It’s easy to be drawn to growth hacking, improving optimization, a/b testing, improving on boarding, improving registration flows, adding viral hooks, etc. Yet I think it’s useful to find a quiet place and each day put away the board deck, put the spreadsheets face down, hide the dashboard window, and ask yourself one simple question.
Are you happy with your product?
It might surprise some of you that I totally agree with this sentiment.
But, as my friend David Cancel would say,
"Happy is not the same as satisfied"
I may be happy with the product, but I can still be restless to make it better. When I think about growth done right, it’s always in the service of the product vision.
Bijan is talking about losing sight of why you cared about the product in the first place. Unfortunately this is a common kneejerk reaction of founders to the attempt to become “data driven.” But this tension between “soul” and “numbers” is just a sign that you’re doing it wrong.
“Some people use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost — more for support than for illumination.” - David Ogilvy
Founders should always feel conviction on the next step they are taking with their product. And they shouldn’t be A/B testing to abdicate responsibility to make a decision. But they should also be “evidence based” instead of “faith based” in figuring out whether they are on the right track with those decisions.
It’s about A/B testing your new version versus your current, to see what really happened. It’s about accelerating your learning on when you made a good call on the product, and when you happened to make a mistake.
It’s not about letting analysis tell you what to do. It’s about doing what you believe, but then checking the results to make sure you weren’t wrong in your assumptions so you can learn.
It’s about being clear with your team on what the objective you want them to focus on right now is. And then checking to see if you happen to be getting closer to your goal.
Maybe stop calling it growth hacking and start calling it evidence-based product development. It’s not hard: Pick a goal, build what you believe in, test if it worked, iterate, grow by learning what makes users happy. The opposite, the lack facts, is just full of the cult of ego, superstition, and a culture without the ability to learn from its mistakes fast enough to survive.