Cross Company Learnings from the First Set of Breakout Growth Interviews

Episode 7 December 05, 2019 00:39:49
Cross Company Learnings from the First Set of Breakout Growth Interviews
The Breakout Growth Podcast
Cross Company Learnings from the First Set of Breakout Growth Interviews

Dec 05 2019 | 00:39:49


Show Notes

For this episode, we look back at the first six episodes of The Breakout Growth Podcast to uncover key cross-company learnings from each of the breakout growth interviews. Ethan Garr, SVP Growth at Robokiller, returns to help me uncover the key commonalities and differences between these breakout growth companies.

I interviewed Ethan in episode 2 about RoboKiller and the path they took from product/market fit to an acquisition by IAC. Ethan has also been helping write more in-depth growth studies on each of the companies featured on the podcast (available at

So Ethan is really the perfect person to help me uncover some of the key learnings across these breakout growth companies. Some of the areas that we explore include:

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 2 00:08 grim to the breakout growth podcast where Sean Ellis interviews leaders from the world's fastest growing companies to get to the heart of what's really driving their growth. And now here's your host, Sean Ellis. Speaker 3 00:24 All right. In this episode we're going to try something different. Rather than interviewing a new company, I want it to look back at the first six episodes and see if we can find some commonalities and differences in what's working for the fastest growing companies. So for this analysis, I invited back Ethan Gar, who you may recall is the SVP growth at a robo killer. I had interviewed Ethan for episode two. Ethan has also helped me write the more in depth growth studies that we're [email protected] slash growth studies. So he's very familiar with each of the interviews. He's, he's probably listened to them more times than I have and uh, and he also shares my passion for figuring out what really matters for driving sustainable growth. So let's get started. All right, welcome back to the breakout growth podcast. Ethan. I'm excited to go through some of the learning that we've generated over the last, uh, six, uh, episodes including one with you. And um, yeah, as we worked together on gross studies as well. Um, we have a lot to talk about. Speaker 5 01:34 Yeah, it's been incredibly fun and, and educational for me just to be a part of it because I think Speaker 3 01:39 you see just so much as you start to start to talk to them Speaker 5 01:42 different companies and see how everybody has managed and learn from their breakout growth differently. Speaker 3 01:47 Again, learning I think is the key part here. Uh, I knew it would be interesting to have these conversations, um, but I, I, I probably didn't expect to learn as much as I've been learning. You know, the, the, the key just to kind of reset for someone who may not have heard all of the episodes up to this point is the, the goal of this podcast of the breakout growth podcast is to take these world's fastest growing companies. So I'm looking at a lot of different data to identify why are these really, really fast growing companies and are they in fact really fast growing companies and then dig into what are the key growth drivers. So I had some assumptions going into it. I knew for example, that you can't grow a business without product market fit and uh, but then, you know, from there I expected to see some differences in how people execute and, and just, you know, learn something from each one. But again, there's, there's been probably more learning that I expected. So, um, I'll, I'll kinda hit it off with you. As you've gone through and you've helped me write these growth studies, what has been, what would you say is probably your, your biggest takeaway in terms of, of the biggest driver of growth that you see kind of consistently across these companies? Speaker 5 03:00 You know, it always seems to be, I know it sounds like understood, but it always seems like the best companies are really have this focus on mission. That always ties back to the, to the, this driving value back to the customer concept. Every company, whether they have infrequent use cases, whether they are driven by the strong network effect or referral loop engine. Um, it always seems like they have this connection to the customer where they really think about the customer in a, in a way that drives their, their growth. And it sort of permeates through all elements of the business. Whether it's growth, leadership, you know, managing product market fit, whether it's dealing with, you know, chaos. It always seems to come back to that. Speaker 3 03:43 I agree. That was probably even a surprise for me was just how much, how much passion you saw for the mission in, in really like everyone, every, you know, starting from, from Heela at acorns, um, all the way through to, to freshly the last one that we just published. Particularly when it's, when it's something like wrestling where it's like helping people be healthier and the way that they eat and, and bringing some, some convenience to healthy eating to people. Um, it's, it's super cool to see how excited these these leaders are at growing these businesses because I feel like they're doing some good in the world. Speaker 5 04:19 Yeah. I mean you see this intentionality though, like where they're taking that, that passion and that mission and they're turning it into real like execution things that you can tangibly touch and hold and say, this is why we're able to do this and this is why it matters. Um, I think I just really appreciated that. Um, they're, you know, Heela talked about authenticity of mission and I thought that was like sort of the key is like they passionately believe that they are helping people become investors. These millennials learn how to invest and they'll do things that might even sound counterintuitive. Like, Hey, we're keeping the price at $1 because that is because we're trying to build trust. We could probably optimize for revenue. And you saw that with gen M also where they're like, we could charge more. But we realized that that changes the conversation with the, with the, with the user, and it starts to get away from that mission. And I thought that was really refreshing to see how companies look at those things differently. Speaker 3 05:15 Yeah. Heela in particular, surprise me since since she and I had worked together on growth hackers in the past. And she's a, a very analytical person and you know, she's got her MBA, she's not a native English speaker, so you don't kind of think of like, Oh, she's going to be this great wordsmith when it comes to writing marketing copy. So it's really just bringing numbers to the table is going to be her big asset. But, um, it was so cool to talk with her and see, see her own evolution achievement called it out in the interview, how she, she'd, uh, evolve to the point of really recognizing that, um, you know, mission is really great for getting the team aligned and pulling in the same direction. And, and as you said, just like how, how she's really focused on the authenticity of that mission. Speaker 3 06:01 Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, obviously, you know, product market fit, as I, as I said, I think that going into this product market fit, what's my expectation? And, and, and it's pretty, in Silicon Valley anyway, people are pretty, pretty much on the same page. You can't grow a business if you can't retain customers. You can't retain customers if you don't have product market fit. And so even if it's, even if it's kind of a, an infrequent use case business or a onetime business, you still have to have a product that someone really values in order to build a sustainable business around it. And so, um, I think to me what I saw more and more is not just having product market fit, but really harnessing that to drive growth. And so it's still a, you know, a lot of this sounds very unactionable as people who are listening, okay, I the mission and product market fit, what the heck do I do with that? I think, I think that ultimately all of all of the actionable pieces have to keep tying back to mission and product market fit. And so how your product market fit is generally about delivering an experience that makes that product that must have for people. So how do I optimize my execution to get more people to that experience so that they want to use it more often and that they want to tell their friends about it. Speaker 5 07:21 So let's talk about it. Sort of product market fit in terms of where we saw action in, you know, an actionable item here. Like, so for example, for me, one of the meaningful ones was with TransferWise, right? TransferWise has this mission to move the world's money, um, for next to nothing. And it was really cool to hear that as, as their mission and to see them putting this product that they, you know, they, their goal is to be 10 X better than, than everyone. I think Nealon Paris was your, uh, the person you interviewed and he really articulated that so well. But where I really saw it was in how they harness their referral loops. I mean, he was explaining how their, their product, it's Infor, you know, it can be a onetime use, it can be a one time transfer of money in, it can be one way. Speaker 5 08:04 Yet they're building that business, not on paid marketing, but on referrals. So how does that happen? Well, how it happens is that they've been so mission-driven and product market fit focused that they saw, he saw and as a team they saw that they have to constantly just double down and work on optimizing that relationship with the customer so that every customer's experience is so much better. It's like out of this world better than what would happen if you walked into a bank that they start talking about it, even if it's not a frequent use case. And he was explaining how it's students know students, people who own a house in Brazil no other or are buying a house in Brazil and the other people buying a house in Brazil, they'll talk to each other about that experience. If you are completely driven by that, by making sure that that product and that market fit is just absolutely Speaker 3 08:56 perfectly aligned. Yep. The, uh, the other thing that, that came out of that TransferWise interview that I thought was super, super telling and that was, that was probably some of my biggest learning from all of the interviews was, uh, was when he said, yeah, I've always known that he uses the net promoter score as a, as a key kind of driver in that business. And, and that he runs experiments to try to accelerate that net promoter score. But what I thought was really interesting was how he essentially said when, when growth slows down, usually it's because the net promoter score drops, but when you dig down into why did the net promoter score drop, it's because growth happened so fast, I think. I think they like doubling their team every nine months or something. And so no, they're doubling, they're doubling their customer base every night, which it's that crazy to double your team would be impossible. Speaker 3 09:50 Right, right. So, so basically, but I mean, but they're, they are growing their team a lot. I think he was, you know, from, from like 40 employees when he joined to 1700 employees now or some, some kind of crazy numbers. And so getting all of those people to effectively plug into the machine and keep executing that machine well is really tough. And so not surprisingly, eventually at, at certain points in the business, I've gotten to the point where those, those support cues start to slow down and it might take an extra day to get back to people and just these Def different little touch points across the business start to erode a bit. And then referrals start to drop, which makes sense. Okay. The, the experiences is not as good as it has been. And then those referrals drop and, and grow slows down. And then eventually they're able to tighten up the operations and get everything working again really well. Speaker 3 10:41 And it accelerates growth. And I compare that to so many companies who, who, you know, if, if growth starts to slow down, usually the first thing they do is say, Oh, time to swap out the marketing team. You know, like they're, they're, they're thinking more in terms of, okay, it's because it's because new customers aren't coming in fast enough to keep driving that growth where it just became so clear in neon story that, uh, that growth is such a function of what every single person in that business is doing and that swapping out the marketing team wanted to solve anything there. It's much more about how do we, how do we truly understand what's driving growth in this business and make sure that we're, we're getting all of those touch points as, as good as they can be so that, so that we can continue to maintain that that high growth rate. Speaker 5 11:32 Yeah, it was a really great poignant moment moment when he explained that. And I think it also, you know, that, and I think everybody to some degree has touched on the one thing about breakout growth is, is that that growth that's faster than you can really keep up with and is going to have an element of chaos. And one of the people you interviewed explained that, you know, it's not about trying to tame the chaos, it's about trying to harness it. And if you think about breakout growth, right? The whole reason why you're, why you ha have up into this up into the right into the unknown breakout growth is because you've gotten all of these things to align and you've gotten everybody in the organization to see that, that their role in growth and to see that you know that this is bigger than them. Speaker 5 12:18 The second thing start to go off the rails. You know, like you said, it's like change out the marketing team or add 17 layers and layers of bureaucracy which is antithetical to what got you there. So you do that, right? Like that's not, that's not the answer. That doesn't mean that you, you, you don't have to go back and execute with, with organization and really thoughtful leadership. But it means that what you really need to do is step back from it all and say, okay, what is our mission? What got us the product market fit that drove us there and how do we make sure that we realign and get everybody focused on the same goals and this and getting, you know, our vectors aligned so we're moving in the right direction. And when you, and I think it's just, you know, yeah, they're going to be peaks and valleys. Every one of these, uh, of these interviews, including my own discuss that it wasn't, you know, it's not just all happy, you know, happy growth every day where everything is working beautifully. There's lots of chaos and errors and mistakes. But I think the ones, the companies that are successful and manage through that are the ones who, who look at this and don't and say, how do we continue the growth, make some mistakes, but we don't tamp down on the things that are working. Speaker 3 13:27 Yep. Yeah. In fact, um, yeah, so it was Meyer Gupta who was talking about really harnessing that chaos. So, so from freshly, but I think in particularly what's, what's interesting with Meijer is that the fact that he previously ran growth at Spotify, so he's got this, this cross section of experiences that's really interesting. And you know, we're Kimberly Clark before that. So he's, he's seen so many different types of companies and he's been in a lot of different roles, but he's, he's definitely been in between freshly and Spotify, these, these major breakout growth companies. And I thought it was really interesting, not only about the alignment, but just the fact that he said that the difference between the most successful and less successful companies in a space is, is just on the rate of iteration and testing and that that's chaotic and, and that you have to be willing to accept that if, if you want to stay at the top of your industry. Speaker 5 14:18 Yeah. And I thought, you know, just talking about sort of, you know, actionable things that they've done. They've organized a long cross-functional pods. That's something we've been doing now at our organization at rubber killer. And you know, it's, it's interesting to see how different companies approach these problems that they're encountering differently. But it's again, it's not about like, Hey, just let everything go and it'll, it'll be fine. It's about getting smart about how you're going to manage that growth. I certainly at freshly, they found ways to do that. I thought, um, it was Alexander right at Rezi, you know, when was explaining how different people have different skill sets and different parts of the passion. Some people are really passionate and about growth and some people are really passionate about, you know, sort of the operational structure of business as usual. They broke that up so that, you know, she's got a growth team that's focused on, you know, the new and the experimental. And when they find something that works, they find this point where they pass it off to the business as usual team and they let the people who are passionate about that take over so that they can go back to finding the next greatest thing. And I thought it was really interesting to see an organization that really embraced that, those differences between, you know, different mindsets. Speaker 3 15:31 Yeah. I think just the, the empathy that she brought to the table. I mean, and she said that she, she didn't originally break it up that way because she was, uh, she, she thought that it was, you know, the better way to organize the business. That's not, that's not necessarily what triggered it. It was, she went on maternity leave and came back and her team was completely burnt out and she just, she realized something had to change. And so I think just even having that kind of team empathy and so, so, so much of this, when you kind of look across the <inaudible>, I think that that all of what day to day these companies are dealing with is these are our problems that are preventing growth and, and it's kind of understanding those problems, diagnosing those problems and coming up with solutions. So her solution was to recognize that as, as you said, that there are certain people that are wired to be the explorers and be the people that are going to go out and find new opportunities to expand into. Speaker 3 16:27 And then there's other people that want the stability of executing on a kind of known product, known market, something that's already proven. And so she, she really broke that up but, or broke out those two groups. But based on that empathy that she had to see that her team was totally burnt out. That another thing that I think was really interesting, so we had two CEOs, I believe in the, in the six interviews. So it was, it was Alex from Rezi and then Mo Arbus from gen M. and I think it was really cool to see sort of how important it was for them to, to have people believe in the mission. So it's not just, it's not just believe in the mission. I think Nealon also talked about this, um, from, from TransferWise, but it's like, believe that we can succeed in the mission. And so in the beginning it's, it's, you know, you just gotta be really kind of, kind of mission driven with people and get them excited about the potential of that and the importance of that. Speaker 3 17:30 But then over time, as you, as you hire in, you know, more and more proven people that, that people start to buy into, into, okay, yeah, we're, we're making real progress here. And so the importance of kind of that, that feedback loop of we're making progress, we have credibility in actually building something great here and, and the importance of when, when people are excited about what you're achieving and, and, and get that feedback, then, then you're more likely to be able to retain those people longterm. And, and, uh, I think, uh, Neil on from TransferWise in particular, uh, talked about how, how important it was to keep people believing that you can be successful in your mission or you're going to lose them too. I think the example he used was was Facebook and who's, who's already got a transformative company and uh, and that, um, he, he, he needs to make the case that transfer wise is transformative and will continue to be even more transformative over time. Speaker 5 18:25 Yeah, he really articulated that well because he went through the sort of the process. Like when you start a company, you don't have that product. So all you have is the vision. You don't really even, you know, I don't think you can really fully formed that mission until you have that product. Right. But then you build the product and that's where the mission sorts sort of forms around that vision and what you've actually built. And then it starts to grow from there. And then, but like you said, eventually you get bigger and bigger that the next person you're bringing on, when you're doubling that fast, like how are they going to know that the, the, that this is what's important. Well, what's important is that it's articulated to them that like, Hey, we're on this path. We're getting there, you know, for us, like we're on this mission to stop robocalls for everybody. Speaker 5 19:09 When you do that, right? Like the next person we hire, like they are going to come in and it's our job to show, show them that like, look, we can make a difference in people's lives and we're doing that every day. And you're part of that. You're not just a cog in the wheel. You're an important part of that in your role, whether you're a designer or an engineer. That's going to be what helps that end user achieve that success that we're promising them every day. And I think that's where it gets, you know, it gets to be so meaningful for people. And I think, um, when you get that, when you get people to really believe and care about it and believe that you're, you're getting there, um, it's always a journey, right? You never really quite fully there. Like you don't solve all the problems all the time, but you get people to believe that everything they do matters and what they, you know, everything they're doing should be done with pride and passionate. <inaudible> Speaker 3 20:02 probably my most surprising learning I think from, from all of this was anytime you've grown a business, the next business you go into, you, you, you look at it the same lens as the business that you're in. You just, you, you can't help but try to apply the same playbook. And, um, I've made that mistake enough times now where I've kind of started to pull back the idea of the playbook and just say, you know, is there active intent for this business? Are we going to have to focus on demand gen? And you start to kind of break it out differently. But one of the kind of unexpected situations was I've always thought about, okay, product market fit is measured in two ways. Product market fit is measured in. Um, I can kind of get, get early indications of it with that question that I mentioned earlier. Speaker 3 20:45 I think I mentioned earlier the, how would you feel if you could no longer use this product? And, uh, the, when I asked that question, if I see a large percentage of people saying that they'd be very disappointed, tells me that there's a good chance that, okay, I have people that consider this practice must have, and then it's down to execution to get more of them. Uh, the other side then is, uh, if, if you can retain them longterm and you've got your retention cohorts eventually flatten out so that, uh, you know, X percent of people who you acquire, eventually most of those people stay active then, um, then then, you know, you have product market fit. But then I came across some companies recently, not just in the interviews, but actually in a, in a workshop I did as well, where it's not an engagement business. Speaker 3 21:30 So the, the workshop I had done was for a, uh, a car buying company. So it's essentially you buy a car every seven years. So how do you build an engagement loop in a, in a, in a car marketplace, for example. But you saw the same thing with, with Rezi. So Rezi your people are not renovating houses every, you know, every year or two, usually they do a big renovation project and then they swear they're never going to do it again or a big housing project or house building project. And so there becomes some real disadvantages to that. Like, okay, now I'm not optimizing an engagement loop longterm. So it's not only you measure product market fit differently, but you also also how you manage that business. It's not about acquiring people who I can retain longterm. You start to look at the business in a different lens. Speaker 3 22:17 And so I think you touched on TransferWise being somewhat that way as well, that um, you know, just because you make one wire transfer, the likelihood that you need to make another one unless you're a business to business is pretty low and of over time. And so, um, what's interesting I think with these businesses is that they start to optimize on different things. So, um, you and, and you have kinda some advantages with these businesses as well. So one thing you're optimizing as you touched on was the referral loop. And so if I can, maybe I'm not gonna be able to longterm retain these people, but if I can make them so happy that they tell other people, then then that's going to help to build an engine of growth. So I'm going to optimize, I optimize to activation and transaction and then it's all about driving that referral loop. Speaker 3 23:05 I think the other thing that really jumped out at me over time as I started to see the pattern across these companies is that one of the benefits that you have in non-engagement businesses, or very infrequent use case businesses, is that you don't have to break habits with those businesses. So you know, in the house building for example, or the renovation for that, Rezi was focused on people. They go into it and they have a lot of questions and they're, they're kind of, you know, they, they go into it confused and, and, and so one of the things that I thought was really cool that Rezi was doing was that they had a kind of a, a hotline number where you can speak to an expert but you didn't even have to be a customer there. And then, and then the other piece that MSI then does over time is like, I, I'm going to get, I'm going to get as much of the share of the, of, of the full project instead of like, you know, in the beginning she was really good about product market fit for just one part of the renovation or home building project. Speaker 3 24:07 But how do I then develop these other markets that are, that are tangential to that initial one so that eventually I'm, I'm on that single source where, where when someone's doing a big expensive home renovation or building project, almost everything that are coming for, they can come through us. Whether it's a, a marketplace, um, or, or specific expertise or financing event. She, she listed a bunch of things. So that fact that you don't have to break someone's habit to get them to shift their business to you I think is really interesting. And uh, and, and just then, and then also how you build that referral loop based on that trust once you've, once you've got those people. Um, I personally would feel a lot more comfortable executing one of those types of businesses after, after the few interviews and workshops that I've done, um, in, in that area, then, then probably the first time I was exposed to that where I was like, Oh wait, this is different. Everything that I'm saying doesn't apply here, but I think they found some interesting twist to it. Speaker 5 25:11 Yeah. And like you said, you know, you go into each business with the experience in the last one. So if you've been heavily engaged in subscription like that, you're like, that's the only way to do things or whatever. But to contrast what you're saying, like it's a really good point. Like the way Rezi has to think about things is so different. I mean TransferWise, they're breaking the idea that the bank is the only choice. You have like freshly, you know, this is how I eat now. I have to change the way, you know, the, the, you're changing the idea of how people eat. But those things are happening all, you know, that, you know, like with freshly, you're eating every day. Like that's a much different, you know, situation and use case. There are paths forward with both and they both have proved that, you know, all these companies have proven that there's no recipe for, for, for success. But there are themes that work across them, I guess is what I would say. Speaker 3 25:58 So. So another thing that I think is interesting and it actually comes back to your experience with, with robo killer is, is this whole idea like, I mean, I think it reinforced one, one of my assumptions going into this is that product market fit is absolutely critical for sustainable growth. Um, there's a couple of themes around product market fit that I've, I've seen come up, not just through these interviews, but through, through other companies that I've, I've worked with recently. Um, one is one is the, how do you know if you have product market fit, how do you get to product market fit, which I've I've kind of for a long time personally sorta said I think at somewhat of a of a random path, but you've, you've helped to bring robo killer to that point. So, so it's not completely random so that you can you touch on that in a minute. Speaker 3 26:44 But I also wanted to talk about that. Um, product market fit, there's a couple of things. If not everyone's on the same page that you have product market fit, it's really hard to drive alignment across the company. So if, if half the team thinks you have product market fit and then the product team is saying, no, no, we don't have product market fit, carving out resources for growth initiatives. If that team doesn't believe you have product market fit, it's going to be really tough. So one way or the other, getting everyone on the same page, either we have it or we don't have it. And then, and then the other piece is, you know what if you have product market fit and then you lose it. So like you know, blockbuster had product market fit and then, and then Netflix emerged and suddenly the market changed. Speaker 3 27:26 And so they had to adapt and evolve what they're doing and they weren't able to do it fast enough. So now, now they're out of business. But I think that that plays out in a lot of other cases that are, that are less familiar to people. So let's, let's kind of go on this theme with product market fit a bit. And so how did you can, can you remind us, cause you, you talked about a bit in the interview, but how did you keep patients across the team to say we haven't got there, we haven't gotten there. And then finally, all right, we're here now let's step on the gas. How, how did you navigate through that? Speaker 5 28:00 I think we were, we were lucky because we actually had a product effort that had failed shortly before and we sort of, I felt like we got ahead of ourselves continuously with that product. And we didn't get it, you know, it was like, okay, like we've got this bill, let's go get it. You're like, let's go grow it. And it wasn't ready to grow. Um, so we, when we started to really focus on, um, robo killer, I was afraid of making that same mistake. And I actually use that question that, that you described the, if this product went away tomorrow, how disappointed would you be? Very disappointed, somewhat discipline. And you're sort of, uh, 40%, uh, of, of the audience needs to say that this is a must have product that they'd be very disappointed before we started scaling. So every week we literally ran a survey. Speaker 5 28:45 Um, we were fortunate we had an app where we could do that through the, you know, through our, through our audience. Um, and we ran that once we had a product that we could put out there and let people start playing with, um, every week we started running that, that question as a survey and we watched, it was a pie chart and I remember watching it. It started in the mid twenties, I think, or maybe even low 20s, and I was like, great, we don't have product market fit. Let's not turn on the spicket on, um, on, uh, paid marketing or anything like that yet. But you know, let's not start trying to grow this product yet. Let's focus on getting the product right. But at least I said, you know, we're not at 2%, we're not at 4%. We're at a number where, you know, you're, you could be potentially a few pivots away. Speaker 5 29:28 Really getting close to that 40% and each week we got a little closer. And actually, you know, that in itself drove team unity and team excitement and passion because we could see each week, okay, why are people saying that not, you know, this is not a must have product yet. What do, what do they need? What are the things that are driving us closer to that? You know, and you make one tweak, you make one tweak that has, you know, and you see yourself jump up a little bit. Then you say, that's great. Let's double down on that. It's very informative about where your, where you can go. Um, but you know, I think also fundamental to that, you know, to end to your point is that you know, that that's the beginning part of, of a product or service. And like I think sometimes we think of product market fit as this thing that is at the beginning of the product and you're right over time you have the potential for the product market fit to diverge or you know, to fall off product market fit. So I don't think it goes away. I think it's relevant at every stage of a business and it's something you constantly have to be thinking about and asking yourself, do we still have that product market fit? Um, but I do think as you move along, the connection that tie between product market fit and mission gets just tighter and tighter and tighter. Speaker 3 30:41 <inaudible> yeah, I think particularly because in the beginning you don't know if the mission is even like accurate, for lack of a better word. You don't, you don't know if you're going to be able to build a solution that maps to that mission that's going to actually resonate with people and you're gonna be able to build a real business around it. But the more that you validate product market fit and, and then then at the same time you are validating that mission and the more that you can get everyone excited and aligned around that mission. And that was something that you saw, you know, all, all of these leaders who we interviewed, um, C seem to focus on how, how do I, how do I keep my team, uh, excited about the mission and aligned around the mission. Um, and then I one question as you were going through that, that product market fit process, do you feel like because you worked kind of as a team to get to that product market fit that, um, everyone understood why you had product market fit a lot better on the back end? Like when you actually achieved it? Speaker 5 31:45 Yes, 100% I think because it was out there, it was transparent. It was public. It was a pie chart that everyone could see. I think everybody around the organization could align around that and feel like we're making progress towards that goal. So yeah, I absolutely think that, um, that it helped. It helped get us there faster for sure. Speaker 3 32:04 Awesome. Cause that, cause I think that's, that's the other piece that again, I've, I've picked up through all of these interviews is that once you have product market fit, that's not enough. The next thing is you have to understand it on a really deep level and then you need to harness it to sustainably grow the business. And so what do I mean by harnessing it? You need to, you need to understand what is the experience represented by that product market fit that actually leads to, you know, again with a couple of exceptions I said there, but to longterm engagement of, of customers. And so how do I build machine that delivers that product market fit? How do I come up with that metric? So a North star metric that that reflects the product market fit. How do I get the team excited that that metric is, is kind of units of product market fit, delivered and maps tightly to, to the mission of the business. And, but it, but it all starts, if you don't have a good grasp on what that product market fit is, then it's, it's really hard to, to rally and align everyone behind delivering it. Speaker 5 33:08 Yeah. It's so interesting that you say that because I really think that, you know, you probably don't have a North star metric on day five, right? Like it's, you don't know, you don't know what, you probably can't even measure a lot of stuff, right. But once you have product market fit, I think it becomes really imperative that you do find that metric that people can align and rally around. And if you think about the conversations you've had, almost everybody would, would tell you, like the, the thing that makes that North star metrics so effective is it points to growth on all levels, whether you're driving more referrals, uh, whether your activations are, you know, an onboarding is improving or, or, or falling off the rails. Um, any part of the funnel and just really your whole business can really be reflected in this metric, which means that you're exactly, exactly what you're saying. Speaker 5 33:56 Your ho your product market fit is continuously reflected in that metric. And that's why I think product market fit is always fundamental. It never goes away. It never stops being important. You know, we probably, I think as companies probably start talking about it less in the succinct term of product market fit as we mature. And that might be a mistake because as we're talking about this now, I really see how that product market fit and even just thinking about an AZ product market fit only becomes more, more important. It doesn't become less important because you've achieved Speaker 3 34:29 some level of success. Absolutely. So as, as we get close to wrapping up here, um, you know, I th I think again, probably my, my, my biggest takeaway and I, I think I've said my biggest takeaway probably 15 times. Maybe. Maybe I should just say another one of my key takeaways, but, um, is, is that know I, I think it's pretty widely accepted that that mission for businesses cross functional. Like I think everyone like recognizes that you can't achieve the mission of the business without all of the roles that you have on the team working together to achieve that mission. And if somebody wasn't important to achieving the mission or a team wasn't important to that, you probably wouldn't have that team. And so, but I think what's surprisingly less excepted, but really similar to that is that growth is cross-functional. So growth is essentially just progress on the mission. Speaker 3 35:24 And that through these conversations, it's just became so clear that that growth is a function of doing everything right in the business, uh, down to, yes, what that initial product is and the product market fit iterations that take you to get the right product for the right market to how you acquire customers, to how you serve those customers, to how you, how you sustainably, uh, run the business so that you, you know, I, I think, uh, Meyer Gupta from freshly emphasized sustainable economics were so critical in, in their business. And so you probably over-indexed on that because so much of the, the, the meal service businesses are losing money and, and, uh, where, where it's, you know, uh, freshly is much more focused on, on good solid unit economics in the business. And so that's what's been fun about doing these interviews where I've spoken to and I, and as I have more scheduled the, you know, CEOs, heads of growth, heads of marketing, heads of product and um, and yeah, as, as I continue to run these interviews, that'll be just super interesting to get more and more, um, insights from these different functional leaders in how they see growth working in their businesses Speaker 5 36:38 closely. Tangentially related to that would be, um, for me the takeaway was they're great companies. Like I think the ones that you've been talking to, they really just, they have such a, such a passion for delighting their customers in new and interesting ways and that never, like that just never gets old. You know, we talked a lot when you interviewed me about, uh, messaging and to me, messaging only works and matters when the person on the other end, when you convince them that this is something that matters to them and matters for, you know, on a larger scale. And we saw that from in every interview and every conversation, it was just always, you know, let's delight the customer because that, you know, that raises the, that raises the water level and raises all the ships. Um, and like probably my favorite quote that came out of these was when, uh, I think it was Neil and said, you know, getting our customers to trust us was hard. Speaker 5 37:32 Getting our customers to trust their friends was much easier. Um, and it just really like, I connected with that because I thought whether you're in a business that you know is heavily depends on referrals or not. If you're thinking about your business from that perspective, like, I'm going to make the person on the other end feel like this is such a good experience that they want to talk to their friends about it. And you know, we see that with our answer bots and other parts of robo killer, but all of these products they really talk to, to delivering on that promise, you know, making the experience so good for the, for their customer that they want to become the evangelizers of it. Speaker 3 38:10 Yeah. And really just harnessing that evangelist channel, um, requires doing so many things, right. Uh, and it's not, it's not always about just a tactical, let me give them some kind of, uh, some kind of incentive to talk about our product. But it's, you know, the incentives can help as an accelerant on something that's already happening. But if you, if you don't have a discussion where the product that solves an important problem and that your customers aren't really about doing business with you, you're probably not going to get much referral whether you incentivize them or not. Absolutely. So I think that's the next growth study that you have set for releases is TransferWise. Right? And so by the time, by the time we put this out, that one's probably going to already be live. But, um, I'm really excited with the growth studies cause they do go a step beyond the podcast interviews where we're doing some additional research into the companies, how they got started and, and you know, some, some other signals that we can bring to it. So if you want to access those growth studies, it's on growth studies. And then of course, you know where to access the podcast cause you're already listening to it. So thank you everyone for tuning in. Thank you, Ethan, for uh, helping, helping me go through and analyze these companies and really trying to extract as many lessons as we can about how they're driving this breakout growth. I'm really learning every moment, so I love it. Thank you. Speaker 1 39:26 <inaudible> Speaker 2 39:32 thanks for listening to the breakout growth podcast. Please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and while you're at it, subscribe. So you never miss a show until next week.

Other Episodes

Episode 50

June 22, 2021 01:06:54
Episode Cover

Shutterstock Chief Revenue Officer Explains Focus on Culture and Creativity as Valuation Soars

You likely know Shutterstock as a stock photography company, but in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, we discover that in its 17-year...


Episode 21

March 26, 2020 00:43:41
Episode Cover

Revieve CEO, Sampo Parkkinen, Explains How Uncovering Value was Key to Unlocking Growth

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Sampo Parkkinen, CEO of Revieve, an AI-driven beauty personalization platform that helps cosmetic...


Episode 32

September 24, 2020 00:55:49
Episode Cover

How Neurobiology can ‘Unleash Your Primal Brain’ and be Used to Drive Growth According to Author Tim Ash

Tim Ash ran the strategic Conversion Rate Optimization agency, SiteTuners for over 20 years, a business that has generated over $1.2 billion in value...