92 episodes

Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr interview CEOs and product, growth and marketing leaders from the world's fastest-growing companies so that you can learn from them how to take your growth to the next level. Sean and Ethan draw on decades of experience growing breakout success companies and products including Dropbox, Robokiller, LogMeIn, Eventbrite, Lookout and Uproar to ask the right questions.

seanellis.substack.com

The Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 27 Ratings

Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr interview CEOs and product, growth and marketing leaders from the world's fastest-growing companies so that you can learn from them how to take your growth to the next level. Sean and Ethan draw on decades of experience growing breakout success companies and products including Dropbox, Robokiller, LogMeIn, Eventbrite, Lookout and Uproar to ask the right questions.

seanellis.substack.com

    April Dunford Shares How to Position for Growth

    April Dunford Shares How to Position for Growth

    In this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr chat with positioning expert, April Dunford, author of the best-selling books, “Obviously Awesome” and “Sales Pitch.”

     

    April had a successful career as a marketing and operations executive at companies including IBM and Nortel and it was in these roles that she developed her passion and approach to building effective positioning. Today she shares this passion and her knowledge as a consultant, speaker, and writer with companies around the world. 

     

    In “Sales Pitch”, April lays out her hypothesis that marketers have been taught storytelling that doesn’t work for sales. She says 60% of deals that are started are never finished so it’s often indecisiveness and the status quo that sales teams must work to overcome. Even if you are not focused on sales, you will find a lot of value in this discussion.

     

    Messaging and positioning are fundamental to growth and what we get to in this conversation is a deeper look into how businesses can differentiate themselves, help their audiences discover value, and ultimately break through the noise.

     

    What makes this especially fun and useful is that April isn’t afraid to take contrary and non-obvious positions. As an example, she doesn’t like the concept of Product/Market Fit, and since we do, it made for some good back-and-forth!

     

    So jump into this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast as we learn more about the art of effective positioning with April Dunford.

     

    And thanks for listening to the Breakout Growth Podcast. Don’t forget, to watch us and subscribe on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-K_CY4-IrZ_auEIs0j97zA/featured






    We discussed:





    * April's story from executive to “Positioning is my jam!”(06:46)





    * The problem with most sales pitches (09:44)





    * Why it matters that 60% of started deals are never finished (22:04)





    * Building and validating your sales Pitch (27:02)





    * Positioning isn’t static; how to keep it fresh (52:44)






    And much, much, more . . . 


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 1 hr 2 min
    International Expansion as a Growth Lever, Another Chat With AllTrails CEO

    International Expansion as a Growth Lever, Another Chat With AllTrails CEO

    If you want to know just how awesome AllTrails is, just ask Apple! Out of over 2 million apps in the App Store, AllTrails is one of just three finalists waiting to hear if they have been selected as Apple’s 2023 App of the Year. So, of course, we are delighted to welcome back to the podcast, Ron Schneidermann, AllTrails’s CEO. 

     

    Ron first joined Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr for a chat back in early 2022. At the time, the company was riding Covid-driven enthusiasm for socially distanced activities and had recently raised $150 million in private equity funding. Now, almost two years later, we wanted to hear how it has been going for this hyper-growth app that helps people have fun exploring the outdoors.

     

    After the pandemic, Ron and his team were determined to continue accelerating growth and that meant pushing in new directions while at the same time building on what was already working well. To keep moving forward, they made big bets on international expansion, invested in new areas like e-commerce, and kept the focus on improving mindset and execution. And the growth has continued. 

     

    “Momentum begets momentum,” says Ron, and while the flywheel has accelerated and many of the bets have worked out, it hasn’t all been easy. In this conversation, Ron shares not just the wins, but the struggles and challenges that come hand-in-hand with managing rocketship growth. 

     

    There is a lot to this episode. From valuable learnings when looking to expand across borders to a really important discussion on leadership and vulnerability. And you will find out what it means when Ron says at AllTrails “Authenticity is our currency.”AllTrails. 

    So jump into this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast. And thanks for listening to the Breakout Growth Podcast. Don’t forget, to watch us and subscribe on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-K_CY4-IrZ_auEIs0j97zA/featured






    We discussed:





    * Obsessing on growth, not just maintaining the status quo (08:43)





    * “Much harder than we expected;” pushing for international growth (14:40)





    * Modern growth structure. Is “head of growth” obsolete? (35:43)





    * Growth as a role of influence, not ownership (36:36)





    * People challenges and hypergrowth; avoiding toxcity (44:55)





    * Authenticity as a personal core value (52:16)






    And much, much, more . . .


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Before you Invest in Tools, Heed this Advice From Pendo’s CEO

    Before you Invest in Tools, Heed this Advice From Pendo’s CEO

    According to Todd Olson, Pendo’s founder and CEO, ‘the market isn’t just receptive to AI, it’s demanding it!’  So in this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr dive deep with Todd, to better understand what this and other changes in the world of product, marketing, and growth will mean for businesses.

     

    Pendo helps companies accelerate how they build and launch products that customers actually want by combining the power of analytics tools with messaging and customer experience features. For Product-Led Growth companies, this can be quite powerful as it helps teams intelligently use analytics to understand and drive specific valuable behaviors. 

     

    In this spirited and fun conversation, we get a sense of Todd’s approach and philosophy, and how that has helped drive Pendo’s international growth over the past 10 years.  From the outset, the company was focused on improving customer experiences in software, but in the past few years, they have been able to accelerate that mission by investing in machine learning.

     

    Todd says it’s really important to understand that the “mindset drives the tech,” not the other way around, and he’s built a culture to support that. Just as with our last podcast episode with the VP of EMEA from Moloco, Todd is laser-focused on building enthusiasm around outcomes from technology, not on the technology itself.

     

    He says teams have a tendency to celebrate when they ship software, but really the celebration should start when the desired outcome is achieved. It’s this kind of candid and thoughtful growt-minded thinking that made for a great discussion and undoubtedly has been foundational to Pendo’s success thus far.

     

    So jump in! And thanks for listening to the Breakout Growth Podcast. Don’t forget, to watch us and subscribe on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-K_CY4-IrZ_auEIs0j97zA/featured






    We discussed:





    * Building Pendo with a mission to improve experiences in software (06:10)





    * Speed of innovation is important, but we have to balance change (13:22)





    * What AI means for businesses and how to embrace it (18:14)





    * Marketing and product’s relationship to data has changed at a different pace (22:00)





    * In the future, every PM is thinking about growth (37:31)





    * Smarter and more efficient: the impact of a down economy (47:58)






    And much, much, more . . .


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 53 min
    Beyond the AI Hype Cycle: Moloco VP Explains How to Drive Real Results

    Beyond the AI Hype Cycle: Moloco VP Explains How to Drive Real Results

    In this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr chat AI and growth with Ben Jeger, Moloco’s Vice President of EMEA. Moloco’s machine learning-based advertising solutions help marketers take advantage of advertising opportunities outside of the “walled gardens” of Google, Meta, and Amazon.

     

    In the past year, AI has taken on a life of its own for good reason, but we wanted to dig beneath the hype cycle to understand how this technology will really impact the world of growth. With Ben, we got just that.

     

    Moloco hasn’t changed its messaging to capitalize on the AI whirlwind, even though it’s fair to say they are an AI company.  They have simply continued their relentless focus on delivering customer outcomes.  In performance marketing, that is the only thing that matters, and as Ben says, “Fancy words don’t get us there.”

     

    So in this discussion, we learn how these tools level the playing field for marketers and why they are so valuable for augmenting human capabilities. In addition, we get a picture of why Moloco has grown 5x in the past two years to a $2+ billion valuation, and how Ben is approaching his task of expanding the business throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

     

    Thanks for listening to the Breakout Growth Podcast, and don’t forget, to watch us and subscribe on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-K_CY4-IrZ_auEIs0j97zA/featured






    We discussed:





    * Moloco’s 10-year, overnight success story (07:50)





    * Defining AI and Machine Learning (10:58)





    * In performance marketing, sustainability is about long-term outcomes (14:41)






    * “It’s not a lie to say we are an AI company,” but what matters is outcomes (17:51)





    * Creating value outside of the “walled gardens” (27:43)





    * Growing Moloco beyond gaming (33:52)






    And much, much, more . . . 


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Thrive Market’s Winning Growth Formula: Velocity x Win Rate x Impact = Growth

    Thrive Market’s Winning Growth Formula: Velocity x Win Rate x Impact = Growth

    In this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr chat with Jonas Klink, Thrive Market’s Vice President of Product Management & Design. Thrive Market is a subscription-based online grocery delivery service that aims to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone.  

     

    And that is a perfect fit for Jonas, who has over 15 years of experience in eCommerce working at companies like eBay, Walmart, and WeightWatchers. As he thought about the next chapter in his career, Jonas wanted to find a mission-driven company where he could make a difference, and Thrive is proving to be the right place for him to have that impact.

     

    So in this conversation, we dig deep into Jonas’ growth approach and his passion for building organizational learning velocity. Scientific rigor is at the heart of his process, but speed is key. He explains that to keep growth flowing, tests must focus on answering hypotheses, but they cannot get bogged down by everything else needed for broad distribution. 

     

    If you have ever struggled to manage design in a high-tempo testing environment you will particularly enjoy this conversation. Jonas and his team have built a culture where UX and product are deeply connected so that design can flow into experimentation without encumbering it.

     

    And that is just the beginning. From his use of the RICE prioritization framework to building alignment around a North Star Metric, Jonas is building the culture of experimentation most of us strive for as we look to accelerate growth.

     

    So join us as we dive in with Jonas Klink and find out what’s driving breakout growth success at Thrive Market. 

     

     

     

    We discussed:





    * Sustainability, healthy living, and 18 million orders: (05:11)

     

    * Bringing experience from Walmart, eBay, and Jet.com to Thrive Market  : (10:08)

     

    * Organizing for rapid experimentation and great design: (14:54)

     

    * Building a growth language where learnings replace failures: (30:58)

     

    * The importance of lightweight process for teams: (39:11)





    And much, much, more . . . 


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 58 min
    Business-in-a-Box: CEO Describes doola’s Mission to “Initialize” New Companies

    Business-in-a-Box: CEO Describes doola’s Mission to “Initialize” New Companies

    In this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr chat with Arjun Mahadevan, Co-Founder and CEO of doola, a launchpad for your first or next business. Most founders want to spend their time finding Product/Market Fit, but unfortunately, the work of just running a business itself can often get in the way. 

     

    Doola looks to help founders remove these distractions by offering a “business-in-a-box” solution.  The company helps you form your LLC, then manage everything from bookkeeping and banking, to taxes and compliance. 

     

    Other companies, like LegalZoom, offer business formation services, and certainly, lawyers and accountants can help with these processes too. But doola’s approach is about customer success and building a community where founders can find the support they need.  Arjun says it’s both “high tech and high touch”.

    Arjun says doola has helped founders in 175 countries form their LLCs in the US, and his team is all about finding the highest-leverage opportunities that will result in a great product suite and community for the business owners they serve.

     

    So, if you are looking for some great inspiration and insights into how to optimize for sustainable growth, check out this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast with Arjun Mahadevan, Co-Founder and CEO of doola.

     

     

     

    We discussed:


     

    * Business-in-a-Box; the doola backstory: (06:04)

     

    * Meeting the needs of Covid-driven eCommerce acceleration: (15:45)

     

    * Building for retention beyond LLC formation: (25:52)

     

    * Just-in-time user acquisition: (30:38)

     

    * White labeling doula via API: (34:55)






    And much, much, more . . .


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit seanellis.substack.com

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

Elle A Kaye ,

Great Insight

I began listening to this podcast while I began my working towards my Master’s and found this podcast invaluable. Hearing about different problem-solving strategies utilized when growth or even a drastic overhaul was required for the company was fascinating. It is a great and invaluable resource!

Mike H12345 ,

Great insights

Followed Sean for years starting when we were both in Silicon Valley. My go to for understanding the latest in marketing and applying lessons learned to my specific field.

Heysyb ,

Clear and concise

Ethan and Sean provide great insights to help anyone looking to drive growth in their business. If you’re looking for a fun way to get inspiration for driving growth while hearing from leaders who have been successful in far surpassing goals when it comes to growth, this is your podcast. This is your go-to team.

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