Issue #18                                                                                                                                          Web version
The Prioritization Matrix


A very good morning to you, <<First Name>>!

I hope that regardless of where you are you're enjoying the weather, and the slowly lifting of social restrictions.

Here in the Netherlands things seem to be much better now, even though we now live in the much-debated and discussed "1.5 meter society".

This week I've reviewed a business book called Hooked, which is about the way that products (from Instagram to Google) make us addicted to using them.

In addition, I'm sharing an insight about how you can prioritize projects and tasks — with a so-called prioritization matrix.

And at the end you will find another useful video conferencing tool; I hope to use it soon because it does such a good job of mimicking how you can drop in and out of conversations in offline events.

Curious? Scroll on!


1. Book Review: Hooked - How to Build Habit-Forming Products

What makes you check your phone 100 times per day? Why do you always use Google instead of Bing? Or why do lay awake at night, scrolling through your Instagram feed, even when you know you should be sleeping?

In Hooked: How to Build Habit Building Products, Nir Eyal provides the exact model that many digital products use to make us addicted.

In this review, I give an overview of the Hook Model that entrepreneurs can use to keep users coming back, plus some of my thoughts as to whether this is a worth-while read.

→ Read the article here


2. Decision-Making & the Prioritization Matrix

Whether you work for yourself (as an entrepreneur) or are the owner of a specific project within your company, we all need to prioritize on a daily basis.

As a company founder, there are many different aspects of your business you can choose to work on. Similarly, on a project-level, there are a variety of tasks that you can do at any given moment to advance the project.

So the question is: What should you do next?

It's a question I'm constantly trying to answer.

What should I do next? Should I write my newsletter, or do sales for a new mastermind group for entrepreneurs I'm starting? Should I update our website, or prepare our upcoming Enter Network meetup? Should I clean up my email inbox, or should I reach out to new speakers?

If you're anything like me, you have endless to-do lists — on paper, your calendar or the project management tool of your choice.

So how do you handle such questions?

The somewhat abstract answer is to prioritize tasks. That, of course, will lead to the question: how should you prioritize?

There are several ways to prioritize your to do's.

One method that I've found particularly helpful is the prioritization matrix.

When working in my previous company, we would categorize each to do according to their urgency and importance. This means that visually, you place each to do somewhere in this matrix.

(image by Liz Huber)

Interestingly, this matrix is also called the Eisenhower matrix or Eisenhower principle.

While quoting someone else, the former US President said in a 1954 speech: "I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent."

And as Eisenhower explains, it's best to do those tasks that are placed in the upper left quadrant.

These, after all, are the most important to you or your project, and the most urgent.

The difficult thing of this matrix however, is how do you deal with tasks that are urgent but not important, or important but not urgent? (as for the non-urgent, non-important tasks, these often don't get done at all).

While this way of prioritizing tasks is useful for many people, for me it didn't quite cut it.

So instead, sometimes I turn to a matrix with different variables: Impact versus Effort.

priority matrix
(image by

With this matrix, you're trying to look for those tasks that have the most impact, and take the least effort. Or in other words, you're looking for the quick wins.

I find this particularly useful when marketing or selling a product or service, because there are countless ways to sell or market something.

Take this newsletter for instance. If I want more subscribers, I could send emails to everyone I know; write an article on my blog to promote it; post a message on LinkedIn; reach out to website that lists newsletters; etc.

Clearly, one of these is not necessarily urgent than the other. But I can make some assumptions about which tasks have the most impact (i.e. the tasks that result in the a lot of new subscribers) and which ones cost me the least effort.

Then again, this way of assessing my priorities largely disregards that sometimes you need to do a task within a specified timeframe (i.e. urgency).

If we compare the two matrices, we can view importance as similar to impact. In this sense, a model with 3 variables (impact, effort and urgency) would perhaps work best. But this kind of removes the easiness with which you can score tasks along just 2 scales.

If however, you need to make more important decisions (e.g. you want to decide which functionality to build next for your users), you may need more criteria.

For example, you could set up different questions ("Does it fit with the long-term strategy?" "What does it cost?", "What is the value to the customer?", etc.), score them each with a number from 0-10, and add a weighting scale whereby for example the customer value would be 1.5 times more important than the cost.

Such decisions however need a bit more input from different stakeholders, and as such, require this slightly more intricate decision-making process.

If however, you're faced with simpler decisions, particularly in marketing or sales, I do think a prioritization matrix can work well. You could even use different variables on both scales, such as (Customer) Value vs Risk, Feasibility vs Impact, Cost vs (Customer) Value, etc.

Give it a try, and see if it helps you. You could even experiment with tasks in and around the house! Should you first clean the house, or first water the plants? What costs less effort, and what has the most impact on your well-being?

3. And then some — Online Town

In an earlier newsletter I mentioned the free videoconferencing tool Jitsi. Recently I came across this new tool, called the Online Town.

The Online Town is created to mimic the interactivity and networking benefits of a physical meetup or conference.

The Online Town looks a bit like a 2D videogame. You're an avatar and just like with an offline event, you can walk around in a digital space, and join other groups. Once you move your avatar to another group, your video and audio automatically joins that group.

This means that people can hold different conversations simultaneously, without being interrupted by the audio/video of people who aren't joining the conversation.

I must say I haven't tried it on a big-scale yet, so perhaps I'll try to do that with the next meetup for entrepreneurs I'm organizing (which will be on 7 July, on Digital Nomadism, should you be interested).

So if you're giving the Online Town a try, do share your experience!

Have a great week,

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