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Polaris Northstar by PlanilAstro on Shutterstock

As entrepreneurs, we’re in a constant state of constraint. With limited time and resources, we have to make decisions that can either propel our business forward or cost us precious time and money.

If we make enough good decisions, our company lives on, and if we make too many sub-optimal ones, we may seal our own fate.

The question then becomes, what inputs are we using in our decision making, and are they the right ones?

Translating the data we collect into whether we’ve delivered meaningful value to our customer is hard.

That’s where the power of a guiding metric, or set of metrics, comes into play. Having a North Star is essential to ensure that when we’re making decisions, running experiments and gunning for growth, that we’re focused on metrics that measure the creation of value for our customers, rather than vanity metrics that look good on a dashboard, but ultimately don’t map to sustainable growth. …

Being a marketer is hard work these days. There are more companies and more money fighting for less attention. New channels rise, fall and rise again faster than ever before. Finding new customers, retaining existing ones, and growing a new business or product require a herculean effort with no guarantees for success.

There is little relief in sight: Companies can’t afford to throw more people at marketing challenges, and many are skeptical of marketing’s ability to generate measurable value, making them reluctant to invest further.

This is the challenge marketers wake up to everyday.

To make matters worse, there are a sea of tools, technologies and providers clamoring for budget and attention from marketers who need just one thing: the right solution, right now. …

People ask me quite regularly “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about growth in your career?”

It’s a good question and it took a while for me to process exactly what that one thing would be, but something that I was told once* stood out above everything else:

The most important thing is to be in love with your craft.

No matter your focus on growth, whether it’s conversion optimization, or paid ads, or email marketing or as a startup founder.

Be in love.
Care deeply.
Be hurt by failures and elated in success.

Be surprised and disappointed.
Be encouraged and dejected.
Be passionate and obsess. …

Snapchat is having it’s breakout moment. The service just reported 7 billion video views per day, and launched The Wall Street Journal of all publishers as it’s latest content partner in Discover. Brands are flocking to it, and Snapcodes, the service’s way of making it easy for users to friend one another are appearing everywhere — including Times Square. Anecdotally, the service is adding an older audience, and it’s appeal is broadening beyond its student/millennial base.

If you were using Twitter c. 2008, the story will sound familiar.

Intriguing new social network gains traction in valuable niche. Users of the service love it, but most people are confused by what it is and how to use it. It’s ridiculed as a toy and devoid of value — 140 characters, really?! they say. …

What high-flying companies know about growth that no one else does.

When we launched back in late September we had a notion of doing “growth teardowns” of the fastest growing startups. We wanted to answer the question that everyone on the outside of these rocketships wanted to know the answer to: “How did they grow so fast?” So we set to work doing deep research dives on companies like Uber, Snapchat, Yelp, LinkedIn, HubSpot, Evernote and more.

By scouring the Web for interviews, videos, past profiles and more, we pulled insight from dozens of sources for each case study. Based on our research we were able to piece together what made these companies so successful—and in the process reverse engineer their growth engine. While we certainly didn’t get everything 100% right, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback that the case studies were some of the most detailed accounts of these companies’ growth engines ever created. …

How did Neetzan Zimmerman single-handedly drive 17 million unique visitors for Gawker in a month? 

Neetzan Zimmerman, the man single-handedly responsible for 17 million unique visitors in a single month (!) at Gawker, and before that, founder of The Daily What, is fascinating to me. I wanted to find out who, what and how he does it. Here’s what I learned.

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Neetzan Zimmerman, Image: Quora

In the summer of 2008, Neetzan Zimmerman started The Daily What—a Tumblr meant to serve as, in Zimmerman’s words, “a compendium of the most ‘newsworthy’ items of the day, as determined by the Internet.” [4] He explains, “I became increasingly intrigued by what I like to call ‘the Internet as Value Barometer’— deciding not only what there was to know, but what was worth knowing.”


Morgan Brown

Proud Dad, married to @erikab. Product Manager at Facebook.

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