Yūki Yamashita, Chief Product Officer at Figma, shares lessons learned, plug-and-play templates, and fresh insights into how Figma builds product
The best way to improve your influence skills is to study people who are really good at it. And imho, one of the greatest influencers of all time is Frodo Baggins. Hear me out.
A handy checklist to help decide when it’s time to sunset a product or feature
There are two additional growth levers that I didn’t get to cover in the series because they were neither growth engines nor kickstarting tactics. But before I explore them, let’s quickly review where we stand...
“Bottom-up” (or “product-led”) B2B growth is a hot topic in early-stage circles these days, and it makes sense why. A self-serve (“easy-in”) entry motion, that’s later combined with a strong direct sales motion, can make for explosive revenue growth as shown by IPO’d exemplars Zoom...
I keep hearing that I need to improve my product’s positioning, but I’m not sure what that means, and how to do this. Where do I start?
I love referrals programs so much. While leading the supply growth work at Airbnb, one of the teams I oversaw built and scaled the host referrals program.
The field of behavioral science studies these behaviors. It sits at the crossroads of psychology and economics, looking at the effects of cognitive, emotional, and social factors on decisions and, ultimately, actions. The application of behavioral science is typically called behavioral design.
As Paul Graham teaches us, “Startup = growth. The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.” Thus, your first growth hire is one of the most important hires you’ll make.
Normally, to grow your business, YOU need to go find every new user or customer. For example, if you’re building Google, you need to go tell people about Google and convince them to use Google. Each additional Google user doesn’t directly drive more Google users.
If you’re building a consumer business, these are your only three choices for long-term, sustainable growth. But picking the right “lane” is just one of many decisions on the way to building a winning business.
How should early-stage founders overcome the SEO advantages of incumbents? The strategy is actually simple: Create many valuable web pages in a scalable and cheap way.
What are all the ways that content can drive growth? There’s obviously SEO. There are also viral blog posts, user-generated content (UGC), editorially produced blog posts, data-generated pages, and so on. What other strategies are there, and how do they all fit together?
You should only invest in virality if you are confident that virality will be your primary growth engine for your product. As opposed to (1) performance marketing, (2) content, or (3) sales.
Increasing conversion (a.k.a fix the “leaks” in your funnel, get it?) is one of the highest ROI investments a growth team can make, particularly once you’ve got your top-of-funnel growth engines (e.g. paid, SEO, referrals) up and running.
It'd be great if you can share some advice about increasing retention. Also, please some companies who are doing this very well.
Having worked at Airbnb for many years, I’m frequently asked about what Airbnb did right in order to grow into what it is today. While sharing my learnings, I’ve become increasingly wary of teams relying too heavily on a single company’s experience.
In the early days of Figma, we talked with practically every designer we knew. In search of more feedback, we turned to Twitter which I realized we could use to determine the most influential designers.
Considering every startup confronts this question at some point, I was surprised by how little has been written about it. Particularly anything actionable. So I decided to do my own digging.
The wedge metaphor to me is most useful in making sure you’re not a blunt instrument trying to chop into a market by being everything for everyone, but instead the sharp blade with an extraordinary focus on a specific persona/use case to start.
Though the difference between a regular PM and a “growth PM” isn’t as big as you may think—most PMs are responsible for driving business growth one way or another—there are indeed roles where your job is solely to drive growth.
No matter what stage you’re at as a startup or company with a new product line, expect your North Star Metric to change as your strategy shifts. It will evolve as you learn more about what keeps your team focused, motivated, and building toward the ultimate vision.
To answer this question, like I did with our look at retention, I brought out the big guns. I polled the smartest growth people I could get hold of and asked them what payback periods they expect when investing in, or advising, startups.
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, subscription businesses are so hot right now. And it makes sense — recurring revenue is hard to beat. Instead of starting from $0 each month, you start each month essentially at the peak of your previous revenue.
Your question implies that it can be developed, and to that point, I 1,000% agree. Contrary to what a lot of PMs believe, product sense is not something you need to be born with. It’s a learned skill, just like any other PM skill.
While starting a company has never been easier, and building a great product has become table stakes, getting your product in front of the right people efficiently—getting people to even know you exist—is increasingly what separates the haves from the have-nots.
With so many tools, potential metrics to track, and perspectives on measuring your progress, it’s no surprise founders often struggle to know where to start.
Career ladders (a.k.a. leveling frameworks, career tracks, competencies, etc.) have long been secretive and mysterious. I’m not totally sure why. I don’t see how sharing these publicly gives anyone a competitive advantage...
Your goal is to create something worth remarking about. Something people will stop and pay attention to, and have to share with their friends. Seth Godin explores this idea further.
Community—so hot right now. Ask any founder if they’ve thought about building a community and 9 out of 10 times you’ll get an immediate yes. And for good reason.
What makes your business grow? Which elements of your business feed off of each other to accelerate growth? A flywheel is simply a way to describe these ideas visually...
Marketplace businesses are HARD. You could argue they are 2x as hard as a non-marketplace because you have to find Product/Market TWICE, for your supply AND for your demand...
Michael Porter, one of the most cited authors in business and economics and generally seen as the godfather of business strategy, spent decades studying what it takes to build a durable business. He found that there are only two paths to winning a market...
Having a strong “why now” certainly gives you a better shot at building a large and enduring business (for the reasons I cover below), but it isn’t absolutely essential. Companies like SpaceX, Airbnb, Pinterest, DoorDash, Instacart, Facebook, and Netflix had little if any why now.
Most of the marketplaces I looked at took 8 to 12 months post-launch to expand into their next market. A few marketplaces, like Caviar and OpenTable, launched their second and third markets at essentially the same time...
Earlier this week, Andrew Chen (GP at a16z, ex-Uber Growth, ex-founder, prolific blogger) published his long-awaited book, The Cold Start Problem. In it, Andrew explores the powerful role of “network effects” in kickstarting and scaling some of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies.
After looking at 100+ marketplace businesses over the past few years, I’ve learned one important lesson: First, forget about the marketplace part. Start by looking at the business...
To help you develop your strategy and inspire your thinking, below I’ll explore each of these seven channels, with examples, suggestions, and advice as to which channel is right for you.
To get you a concrete answer, I asked a bunch of founders (over Twitter, email, and IRL) who have direct experience with long waitlists, and broadly here’s what I’ve learned...
Instead of pontificating, let’s get real. There’s no better way to know what skills matter most in your role than by looking at how your company evaluates your performance.
What skills do companies look for in a PM? What do PMs need to get right to get promoted? How much influence do PMs have at different companies? There’s surprisingly little information out there about the differences in the PM role across the industry.
I’ve been getting this question often recently, so I’m excited to dive in. Since I personally haven't been the first PM at a company, I used this as an excuse to do some new research. I reached out to a bunch of smart friends and friends of friends who have been first PMs, along with putting out...
Judging by the sea of SEO thirst-trap blog posts about prioritization, you aren’t a PM blogger (or PM SaaS tool) if you haven’t shared your perspective on prioritization. So here’s my advice: In most situations, ignore most of these frameworks and just keep it simple.
A few years into my time at Airbnb, the founders were becoming increasingly alarmed that a large percentage of booking requests were being rejected (or worse ignored) by hosts. Guests across all demographics, geographies, and languages were putting in their credit card information...
There’s an old debate about how technically minded product managers should be. On the one hand, understanding your developers, their process, and their work is part and parcel of shipping products effectively.
Great PMs take pride in the clarity and conciseness of their documents, emails, presentations, and meetings. They know that people judge the quality of their thinking by the quality of their writing/speaking and that effective communication is the most fundamental PM skill.
The answer is you just do it. Building on last month’s post where I dissected the ten jobs of a product manager—based on reviewing 20+ PM career ladders at some of today’s biggest tech companies—in this post I’m going to share my favorite interview questions for PMs, one question per PM “job”.
The PM career is unnecessarily shrouded in mystery. We all know you start as an individual contributor, and eventually, you can become a CPO or a VP of Product. But what happens in the middle?
To help you in your decision-making process, let’s first make sure you understand what you actually do day-to-day as a PM, and then I’ll share my advice for thinking through your decision.
The role of product manager (PM) is the most fascinating role within tech teams right now. PMs are closest to the center of the action, have a disproportionate amount of influence over key decisions, and often go on to start their own companies.
I generally avoid meta questions like this, since they’re rarely actionable or useful. But because this is such a common PM interview question and because I’ve gotten this question from readers enough times and never found a definition that I like elsewhere, I’m going to tackle it this week.
Great retention is THE scalable way to grow a product. It's the best indicator of product-market fit, it is the most important factor in a user’s lifetime value, and high retention drives all of the best acquisition strategies. It's growth's equivalent to the triple-word score.