29 episodes

Sean Ellis is the author of Hacking Growth which has been translated into 16 languages. He is the former growth lead for breakout success companies like Dropbox, LogMeIn, Eventbrite, and Lookout - each worth billions today. In this show, he interviews CEOs and product, growth and marketing leaders from the world's fastest-growing companies so that you can learn from them to take your growth to the next level.

The Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis

    • Management
    • 5.0, 14 Ratings

Sean Ellis is the author of Hacking Growth which has been translated into 16 languages. He is the former growth lead for breakout success companies like Dropbox, LogMeIn, Eventbrite, and Lookout - each worth billions today. In this show, he interviews CEOs and product, growth and marketing leaders from the world's fastest-growing companies so that you can learn from them to take your growth to the next level.

    How Tally Overcame the Challenge of Trust for a New Financial Service to Drive Breakout Growth

    How Tally Overcame the Challenge of Trust for a New Financial Service to Drive Breakout Growth

    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Tally’s Vice President of Growth, Mark Powlen. Tally offers an automated debt manager, which analyzes a user’s financial profile to determine the best and fastest way to pay down credit card debt. Their algorithm finds the lowest available interest rates and leverages an integrated credit line to saves customers money as they reduce their debt. Tally only makes money when their customers derive this value, and this deliberate “alignment with users” is an underlying theme of Tally’s breakout growth success story (24:58).
    Making users less stressed and better off financially is the company’s mission, and to make this actionable the company has built teams and processes around a North Star Metric that focuses on how quickly users are getting out of debt (23:40). This informs and drives a test, learn and adapt growth approach driven by Tally’s dedicated growth team, but embraced company-wide (13:05). 
    In this episode, we will learn how Tally drives growth through cross-functional alignment and how intentional growth leadership has made this possible even as the company has grown to a team of 132 employees from just 8  four years ago. We will also dig deep into Mark’s approach to high-velocity experimentation and learn how the development and prioritization of tests leverage quantitative learnings from analytics paired with qualitative information from user research and customer support feedback loops. For fans of Sean Ellis’ “Hacking Growth” this episode will certainly resonate, as Mark and his team have embraced the book’s key principles on their way to breakout growth success.
    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Tally’s Vice President of Growth, Mark Powlen. Tally offers an automated debt manager, which analyzes a user’s financial profile to determine the best and fastest way to pay down credit card debt. Their algorithm finds the lowest available interest rates and leverages an integrated credit line to saves customers money as they reduce their debt. Tally only makes money when their customers derive this value, and this deliberate “alignment with users” is an underlying theme of Tally’s breakout growth success story (24:58).
    Making users less stressed and better off financially is the company’s mission, and to make this actionable the company has built teams and processes around a North Star Metric that focuses on how quickly users are getting out of debt (23:40). This informs and drives a test, learn and adapt growth approach driven by Tally’s dedicated growth team, but embraced company-wide (13:05). 
    In this episode, we will learn how Tally drives growth through cross-functional alignment and how intentional growth leadership has made this possible even as the company has grown to a team of 132 employees from just 8  four years ago. We will also dig deep into Mark’s approach to high-velocity experimentation and learn how the development and prioritization of tests leverage quantitative learnings from analytics paired with qualitative information from user research and customer support feedback loops. For fans of Sean Ellis’ “Hacking Growth” this episode will certainly resonate, as Mark and his team have embraced the book’s key principles on their way to breakout growth success.
    We discussed: 

    How lessons of the last financial crisis have helped Tally through Covid-1

    • 42 min
    What's Driving Growth at the World's Fastest Growing Hardware Companies? Learnings from interviews with leaders at Mirror, Glowforge, EVBox, and AfterShokz

    What's Driving Growth at the World's Fastest Growing Hardware Companies? Learnings from interviews with leaders at Mirror, Glowforge, EVBox, and AfterShokz

    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis is joined once again by Ethan Garr to discuss what’s driving growth at the world’s fastest-growing companies. The conversation focuses on learnings from Sean’s interviews with companies nailing growth in the challenging world of Hardware. While Sean and Ethan expected growth for businesses building hard goods to be vastly different from their personal experiences leading growth for software and mobile apps, they found themselves pleasantly surprised as they honed in on learnings from hardware companies that are applicable for anyone seeking to drive breakout growth in their organization.
    Iterating to product/market fit is often not practical for hardware companies, but innovative approaches to drawing out market signals have the ability to tap into the love consumers have for product ideas even when an MVP or prototype isn’t possible (1:59). While a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign informed Glowforge as to who would embrace their 3D Laser Printers for makers and crafters (2:44), Brynn Putnam, the founder of the Mirror, learned through a survey of her boutique gym clients that wall mirrors could provide the immersive experiences consumers hunger for in their connected-fitness devices for home workouts.
    The conversation also looks at the interdependencies of growth drivers seen throughout these interviews. While EVBox, a manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations and software, showcased how a focus on customer advocacy can drive referral and retention cycles, a look into AfterShockz, a manufacturer of innovative headphones, brought to life how video and other methods for simulating and showcasing value for users can play an important role in growth (20:44).
    Even though experimentation can be difficult in the slower cycles of hardware development, Sean & Ethan discover how these companies are still able to use a test/learn culture in their approach. Although hardware companies have unique challenges to overcome, in this episode, you will find that the fundamental tools and techniques driving growth at the world’s fastest-growing companies can cohesively be applied across industries and markets.
    We discussed: 

    Product/Market Fit as the foundation for growth; how retained engagement is crucial across industries (3:00)
    How hardware companies tap into love for their products through community building and customer engagement (10:45)
    The challenges hardware companies face in using data to drive growth, and how that has changed with connected devices (6:42)
    Why the interdependence of growth drivers is critically important for these companies, and how they use tools like video to connect users to value (17:53)
    How growth is built and nurtured in fast-growing hardware companies with a clear focus on mission, and how team leadership and alignment drives success (34:45)

    • 40 min
    CEO of Leading Comparison Website, Finder.com, Describes How He Leads Global Growth via Reinvention

    CEO of Leading Comparison Website, Finder.com, Describes How He Leads Global Growth via Reinvention

    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews the Global Co-CEO of Finder, Fred Schebesta. Finder is on a mission to help people make better buying decisions with comparison tools, guides, and news, and their breakout growth story is one of constant reinvention. Fred wants Finder to be more than a unicorn, and to sustain growth long into the future (12:50). To do this, he believes the company needs to take big risks. Today, that means shifting the organization from a media company to a product and technology company.
    The company’s mobile app represents the beginning of this shift. Finder has already helped consumers make 74 million decisions, but their goal is to help the world make a billion decisions. That’s difficult when consumers are wired to use Google for every search, but as the Finder app intercepts and predicts purchasing intent, the company hopes to disrupt both itself and the market (11:15). In this discussion, Sean digs into the mindset and approach to growth that is allowing Finder to thrive and expand on the global stage. 
    The company serves more than 10 countries with over 300 employees, and Finder recognizes that product/market fit is not a constant across the globe. Fred explains his personal passion for listening to and identifying customer needs and the importance of this approach as the company reimagines itself into these markets, and we also learn why this approach has helped the company adapt to the challenges of a world swept by Covid-19. While nothing can fully prepare an organization for a global crisis, Finder has been able to use its reinvention-based DNA to continue growing through this period.
    We discussed: 

    Finder’s reinventions from a blog-based comparison site to a media company and now to product and technology company (2:05)
    Fred’s reasons for taking big risks despite the company’s and his own success, and why he thinks this critical for sustained growth (11:54)
    The challenges of expanding into other markets and how Finder has approached and finds product/market fit in each country (14:33)
    Leading growth with a distributed, growing team through the Covid-19 pandemic (29:00)
    Turning the desire to help the world make a billion decisions into a Northstar Metric  (36:50)
    How Finder’s growth engine, begins with performance channels and moves to brand and awareness channels, taking into account the nuances of each market (40:00)

    • 52 min
    Glowforge 3D Printers, Breakout Growth that Started with a $30M 30-Day Crowdfunding Campaign

    Glowforge 3D Printers, Breakout Growth that Started with a $30M 30-Day Crowdfunding Campaign

    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Marlo Struve, Glowforge’s Vice President of Growth. Glowforge is a 3D printer that allows crafters and makers to create unique and innovative things using a subtractive manufacturing process. Where traditional 3D printers add layers of material to create items, Glowforge carves away material using a CO2 laser to reveal a maker’s ideas for prototypes, parts, crafts, and gifts. Breakout growth started with a hugely successful 2015 crowdfunding campaign that yielded more $30 million dollars in 30 days, and while that did demonstrate incredible demand for the concept, it would actually take two years before the first Glowforge printers would be delivered to customers. 
    In this interview, Sean uncovers how the team built off of the excitement and anticipation of the original crowdsourcing campaign to transform customer love for an idea into a flywheel effect that now drives sustainable growth (28:36). He also discovers how the company’s growth mindset stressed the idea of “growing the market while you sell it,” to unlock opportunity and expand the potential userbase (23:02). 
    Perhaps the most interesting part of this conversation is a deep dive into how Glowforge intentionally and skilfully uses friction to unearth a white-hot core of passionate fans and users (19:44). The idea of always working to reduce friction is ingrained in the minds of growth professionals through books, conferences, and interviews, but this discussion may make you think differently about how you might apply “educational friction” to accelerate growth. 
    We discussed: 

    The advantages, opportunities, and challenges that grew out of the company’s crowdsourced beginnings and the two-year period before delivery. (2:20)
    How early demand served as an indicator of product/market fit and how the company navigated its transition from concept to growth (9:09)
    Why intentionally introducing friction helps the company distinguish an intensely loyal customer base excited to help share and grow the product (19:44)
    How an incentivized referral program contributes to 50% of sales. (21:25)
    The power of Glowforge customer enthusiasm in helping to make a difference during the Covid-19 outbreak (34:25)

    • 1 hr
    With 600 Employees, Growth Accelerated in 2019 for EV Box. CGO Explains How.

    With 600 Employees, Growth Accelerated in 2019 for EV Box. CGO Explains How.

    In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Hugo Pereira, Chief Growth Officer of EVBox, a manufacturer of electric vehicle charging station solutions on a mission to drive sustainable mobility and a zero-emission world. Their breakout growth can partly be attributed to their focus of not just being a market leader in charging manufacturing and development, but instead on being an industry leader (27:56), building mindshare around electric vehicle adoption. 
    To meet their mission and vision, EVBox shifted from a B2C to B2B2C approach and put an incredible emphasis on customer advocacy (13:17). By amplifying the value of customer relationships the company has been able to center their test/learn growth process around effectively meeting the needs of diverse customer sets that include automobile manufacturers, energy companies, fuel retailers, and others. 
    In this interview, we learn about the challenges that come along with this explosive growth. Transferring knowledge as a team grows by 40 - 50 people a month is incredibly challenging (27:03), and Hugo describes how collaborative culture and transparency have made is possible for the company to expand from a dozen employees to more than 600 in five years.
    Hardware businesses are notoriously complex as there is little room for error when it comes to nailing product/market fit. Hugo explains how a shift in mindset has helped overcome these challenges, and how a culture has emerged where people powered by purpose build the right products in a fast-moving industry (27:40).
    We discussed:

    How Covid-19 may change the EV landscape forever, and how that has presented both internal and external challenges and opportunities (11:42).
    The unique challenges of getting it right vs. getting it fast in the hardware space (26:30).
    How being acquired in 2017 by a large energy firm gave EVBox more power to form partnerships and make an impact in the industry (29:24).
    Why managing accountability across the organization is an important part of the growth team’s role in a growing organization (36:00).
    How bureaucratic control is balanced with a startup mindset that connects to the mission, vision, and values of the company (38.55). 

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Emplify's CEO Shares How His Team is Succeeding in the Face of COVID Challenges

    Emplify's CEO Shares How His Team is Succeeding in the Face of COVID Challenges

    In this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Santi Jaramillo, CEO and cofounder of Emplify, a B2B company that combines software and consulting to deliver insights that unlock the potential in teams.
     
    We discussed:
     

    The challenging path that Emplify took to reach product/market fit
    How Emplify drove interest using thought leadership and content marketing
    The team structure that Emplify has used to convert highly engaged customers
    How the Emplify team overcome the COVID 19 disruption to accelerate their company mission

    Beyond learning about Emplify’s approach to growth, Santi also shared insights into how teams around the world have been affected by the COVID crisis and ways to help them succeed despite the challenges. 

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Dean K. ,

Go Sean Go!

Amazing content, valuable insight, and empathetic leadership all from the original growth hacker.

JDM-607 ,

Private Growth Hacking Mastermind

Sean - I cant express how thankful i am to have found your podcast! Knew to the growth hacking space I have found more value from listening to your couple episodes than i did my last 4 years in corporate America! Thank you to you and all your incredible guest you have on the show!

Looking forward to attending the conference in June! Have a great day

JoshCrist ,

Learn from the master 🙏

It's hard to describe how excited I am to see where this podcast goes! If you're involved in growing a company in any capacity and you haven't read Hacking Growth yet, or become a member of the GrowthHackers community, subscribing to this podcast is an absolute must. These episodes are masterclasses in growth marketing and the kind of thinking needed to get at the root of any growth challenge, apply the right leverage and launch your 🚀. Thanks Sean!

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