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Tammy Camp, General Partner at 500 Startups, shared this post recently to help ecommerce and software startups scale. We loved it so much we’re pulling a segment for you here–it demystifies some of the common issues with creating early traction. 

1. Create a Tracking Plan

This is an essential component of your team docs.  Everyone on the team should understand the growth objectives for the organization and be onboard with what to measure in the tracking plan.

Here is an example of a tracking plan that we use with our 500 Startups Portfolio companies.

tracking plan example

As you can see the core business objects are outlined PLUS the actual developer code is here.

It’s also helpful in the following cases:

  • New hires can understand the explanation behind these events
  • You can plan the analytics implementation schedule with your developers

A great question to ask in this meeting is:

“What would make the biggest impact on our growth curve in the next 30 to 90 days?”

2. Carefully Select Events

Q: What is an event?

A: An event is a description of the action that is taking place.

A common mistake is that people want to track everything.

But, how do you know what is important? The problem with this is that you don’t know what is important when you go in to do your analysis.  There will be too much noise versus signal.

Always ask “why?” you are tracking each event that you choose to track.

Events should directly reflect your business objectives over the next 90 days.

Choose 3 events. YES, just 3 events.

Here are a few examples from e-commerce, SaaS, and a marketplace business.








marketplace - uber rider

marketplace uber driver


Put the detail in the properties

What is a property?


Properties are traits that make up the event.

Here’s an example:

Ask yourself, “How many new sign ups did we have today?”

The event in this case is event = signedUp.

The properties related to this event would be userId, userName, email, type (organic, referral, paid).

4. Define a naming convention

We recommend our portfolio companies name properties in camelcase (lowercaseCapital form) for easy reading.

This an example of a poor naming convention.  I’m not sure what is what here.

poor naming convention

We recommend the naming convention “Object” + “Action” (in past tense).

Here is an example of a correct naming convention:

good naming convention

As you can see it’s much easier to read and understand from the one that was done incorrectly.


As you consider putting your crystal ball to work for you, imagine how lean your company will become after you trim the fat of unnecessary spending and how much more attractive your company will look to potential investors.

PS — if you want more Crystal Ball Analytics, see the slides (lots more images) here.

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