AKA: What I learnt from interviewing Sarah Paiji Yoo, Co-Founder & CEO of Blueland for The Official Lean Startup Podcast.

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I don’t usually enjoy work-related emails popping up on my watch while I’m on vacation. But as my family and I lugged our beach gear back to the car beside the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe in July, I dropped my haul of umbrellas, buckets and spades to read the rest of what just pinged onto my devices.

At first glance, I thought the email from Heather McGough entitled “LSU Podcast” was an invite for me to appear as a guest on the official Lean Startup Podcast. Being the unashamed Lean Startup fanboy that I am, this was exciting enough. …


5 ways we learnt to grow faster by thinking slower

Experimentation is the defining virtue of Growth Marketing.

What sets growth marketers apart is the understanding that success does not come from having a god-given opinion that is smarter than everyone else’s.

Our success lies in our humility to recognize that we don’t actually know all the answers, and in our ability to apply the scientific process (Hypothesis, Experiment, Analysis, Repeat) to discover empirical truth.

Indeed, many amazing people within our community have written about the importance of experiment velocity as a leading indicator of growth.
In other words:

The faster we cycle through growth experiments, the faster we can deliver growth to our business.

For one example, in their 2017 book “Hacking GrowthSean Ellis and Morgan Brown share how they identified experiment velocity as the key driver of their growth. …


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Why candidates should embrace Product/Market Fit, and why startup employers should mid-career candidates.

I often meet mid-career professionals that want to switch from a corporate/enterprise career, to a career in startups. I don’t mean students or grads, I mean people with 5–10 or more years experience working in the corporate or agency world, with established skills in marketing, product development, technical development and more.

It’s easy to understand why.

It’s not just the dream of holding equity at the point of exit, or the lure of fewer corporate policies and processes. Startups offer the chance to do really exciting work!

This applies not just to the specific problem an individual startup’s solution may seek to solve, if you are interested in say, experimenting with the latest best practices in growth engine automation, it’s easier to do this start-up side, than at a mature company or their agency. …


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Professional swimmer pictured from inside a pool

And why this matters to your tech company

Many of us are inspired by the Olympics at the moment, but as both a specialist in tech innovation and also a swimming nerd, I took particular note of 19 year old American Olympic swimmer Lilly King’s races at the Rio 2016 Olympics last week.

In case you missed it, the young breaststroker won Gold in the 100m Breaststroke Final, setting a new Olympic record. Ignoring the out-of-pool drama for moment, take a moment to admire Lilly’s sprint to victory.

Just 2 days later, expectations were high as King competed again in the 200m breaststroke semi-final. Being the armchair expert that I am, even before the end of length 1 of 4, I loudly proclaimed to my family at home that Lilly was not going to win this one, and would lose to one of the swimmers in lane 4 or 5. …


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How constraints free innovation

Earlier this week Ash Maurya wrote about How constraints create space for innovation. My interpretation is that when the options for exploration are limited, it creates more focus on the most important problem.

The challenge, of course, is identifying where to focus and more importantly what not to do.
- Ash Maurya

Ash’s article reminded me of the favorite saying of my old colleague Nick Turner:

“Give me the freedom of a tight brief!”

Nick and I worked together at AKQA London for clients including Fiat, Sainsbury’s and many more. As ECD and leader of the creative team, Nick’s job was ensure the creative team were applying the right thought to the right problem. …


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Appropriately startuppy pix courtesy of startupstockphotos.com

Should a Product Manager also do UX? Sure! But they must ensure they do the most critical element of their own job first.

Numerous articles have been published recently about the real role of the Product Manager, about the intersection of Product Management and UX, and whether in fact the two jobs are one and the same.

I’d like to weigh in here and say yes, they certainly should overlap, but not at the expense of the Product Manager doing their own job first.

So I guess I had better offer some substance behind that statement..!

First of all, let me say that I really dislike the title of Product Manager. I think it implies that the role of the individual is only to “manage” the task flow of the product team, and I think that greatly demeans the value of a modern product leader. …


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Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Every big brand and agency seems to want to act “like a startup.” But that doesn’t mean what they tell you it does.

If you work in the corporate or agency world, chances are that at some point in the last 5 years you’ve had to listen to someone telling you to “Act more like a startup,” “Think more like a startup,” or “BE more like a startup.” While it is true that all companies need to keep pace with the rate of business redefining innovations that startups are creating, the key to achieving this is not just about being scrappier or “hackier.”

To create long-lasting innovations that can grow and become the future of your business, you need to optimize everything you do for finding and achieving Product/Market Fit. …


If Unit Economics are critically important to a startup in 2016, but they change as a business grows, how can a startup test and prove Unit Economics before they scale up? Here are some practical suggestions inspired by my own experiences and that of others.

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Image from Pablo by Buffer, Wisdom from Ice Cube.

Note: This is post 2 of a 2-part series. To recap what Unit Economics are and why they are so hot right now, click here to read the first post.

TL;DR:

Create a controlled simulation of all aspects of your supply and demand within a controlled market space.

Here are some methods that are proven to enable that…

Constrain test market by location

Use geographic constraints to create large penetration of both seller supply and buyer demand, but only within a certain area, such as a city.

Example: BankAmericard & The Fresno Drop

When I was consulting for Visa last year, I learnt of an excellent example of this, from nearly 60 years ago. …


So everyone is saying that proving sustainable Unit Economics is key to startup success in 2016. But if Unit Economics inevitably change as an operation increases in scale, how can a startup test and prove unit economics BEFORE they actually scale up? Here are some ideas.

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What is this Unit Economics chat all about?

We’re in month #2 of 2016 and it seems that every startup/angle/VC blog and podcast is focussed on impressing upon us the importance of Unit Economics in 2016. …


Of everything I discovered when I first read The Lean Startup, Product/Market Fit is the concept that remains the most inspiring for me. But as 2016 unfurls, it seems to me that our definition of this notion needs a bit of a refresher. Here’s why…

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Compared to some other concepts such as “MVP” that I first discovered through reading The Lean Startup, Product/Market Fit is much less famous outside of the startup scene.

But the purity of the notion led me to obsessively research more about what it means, and how companies use it. I loved the idea of a single goal to encapsulate everything a company needs to achieve to be successful, and I see it being just as applicable to enterprises and their agencies, as it is to Startups.

Innovators that achieve Product/Market Fit create sustainable futures for their businesses, with products that can grow and create profit long after the initial launch dollars are switched off. Those that don’t, may achieve short term success, but in the longer term the product will lose traction with customers, become unprofitable and ultimately be killed. …

About

Chris Guest

Chief Marketing &Growth Officer at Topology Eyewear :: @guesto

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