LESSONS IN GROWTH
Adam Nash @adamnash
February 24, 2014
Lessons in Growth
Build it and they will come?
Viral growth just works… as long as you make it.
An incredible service and business… if.
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Why Growth Matters
History is written by the victors
Victory for consumer software is almost always
deﬁned by your market reach
Growth does not just happen, it has to be designed
into your product and service
The market is brutally competitive. If you don’t ﬁgure
it out, your competitors will.
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Think About Non-Users
Software companies tend to focus almost
exclusively on their users
Growth is about the experience you provide for nonusers (aka guests, visitors)
When you are small and growing, almost all of your
future users have not signed up yet
Whats pages & features do you have for non-users?
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Five Sources of Web Traffic
People seek you out directly
You send out email, they click
You expose pages that are indexed in
Paid / Aﬃliate
Paid links to your content
Links to your content shared by users
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One of the key insights of our growth strategy from
2008. Extensible to literally all engagement features.
Key measure used by applications on social platforms.
This is an extremely useful frame.
How does a new customer
today lead to a new customer
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At the heart of virality is an exponential based on
branching factor and cycle time.
Would your rather 10x every week, or 2x every day?
Rabbits make lots of rabbits not because of big litters,
but because they breed frequently. “n” matters more
number of cycles
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Three Steps to Virality
Clearly articulate the ﬂows where content from a
user can touch a non-user. Wireframes are ﬁne.
Build a simple mathematical model for conversion
rates and multipliers and cycle time. Instrument your
ﬂows for these metrics.
Develop, release, measure, iterate. Be prepared to
execute 6-8 release cycles to get your factor high
enough to contribute meaningfully.
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Growth in a Mobile World
Native apps work for a simple reason: they
generate organic trafﬁc at scale.
Transaction ﬂows are still heavily optimized
for the web, and conversion rates are better.
Non-users don’t have your app. It’s that
Engaged users, on your app, publishing
content that reach non-users, likely
converting on a web ﬂow.
iOS, Android, Facebook & Twitter all working
on bridging the native / transactional gap.
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Value First, Then Growth
Engineering growth over a product that doesn’t
provide real value will be short term, at best.
Engagement and/or economic value must be at the
heart of any sustainable growth curve.
Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth to
drive your brand, your trafﬁc, and your conversion
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We can be our own harshest critics. In the mirror
we see every ﬂaw, every mistake, every
These are the very early years. Things that seem
small now can and will be huge in 5 years. Each of
you can and will have a profound impact on that
Behavior matters. Values matter.
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