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Jordan Hwang is the VP of Growth at Chartio, a data analytics and business intelligence platform used by companies like Optimizely, Prezi, Indiegogo, and WeWork to power every employees' data exploration and insights. At Chartio, Jordan leads the Marketing team, and works on Chartio's business model, strategy, and operations.

Jordan gets excited about finding new levers for growth, understanding user behavior, and testing new ideas.

Prior to Chartio, Jordan was a Sr. Director of Marketing at Kabam, a mobile gaming company valued at over 1 billion dollars. Jordan helped Kabam successfully transition from Facebook to Web to Mobile and led several initiatives including Live Operations, conversion optimization, virality/growth, and customer acquisition His last project at Kabam was launching a new business unit that finished its first year at a $30M+ annual revenue run rate. 

Outside of Chartio, Jordan advises startups and professionals on marketing growth/scale strategies, marketing analytics, business models, and strategy. He's an avid reader, a League of Legends fan, and spends his weekend trying to hack it on a golf course.

He's also a proud husband and new (read: smitten) father to a 9-month old baby girl.

You can follow him on Twitter: @jordanhwang8

He will be live on Feb 2nd from 930 AM PT for one and a half hours, during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • JH

    Jordan Hwang

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey guys, I'm super excited to be here! I see there's a lot of great questions already, and am working on answering them as quickly as possible.

    If I can't get to your question, or you have follow-up ones, I'll be attending the GrowthHackers conference on February 18th (Chartio will be demo'ing, as well). Feel free to come find me in person, and I'm happy to chat further then!

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey guys,

      Sorry it took so long for me to answer everyone. I'm a slow typer.

      Feel free to email me at jordan@chartio.com if you have any follow-up questions, or any questions that you didn't want to share publicly.

      And, as I mentioned, I'll be at the GrowthHackers conference on February 18th, and would love to meet all of you there. Come find me at Table #5, or shoot me a note!

      Thanks again for attending and asking questions, it was a lot of fun!

      -Jordan

      • HQ

        Hila Qu

        over 3 years ago #

        Jordan, thank you for sharing so much great insight. Look forward to meeting you at GrowthHackers Conference.

  • PV

    Philippe Vdhd

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan,

    1) How are you finding the shift from working in B2B, going to B2C and now being back to B2B? Any valuable lessons learned in B2C that you/we can apply in the B2B world?

    2) Is there a marketing rule you live by that not many people talk about?

    3) Which books, if any, have had the biggest impact on you and your marketing skills?

    4) What are you currently struggling with the most?

    Thanks a lot for doing this!

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Phillipe,

      Thanks for the great questions!

      1) How are you finding the shift from working in B2B, going to B2C and now being back to B2B? Any valuable lessons learned in B2C that you/we can apply in the B2B world?
      I actually really enjoy mixing up B2B and B2C. I’ve always considered myself a marketer first, and have never enjoyed being tied to a particular industry. I'm a big believer in taking ideas from one area, and applying them to others. The ability to apply lessons from B2C back to B2B (and vice-versa) has actually improved quite a bit due to the rise of SaaS and Freemium.

      Because SaaS relies less heavily on face to face, emphasis is now being placed upon the first time experience (tutorial, new user experience, etc.) to facilitate a successful customer relationship. Interestingly enough, do you know what else has to focus on a first time experience to teach a complicated product w/ new rulesets?

      Games.

      Both the core economics and marketing strategies by which free to play, freemium, and SaaS companies function are blending together. It’s fascinating.

      2) I don’t have a firm & fast rule (well, I do, which is that you should always leave resources for testing, but I don’t think that’s new). I think that the biggest thing that I’m seeing these days is a trend of shifting from marketing being a qualitative skill set to a quantitative.

      I have mixed feelings about this.

      I’m a quant by nature, so it may be a bit odd that I’m saying this, but I see this shift hewing dangerously towards an idea where all that matters are numbers. While I agree that at the end of the day, marketing should be measured and tracked, I feel like people tend to believe that story and context don’t matter.

      In my mind, that’s a huge missed opportunity, both in execution of marketing tactics, but also in one’s individual mindset as a marketer.

      Context drives so much of what people understand and do. Great marketing strategy understands where a person’s mindset is, and speaks to it directly at the right time & place. While numbers will tell you what’s working or not, it won’t be able to tell you how to improve it.

      3) I’m a big fan of the psychology books - “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, and the Dan Ariely books come to mind.

      In following along with my answer on #2, I think that “Ogilvy on Advertising” is also a great book. In my mind, copy writing is pretty undervalued, but is something that differentiates products that have an identity and can be recalled quickly from others.

      4) My biggest struggle is saying no. Being mindful of the resources required to create and execute meaningful tests and initiatives is a mistake that I see a lot. Often times, teams will spread themselves too thin, and not make a true commitment to something as a result. When that happens, failure often follows.

      I find that trying to stay aware of that, and saying “No” even if it feels like it’s something simple is important, especially with a team that’s small and lean.

      Hope that helps!

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan,

    As a Chart.io user, very glad to have you at GH:)

    I have two questions for you:

    1. From a marketer's perspective, do you ever face the struggle about whether a growth issue is due to product or due to marketing? Now that marketing and product are coming closer and closer under growth, how do you think individual marketers and organizations should try to solve this issue?

    2. If you just joined a small start up as the 1st growth person, what are the approaches and steps you would take to drive growth? Understand that there will be many variables, just would like to know whether there are some systems/frameworks you find useful.


    Thank you and get enough sleep!

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Thanks Hila! I love that you’re a Chartio user, and hope that you’re loving Chartio! If not, let’s talk and figure out how we can make it better.

      1) Ah, the marketing vs. product issue…. that’s a fun one. It’s actually something that we encountered a lot of at Kabam. The nice thing about gaming is that you get to achieve statistical significance much faster than with an enterprise product. One thing that we found was that given significance, people within a product will act in similar ways as they go through the product. Traffic quality is immaterial in this.

      In other words, if 50% of people make it through Step 1, and 25% of people make it through Step 2, then I can expect that with traffic thats of low quality, if only 10% of people make it through Step 1, then 5% of people will make it through Step 2. Why? Because Step 1 was the original quality filter. So anyone that makes it past Step 1 is of the same quality as anyone else that made it past Step 1 in the past. (This assumes that no one driving traffic is doing anything to harm the natural flow of people through the product like incentivizing people to get through Step 1)

      So, knowing this, it’s fair to assume that if a cohort of users fails to perform up to standard later on in the funnel, it’s probably not directly related to the traffic that’s being driven in by marketing. That being said, if there’s an issue, it’s an issue for all teams and shouldn’t be tossed over the wall as merely “Their issue, not ours."

      To be candid, it’s one of the things that I like most about the evolution of growth. Growth broke open the department silos, and allowed people to think and act as owners of the whole experience, and not just product or marketing.

      2) If I were to join a small startup as the 1st growth person, the first thing that I’d like to do is understand what’s going on. What’s the desired behavior that I want? What signals that this behavior is occurring (this is the most important)? What’s doing well, what’s not doing well, and why? If you’re completely new to the domain (as I often am), industry benchmarks are very helpful to determine what’s not doing well. Once I understand what’s doing well (ie. what’s driving the desired behavior that I want), then I look to double-down on that. As I improve that, I start to feel for what’s not doing well and look for the easy fixes to meet industry benchmarks.

      It’s important that as you do the fixes for what’s not doing well, you map it back to whether improvements in that area actually affect the desired behavior. It’s easy to fall into the trap of fixing something (ie. signups for your product) without improving what actually matters (ie. sales, etc.).

      Hope that helps!

  • SJ

    Sebastian Johansson

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan. Thanks for doing the AMA and congrats to the new baby girl :)

    1. New marketing channels like adwords etc. tend to become a bit saturated after a while. What marketing channels do you feel are on the rise today, but not discovered by the mass yet?

    2. How do you balance hacking a current feature (like a better sign up process) vs hacking the whole product/business model (like adding a massive new feature to the core product)?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Thanks Sebastian! I’m a big fan of my daughter - my wife says I'm too big of a fan...

      1) I think that there are a lot of interesting things around the live casting space that can work really well, given the right product. I think that you’ll be able to see much more come out of them than something like Instagram just given the medium. Whether those channels will be overt advertisements or not remains to be seen...

      One thing that I think already exists, but is extremely undervalued, are the more traditional advertising channels. Dedicated site takeovers and mail drops are still extremely effective. The only issue is in finding the right economics to make it successful. However, for the dollar, you’ll find that you can achieve much more with something like a dedicated placement because as a buyer, you’re taking all the risk.

      With that risk comes the reward.

      2) I think that the balance can be difficult to hit well, but that it’s namely a result of what you’re seeing with your data (both quantitative and qualitative).

      My first questions would be “Does your core product solve what it’s supposed to solve? For what percentage of your targeted buyer? How well does it solve it?"

      If the answers to the questions above are: “Yes", “80%”, and “Well”, then the only thing that’s standing in the way of the product is something that’s feature-based.

      However, if any of those above answers are in the negative, then you need to strike a delicate balance. More nuanced questions come into play like: “How far into the product is it before they start to hit the limits of the product?” If it’s far, then you can still work on an individual feature versus the core product, but make sure to prioritize it in the mid-term. If it’s not far, then you’ll see a lot more value in fixing the product before driving a better flow.

      Ideally, you actually have two teams that work in parallel - the larger engineering team focusing on the product, while you have a smaller team that’s focused on the features that you think will really move the needle.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan, thanks for doing this AMA. What does your growth process at Chartio look like and how frequently do you run new tests? Is there something specifically that you'd like to improve with your growth process?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Sean, thanks for having me!

      The growth process at Chartio is a bit odd, mainly because we are also the marketing team. In our case, marketing = growth.

      What we end up doing is having a process whereby every quarter, a member of my team is put on a large growth initiative. This can be something that's huge (ie. new content type), or something that's relatively small but important to us (ie. new marketing channel).

      These growth initiatives function as compass points for what we're trying to achieve. To that end, each member writes up an "Initiative Doc" that describes what it is they're working on, why it is that it's important, what the hypothesis is, and what the metrics that are to be tracked are, and the method by which they'll be executing. This helps to ensure that these tests are well thought-out. The doc will be consistently updated throughout the quarter as tests are run, and new tests/assumptions are created.

      Assuming the initiative is successful, we turn it into a Process w/ an outlined Strategy that's put against it. This ensures that everyone is aware not just how we do something, but why we do them. Hopefully, as the core tenets of why we did something change, that will prompt someone to pick it up again and test.

      If, by the end of the quarter, the initiative is still up in the air, a determination is made whether or not progress is being made against it or not. Again, progress = learning, not just success. If so, then we can choose to continue into the next quarter.

      Assuming it's not, we will kill it.

      From my end, the biggest thing I'd like to improve is efficiency. Our team is small and our resources are finite. I'm a big believer in testing velocity in order to get wins. The best way to do that given our constraints is to be efficient in how we test so that we can call a winner/loser as soon as possible, and keep moving. It's a constant struggle, but something that I'd like to see us continue to improve upon.

  • CP

    Chris Powers

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Jordan,

    If you were starting out in the growth space from scratch, how would you build your portfolio to have a successful career?

    This is coming from an aspiring growth hacker who is just starting to conduct a few experiments with local environmental startups.

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Chris,

      I’m a big believer in building strong foundations. Some advice that I give to everyone who’s just starting out in a career is to go to a company that’s well known for the career that they’re interested in. For example, Google’s well-known for their Product Management teams, and Ancestry.com’s well-known for their Online Marketing teams. Getting into a place like that will help you understand the basics in a meaningful way, as opposed to flitting from project to project. During that time, the question that you should always be asking is “Why?”. You get the opportunity to be the annoying 9 year old, but instead of asking mindlessly, you’re trying to figure out what drove the process. Once you understand the rules, you can start to bend and break them as needed, but also apply the logic to other areas that make sense. Learning from someone else’s path instead of blazing your own trail is always preferable.

      That being said, I understand that it’s not for everyone (it wasn’t for me). If you’re like me, I would do two things. One - get known for doing one thing very very well (mine was SEM). For growth, that could be a specific tactic, or a specific type of situation. Take a lot of projects that involve that and practice. Seek to improve on what you’ve done each and every time you do a new project. Do a post-mortem and determine what you could have done better, and why. Read lots of materials around that tactic, and talk to a lot of people you see doing the same thing. Learn from them, and incorporate.

      As you become an expert in that thing, you’ll find that you’ll be given responsibility that enables you to try other things. This is advantageous for two reasons
      - You can apply similar learnings from your expertise to increase your success rate on these new projects (You should understand how the new projects work, too. Reading & talking to people will help with that)
      - You have your core expertise to fall back on to continue to drive success while you’re learning.

      Given that you're working with a background of local environmental startups, I would probably take a bit of time to learn what drives growth with those types of companies, and choose that as your point of expertise.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    Have you ever seen or acted on an effective Instagram growth hack?
    If so, which one?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Arsene,

      No, unfortunately not :(

      I'm ashamed to admit this, but I think that Instagram (and Snapchat, etc.) may have passed me by. For whatever reason, I don't get it right away, and I haven't had the time (or a project that felt like it could fit) to really dive into it.

      It's odd, because apparently I have a baby and a dog, which people tell me is the recipe for Instagram success...

      That being said, I'm curious to see what you've seen as great growth hacks out of Instagram. Feel free to send them my way (I have an account), and I'd be happy to dissect it and riff off of those ideas.

      • AL

        Arsene Lavaux

        over 3 years ago #

        Jordan- Well, let me try the baby and dog hack :)

        Actually, since I am always on the lookout for new growth ideas, I opened up this discussion on the subject in the GH community, you might want to have a look at it at: https://growthhackers.com/questions/ask-gh-what-are-the-best-instagram-growth-hacks

        There is some very good information.

        At a personal level, I have experimented with a number of hacks on the social networks, specifically on Instagram, as I am fascinated with the shift towards instant, and increasingly ephemeral medium in an increasingly fragmented set of channels that are also becoming at a fast pace more "self-disappearing" in nature...

        As a growth hacker, tackling the challenges of discovering and scaling new sources of growth in this digital era is something that I feel passionate about. And something that, in my opinion, justifies even more the point you made earlier that the tech side of growth hacking will not be enough for the next-generation growth marketers.

        I'd bet for a subtle blend of art and science as the core driver of growth wins in the years to come.

  • JR

    James Rochabrun

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan

    - What are the main metrics I should have on my dashboard as a marketer for a SaaS business?
    - If I am just starting out, what types of tools (besides google analytics) do you recommend to effectively track all of my data properly? (Ideally something easy to setup and use).

    Thanks for your time today.

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi James, thanks for your questions!

      1) I think the biggest metrics for a dashboard that you need are your ultimate success metrics. In a SaaS business, those are usually leads, qualified leads, etc. Following that, I would look at what drives those numbers, and include those on my dashboard. If content drives leads, then I'd like something that tracks the health of my content strategy on my dashboard. If it's advertising, then use that instead.

      2) The biggest thing that you'll need to track data is a database that you own. I'm a big proponent of maintaining ownership of your data. I often see teams that will use a database as a service provider, and then have their data held hostage. It's sad. They end up sacrificing a lot of their potential growth because the switching costs of moving are too high.

      Data is a competitive advantage. Don't let someone else own what can make you special.

      3 Share
  • MD

    Michael Duquet

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan, first off as a father of a 2 month old and a 2 year old I bet you're just about to enter the "sleep regression" phase with your daughter...so good luck with that, I'm not looking to that phase again.

    To the question: I see the biggest barrier for Chartio being that many potential clients aren't comfortable opening up a 3rd party solution to their prized internal data. How do you guys plan to overcome this potential objection?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Edward,

      I feel like I'm always in a sleep regression phase :(

      It's a great point, and something that we do encounter. I think that there's a couple factors that help us overcome this.

      - Everyone is moving their data into the cloud. Amazon Web Services' revenue is projected to be $1.6B by the end of 2017 (http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/04/technology/amazon-aws-160-billion-dollars/), and their Big Data product, Redshift, is their fastest growing product (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/15/amazon_redshift_big_growth/). This is a signal that more companies are comfortable with putting their data into a 3rd party solution, and are actually putting even more of it in there than before. The adoption of AWS, along with other cloud computing services like Google Cloud, is a great signal that people are getting more comfortable. Chartio's own service is actually run on AWS, meaning that if you're comfortable with AWS, you should have a certain comfort level with us.
      - Chartio as a product doesn't store your data. We query your database, and store/return only the results. So with Chartio, your data is as secure as you are with it.

      All that being said, data security is something we take very seriously, and is foremost in our mind as we make changes and add to the product.

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Jordan!

    Thanks so much for this.

    My question is, what's possible for the world of Charting/data visualisation?

    I watched an amazing talk by David Eagelman that took Twitter sentiment and merged it with wearable technology to 'experience data'.

    Clearly this is a bit beyond the requirements of normal data relay, but will we see more intelligent ways to interact with our dashboarding tools?

    Second question is, what are the biggest errors in analytics you typically see with customers using Chart.io?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Edward,

      1) It's a great question, and to be completely honest, I think that anything and everything is possible within the world of charting & data visualization.

      It's proven that people recall images better than text, so a chart that illustrates a point is much more effective than just having the results there. And, in fact, in a learning environment, actually doing something is more effective than just seeing it. So, as dashboards get to become more advanced, I think "experiencing" data can move to the forefront. But, instead of interactivity with a dashboard, it makes a lot more sense to push specific feelings to the right people.

      Sensory alerts become an interesting way to tell someone that something's wrong. It's pretty farfetched at this point, but fun to imagine!

      2) I'm going to expand on your question and highlight two things - the biggest error with companies using data (in general), and the biggest issue I see come up with customers.
      - When using data, I feel like people are too beholden to general metrics. Those should be used as guidelines by which you build your own metrics that give you the ideal pulse on what's going on within your business. The general metrics are there to compare against other companies, which while useful to some extent, have too much priority internally.
      - I see a lot of customers who run into trouble when their data grows exponentially. I think that the general thought process is that once they have a data strategy/architecture set up, they can just continue to use it until the end of time. It's not true. Architecture needs to be updated as the demands of the business change. By opting to not do so, you only stall the potential growth of your business by slowing it down.

      • ES

        Edward Stephens

        over 3 years ago #

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this Jordan. I totally agree that tabulated data is a complete abstraction......it's been written time and time again about human image processing and it's power.

        I wonder if companies will have develop company health visualisations - built on a framework of variables.

        As you say....fun to imagine!

  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Jordan

    What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered with growing Chartio?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Brand,

      I think one of the biggest challenges that Chartio (and any small startup) faces is lack of data. It's really easy to make a decision when you have a result of 5 million people, but it's really hard to make a decision when you have a result of 25 people.

      Decisions without full data are difficult, and can not always be delayed. I think, in those cases, you have to use what little data that you have, and go with your instinct.

      Once you make that call, you have to drive everyone towards it. The key is that everyone has to be 100% behind the call in order for it to succeed. If they're not, then it's unknown whether you made a bad call, or if it was just a lack of commitment on your end.

      In professional League of Legends, there's a concept of a "shot caller" on your team that during the course of play will consume information and ideas fed to them by their team. Once they take that and make the call, the entire team needs to follow. You can actually watch teams that are not as skilled individually win games due to the strength and conviction behind executing these calls.

      It's an interesting microcosm of what happens within a company when decisions have been made.

      • ES

        Edward Stephens

        over 3 years ago #

        This example was fascinating....i'm sure if people went through the great battles of history, similar moments of unlikely 'outcomes' were trumped by superior organisation.

  • DT

    David Truman

    over 3 years ago #

    Jordan, A lot of Growth Hacking is about basing your decisions off of numbers, not instincts. How do you use Chartio to help you to be a better data-driven Marketer/Growth Hacker?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi David, that's an interesting question.

      I think that it's actually a misconception that growth hacking is about making your decisions off of numbers instead of instincts.

      While it's true that whether your hack was a success or not was ultimately determined by numbers, there's an incredible amount of instinct that comes into play in order to get that test set up.

      I believe that quantitative information (numbers, data, etc.) will only point to an issue, but will not tell you what that issue is. That's where qualitative information and instinct come into play.

      You can also flip it around and make a hypothesis without consulting numbers, but you'll then have to use quantitative data to determine if it actually has legitimacy. If it does, then feel free to test away.

      In either scenario, there is a balance between qualitative (including instinct) and quantitative that occurs. However, quantitative data is the ultimate measure of what happened.

      Chartio helps enable anyone to determine the quantitative nature of what people are saying. The power of Excel is that you have a lot of flexibility with the numbers. You can create new ways of measuring and looking at things that never existed before (and may not need to exist once you've looked at it this time).

      Chartio allows you to do that, except off of a live database (instead of having to download the data, make sure it's up to date, and then update it again when you present it), and while stitching together data from multiple data sources (good-bye multiple sheets and VLOOKUPs).

      So, I can create new metrics to track things, put them into graphical form (because it's usually easier to understand that way), and then discard them as needed. The beauty of it is that it's me doing it, and not an analyst on the marketing team that I rely on, or an engineer on the database team that I have to bug.

      So now the velocity by which I can run tests is higher because I have no dependencies.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan - it's great having you on!

    Do you have a daily routine, and if so, what does it consist of?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Dylan,

      Outside of work, I have a daily routine, where work is a big blob on my calendar. My day usually consists of:
      - Wake up
      - Walk dog
      - Eat breakfast/drink coffee (optional)
      - Fall asleep on train into work
      - Work
      - Fall asleep on train home from work
      - Play with daughter
      - Dinner
      - Workout
      - Read
      - Sleep

      Interspersed throughout that would be me spending time on my phone checking email, etc. (I'm really bad about that).

      At work, I find that I don't have much of a routine. I get pulled into different conversations, etc. that I can't find much of a way to plan around. Instead, I create a bullet point list of the things that I want to accomplish during that week.

      Whenever I get free time, I look at the list and just go down the line. If it's still there by the end of the week, I move it into the next week.

      Unfortunately, even though I've read books like "Getting Things Done" and everything else, I have no amazing life hacks for how to handle the day to day, but if you know of some, I'm all ears!

  • GS

    Gopal Shenoy

    over 3 years ago #

    What processes would you recommend a startup that is just establishing a growth hacking process? How would you qualify ideas that are generated?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Gopal, great question!

      The first thing that I recommend is to get your data in order. You can’t measure what you can’t track, and you don’t know if you’re improving if you’re not measuring. Following that, I think it’s most important to instill a culture of testing. In other words, don’t worry about the results, worry about what you’re learning.

      Nick Saban, head football coach of the University of Alabama, has a great example of this with what he calls The Process (http://www.businessinsider.com/alabama-coach-nick-saban-process-2015-8). By focusing not on whether or not a test won, but focusing on what you learned from the test, you can remove the need to win every single test. Of course, you should be winning tests, but you’ll find that losing a series of test can lead to a big win as you better understand what’s happening and why. If you focus on winning all the time, then you invite people to take very little risk in their tests, such that when they lose, it’s less of a big deal. While you don’t lose very much, you only win a little. In that scenario, you risk getting caught in a local maximum.

      This dovetails nicely into your second question - how to qualify ideas that are generated.

      I classify ideas & tests as either big or small. Big are ones that test major hypotheses or assumptions that we have. Generally speaking, these are the tests that are very different from what it is that we’re doing now. Small ones are iterations that hold with what we’re doing now, but are smaller changes to the core idea. Think product vs. features.

      I like to qualify ideas that are generated against the hypotheses that are being made. Are they well thought out, or are they just off the wall ideas? What’s the reasoning behind it? Generally speaking, if someone can’t explain the reasoning behind it, then it hasn’t been well thought-through, and you should push back until something comes back with a reason for it. With a well-reasoned idea, then you need to identify how well that logic fits within what you’re seeing with data. If it’s not there, then I would place it on a low priority because the context behind the idea doesn’t match what you’re seeing.

      Assuming everything’s a go there, then I look to identify complexity of the test (how hard is it to figure out if I’m right or not), and difficulty in executing (does this take a lot of work). If it’s a lot of work, then I try to figure out a test that will be less work, but still tests the hypothesis in a meaningful way.

      Finally, I like to separate out my tests and do a big one, followed by a series of small ones. For me, big ones are tests that take longer to set up. Since I want to make effective use of my time, I like to run a series of small ones until the big one is built, then run the big one, followed by the smaller ones again. We learn by continually testing, so velocity of testing is a huge deal in being successful in the long-term.

      3 Share
  • TT

    TONY TOM

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan

    What should be the biggest concern of a company launching the beta product on test, for the users? Social media growth, or the virality that can be acquired through the constant content updates and strategies or something else?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Tony,

      Aside from the product itself, it's a bit hard to point to something specific that a company should be worried about. I believe that the purpose of a beta is to see whether or not your product idea is solving an issue.

      Subscribers, etc. are all geared around value. If the product/solution has value, then people will follow. How much they'll pay for it (either in terms of time spent, or money) is dependent on the value that it's providing.

      To that end, the focus needs to be on ensuring that the question is answered. Are the people that you're pushing into the product the right people? If your strategies are not doing that, then they won't be successful.

      Generally, social media growth and virality are assumed to be successful under the assumption that they bring in so many users, that only a small sub-section of them have to be your type of user.

      Realistically, though, given the difficulty in predicting virality, you'd much rather have something that's got a small k-factor, but targeted towards the right audience versus something that has a huge k-factor, but may not hit the right people.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Jordan,

    Thanks for your time today! I'd love to learn about when you developed your passion for growth, user behavior, and testing ideas? Was there a certain, sudden inspiration that led you to what you do today or did the passion emerge through other a series of steps through your upbringing?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Logan,

      I naturally fell into it. I've always been a big numbers guy, and I've always loved the psychology of people. I think it's interesting how we associate things with others to form opinions and basis.

      I think it was a series of steps that ultimately brought me to this point, and I'm lucky to have had the opportunities that I've had to get further on in my journey.

      I will say that one moment that sticks in my head is when this commercial first came out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgStAPQhA3M

      Watch the video, then read the caption. Was that your takeaway, too? Because it's the takeaway of everyone I ever talked to who's seen this commercial.

      Except it's not what they said.

      Things like that fascinate me, and it's what compels me to always understand a user's mindset and context in order to successfully drive user behavior.

  • HP

    Hugo Pereira

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for doing the AMA, very excited about it! A couple of questions on managing your team:
    - How do you coach your teams to have the right growth mindset?
    - Do you have a mix of generalists and specialists?
    - What key advice would you give when building a growth team?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Hugo,

      This is a lot of fun, I really enjoy doing this. Maybe the folks at GrowthHackers will let me do another one further down the line. I love the questions, and can hopefully do them justice.

      1) There's three things that I think are extremely important when coaching teams. Whether or not I do them well is debatable, but I'm always looking to get better.
      - Accept that things will fail. It doesn't mean that you're OK that it fails, but that you don't get beat up over it. If you fail, then you should be able to learn from your mistakes, and do better the second time out.
      - Keep in mind the bigger picture. I'm happy that page views are up, but what does that mean for the test? What does that mean for the bigger picture? Does that drive any actual benefit?
      - Bias to action. You spend way too much time trying to be perfect about something when 80% (or sometimes 50%) will tell you what you need to know. We're lucky that we live in a time on the web where things change all the time. Take advantage of that fact.

      2) I usually enjoy having a mix of generalists. My old manager, David Quiec (https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidquiec), and I often talk about how we hire, and we always prefer the athlete over the football player. An athlete who's a good football player can be successful at football, but can also find success in other endeavors if we have to change sports. A football player (by definition) will be less successful in that pursuit.

      That being said, my philosophy has changed somewhat as I've grown as a manager. I used to think that the stack order was this: athlete + football player > athlete > football player.

      My stack order is now: athlete + football player > football player > athlete

      I think that may change if I felt like I had the bandwidth to focus solely on coaching, but because I don't, I think that it's a disservice to someone to be stuck in a situation where the deck is stacked against them.

      3) Key advice from me would be to look at your team's personality. I want a team that's willing to challenge people (especially me), and is coachable by everyone (and not just by someone higher up). I feel like the growth mindset is all about learning, and if someone isn't naturally predisposed to that, then they are unlikely to be successful on a growth team.

      The other thing is to get your data in order. I often see people want to test these ideas, but they have no way to track success or not.

      • HP

        Hugo Pereira

        over 3 years ago #

        Thanks Jordan! Loved the answers!
        So sad I can't go this year to Growth Hackers conference; otherwise would love to spend sometime discussing more about teams and growth management. Best of luck!

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Jordan

    Thanks for taking the time for this!

    Are there any data visualization techniques that you've found more effective than others?
    If yes, what is it about those techniques that make them better?

    Also, on the flip side - are there some bad practices that you see people follow/constantly fall into the trap of?
    Are there easy ways to recognize and avoid going down such paths?

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      Hi Anuj,

      Great set of questions.

      I'm a huge fan of Cole Nussbaumer (http://www.storytellingwithdata.com/). She has a fantastic blog around how to convey data ideas, and has recently released a book about it, too (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1119002257?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=1119002257&linkCode=xm2&tag=storytellingwithdata-20). I would definitely follow what she has to say around how to convey specific ideas with different data types, and what to avoid.

      More generally speaking, the biggest issue I see with data visualization is that it often tries to either convey more than one idea, or doesn't really convey anything. It's almost as if someone put it in there as an FYI.

      With any data visualization, you should be trying to convey an idea in a single image. Even if it's a dashboard that talks about the health of the business, someone should be able to glance at it and know what they need to know within 5 seconds. Any more time, and you've lost them.

      I think that it's important to stay clear on what it is you're trying to convey. If you're not sure, then I would stop to think it through first.

  • SB

    sasha blumenfeld

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Jordan,

    Can you share an anecdotal marketing experience where you learned from either a success or failure and how that impacted your marketing efforts?

    Thanks!

    • JH

      Jordan Hwang

      over 3 years ago #

      This gave me flashbacks of terrible interviewing experiences that I bombed.

      To be completely honest, nothing comes to mind. I've always had a short memory when it comes to things that have happened in the past. It's not that I don't remember them, but rather, that they don't fill me with any emotion. When I search my memory for any emotional highs or lows, nothing really comes up.

      That being said, I can tell you about where I learned how to do things, which stick out in my mind the most. I can tell you about the day that I learned how to map out ROI degradation based on the amount that I spent, or the day that I figured out how to appropriately test display inventory to monitor both direct and indirect response (PSA ads on a percentage of your inventory, then compare).

      But, I think that I usually focus my time on the learnings and pull from there.

      It's both a blessing and a curse. It means that I'm not afraid to run a test due to a test that I ran before. Unfortunately, it also means that unless I actually learn from the test, I'm doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

  • RA

    Rebeka Ashly

    over 3 years ago #

    Jordan Hwang, you just became my favorite person. Great stuff, in details information. Thank you very much. Upvoted

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