The one about “growth teams”

Let’s talk about small scale startups and the role of growth teams there. I’d categorise small scale as 10 – 20 people, in a typical subscription app business for example. I’ve had the pleasure of working with two very different companies in the last 12 months. One is a rocket ship on it’s way to hit 1mil users only 18 months after launch and the other hans’t found the product-market fit yet. The rocket ship has only 5 full-time people. The other has 15!

As the “growth guy” I’ve noticed something interesting. In the rocket ship, everybody is doing growth. It’s not my job. Like an isolated position. It’s what we do as a business. Growth is the definition of a startup.

For example, in the first company (pre product-market fit), I was hired as the growth guy to run the growth team. That’s already a bad idea. You should only do that after you hit product market fit. I didn’t know that at that time. I thought I could grow it anyways…

When I whipped out Amplitude, it was the first time some of the engineers saw analytics like conversion rates, usage, etc. They were kinda of just building features they were told to build from “above”.

In comparison, in the rocket ship company, the guy building on boarding knows every conversion by heart and runs tests every week – no need for a “growth guy / team”, his job as an engineer is to build growth into the product.

If I knew what a true growth company looks like at the beginning, I would choose companies more carefully.

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