open rate?”

I don’t really care.

Are you clicking the links I ask you to?

^^^ That’s a better – snort-worthy – metric if ever there was one.

Action-based metrics are like snorts – you can’t fake ‘em. Either I did something worthy of making you click or I didn’t.

Ultimately, pick the metric that best helps you answer this uber-important question:

Did my email achieve what I wanted it to do?

To know that, you need to be clear on two things:

1) Your goal for the email

2) The best way to measure that

For example, for this email, I won’t be looking at clicks or opens, but I will be checking searches for “tally counters” on Google trends…