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.
Atlassian Offers a Masterclass in Growth; Senior Growth Product Manager Shows us How
Atlassian is the powerhouse behind popular productivity software brands including Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Trello. Their solutions help more than 170,000 businesses, and in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr are joined by Atlassian’s Senior Growth Product Manager, Andrea Ho.
Today, Atlassian is one of the most respected and fast-growing companies in the world, but it took some time before the company was able to dial in growth. Andrea says she and many others in Australia have been attracted to this “homegrown unicorn” because the company is always innovating in its quest to create valuable, self-serve, low CAC, affordable enterprise software.
Atlassian has done an artful job of capitalizing on its successes. Building and acquiring valuable products that help customers achieve their goals has helped create a strong brand and a powerful word-of-mouth engine. Andrea’s team is then tasked with the “expansion” part of the company’s “land and expand” growth approach. They focus on getting clients to adopt Atlassian solutions across the full organization as well as on driving customers from one product within the Atlassian ecosystem to another.
This approach has helped create the company’s enormous value. Atlassian currently has a market cap of over $62 billion and a team of over 5000 employees. But Andrea explains there is always more work to be done, and the team is constantly working to evolve its growth process.
So join us as we learn what’s driving Atlassian’s breakout growth success.
* What’s a growth product manager vs. a product manager? (4:01)
* Atlassian’s rise to global success (9:30)
* Why having a revenue goal has been a good challenge for Andrea (15:33)
* The “why” behind Atlassian’s new North Star Metric (17:25)
* Insights into the growth team structure (24:40)
* The “land and expand” growth engine (27:52)
And much, much, more . . .
Shutterstock Chief Revenue Officer Explains Focus on Culture and Creativity as Valuation Soars
You likely know Shutterstock as a stock photography company, but in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, we discover that in its 17-year history, Shutterstock has grown into a creative powerhouse that provides everything from motion and special effects to music and full production services.
When Jamie Elden joined as Chief Global Revenue Officer the company was positioning itself around its technology, but Jamie who comes from a creative background felt that Shutterstock primarily spoke to creative audiences. To drive sustainable growth, he believed Shutterstock would need to refocus as a creative company. This would require a cultural shift and new efforts to personalize experiences for customers.
With an intense focus on speaking to creative people on their terms and making it simpler to engage with Shutterstock at every level, the company thrived through the pandemic. Personalization has become a mainstay of customer interactions, even in the self-service areas of the business. Jamie wants the company to speak to customers as humans, and in this conversation with Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr, he explains how he has worked to make that a reality throughout the global organization.
And if you think the role of Chief Revenue Officer is all about numbers, this discussion may very well change your mind. Jamie talks about throwing away the spreadsheets and setting new goals to pivot without process. That is a bold approach for a business with 4,800 employees but it seems to be working.
This is one of our favorite episodes. As with our discussion with Noom’s founder and president Artem Petakov and our discussion with Georgia Vidler, Canva’s former Head of Product, this is a conversation that really shows the human side of breakout growth. Enjoy!
* Jamie’s journey to Shutterstock and what excited him about the opportunity (5:47)
* From creative company to creative company, not small business to big business (6:28)
* Coping with Covid, thriving through Covid (14:58)
* Kickstarting the culture at a large company that was plateauing internally (18:49)
* Simplify, simplify, simplify! (23:45)
* Throw away the spreadsheets (31:48)
* Bring lessons from Tonik, a small business to Shutterstock (44:53)
* Training for relationships (47:45)
And much, much, more . . .
Experimenting with TV? Tatari and Vuori Show Why TV is No Longer a Crazy Growth Gamble
Television advertising used to be the domain of large, Fortune 500-type companies with deep pockets who could afford to invest in channels with low ROI visibility. For startups, TV advertising seemed to be an expensive experiment that would be pretty tough to prove its effectiveness. However, in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast with Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr, we find out that things have changed dramatically. TV advertising is now more accessible, trackable, and very scalable if a test yields positive results.
To unpack the new potential of this medium we brought Philip Inghelbrecht, co-founder and CEO of Tatari, and Jamie Fontana, Senior Director of e-Commerce at Vuori to the conversation. You may already know Vuori, the fast-growing performance apparel company, and if you do it may be because of their television presence. Tatari executes Vuori’s ad-buying strategy, but Philip, who previously founded Shazam and TruCar, sees his company as a data and analytics company facilitating digital advertising and less as a media buying agency.
As digital streaming is rapidly replacing broadcast television and cable, Philip’s team has developed technologies to unlock systems for measuring, buying, and optimizing television ad spends. Where companies used to face entry points north of $3 million just to test TV advertising, Philip says $100,000 is now a big enough budget to get in the game. For Vuori and even for smaller brands this puts the credibility of TV within reach.
To measure the value of a campaign, companies used to depend on the slow and rudimentary feedback loops of Neilson surveys, but Tatari has developed technology to provide accurate, next-day reporting that brands can use to effectively optimize campaigns. At the same time, the costs and speed of creative development have dropped to more manageable levels making this a much more accessible medium.
Vuori’s experience is proof that TV can be an effective channel for growing brands. Jamie explains, “If you have a brand story to tell then TV and streaming are potentially valuable across your entire marketing funnel.” So, if you previously looked at TV as only a brand marketing channel, or a channel out of reach for your business, take a listen and see if this old channel has something new to offer for your business.
* Why better measurement, more transparent buying, and better creative optimization are now possible (11:45)
* The shift that has changed TV into a performance-centric, digital advertising platform (13:15)
* Putting TV credibility within reach for smaller brands and businesses, and Vuori’s growth with TV through the pandemic (14:15)
* TV as a viable channel in an “outcome marketing” world (29:12)
* Far from dead! The future of cable, broadcast, and streaming opportunities (31:28)
And much, much, more . . .
From Uber and Coinbase to Curve, VP Product Shares His Views on Growth
The lines between product and growth are often gray, and in this week’s episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean and Ethan share more about this trend with their guest, JD Millwood, Vice-President of Product at Curve.
Curve is a Fintech company on a mission to simplify the way people spend, send, see and save money. JD describes the Curve debit card as the first over the top platform for banking, and with innovations like the ability to finance purchases you have already made, he and his team seek to create a new and better banking experience for consumers.
JD previously held growth roles at Coinbase and Uber, and his role at Curve morphed from growth into product fairly recently. It has been a natural progression, and through this lens, JD sheds great insights into why growth people need to have a degree of ownership over the product to control their own destinies. At Curve, the growth team lives within his product organization, and the coupling of product and growth is a trend Ethan and Sean have been exploring with recent guests from Buffer, Canva, and other fast-growing organizations.
The approach is working. Despite huge challenges during the pandemic that put a temporary hold on an aggressive hiring plan, the company still expects to nearly double its headcount from about 330 today to over 600 employees by year’s end. Strong product/market fit continues to drive growth, but JD sees partnerships as Curve’s next big opportunity. Leveraging relationships with company’s like Samsung, the company is able to extend its B2C go-to-market strategy to B2B2C and greatly expand distribution.
With an understanding of how product and growth work together, we dive into Curve’s “helix” team structure where data-driven thinking guides the prioritization of experiments and ensures engineering resources are not wasted on efforts that will not move the North Star Metric. We learn about the company’s growth engine, and how building excitement for users early drives referrals and retention. And we find out how a growth mindset drives great product leadership.
Take a listen. For anyone focused on growth, this is a valuable discussion.
* A better way of banking in the fragmented world of Fintech (3:45)
* Why growth people need to have some control over product (6:30)
* How data challenges led to the product/marketing teams formation (9:10)
* Why JD saw a huge opportunity at Curve (11:25)
* Curve’s dangerous exposure during the pandemic (17:05)
* Partnerships and B2B2C as the next big thing (19:50)
* Structuring for growth (25:50)
And much, much, more . . .
How Notarize overcame legal barriers to drive 600% growth in 2020
In this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean and Ethan have a learning-packed discussion with Pat Kinsel, Notarize’s Founder and CEO. Notarize provides an online service that makes the process of getting documents legally notarized fast and easy. Instead of meeting with a notary public in person, the entire process is managed digitally with integrated online meetings and digital signature technologies.
The company’s journey began about 6 years ago when Pat, who had previously sold a business to Twitter, needed to get documents notarized When errors in the process turned into a stressful and annoying near-disaster, he realized that technology might solve the problem he experienced. But, he also knew he faced an uphill battle on the legal front.
With a partner who had government relations experience, he went to work to understand, and in many cases, change the laws related to notarization. Together, they navigated these challenges and discovered massive enterprise demand for a solution.
The company began to grow quickly and Pat and his team realized they had a superpower; they could get a call from a new business or industry looking for help with a notarization process, unpack and quickly understand the legal challenges, and adapt their solutions to solve the problem. Then, when the pandemic struck, the service became a must-have for the mortgage, title, and other industries.
Now, with 600% year over year growth, and a fresh round of venture capital ($130 million), Pat says the world will never go back to the old ways of solving these problems. Notarize was a far better solution before the pandemic, and the crisis has only served to amplify the need and expand the market. So take a listen, as The Breakout Growth Podcast explorers Notarize’s explosive success.
* How Pat’s own notarization frustrations drove the inception of the business (5:13)
* The massive impact of the pandemic on growth (8:20)
* Navigating the legal hurdles to make online notarization possible (8:44)
* How the product drew massive enterprise interest (9:30)
* The word-of-mouth engine behind Notarize.com’s success(11:15)
* How Covid forced Pat and his team to mature their go-to-market strategy (12:00)
* “Product/Delivery Fit” (23:22)
* The importance of distribution partners in the Notarize.com growth story (34:26)
And much, much, more . . .
Retention is Everyone’s Responsibility! A Conversation With Buffer’s CPO
Recently, we have focused the lens of The Breakout Growth Podcast on the role of product in driving sustainable growth. We had a super-interesting conversation with Georgia Vidler, Canva’s former Head of Product, and this week we picked up that theme with Maria Thomas, Buffer’s Chief Product Officer.
Buffer provides social media tools to facilitate authentic engagement with end-users. Customers can pre-schedule posts on multiple channels, engage with commenters, create reports, and more using the service. Maria is relatively new to the company, having previously served as VP of Product Management at Bitly, so it is interesting to hear her compare and contrast her experiences between these two fast-growing businesses.
To Maria, the single biggest growth driver at Buffer has been “brand beyond the product.”
She explains that brand recognition is a tremendously important factor for both Buffer and Bitly, but with different go-to-market strategies Buffer’s brand in the context of its mission is what she sees as the company’s secret sauce.
The ability to speak to customers on a deeper mission-focused level has been a key factor in Buffer’s approach, and Maria explains that “Buffer was a product-led growth company even before PLG was cool.” From a product perspective, this has meant putting intense focus on building the user experience to power acquisition, retention, and expansion.
We also learn that the company’s super-transparent culture that embraced remote work long before the pandemic began, has helped drive Buffer’s data-driven test/learn culture. However, it has also created interesting communications challenges along the way. As Maria describes how she has overcome these and other challenges, we get great insights into the world of growth from a product perspective.
This is a fun one, enjoy!
* Getting used to Buffer’s super transparent culture (3:30)
* How a well-known brand impacts growth, plus its impact on product (7:35)
* Highlighting Bitly vs. Buffer when it comes to go-to-market strategies (7:50)
* Key growth factors and challenges in Buffer’s Product Led Growth approach (8:34)
* Advantages and challenges of a no-meetings culture and asynchronous communications (13:05)
* Working with data; super-important but not a replacement for working with customers (19:41)
* Why MAU is the right North Star Metric to drive growth at Buffer (24:28)
* Organizational leadership where product and marketing are in constant communications (26:30)
* Why Maria believes in a dedicated growth team approach (27:00)
And much, much, more . . .
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
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!
Great interview and podcast
As an entrepreneur, I’m always trying to figure out how I can make my company grow faster. This podcast provides the most actionable advice from the trenches which is the most useful!