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"Startups shouldn’t have growth teams. The whole company should be the growth team." Steady growth comes down to commitment and discipline around focusing everyone’s time on improving your North Star metric — and that’s too lofty a goal to leave on one person or a few individuals.

  • MR

    Mike Rome

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Arsene,

    Thanks for reading. Despite the post's title, I'm not anti-growth team (in fact, I've started and led several). While a growth team can be a wonderful asset, the best ones aren't just helping grow products, they're helping create a 'culture of growth', encouraging other people to apply their skill sets and experience to growth as well. Growth teams that execute and follow 'growth process' no doubt create value, but where it really pays dividends is when this team becomes the teachers who empower the greater organization to all run towards the same North Star together.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      almost 3 years ago #

      Mike, really enjoyed your post. I'm curious how you would define "startup" in the post. It seems like you are largely defining it as a pre product market fit business. I think your recommendations are spot on for pre product market fit.

      As you get more into scale mode, you generally need to balance broad participation with efficient execution. That's when I think a core team can be effective for prioritizing, executing and analyzing experiments, and also communicating learnings broadly across the organization. This core team can be very effective if they can mobilize the rest of the company to seek opportunities for improvement and look externally for additional inspiration. Then they play more a role of facilitating growth than carrying the full burden of having to carry the full load of driving growth.

      • MR

        Mike Rome

        almost 3 years ago #

        Hey Sean, thanks so much for the note (and thanks for GrowthHackers!). I hear ya - as teams scale, it's probably a bit idealistic and inefficient to continue as if you were still pre-product-market fit. If the first two stages of growth are (a) make something enough people want and (b) hypothesize/test models for growth, a lot of the behavior I cite are conducive to these stages. Once you've nailed your model for scale, I can see how things might change. Your comment makes a lot of sense, and admittedly, I have much less experience post-series B.

        On a related note, someone I admire in the field (and early at FB) sent me an email after I asked for his thoughts on my post - specifically when it comes to "When does it make sense to have a growth team?" Figured I'd quote him, and share with the group:

        "Once product-market fit is found and the company starts really growing the employee base*, it's natural for the ideological separation between the softer types and the growth/aggro types to begin to widen. In my mind, it's the degree of separation between these camps and the size of the camps that determines whether a separate Growth Team would be a useful thing to consider. Note that I don't think that it's healthy for a company to grow to a large size driven purely by the aggro/growth mentality. [Some companies] have been so data driven that they optimized themselves into irrelevance. At FB, we strove really hard to maintain this balance and it's honestly one of the hardest things to do as a company scales."

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    almost 3 years ago #

    Great post. But is it incompatible with having a growth team though?

  • BT

    Blake Thorne

    almost 3 years ago #

    Really nice post, Mike.

    Though I think smart growth teams (or solo growth hires) aren’t taking growth and silo-ing it from the rest of the company.

    Yes, the whole company works toward growth and a north star metric. The advantage of a growth team is to have some people in charge of evaluating current strategies and introducing new ones.

    When it comes to execution, the whole team has a growth role. Someone just has to put together the growth playbook.

    • MR

      Mike Rome

      almost 3 years ago #

      Thanks for the kind words, Blake. And I'm with you - great growth teams are empowering the greater organization to apply their skill sets and experience to move key company metrics. Everyone on the team, whether customer service, product, sales, marketing, etc. has unique skills that lend themselves to growth.

  • PB

    Pavan Belagatti

    almost 3 years ago #

    Good piece of information

  • MM

    Mary Morgan

    almost 3 years ago #

    Great read!

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