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  • Tejaswi Raghurama

    thanks a lot for the advice Sean! We did decide to focus on growth rate and conversion from lead to sale.

    The emails collected will just be a meaningless number if don’t focus on the growth rate. Insightful link. Will update our progress here . thanks

  • Morgan Brown

    This is a cool idea. I really like how Quora shows you your per-post views, etc.

  • Jim Gray

    I’d rather see personal analytics. Which submissions got how many views, that kind of thing. Let the magic internet points fit the audience.

  • Morgan Brown

    I think the guys at Stack Overflow really nailed it with points. See Jeff Atwood’s talk at Habit Summit for how they did it:

    A few considerations that I’ll throw out there:

    1) Whatever you choose to reward is the behavior you will get out of a system, so you have to be very careful with what type of behavior is really beneficial to the community. Reward the wrong behavior and you can really damage the community. So we have to be careful with points and really ensure that they’re aligned around the behaviors that are most beneficial to the community.

    2) Points should point to expertise, not volume. As @everette likes to say, in the NBA some guys score 20 points a game on 12 shots, others score 20 points a game on 24 shots. Same end result, completely different way of getting there. You don’t want to encourage a lot of shots, you want to encourage points scored. So we don’t want to create a reward system that creates an incentive to either vote everything up (because let’s face it, most stuff doesn’t deserve votes), or an incentive to submit more articles (again, most articles shouldn’t be submitted in the first place.) So the challenge is to reward quality content and quality engagements. Points have a hard time being tied to qualitative measures because they are themselves quantitative.

    3) Not every user responds to points. While many people do, others don’t care about leaderboards. Leaderboards can also be very demotivating to people. When you aren’t on the leaderboard and are far out of range of the leaders, many people give up. Understanding the motivations of the users of the community needs to be an important part of this—Bartles players types give a good breakdown of the different types of game personalities that appear in community systems like We don’t want to discourage people or demotivate them from participating.

    4) Rather than narrowly focus on points, we should focus on the behaviors we want to see and find ways to elicit more of those. To me those behaviors are (in no order):

    - More people commenting and engaging in discussion around posts
    - More votes on quality content. Too much good stuff gets lost on page two and three.
    - A larger percentage of site visitors submitting, voting and commenting than just lurking.
    - More clarity on who the experts are in each section of the site. Who is great at CRO, social, paid acquisition, etc.
    - A way to give more visibility to the trending or hot threads or posts of the day. I think this is by improving the voting mechanic. Must read is too static to capture the stuff that you should read on a given day.

    5) If we did use points they shouldn’t be the binary result of a vote = a point, etc. Reputation should be more nuanced than that. There has to be a quality component as well. Perhaps this is done with down votes, like in Stack Overflow and Reddit; however I personally like that people can’t be down voted on It seems to lend to the positivity of the community.

    6) What the points get you is also an important consideration. I tend to lean toward the Stack Overflow and Hacker News model where all the benefits are tied to the community. For example who can submit content. I would be up for a minimum karma to submit content. It would ensure that new members understand the dynamics before jumping into the content submission process. It could create a higher quality feed. It could also feel exclusionary.

    Net/net I think most communities thrive when there is some organizational structure to them. We just need to be thoughtful in which applies best to this particular one.

  • Al Mukmin

    Sean, the bigger question is, what can you actually do with the points? Where’s the value?

    (consider implementing neg rep)

  • Sean Ellis

    Thanks @seiji . This seems like a great topic for an AskGH on its own. My general feeling is that if a company is primarily retaining users on a SaaS app because they forgot to cancel, they are doing it wrong. Churn is painful for any SaaS company, but it also presents an opportunity. When someone cancels you learn how they were different from the people that stay active and don’t cancel. This can give you insights into the type of users you should try to acquire, and also how to onboard them in a way that leads to habitual usage.

    SaaS companies should never think of users as being converted. They should always be managing the lifecycle toward a bigger more valuable plan. If you are doing this, the person is very unlikely to forget to cancel.

    My main point is that a company built on the hope that people forget to cancel is one that is a bit of smoke and mirrors. The likelihood of it becoming a big, valuable company are pretty low.

    I know you aren’t necessarily advocating, just asking the question. And I think it is a really good question and hope others will chime in.

    Does anyone else think we should break this out as it’s own AskGH?

  • Sean Ellis

    Hi Amit, please take a look at the submission guidelines here: . We request that you alternate submissions from your own blog and great 3rd party growth content you see around the web. Thanks.

  • Kim Onos

    Brilliant ideas! This is a good read! Thanks!

  • Stuart Hall

    Wow that is awesome, thanks so much @jon-bishop that has made my day.

  • Sean Ellis

    Thanks Ryan, really appreciate you sharing your feedback on points, etc. I think points are interesting if you can exchange them for perks like you’ve suggested. Maybe even every point that you get is an entry for a one hour brainstorming session about your business with Morgan and me. And we do a random drawing every month…

    But I agree, most of us are here to get new insights about how to grow our businesses. So points should be aligned with whatever people’s goals are from the site.