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AMAs

We’re really excited to be running our own AMA with the GrowthHackers Projects team. We're the people who are carrying the banner of sustainable growth practices and trying to help teams work together better to drive growth.

We can't wait to answer your questions about growth, marketing, how we’re thinking about growth, and of course, GrowthHackers Projects. If you’ve just started on your journey of using Projects, and have questions, bring them on. Still haven’t started using Projects or don’t know why you should care? We want to hear from you too! Want to know why we built Projects and what our future plans for it are? Ask away! What do you think of the Growth Idea of the Day Email? We’re all ears!

Who we are...

Sean Ellis, CEO of GrowthHackers

Sean co-founded GrowthHackers because he wanted a place to nerd out about growth. Sean previously led growth and marketing at several early stage startups including Dropbox, LogMeIn, Lookout and Eventbrite. 

Jason Meresman, VP of Product

Co-founder of GrowthHackers and the guy leading the product vision for the GrowthHackers Community and Projects. Jason also helped build an explosive viral growth engine at Jaxtr. 

Alex Sherstinsky, CTO

Co-founder of GrowthHackers, Alex is using his Ph.D. from MIT to help all of you grow faster with machine learning. 

John Phamvan, VP of Engineering

Leading the talented team of dedicated engineers who are building the GrowthHackers platform, John turns our vision into reality. 

Glen Harper, Director of Customer Success

Helping customers get everything they can from GrowthHackers Projects, Glen makes sure onboarding is as smooth and useful as possible.

Brand Winnie, Head of Creative

Helping turn GrowthHackers into a place the entire community is proud to call home, Brand adds awesomeness to everything we do - especially this video:

We’ll also have other members from the GrowthHackers team jump in (Dani Hart, Anuj Adhiya, Tri Nguyen, Mark Anthony de Jesus and Javier Feldman) if needed. 

Basically, the entire team’s here and looking forward to this AMA! We'll start answering questions from 930 AM PT on September 22nd.

  • VM

    vivek muralee

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi everyone..

    The whole GH team deserves gargantuan appreciation for the great work they have been doing. GH has been an inspiration for many entrepreneurs and marketers to motivate them to keep pushing ahead to achieve greater levels of success in the most efficient and easy way.

    Some questions that i would like to ask are -
    1)What exact problem does the GH Projects feature help to solve?
    2)What has been the most memorable moment in the growth of GH?
    3)What is the biggest threat to the growth of the GH community itself?
    4)What was the toughest obstacle that the GH team had to overcome?

    Wishing the whole GH team the very best.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @flexhelp , @sean here and I’ll take the first part of your question about the problem we are solving with GrowthHackers Projects. The main problem we are solving is that most marketing and growth teams are struggling to achieve their growth objectives. There are three sub problems that cause this broader problem.

      - Teams Lack Agility: Static marketing plans no longer work since choices are constantly expanding and shelf life of digital marketing tactics has collapsed.

      - Teams Encounter Chaos: When marketing teams make the required shift to agile, it's difficult for the team to stay on the same page about objectives, plans, tests and roles. Marketing leaders are then sucked into managing the chaos rather than focusing time on finding high leverage growth opportunities for the business.

      - Teams have Limited Access to What Works: Teams lack a system of record for their playbooks & results. It’s also hard for them to access benchmarks and expertise.

      4 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @flexhelp and thanks for being part of our AMA! @alexsherstinsky here. I have many memorable moments, each indicating one type of an inflection or another. The one that comes to mind right away is the incessant flow of love of the product and the life-reflecting video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP9vo9-NNo0) and the appreciation for the very timely problem we are solving from our customers and from the attendees at every conference where @sean speaks.

  • IM

    Ian McCready

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi GrowthHackers team!

    If I like Projects myself, what tips would you have for helping sell my marketing team on using it? Any stats, client feedback, or guesses on productivity boosts or time savings?
    Is Projects built to support international clients (UK&I)?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Thanks for the question @imccready ! @sean here again. I'd start by getting agreement from your teammates on the problem first. If you guys don't agree that you have a problem, then it's pretty hard to adopt a solution.

      First I would stress the need for an agile approach to growth. Explain that marketing channels die quickly and opportunities emerge quickly. Your team needs to be able to be able to act on information quickly to seize opportunities and continue learn about new and better ways to drive growth. Generally it's pretty easy to get team agreement on the need for adopting a more agile approach for growth.

      From there talk about the systems you have in place to coordinate your team's efforts. If your objectives change, how does your team know about it today? As you get more agile, change happens at a faster pace and most existing systems break down into chaos. Also talk about where you store your learnings from testing. Is it easy to find past test information? How often do people access that information? Generally you'll find that your systems don't support and agile first learning process.

      Once you've agreed on the problems, then compare the best solutions available for those problems. The hardest part is not the solution itself but having the team fully grasp the importance of changing how you approach growth.

      On our end, we need to make it easier for teams to sign up and start using Projects. Non-marketers generally don't want to take the time to create a profile of GrowthHackers, so we're working hard to get a Google authentication working soon.

      Hope this helps!

      4 Share
      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 1 year ago #

        Thanks for the question @imccready . Of course since you are OC based the alternative is that I can come to your office and convince your teammates one by one :)

      • IM

        Ian McCready

        about 1 year ago #

        Thanks for the feedback and ideas @sean

      • HQ

        Hila Qu

        about 1 year ago #

        Great question and great answer!

      • IM

        Ian McCready

        about 1 year ago #

        @sean That's a good option too, except I would need to send you to London! Although I am OC based, I'm a product manager working with a tech team based here that supports a UK based product and marketing team. Our UK marketing team has complained about way too many ways of managing and tracking tests across multiple tools so I wanted to see if Projects can helps unify their team's approach.

  • NL

    Nathan Lippi

    about 1 year ago #

    Do you run experiments on things where you won't likely be able to get enough data to get statistically-significant results?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Nathan,

      We still tend to design and implement our growth ideas as experiments, even if we don't expect to get statistically-significant results. In cases like these, we think of the resulting data as directional. Directional data is useful for learning, refining your hypotheses, etc.

      - Jason

      4 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @nathanlippi and thanks for being part of our AMA this morning! @alexsherstinsky here. I love this question, because even though A/B testing is often associated with trying to get decisive conclusions, the subtle point is that making a decision does not require statistically significant results, especially in a high-tempo testing situation. If you search growthhackers.com for "Statistical Significance", you will find a number of articles attesting to this (e.g., https://growthhackers.com/articles/don-t-wait-for-statistical-significance/). I also like https://growthhackers.com/articles/f-ck-it-life-s-a-risk-make-fast-inaccurate-testing-decisions/ where the author proposes a mathematical formula as a rule of thumb for quantifying how much data is enough. Finally, this topic goes way back in history. In his famous book "Crossing the Chasm", Geoffrey Moore talks about "proceeding based on small data" as part of finding the market for a company trying to appeal to the early majority of pragmatist customers. I hope that this helps, and would be delighted to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

      4 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Nathan, @dahartattack here.

      It really depends how you define experiment. If we're running an experiment such as an A/B test, we're going to want statistical significance. Sometimes we’ll call a test early if it seems like there is very little difference between a couple of variations. In that case, the traffic cost of the test likely makes the test not worthwhile. We’ll usually hit the reset button and try to do something more radical.

      It’s also important to remember that growth isn’t only about experiments. There are a lot of initiatives where you won’t have clear tracking about the impact of the initiative. SEO and content marketing are a couple of examples that can be hard to track. As long as the potential upside is high and the cost of the initiative is very low (in terms of time and dollar investment), We believe it’s still worth doing these initiatives.

      Hope this helps!
      -Dani

  • SA

    Shaker A

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Guys,

    First off just want to say thank you so much for creating such an amazing community. I've learned so much from here.

    1)Sean and Jason - What are the most valuable lesson's you've learned scaling a community/platform like growth hackers. What problems did you encounter and how did you solve them?

    2) Sean - In your opinion what are things early stage startups have to do to not only survive, but thrive? Conversely what do you see startups messing up that they can't afford to, and how do they fix them?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      It's @sean again tackling the 2nd part of your question. That of course is the zillion dollar question. I wish I knew the answer. But here are a few tidbits...
      1) Startups fail when the founders give up. Heard this from https://www.linkedin.com/in/adeoressi and thought it was spot on. So many success stories have a moment when most people would have given up. Just read the Nike story recently and there were countless examples https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0176M1A44/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 . Also check out "Hard things about hard things" by Ben Horowitz https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DQ845EA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1.
      2) The market is fickle. You can't force a solution that nobody wants. Be sure to validate the problem you are solving up front. Iterate on the solution until you have product market fit. See this post I wrote several years ago http://www.startup-marketing.com/the-startup-pyramid/
      3) From a growth perspective, I'm surprised how many people just go through the motions. The best growth leaders are super committed to figuring it out and are constantly trying to refocus on the most important thing.
      4) The most successful growth companies have some luck on their side - it's really hard to create the right product to address an unmet need.

      3 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey @shak , @sean here. Thanks for the kind words. I'll take the first part of your question first. I think the most important lesson for scaling a community like GrowthHackers is that it's a lot of work in the early days. You really need to commit to getting traction and stay involved 7 days/week until the community takes on a life of its own. It's also important to set the tone of the community early. I remember a few people posting demeaning comments in the early days and I had to jump in and explain that we're not that type of community. After a while it becomes self-policing, but in the early days no one really knows the rules yet.

      2 Share
  • MD

    Michelle Drucker

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey GrowthHackers! Two questions:

    1) How does it feel to be Sean Ellis?
    2) As you grow your product and team, what tips do you suggest for staying focused on what will make the biggest impact?

    You guys rock!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Michelle, @sean here. I better take the first one before someone else tries to answer it :) I'm not sure what you are looking for here, so I'll go with the literal interpretation of the question and focus on feelings. I don't actually like the spotlight. I'm a pretty introverted person most of the time. I also tend to perform best when people have low expectations of me. I don't like the external pressure of high expectations since I already put a lot of pressure on myself. I work really hard and I'm driven to success, but I also recognize that I've been extremely lucky in my career. Very few people get the opportunity to try to grow a product like Dropbox or Eventbrite or two spend 10 years working for a CEO like Mike Simon (founder of LogMeIn and Uproar).

      Having grown lots of other people's businesses, I'm in a dog fight to prove that I can be a founder/CEO of a my own meaningful business. Like other founders I feel the pressure of managing the balance sheet and burn to build enough traction to raise additional funding. I try to be supportive of my team but sometimes get a little cranky under the weight of the pressure.

      If startup CEO weren't enough on my plate, I'm also the dad of two high school girls. It's important to me not to make huge family sacrifices for our startup. Generally I feel like a do a pretty good job of keeping it all in balance :)

      As for the second part of your question, focusing on the right thing is a huge challenge for any startup. A lot of that is about trying to understand what's working and what's holding us back. There are thousands of things we could be doing and there are only a handful of things we can be doing well at any given time. For us right now a big part of our focus is getting trials on Projects activated to where at least a couple of people are collaborating over real experiments. When that happens we almost always convert trials to purchases. But a small minority of trials actually get to that point. Balancing long-term product development with addressing this key challenge is difficult.

      Thanks again for the questions.

      5 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        about 1 year ago #

        Maybe its just me but this is probably the first time that I've read a response like this by a "big name" on what it's like to be them & the pressures they face.

      • MD

        Michelle Drucker

        about 1 year ago #

        Thanks @Sean! Sounds like you have your hands full! Good luck with everything :)

        PS: I forgot to mention I read about you in The Science of Growth!

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi guys -- congrats on all the progress with Projects! My question for you is how do you manage the growth process for projects vs. the community (if you still run a growth process for the community). Do you run two separate meetings/processes, mash them together, or some other approach?

    The reason I ask is at Inman, we have three growth imperatives: subscription growth, traffic growth and event revenue growth. They all have separate tactical experiments and cycles, so right now we have them broken out into three separate growth processes/projects; but I'm wondering if you can share any insights or experiences in managing multiple product growth yourselves.

    Thanks!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey @morgan , thanks for the question and praise. @sean here.

      We've had to make some tough decisions as we shifted focus and resources to GrowthHackers Projects. For a long time we ran an aggressive growth process to expand the community. But the fact is that we never had a business model directly tied to the community. It's hard to continue to pour resources into something that doesn't generate meaningful revenue. So about 9 months ago we stepped back from our efforts to grow the community until we could have an integrated system that included a business model. For most of the last couple of years GrowthHackers Projects wasn't monetized and wasn't really integrated with the community.

      Recently we introduced the "save ideas" feature to GrowthHackers community that starts to bring the two together. We also started charging everyone for the premium version of Projects back in June. This has allowed us to resume our growth efforts of the overall platform. So now we have only one growth meeting per week with efforts spread across the community and Projects. Our north star metric is something we call card hops with includes saved ideas from the community and actual usage inside Projects. That's a snapshot of where we are today. Things have a high likelihood of changing in the coming weeks and months.

      Oh and thanks for all your help getting GrowthHackers off the ground!

      3 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    about 1 year ago #

    First question of many... what Pokemon level are you on?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      I'm going to answer this one first since it's clearly the most important question here.

      I'm level 24, but it's been a slog to get to level 25. I'm currently trying to get enough Clefairy candies to evolve a mean Clefable. Go Team Instinct! -John

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      @sean here. I haven't been tempted to try it. Weird, I know...

  • NL

    Nathan Lippi

    about 1 year ago #

    I'm assuming you guys eat your own dog food when building Projects, however:
    - What planning/ideas/tasks aren't managed in Projects?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Thanks for the question @nathanlippi . @sean answering this question.. Yes we've been dog fooding Projects for a long time - even before we had any sign of Product/Market fit (executing a growth process before p/m fit isn't generally recommended). Fortunately we've had the opportunity to grow multiple products including the GrowthHackers Community and Qualaroo (which was acquired about 6 months ago).

      We’re constantly evolving the way we use Projects as well as our overall growth process. I can think of two key areas where we don’t use Projects today.
      1) KPI discussion in our weekly growth meetings takes place in a Google doc. We are constantly jumping back and forth between Projects and the Google doc. I’m looking forward to the day where we can do our full meeting using only Projects and not need a companion Google doc.
      2) A lot of our growth related development tasks are done in Jira, but we take advantage of the Jira integration for these. I think Jira will always be the preferred platform for our developers. But it’s not good for prioritizing growth initiatives and capturing the learning from our tests, so it’s important that the two systems are well integrated.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Nathan,

      We do eat our own dog food :-) As far as what isn't managed in Projects, we put all ideas and tasks related to core product development into JIRA. Ideas and tasks related to growth go into Projects.

      While there can be a grey area, in general I think of core product development as the features we're going to design and build to deliver on our product's core value proposition. I think of growth as the experiments we'll design, build and test to move a particular metric within our product's usage or our business.

      - Jason

  • MM

    martín medina

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey guys,

    I’ve interacted with many of you in the community over the years but I’m glad to see you guys here doing this AMA.

    My first question is for the three founders: Sean, Jason, and Alex. How long has the development of Projects taken from idea to launch? Have there been any significant pivots for the site, was Projects always the goal for the site?

    My second question is for Brand. Are there any unique creative challenges when working with a product like Projects? Also what’s next from the creative team, the Projects video is incredible but I imagine you guys have more big stuff like that planned, any hints?

    Lastly, where can I get my hands on some GrowthHackers stickers you guys featured on your Instagram a while ago?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Martin, Brand here - thanks for the great questions.

      There are plenty of unique creative challenges when working on the design for a product like Projects. Too many to list actually so I'll try to just fish out one example.

      When I was first approached by Sean and Jason to join the team, Projects was called Canvas and it was in a very alpha version just beyond wireframing and the engineers had designed it. I think Jason referred to it as Frankenstein.

      I had a tremendous challenge ahead of me because Sean and Jason wanted a refresh of the GrowthHackers brand, a refresh of the community and a scrap of the current version of Canvas and into something that was unified with the community and the new brand. Which is what you see with Projects today.

      I had to consider many many things like the existing GrowthHackers users at the time and making sure not to do anything too drastic as to scare them off into the great abyss and risk never seeing them again. It was all about improving and creating an evolution and not a revolution and that was tricky.

      You'll have to wait and see what's next. :) We've worked extremely fast and efficient over the past 12 months and there are gaps in the product. Currently we're hyper-focused on filling those gaps for a truly cohesive experience and then also layering in some elements of delight as well.

      We'll get you hooked up with some stickers! Shoot me an email at brand at growthhackers dot com!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey @martintmedina . @sean here. I'll take a shot at the first question. We actually had a usable prototype for Projects after just one week. Jason and I locked ourselves in a room with a developer with the goal of making that happen. Of course it was only a tiny fraction of our vision, but we started using it right away. Unfortunately it was really a single user experience at the time, so it wasn't very valuable. Within a couple of months we decided to set up a shared account where each person would add their name to their ideas. At that point it started to become a lot more useful. Development has continued over the last couple of years and it's come a long way since those early days.

      For the first year we really only had one developer on it. At the time we still had Qualaroo, which was a profitable business, and we were trying to manage/grow the GrowthHackers community. Eventually we sold Qualaroo and built a much bigger team of developers to focus on Projects. As you can imagine, it's pretty scary when you sell off all of your revenue, but we wanted to focus all of our efforts around our best opportunity and where we had the most passion.

  • AA

    Aldin A

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for making Growth Hackers such an rich community. It's definitely one of my favorites.

    My questions are for the managers at GH.

    1)What do you think are the top skills/traits that a manager needs to have to bring out the best in their employees?

    2)How do you go about empowering employees? What does empowerment look like at GH?How do you instill an ownership mentality in them?

    Thanks

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Empowerment is based on trust. If you don't have trust in your team and your team doesn't trust you, then empowerment shouldn't even be on one's mind yet. So assuming you have that trust built, then empowerment becomes giving people several problems or challenges to tackle and then stepping back and occasionally guiding them to a solution. At GH, this often means picking a measurable objective ("Increase activate rate by X%" or "Decrease average deployment time to X minutes") and give that metric to a team member to manage. There's a clear "win" defined. There's a clear business reason. There's a theme to all of their daily work until the objective is accomplished.

      Hope that answers your questions!
      -John

      4 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Aldin,

      I think the top skill/trait that a manager needs to have to bring out the best in their employees, is being a great listener.

      To empower employees, we partner to define objectives with expected and measurable key results within a time frame. The team/employees own the plan and approach for achieving the objective.

      - Jason

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      @sean here... Adding a bit to @johnphamvan answer. I really agree with his note about the importance of clarity of vision. I would also add that it should be a shared vision that is something the full team takes ownership over. In the last week I've had one on ones with at least 7 of 8 team members where I've asked the following two questions:
      1) Is what we are doing important?
      2) If yes, why is it important?

      Rather than just try to sell them on a vision, I wanted to understand their vision for the business. Most of the time it was the same as mine, but by leading with questions I was able to see if I was missing something even more important than I was considering. I plan to have this same conversation with the rest of my teammates over the coming weeks.

      • DH

        Dani Hart

        about 1 year ago #

        @sean, that one on one was my favorite to date. We all think about the importance of what we're doing, but having a real conversation and coming to similar conclusions (with unique flair) really gets me excited to conquer the challenges of achieving that shared vision.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Aldin! Great questions. I'll take them one at a time.

      Traits that I personally feel are most important for leaders: clarity in vision (where are we going as a team?), clarity in communication (so we all know we're going), and empathy (how is your team doing? how are they doing at home? how do they feel about the work they are currently doing?)

      As for skills, the foundation is to be able to do what you are managing so in my case being a competent engineer first. That doesn't mean that I'm the worlds best engineer, but it does mean that I know what I'm talking about and have a strong grasp of best practices. Particularly for engineers, I feel this is important to earn respect from your teammates.

      Communication skills, particularly verbal communication skills are critical, too. I think people underinvest in soft skills as they transition from individual contributors on a team to become a leader of a team.
      -John

      2 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @aldin and thanks for being part of our AMA this morning. @alexsherstinsky here. I agree with my colleagues in everything that they have highlighted (vision, empathy, listening and supporting the best solution, among others). I would also like to add one more, if it has not been already mentioned while I was typing this up. :-) And that is: Managers Lead by Example. Inspiring the team is achieved in part by the manager's respect for the team, enthusiasm, and work ethic. These are very contagious (in a good way!) and, combined with the other aforementioned skills, can help achieve significant results, rewarding to everyone around. Would you agree?

  • TM

    Ty Magnin

    about 1 year ago #

    @brandwinnie — i really like the GH brand from a visual perspective!

    would love if you could share the process you take to create a brand aesthetic...i also like what you did with Neff back when...

    some guiding questions (but please dont feel constrained to answer each of them):

    - do you have guiding design principals unique to GH? if so, how'd you get there?
    - how much do you weigh personal vs team taste...vs what the market is doing?
    - how did you gather team input into your design aesthetic?

    thanks in advance!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey Ty! Brand here - thanks for the kind words!

      So I do have a bit of a process or a guide I like to follow in terms of creating a brand but a lot of that comes down to context and who you're creating the brand for.

      In terms of GH there were many things to consider; making it fun and playful, keeping it minimal and easy to use, creating an evolution and not a revolution and not pissing off the existing user base at the time of over 100,000 people.

      For the rebrand, I spent several days sketching and playing with color pallets based around the turquoise green color from the original community site. The psychology behind color is important so I knew I wanted to stick with it and build from it.

      Luckily for me, I refined my sketches into a single concept and presented it to the team along with how I thought the community and Canvas could look with a unified brand and UI. Everyone was sold on it after the meeting and it was a very smooth transition from there. This doesn't always happen but it was nice to have that initial pressure off my back so I could then focus on refining what I already had buy-in for.

      One other thing I'll mention that I feel like was a huge part of my thinking for the rebrand was selecting a color pallet that was vibrant and full of energy and creating an icon that was strong yet minimal.

      I knew if I could accomplish this then we could tie these aspects of the brand into the product and add elements of fun into an otherwise repetitive system of tracking, measuring and experimenting.

      At the end of the day we want to build a product that everyone lives in on a daily basis. If that's the case, we might as well make it fun to and simple to use. Doubling down on these characteristics will be one of my many goals in the coming months as we continue to get the core experience more refined.

  • JS

    Josef Scarantino

    about 1 year ago #

    I'm building a platform aimed at a two-sided market and have read up on some of the lessons learned from your excellent articles. Thanks for those resources.

    My question is related to marketing to a two-sided market. How do I market to the supply side when it differs from my ultimate mission, which is aimed more at the demand side? Do you recommend building two landing pages, each aimed at their side of the market, or do I shift my overall mission and put everything into marketing to the demand side?

    FWIW, I'm not opposed to marketing to the supply side, as it wholly supports my mission to the demand side. They are two sides of the same coin. But I'm concerned that the demand side won't feel that I'm paying due attention to their pain points.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Josef, @sean here. Without understanding the details of your business, I think you need to have a compelling value proposition for both the supply side and demand side of your market. The easiest way to do this is via different landing pages. Uber/Lyft are classic examples of this.

      This page for drivers: https://www.uber.com/a/carousel-vs-1/
      This page for riders: https://www.uber.com/ride/

      I don't see a whole lot about mission on either of these pages. Sometimes mission is important to customers, sometimes a very compelling value proposition is all it takes.

  • CM

    Chris Martin

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi GrowthHackers! It would be great to get some recommendations on simple and cheap ways to do lead management. It is hard sometimes to keep the big picture view of all our contacts, relationships, and interactions! We'd like the single view combined with simple triggers that set up the next action for that person.

    Many of the less expensive solutions we've looked at require you to live in their "universe" and don't do a great job pulling in the data from outside sources like phone calls, social media interactions, etc.

    All the best to you guys! Keep fighting the good fight for all us aspiring GrowthHackers out there!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey Chris, thanks for the question. When we owned Qualaroo we had a pretty good system built around Salesforce with pretty deep hooks into our internal data.

      Interestingly for Projects we've dumped Salesforce and are trying to do lead management inside Intercom. Part of the reason is that we are going for a relatively low touch low entry price model for Projects inspired by Atlassian. If we were trying to build a big sales team I'd probably want to stick with Salesforce.

      But we're far from having everything "figured out" so I'm sure our systems and approach will evolve quite a bit over the coming months. - Sean

  • RB

    Ry B

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey GH Team,

    Two questions for the team!

    1)Over your individual careers can you talk about the most important lesson's you've learned?

    2)Outside of growth hackers, can you name your favorite resources to learn about growth (blogs, courses, books, bootcamps, programs, etc.)

    Look forward to hearing from you guys!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @ry and thanks for being part of our AMA this morning! This is @alexsherstinsky to put my two cents in. For me, the answer to your question #1 is the following: "Be hard on the problem and soft on the people." Note that this by no means implies that one should tolerate sub-par employees. On the contrary, we all strive to build environments and cultures, where excellence is expected. Having said that, when the team concentrates on solving problems rather than blaming and pointing fingers, you -- as a team -- are more likely to fix the problems and build solutions faster and continue to be inspired to tackle new challenges. Happy to hear what you think. Thank you!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Ry,

      Speaking for myself, the most important lesson I've learned is that overnight starup-success is a myth. In tech especially, there's a tendancy for the media to focus on rocket-ship growth stories.

      The reality is that every one of these companies have years of focus, patience and persistance under their belts. I prefer to think of these as "seven year overnight success" stories.

      About my favorite resources, to name a few:

      Dave McClure's Startup Metrics Presentation:http://www.slideshare.net/dmc500hats/startup-metrics-for-pirates-long-version

      Books:
      - Predictably Irrational - Dan Ariely
      - The Four Steps to the Epiphany - Steve Blank
      - Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – Nir Eyal
      - Lean Analytics - Alistair Croll
      - Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days - Jake Knapp

      - Jason

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey Ry, I'll take the first one... My most important lesson over my career is make myself indispensable to the company. Smart companies will work very hard to make sure you're happy if you are truly valuable to the org. Too many people hold themselves back because they feel under appreciated, under paid or whatever the issue may be. Worry about compensation and appreciation after you are kicking ass. Lots of people will disagree with me on this, but it served me well through my career (before becoming a founder a few years ago).

      3 Share
      • SJ

        Sebastian Johansson

        about 1 year ago #

        Funny. Two very close friends at an old company I worked at for a few months when I was younger had these exact attitudes. One always complained. And rightfully so, employees were treated bad and paid next to nothing. The second one just worked really hard regardless and never complained.

        The second one is today making a couple of lawyers salaries per month at another company. And is getting head hunted every week.

        Would add that even if the company you are working might not repay you, other companies might do, down the road. May it be the reputation you start building, the skills you pick up by working harder, references etc.

      • GT

        GrowthHackers Team

        about 1 year ago #

        That was @sean

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Ry! Most important lesson I've learned is kindness and generosity are really important in the workplace. I realize how cliche that sounds. When I first started my career, I had a lot of "anti-patterns" of management around me (think yelling, berating, intimidation). I think a lot of people see that and sometimes model that behavior later.

      Kindness doesn't mean being "nice" or a pushover. It sometimes means telling people what they need to hear. Ultimately, kindness returns to you as more kindness, the best quality of work, loyalty, perseverance, and extra effort when things are tough and the roof is on fire (that never happens in startups...). Kindness and generosity are really simple to give and can be as simple as insisting a teammate to stay home and take care of their sick first born or giving your time to listen to career aspirations of a junior teammate.
      -John

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    about 1 year ago #

    How exciting, I certainly have some questions!

    1) What was the most effective means of getting GH Projects to rank #1 on Product Hunt. Any channels yield particularly good results?

    2) What has been the hardest thing about delivering projects and bridging the crossover between the community side of GH and Projects?

    3) What do you guys do to relax given you are lucky enough to live in California?

    4) What is the ethos of a good team and how do balance having people in different locations vs having everyone in a fixed office?

    Can't wait to hear from you.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey Ed, @sean here.

      1) I think a big part of our success on Product Hunt was because we waited until we were ready. We had to request Projects get removed a few times. By the time we listed on Product Hunt we had dropped our credit card requirement for trials, removed several steps from our onboarding, created the video at the top of this page, tested messaging to understand why our most passionate customers had signed up, etc... Then we worked with Hiten Shah, someone who had a lot of credibility in the community, to help us get listed. We listed at midnight and the whole team was engaged in a conversation with the PH community. We also encouraged our GH community to participate in the discussion.

      2) Focus

      3) Everyone does different stuff. Fortunately year round nice weather opens lots of opportunities. Jason and I like to surf, Brand bikes, Dani runs, Glen knits (kidding)...

      4) I think key to having a good team is having mutual trust and a shared mission. Location doesn't really seem to matter that much. For example I got the intro text for this AMA from Anuj to review at 10 pm his time last Friday. When he's not available in my late afternoons I know he's having some quality time with his family. And I know he more than makes up for it when his kids go to bed. It's a similar situation with most of the team.

      3 Share
  • TM

    Ty Magnin

    about 1 year ago #

    @all i assume you all are years ahead of the rest of us on using Projects...so i'm VERY curious, how do you use Projects on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey @tymagnin - @sean here. Our usage has actually changed quite a bit since we introduced the Objectives Roadmap feature. Essentially everything we do is now based only on our current objectives - which are based on where we feel like we have the most leverage for growth. So for example...
      1) Team can only nominate ideas related to the objectives
      2) ICE score for backlog of ideas is stack ranked in relation to the specific objective
      3) Up next column only consists of items related to current objectives (all others were moved back to backlog)
      4) Deeper discussions around what it will take to maximize results of the objective. This tends to spur team to generate relevant ideas to what matters right now.

      To me, growth is really a function of focusing on the right stuff and then the quality and quantity of experiments directed toward that objective. So starting with the right objective and then aligning our team's efforts behind achieving that objective is a high level explanation of how we are using it.

      4 Share
  • JD

    James Dunn

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi GH Team,

    I just noticed that you'll now have a pricing page for Projects that you didnt before. Earlier you'll had a single price across the board.
    Would you be willing to share any tests/learnings/insights etc from your process of trying to figure out pricing for your product?

    Thx!

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @jamesdunn , @sean here. The biggest reason we didn't have a pricing page was that we're moving quickly and just hadn't gotten one up yet. The other changes are just minor tweaks. But before I get into the details of why we made those changes, it's important to understand how I think about pricing this product. I believe if someone is caught up in the price being too expensive, we've failed in our job to communicate the transformational nature of our product. We need to communicate that teams that aren't committed to an agile growth process are going to struggle trying to grow (or are going to fall well short of their potential because they have such an awesome product that they can grow without an agile process). And once a team adopts an agile process, keeping a team in sync becomes a huge challenge. With GrowthHackers Projects it is much easier for teams to stay on the same page as they jump from one opportunity to the next. If people understand this, they'll realize that $96/month is pretty low cost for something that will transform the effectiveness of a team of 4. We dropped the Pro per seat price from $25 to $24 and the minimum seats from 5 to 4 because $96 is easier to buy than $125 (basic pricing psychology).

      We added the lower cost package for teams that are 1-3 people so smaller startups would be able to use Projects and start as low as $15/month. But any startup that only uses one seat will miss the key point of the product - keeping a team coordinated as they manage an agile growth process. And a $9 seat price difference between the startup package and the Pro package is psychologically much easier to handle than a $10 seat price difference.

      So this was more based on best practices than testing. Hope this helps.

      3 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @jamesdunn, @gunghoglen here, thanks for asking this question. We have indeed recently modified our pricing to include multiple levels of service. Each one is targeted at specific user groups based on the results from our initial pricing launch. We listened to our users and designed plans to onboard them based on where they are in their business.

      When we came out of beta, we had the single price across the board, as you stated. This was because we believe Projects is best used across a team as a way to help everyone stay focused on your growth objectives. We then added startup pricing for smaller teams to help them get going, and we added the Enterprise solution for larger organizations who wanted everyone in their company to participate, but wanted to cap their expenses regarding the service.

      The insight is to always listen to your customers (potential, current and former) after a launch and then go back and redesign the next effort based on their feedback. We engaged with our users in multiple ways, and that feedback led us to our current offering.

      Your customers will tell you what you need to do in order to be able to grow, so make sure you are listening to them and everything will start to fall into place. - Glen

  • SK

    S Kodial

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi GH Team!

    Here's a couple of questions for you:

    a. What would you say the a-ha moment for Projects is? Has your initial hypothesis for what this is changed or is it still the same?

    b. To John and/or Jason: How do you balance the product development priorities vs what is already on the roadmap vs anything you might need to do for specific growth experiments given that you have finite resources?

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi S,

      Your question about balancing planned product development priorities with development needed for growth is a great one. In general, we have a dedicated growth engineer for all development required for our experiments. This allows the rest of the development team to focus on planned, core product development.

      - Jason

      3 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hello! Great question. Classic startup challenge... finite resources and infinite dreams! =) At GH and other successful startups I've been part of, one of the key things was only having a few top things that the entire company is focused on. On our team, we only have 2-3 company objectives at any time. At another company, it was a stack ranked company-wide priorities list and an understanding that only the top items would get any resources. *However*, at a startup, the team must also expect these objectives to end if we learn something is not working or have a new approach based on customer development. (Note this is very different from following the hunches or whims of the HiPPO.) I've got a counter example, of where a company I was working for was trying to focus on 14 company-wide initiatives that required development simultaneously with 12 application developers... We had a lot of 50% done work laying around.

      So only work on a few things at a time and know that they could change at anytime... That means the team needs to be agile. That's with a lowercase "a" not Agile Methodology. The team needs to be able to work on the best thing for the business at any given time which means needing a foundation of best practices. I could ramble about this forever, so feel free to DM me if you want to shoot the breeze. To me best practices mean: heavy automation for deployments and testing, lightweight spec and design process, growth mindset, knowing that we aren't trying to development perfect solutions the first time out (figure out what works then go back and pave the dirt roads), getting used to throwing away code, very high collaboration and a good relationship between product, design, and engineers. The process we use at GH is a lightweight Kanban process that allows us to expedite growth experiments with weekly milestones for product development between the product and engineering stakeholders. We have quite a bit of automation built... We're deploying to production 6-8 times a week. Sometimes those deployments are just for a growth experiment and other times it's a new feature.

      -John

      3 Share
    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Sriya, @sean here. I'll take the first question. My opinion is changing about our a-ha moment. At one point we thought it was when you share an idea with a teammate. But when I'm doing demos people seem to have an a-ha moment when they connect their first Optimizely experiment. It's really cool to see the test version screenshots populate in the experiment doc and to get a realtime feed of the results.

      From a data perspective, we know that conversion to purchase is very tied to people adding at least a couple of experiment docs and inviting at least one teammate. When that happens the majority purchase at the end of their trial.

      2 Share
  • SJ

    Sebastian Johansson

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey GH team!

    1. Any plans to integrate Asana?

    2. Any plans to build some sort of mini upwork marketplace around Projects where contractors can bid on completing ideas you pick? So on upwork you have to create a job ad. But in project you just click on an idea to have it published as a job ad. Perhaps you could also store login info to optimizely/server etc in your project and share it with contractor with a click as well.

    Would love to see projects take on a casino feel/look where I can just login, see my ideas, have quotes from contractors on the cost of implementing them and then just click "Bet!" on the ideas I believe in :)

    • JM

      Jason Meresman

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Sebastian,

      Integrating with Asana is on our product roadmap.

      Regarding your question about having an integrated marketplace with freelancers, it's something we've discussed.

      - Jason

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey GH Team,
    What would you say is the right time for a startup to consider using a tool like Projects? 
    Thx.

    • GT

      GrowthHackers Team

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi @porus, @gunghoglen here and I'll take this one. We find that startups who have determined product-market fit exists for their solution are ripe for a service like Projects. Once that fit is established, then it is time to go for growth.

      Projects is ideal for helping teams rally around growth. When you realize you need to run multiple tests simultaneously, that's where we come in. Projects helps your team set growth goals and stay focused on them, all the while managing your testing process and storing your results in a knowledge base that is visible to your entire team.

      Once you have that fit and are ready to take your efforts to the next level, that's where we fit in. Thanks for the question! - Glen

      3 Share
  • GT

    GrowthHackers Team

    about 1 year ago #

    Thanks to everyone that's participated - we had a lot of fun! :raised_hands:
    For questions we haven't gotten to, we'll be back to answer them later today/tomorrow.

  • GG

    Gaurav Gupta

    about 1 year ago #

    John, can you talk about your engineering stack and how you see it evolve over next few months/year?

    • JP

      John Phamvan

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Gaurav! Thanks for asking.

      At the core, we're a Rails and Angular shop and hosted on AWS. However, the stack is evolving pretty quickly as we containerize, refactor as we add functionality, and increase test automation. We've also been really focused on optimization and performance lately which has brought on many new tools for monitoring.

      I think 6 months from now we'll still be using Ruby and Javascript, but we're looking closely at how we can be more agile to support growth testing and implement our learnings faster. This could mean more focused APIs and even some serverless development (e.g. Amazon Lambda).

      You can find our full stack here: http://stackshare.io/growthhackers/growthhackers

      -John

  • GG

    Gail Gardner

    about 1 year ago #

    I don't have a question, but I do have a comment. Most of us are going to see Projects in the left side when doing something else. When we click on it we can't tell what it is for or what to do with it. Perhaps adding a link to https://projects.growthhackers.com/ would be beneficial to your users?

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