Usage is more important than design.
Usage is more important than architecture.
Usage is more important than marketing.
Usage is the only thing that matters.
Company culture is the most undervalued strategy but significant dependency for success in developing a growth centric company. Technical talent and strategic focus are important to the success but skills and strategy can only take a company so far. A company must culturally reward growth.
When I meet with companies for growth advice, I like to ask the following questions and listen to what a company says and doesn’t say.
As Facebook continues its expansion to be the largest internet service of all time, Facebook maybe losing the battle to Google in one of its core drivers of user growth, open standard for authentication or “OAuth”. From July 2012 to March 2013, Facebook Connect appears to be losing ground to Google Connect at an alarming rate due to losing user trust and preventing “spamming” a user’s Facebook friends.
When writing my TechCrunch series on growth hacking, I was very fortunate enough to chat with one of the legends on growth, Greg Tseng. Greg is the founder of Tagged, a social network for meeting new people. He has advised or worked at HomeRun, Flixster, Hi5, and LinkedIn. He has led numerous apps to over a million users.
Here is what Greg had to say about growth hacking.
Converting a visitor to an active user is a difficult task. Most product teams focus on the initial landing page but forget one of the top activation strategies is a well-designed tutorial that encourages new users to complete key tasks that leads to activation.
When I signed up for Ecquire a few days ago (a tool that fixes outdated contact information in CRMs through detecting and capturing relevant data sources from all across the web), I was very impressed with the attention to detail and creativity in their activation flow, so I reached out to the team to hear their inspiration.
Most of entrepreneurs haughtily think that their product is unique, but at the market level, undeniable trends emerge in how people use categorically similar products. It is important for a good growth strategy to understand how your retention and session frequency compares to your peers. Knowing this will highlight your product’s strengths and weaknesses.
Last week, Flurry released an updated benchmark for mobile app retention and session frequency based upon sampling of thousands of applications that can be used to baseline user behavior and focus a growth strategy.
“Growth hacking” is reaching into the mainstream mindset. Recently, Seth Godin wrote a post on the renewed focus of growth and cited one of my TechCrunch articles. As more and more companies are looking to recruit and form a growth team, it is essential to understand the needs of each company and to spend time on strategies that will have a significant impact on the numbers. Growth strategies fall into two meta-categories: pouring traffic into the funnel and optimizing the flow of traffic inside the funnel.
The most talked about element of growth is virality and new user acquisition. Both of these elements focus on thru-put in the funnel and less on the funnel itself.
Startup founders are required by an unspoken law to repeat the mantra, “I only hire A-players”. The desire to find and employ the best talent is grounded in minimizing team risk and fostering the best environment for growth. The wrong team can destroy a startup’s fragile culture and slow the team down, which threatens the life of a startup.
No company should hire the wrong team willfully; however, like Moneyball, what matters is how your team interacts with each other and rather than the individual talent of each team member. Don’t hire A-players blinding but hire for your culture, the needs of your team, and the long-run health of your company.
Practically understanding and implementing growth can be a real challenge. I sat down recently in sunny Palo Alto with Mike Greenfield, Growth Hacker-In-Residence at 500 Startups and co-founder of Circle of Moms, to talk about living a growth minded culture and his work experience at some of the fastest growing companies in the valley. Here is what he had to say.
Tell me about your past and how you came to be a growth hacker.
I sat down with Matt Humphrey, co-founder of HomeRun and now VP of Merchandise at Rearden Commerce, to talk about growth hacking and how to keep a growth-focused culture in a rapidly expanding company. Matt team’s growth strategy ultimately led to a viral product and a strong exit. His complete interview is below.
What is growth hacking?
Growth hacking is acquiring, retaining, and monetizing users more effectively. A growth hacker is an individual who can, from end-to-end, collect data, ideate, plan, execute, and deploy the necessary tactics and strategies to hit goals.
How did you develop these skills?
I developed these skills tuning interesting and novel viral loops with Andrew Chen back in 2008, building on the Facebook platform from 2009-2010, and engineering email list growth in 2011 at my company Homerun.