Hacking Growth

November 23, 2020

Key Insights

The Pirate Stack, or where a Growth team works (with lots of concrete ideas about what to do in each phase.)

Avoid Growth stalls

Grow or Die

Book cover


How Growth teams are commonly structured

Growth teams are a multidisciplinary team with a focus on speed and experimentation. They usually comprise of:

There are two flavors of Growth team leadership and org structure:

  1. Product Led Growth Team. They report into product leadership. Advantage is that they are more tightly integrated with the rest of product.
  2. Independent Led Growth Team. They report into the CEO. Advantage is that they have more autonomy to work across the company.

Growth Hacking Process

  1. Analyze data and gather insights.
  2. Prioritize experiments.
  3. Run the experiments.
  4. Generate ideas.
  5. Back to step 1.

Grow a successful product

Make sure that a product has Product-Market Fit (PMF) before growth. Determining PMF using a survey:

Getting to Must-Have

Talk to users (or risk building features that nobody wants.) Listen and observe. Be careful to not sell.

Analyze your data:

  1. Create a data lake.
  2. Set up event tracking
  3. Look at feature correlations for

Fundamental Growth Equation

A growth equation is a simple formula that represents all of the key factors that will combine to drive your growth. It is different for every product or business. Common drivers:

North Star Metric

A number that we can obsess over. It must be simple eg. for Uber Rides, the metric was Rides Completed. For Facebook sharing, our number was Original Posts. This metric isn’t set in stone and can change over time. Don’t obsess about getting it perfect.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. – General George Patton

Growth Experiments

Growth teams have a high experiment cadence (20-30 / week at scale). There are two phases, corresponding to two meetings:

  1. Idea generation. Everyone is welcome to add ideas; focus area owners must add ideas. Ideas should be crisp and clearly articulate what we expect to move.
  2. Weekly prioritization. Prioritize the list of ideas using some scoring system. Examples of scoring systems:
    • ICE
      • Impact
      • Confidence
      • Ease
    • TIR
      • Time
      • Impact
      • Resources
    • PIE
      • Potential
      • Importance
      • Ease
  3. Experiment review. Look at all existing experiment for success or failure. Use a 99% confidence level instead of 95%.


Start by crafting a compelling message. The message is not just about your brand but improves the product as well.

Pick a channel. Be selective and put resources on fewer channels rather than spreading bets around. See the book for examples of channel categories, and Brian Balfour’s strategies around picking the right channel.


Get new users to the aha moment faster:

  1. Map the route to the aha moment.
  2. Create a funnel report of conversions and dropoffs.
  3. Eradicate friction.

Optimize the New User Experience (NUX). The first time someone experiences your product is a unique, one-time encounter. The NUX should be treated as a product by itself. Craft a special experiencee.


Retention is fundamentally about providing customers with a product or service of high quality that continuously addresses their needs, or delights them, and which they come to regard as must have.

Phases of retention:


Authors give a survey based method for pricing SaaS products.

Pricing Relativity: people’s perceptions of prices are influenced by the prices of other options they are offered.

Pricing requires a study of Consumer Psyechology. References:

Building a Virtuous Growth Cycle

Avoid Growth stalls

Grow or die