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Measure What Matters summary

John Doerr

How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

4.4 (689 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Measure What Matters by John Doerr offers a goal-setting system called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). It emphasizes the importance of measuring progress by setting and achieving goals in businesses, organizations, and personal lives.

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    Measure What Matters
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    OKRs were born at microchip giant Intel, where the author worked in the 1970s.

    The plots of many classic stories and fairy tales hinge on the pursuit of love. But who would’ve thought that love would play a central role in a somewhat less fanciful tale – that of the author discovering business objectives and key results, or OKRs for short?

    In the summer of 1975, author John Doerr was trying to win back his ex-girlfriend Ann. He knew she had a job in Silicon Valley, but he wasn’t sure where. As fate would have it, however, he found her working at Intel, the company where he’d just scored an internship.

    The love story ended happily in the end, with him and Ann getting back together (they’re still married). And as their romance reignited, another inspiring story began: the author’s discovery of OKRs.

    The luminary behind OKRs was Andy Grove, one of Intel’s cofounders. Then the vice president, he’d go on to become the CEO, and his visionary leadership would be integral to the company’s transformation from a small business into the global giant it is today. The use of OKRs was, of course, a central part of his approach.

    After getting hired, the author attended one of Grove’s seminars, where he explained that OKRs aren’t about what you know, but what you do with what you know. If you want things to get done, execution must trump knowledge.

    For example, one of Intel’s objectives (Os) at the time was to be number one in the midrange computer component industry. By setting just a few such objectives, Grove explained, the company as a whole could truly focus on pursuing them..

    But how would they know that they’d reached this objective? That’s where key results (KRs) come in, Grove went on. For example, one KR at the time was to “win” ten designs for the Intel 8085 microprocessor – a win being every time the microprocessor was used in products designed by other companies.

    Such KRs had to be measured simply with a clear yes or no. Everyone involved – known as contributors – would have to be able to understand whether the KR had been met or not, without argument.

    By implementing this management system at Intel, Grove was able to grow the company by 40 percent every year throughout his eleven-year tenure as CEO.

    Seeing the impact of OKRs in action, the author began a lifetime of commitment to spreading this revolutionary management philosophy to other companies.

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    What is Measure What Matters about?

    Measure What Matters (2018) chronicles John Doerr’s lifelong journey of helping organizations implement objectives and key results – otherwise known as OKRs. With the help of OKRs, companies like Google and nonprofits like the Gates Foundation have been able to transform the way they set goals to reach new heights.

    Measure What Matters Review

    Measure What Matters (2018) by John Doerr is a book that introduces a powerful goal-setting system called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Overflowing with practical strategies, it equips readers with a framework to set ambitious goals and achieve meaningful results.
    • By showcasing real-world examples and success stories from companies like Google and Intel, it demonstrates how OKRs can drive growth and innovation.
    • The book's engaging anecdotes and insights from industry leaders make the topic of goal-setting intriguing and far from boring.

    Who should read Measure What Matters?

    • CEOs and managers looking to drive their organization’s growth
    • Founders looking to implement a healthy, transparent workplace culture right from the get-go
    • Employees sick of annual performance reviews

    About the Author

    John Doerr is an American investor and venture capitalist who has mentored countless CEOs and founders on the magic of OKRs. In addition to working at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, he served as a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

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    Measure What Matters FAQs 

    What is the main message of Measure What Matters?

    The main message of Measure What Matters is the importance of setting and tracking goals effectively.

    How long does it take to read Measure What Matters?

    The estimated reading time for Measure What Matters is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Measure What Matters a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Measure What Matters is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on goal-setting and measurement for personal and professional success.

    Who is the author of Measure What Matters?

    The author of Measure What Matters is John Doerr.

    What to read after Measure What Matters?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Measure What Matters, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
    • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
    • High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove
    • The New Strategist by Günter Müller-Stewens
    • Hooked by Nir Eyal
    • The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim