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#329 – The Annual Usage Nadir

Friday Ship #329 | January 6th, 2023

a question mark on its side

This week much of Parabol got back from holiday break, as did our users.

With years of usage data, some interesting patterns are bound to emerge. After the new year, it’s particularly interesting to see who didn’t user Parabol over the holidays. The trend is most easy to see as local minimums in our “Weekly Meetings Ran” metric:

Line graph showing Parabol's Weekly Meetings metric since 2019, highlighting a dip for the holidays

It’s amazing to see how much of the world acts in synchrony and takes a break for the holidays.

A mere 2.6% of our active user base participates in a Parabol meeting during the quietest week. What’s the quietest week? For the past 3 years, the quietest week on Parabol has been the first full week in January.

But Parabol is a highly international product, used regularly in more than 130 countries, and not all parts of the world take a holiday break at the same time. One particularly strong trend is comparing usage from predominately Orthodox Christian geographies (such as Russia, Ukraine, Greece, etc.) to non-Orthodox geographies. You can see clearly that the Orthodox working world takes their break a week later than most of the rest of the world:

Line graph comparing meetings run per week on Parabol in Orthodox Christian and non-Orthodox regions

The first year we saw this drop in usage in December & January, it was scary. Will the users come back?

We’re grateful the answer has been, “yes,” and then some. The dip has historically been followed by a surge in late January and February that we believe can be attributed to team leaders being more open to trying new tools and experimenting with their way of working at the start of a new calendar year.


Parabol metrics for the first of January, 2023

Usage this week has begun to rebound from the holiday break. There were nearly 50% more meetings run this week than last. It will be another 3 or 4 weeks, however, before we expect usage to return to the levels we say before the holidays.

This week we…

continued Parabol’s strategy development process. The leadership began crafting and discussing goals that will inform the next 4-months of work (and beyond).

…resumed hiring for our open roles. We’re actively seeking a full-stack developer and members to add to our inside sales team.

completed design tasks enhancing standups to support recurrence and having a stable series link. One of the more aesthetically interesting and beautiful changes is updating our Meetings view to display a meeting series as a little stack of cards:

Design for recurring activities in Parabol, showing a stack of cards

…Parabol earned a mention on the Ruby for All podcast. The hosts briefly discuss the merits of how Parabol enables writing anonymous reflections in our retrospectives.

Next week we’ll…

adopt new goals on the leadership team.

Jordan Husney

Jordan Husney

Jordan leads Parabol’s business development strategy and engineering practice. He was previously a Director at Undercurrent, where he advised C-Suite teams of Fortune 100 organizations on the future of work. Jordan has an engineering background, holding several patents in distributed systems and wireless technology. Jordan lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

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