Unlocking The Secrets of Growth

James Courier of Ooga Labs has helped 10 companies grow to 10 Million+ users.
Here is a video and below are my notes.

James Courier of Ooga Labs

“Network effect” – Everybody who uses your service helps everybody else who uses your service. Over past 13 years, 62% – 82% of all value created by tech companies has been created via network effects (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Google). Network effects will become more important over next ten years than last ten years.

How do you operate a company so that it grows really fast?


Growth is a philosophy.

There are 4 types of growth.

  • Top line – New users
  • Activated – Did people understand really value?
  • Retained – Did they come back?
  • Monetized – Did you make any money?

Focus on retained & monetized.

There are only 18 techniques for monetization growth, including type addition, placement, freemium line, price tiers, storage, & fee choices.

There are only 6 retention loops for growth, including time, threshold, availability, human action, promise & deal.

Activation is all about a first user experience. It is a separate experience. How does a user first experience your product and what do they perceive that value to be? Spend half of your time here.

New User Growth: Word-of-mouth, viral & paid. From an operational perspective, it is hard to do more than one well at a given time.

Word of mouth examples:

  • Google SEO
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • WOM
  • Press
  • App Store Featured
  • TV Apps


  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Craigslist
  • Google+
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Blog
  • Widget

Paid Channels

  • SEM
  • Affiliate
  • Mobile Ads
  • Web Ads
  • Online Video Ads
  • TV Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Print / Direct Mail / Signs

There are many ways of growth. There are more ways of growing that people have missed than leverages over past 24 months.

There are 5 operational skills that you need to grow your company.

1. Organize For Growth

  • People responsible + team
  • Growth in their title
  • Reports to the CEO
  • Enjoys data exploration
  • More aggressive personality than CEO

CEO must give growth team clear authority to change product and allocate human resource, while making mistakes. CEO must be on / supportive of growth team. You should compensate people based on retained & monetized growth, not top line.

2. Product Strategy – What IS your product to the user?

Instead of Product strategy or product marketing or positioning, call this language & psychology. “Behind every great internet company there is a powerful insight about human psychology.” Examples: “Store Photos –> Share Photos” “Find A Date –> Help People Find A Date” You must keep revisiting language (e.g. Twitter kept changing language… What IS Twitter to people?)

3. Data Analysis & Product Optimization Loops

You need to get good at building and reading cohort analysis from MixPanel. If you aren’t good at this, it is going to be hard to grow.

Yes you should A/B test, but you need to A/B/C/D/E test entire flow. Test pipeline so you can iterate. Get the data so you can learn and improve.

50% of your effort is building data systems on the engineering size.

4. Platform & Channel Tactics

Understand marketing channels, options, & slang.

WOM is Resurgent (Mustache on Lyft. Shake Urban Spoon.)

5. Build A Culture of Growth

Iterate and fail over and over and over while sustaining optimism until you get it right. Failing is part of experimentation. You must have patience.


Early 2000 – Word of mouth

Mid 2000 –  Email, then MySpace, then craiglist

Late 2000′s – Facebook, then Twitter on a smaller scale, iOS & Android growing, WoM coming back

Nobody has come along to replace growth strategy on Facebook.