Takeaways from the First Growth Clinic: Unite Your Company Around One Important Metric

growth-panel-slide_16x9Call me biased, but I think our very first Growth Clinic turned out rather splendidly.

The event was slated to begin at 5:45 PM on November 11, but to our surprise (and delight) folks started trickling in as early as 5:15, before even the hors d’oeuvres were ready.  To give you an idea of the turnout, we had:

  • Over 200 attendees
  • from companies like Intuit, DoorDash, Square, Google, Yahoo!, SEGA, and Evernote
  • discussing growth strategies, sharing real-life examples, and learning from growth leaders including Hiten Shah (KISSmetrics), Julie Zhou (Yik Yak), Jon Edvald (QuizUp), Laurie Dewan (Rdio), & Siqi Chen (Hey)

Couldn’t make it to the Growth Clinic?  I’ve highlighted some of the key takeaways from the event below.  For more details, be sure to watch the Panel videos!

Throughout the event, we had our enthusiastic attendees tweet @amplitudemobile with the hashtag #GrowthClinic.

 

Here are 3 key takeaways from the event:

Analytics for Growth by Spenser Skates (CEO/Co-founder of Amplitude)

Key Point 1:  Use analytics to orient your business.

Spenser introduced the Growth Clinic with some insights on how analytics can be used to drive product decisions that result in more growth.  The key is figuring out how to iterate on your product quickly; with each iteration, you’re honing in on exactly what your users want, and as the quality of your product improves, your user base will grow too.  So how do you figure out how to iterate quickly in a rapidly changing environment?  By using something called the OODA Loop.

O bserve by gathering data around you
O rient
yourself by figuring out where you are, what your objective is, and what your blockers are
D ecide
on the best course of action
A ct 
on your decision, and then begin observing again.  Repeat ad infinitum.

oodaTraditionally, said Spenser, analytics fit in right at the Observe stage – you’re using data to scope out what your users are doing.  But if you can also use analytics to Orient your business and inform Decisions, that’s how you can use analytics to drive growth.  As panelist Hiten Shah later points out, growth is the only thing that matters: “Grow or die.”

Key Point 2:  Develop a culture of being data-informed.

During his chat with QuizUp’s Jon Edvald, our Senior Success Manager Varun Sharma touched on two different schools of thought.  On the one hand, there are companies that have a team of data scientists who act as internal support for any data-related question.  On the other hand, there are companies like QuizUp in which data scientists like Jon communicate across teams of of engineers and community managers to better understand their data.  All of our panelists agreed across the board:  It’s important to have a culture of analytics throughout your company.

Laurie Dewan, Head of Insights at Rdio, provided one such example:  “We have adopted a strategy of decentralized data access and analytics at the company [….] One of the things we did was really broaden education around our analytics.  We have analytics training spontaneously happening in different groups, like customer support.  That was organic.”

Insights Panel with Jon Edvald (Head of Data Science at QuizUp)

Insights Panel with Laurie Dewan (Head of Insights at Rdio)

Key Point 3:  Unite your company around an important metric.

We’ve previously written about Facebook’s “magic metric”:  they found that users who added 7 friends in 10 days were much more likely to be retained long-term.  Panelists Hiten, Julie, and Siqi agreed that it’s never that simple.  Instead of hoping to just stumble across a “magic metric,” the magic happens when your entire team is aligned around a single critical metric.

Julie shared an example from Yik Yak: the team had found indicators that users who create content (either posting a Yak or replying to one) on the first day had a better chance of being retained. Even if it wasn’t a perfectly validated “magic metric”, it was helpful to focus the team around trying to get users to create content on their first day.

Said Siqi:  “All of your decisions are made easy and you can move really fast.  In that sense, it’s magic and it’s largely driven by strategy.”

“You can’t expect to find a single magic metric by analyzing all your data,” added Hiten.  “If you can figure out the one metric for everyone to focus on right now?  That’s a good thing.”

Growth Clinic Panel with Hiten Shah (Co-founder of KISSmetrics), Julie Zhou (Product Manager of Growth at Yik Yak), and Siqi Chen (CEO/Founder of Hey)

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what our fantastic speakers had to say.  To hear more, be sure to check out all the videos.  Special thanks to Jon, Laurie, Hiten, Julie, and Siqi for being truly awesome panelists.


One More Thing

We are not done with Growth Clinics!  To demonstrate our commitment to data-informed decision-making, Amplitude is planning on hosting Growth Clinics every quarter.  And in true OODA Loop fashion, we’re hoping to improve with every iteration.  As a first step in that direction, I sat down with (well, tweeted at) our winner of the Apple Watch – Serge Doubinski, Director of Product at Ebates – for a brief feedback interview.  Thanks, Serge!

AM:  What made you decide to come to Growth Clinic?
SD:  I’m a huge fan of Hiten Shah and was looking forward to hear from other folks on the panel. I am also building out a growth team so it’s always great to hear from folks in those roles.

AM:  Did you find Growth Clinic useful?
SD:  I thought it was definitely one of the better events I’ve been to lately. The panel was best part of the night since speakers were giving specific examples about their experiences.

AM:  What were some insights from the talks that you found valuable?
SD:  Julie talking about experiences of being a single person focusing on growth at YikYak was interesting. Siqi talking about doing some simple tweaks like notifications with big impact. Hiten briefly talked about team structure. All were things that I knew already but was nice to hear them again.

AM:  Would you recommend Growth Clinic to other entrepreneurs?
SD:  I would and I have. Brought some other more junior friends with me and they were taking a lot of notes.

AM:  How’s the Apple Watch?
SD:  Apple Watch is a bit small for my wrist so my wife is the one enjoying it 🙂

To learn more about growth and Amplitude, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter.  And a huge thank you to everyone who attended our debut Growth Clinic!