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Lessons on Growth (Boston 2014)

Adam Nash
Adam Nash

This is the version of the talk "Lessons in Growth" I gave in Boston at the PayPal HQ on Feb 24, 2014.

1 of 12
wealthfront.com

LESSONS IN GROWTH

Adam Nash @adamnash
February 24, 2014
Lessons in Growth
eBay Express

Build it and they will come? 

LinkedIn

Viral growth just works… as long as you make it.

Wealthfront

An incredible service and business… if.

wealthfront.com | 2
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.

wealthfront.com | 3
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?

wealthfront.com | 4
Five Sources of Web Traffic
Organic

People seek you out directly
Email

You send out email, they click
SEO

You expose pages that are indexed in
Search
Paid / Affiliate

Paid links to your content
Social

Links to your content shared by users
wealthfront.com | 5
Understanding Virality
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 

tomorrow?

wealthfront.com | 6

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Lessons on Growth (Boston 2014)

  • 1. wealthfront.com LESSONS IN GROWTH Adam Nash @adamnash February 24, 2014
  • 2. Lessons in Growth eBay Express
 Build it and they will come? 
 LinkedIn
 Viral growth just works… as long as you make it.
 Wealthfront
 An incredible service and business… if. wealthfront.com | 2
  • 3. 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. wealthfront.com | 3
  • 4. 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? wealthfront.com | 4
  • 5. Five Sources of Web Traffic Organic
 People seek you out directly Email
 You send out email, they click SEO
 You expose pages that are indexed in Search Paid / Affiliate
 Paid links to your content Social
 Links to your content shared by users wealthfront.com | 5
  • 6. Understanding Virality 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 
 tomorrow? wealthfront.com | 6
  • 7. Understanding Virality 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 than “m”. n m number of cycles branching factor wealthfront.com | 7
  • 8. 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. wealthfront.com | 8
  • 9. 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 simple. 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. wealthfront.com | 9
  • 10. 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 rates. wealthfront.com | 10
  • 11. Final Thoughts We can be our own harshest critics. In the mirror we see every flaw, every mistake, every imperfection. 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 future. Behavior matters. Values matter. wealthfront.com | 11