Takeaways from Scale18 conference

Anil Kumar
Oct 29, 2018 · 3 min read

I had a great opportunity to attend Scale18 conference and blown away by so many inspiring talks. Here are my takeaways.

Culture at NETFLIX by Felix Pace

  1. Trust your team. With the trust you get freedom & responsibility.
  2. Courage & curiosity — ask why. What are you looking for in your life and excited about it?
  3. Face-2-face feedback — It should be like toothbrushing, should be frequent to stay clean. Others opinion makes you grow. Identify blackspot through feedback for your ideas.
  4. Farming for dissent.

Netflix’s culture deck

How BuzzFeed stays agile in the platform space by Antonia Bonello

  1. Team culture: No fear of failure, risk-taking & diverse teams
  2. Be the content people love. Do not use buy me, buy me on your ads instead tell a story why they should buy.
  3. Content is to inspire. Do you know your content purpose?

BuzzFeed creates 600 content elements every day and has 9 billion views per month. With a data driven approach and analyzing user comments, you can discover other possible business opportunities. Ex: Bring Me, Tasty and many more.

a. If You Miss Home, You Should Buy A Candle That Smells Like Your State.

b. BuzzFeed Sold $25K Worth of “Failing Pile of Garbage” in 9 Hours.

Breaking windows, climbing chimneys, and lighting fires to find growth by Pierre-Alain Guillou AirHelp

Growth is an innovative and creativity arms race.

Growth = Team + Culture + Experiment

Don’t do A/B test, instead do mock the test and fake it a lot. Once the idea is valid, then do A/B test. Use data-centric approach to experiment.


Yes, keep doing experiments, that’s the secret sauce from the successful & innovative companies. Do everything short of illegal. This is how few successful companies did in the early stage of the startup.

  1. Dropbox: Share with a friend to get free space, increased 60% signup rate.
  2. Airbnb: Sending automated emails to users posting house for rent on Craigslist to check out Airbnb.
  3. Reddit: Scripting users behaviors such as likes & comments for fake users.

Your bias is bad for business by Ali Hanan Creative Equals

Nike 32% growth with inclusive ad, Colin Kaepernick’s Controversial Ad Campaign Gave Nike A Sales Bump

How Deezer takes a personalized approach to reach music fans around the world by Ralph Pighin

Experiment to find out a way to increase user engagement with your product. Collaboration with nextbike https://www.deezernextbike.de/en/berlin/ increase user engagement by offering 1st 30minutes free ride for premium users.

OTTO’s retail (r)evolution: Transitioning your business for a digital future by Melanie Schlegel, Otto (GmbH & Co KG)

  1. Fall in love with your problem and your users, not with the solution.
  2. Encourage your team to fail. Celebrate failures. Share your stories with others inside the companies with events like fuckup nights.
  3. Have more ideas. Use courage and don’t be afraid. Keep in touch with young and don’t forget old ones.

Scaling in emerging markets

Manan Shah shared how Truecaller scaled from 65million users to 100million users in few months with just one ad without changing the core product. Look for the additional value you can provide to your customers.

Henrik Jensen from Taxify Start with mini-experiment, scale only what works. Ex: E-scooter from Taxify in few cities.

Digital transformation — encourage to fail, share with others your learnings

Excellent summary of Scale conference talks by Stephanie A. Kowalski

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