The 10 commandments of Product Growth

Jon Butterfield
Oct 18, 2018 · 3 min read
  1. Thou shalt find Product-Market Fit.

In order to be able to grow your product properly, you need to understand the product and the market fit. Does your product, as it stands today really, do what it’s supposed to do? To quote Marc Andreessen “Product/Market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy the market.”. If you don’t have product-market fit, you’ll never grow your product to its true potential, and it’s easy to believe you have it when you don’t.

2. Thou shalt honour thy North Star.

Your North Star Metric is a single metric that leads your product. Everything you do should influence your North Star Metric in some way. If it doesn’t, it gives you a reason to question if the tasks, features, changes, ideas, etc are really helping you move forward with your product. But make sure your North Star Metric isn’t about you. It shouldn’t be based on revenue or ratios, but on the main value point for the user.

3. Thou shalt remember to retain before you obtain.

The rookie mistake is to instantly put all your efforts into acquiring more users. More registrations mean a better product, right? Wrong. Fix the leaky bucket before you try to increase your acquisition efforts. If your users aren’t retaining, you’re throwing away value. It’s harder to get churned users to come back than acquire new ones.

4.Thou shalt discover thy Magic Moment.

At what point does a first time user have their “aha” moment within your product? Know this, and use this. This is the point the value of your product clicks for the user. Bring this to the forefront of all you do during acquiring and activating your users and you’ll find it easier to engage with them.

5. Thou shalt activate thy user over acquire new.

Growth doesn’t end with acquiring a user. Define what an activated user is within your product, and strive towards that. It will make sure that you are correctly attributing your acquisition sources to good, quality users for your product.

6. Thou shalt not bear false witness to data.

It’s easy to get caught up with too many metrics. Analysis Paralysis can creep up on you. Make sure you understand your user flows, and with your North Star Metric, develop the main KPIs that lead to your North Star.

7. Thou shalt accept failure as a lesson.

Growth isn’t about making a few optimizations within your product here or there, it’s about constant change. You should be running A/B tests constantly within your product, experimenting with user flows, colour changes, text changes and anything else you can see will affect your North Star Metric. Not every test will work, but the failures will help guide you in the future and make the wins even more successful and who knows in the future some of those failures may need to be retested.

8. Thou shalt guide the marginals.

The product and features have all been developed from the ground up for one type of user — your whales. These are the ones who already use most of the features and are heavily engaged. This strategy keeps your whale users happy, but by focussing on your marginal users you are diversifying your client base risk. When it comes to your whale users, just a small increase in users can have huge effects on your bottom line.

9. Thou shalt utilize feature discoverability before creating.

We all have ideas. We can throw up new feature ideas for our products at any time. But feature overkill isn’t the way to win. Features need to be optimised and presented t at the correct time in the user’s journey. Look at the usage of each feature, the likelihood of it causing an effect within your product, and use that to your advantage while remembering your North Star Metric.

10. Thou shalt keep an open mind and never stop trying.

Growth never ends. It’s all about creating a reiterative process. Use your data to identify opportunities, validate the results of your tests, document and then do it all over again. What works now may not work in the future and what fails now may work in the future

Ideas and Findings from W23 Labs

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