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Aatif Awan, Head of Growth LinkedIn - Growth Hacking is Dead. Long Live Growth.



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LinkedIn's Head of Growth, Aatif Awan discusses how to think about Growth from first principles instead of worrying about Growth Hacking. He shares insights from growing LinkedIn to 380 million professionals that can help you create the right Growth culture, team and processes. Visit:

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Aatif Awan, Head of Growth LinkedIn - Growth Hacking is Dead. Long Live Growth.

  1. 1. ​  Aatif Awan ​  Growth @ LinkedIn Growth Hacking is Dead. Long live Growth.
  2. 2.  Early 2011 Growth at LinkedIn •  10 people on Growth team •  100 Million LinkedIn members •  Acquisition  Today 110 people 380 Million Acquisition, Onboarding, Connections, Retention & Resurrection, Comms
  3. 3. Popular Growth Tactics + “Get your free email at Hotmail” at the bottom of each email. 12 Million users in 18 months. Jumpstarted growth by cross-posting to Craigslist without an available API.
  4. 4.  Why not use these tactics to grow your product?
  5. 5.  Using these examples to drive growth for a startup is like using Penicillin’s accidental discovery to develop the next antibiotic.
  6. 6.  Growth Hacking  A hyped-up collection of anecdotes, tactics and theories.
  7. 7. Pixie Dust Theory You can sprinkle growth tactics on your product and make it grow.
  8. 8. Wizard of Oz Theory You can hire a growth hacker who will make your product grow.
  9. 9. Jack and the Beanstalk Theory Just do something. You never know what might magically grow your product.
  10. 10.  Growth  A scientific approach to growing a product’s usage.
  11. 11. Reasoning from First Principles  “I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing a thing because it’s like something else that was done by other people. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths and then reason up from there.” — Elon Musk
  12. 12. Startup success = Product + Growth + Revenue Product Make something people want Growth Get lots of people to use the product Revenue Get someone to pay for the product or for access to its users
  13. 13. Good Product Comes First, Growth Second •  Investing in growth before you have a good product is a waste of resources. •  It might seem to work initially, but reality catches up eventually. DAUs for Viddy
  14. 14. Good Product Leads to Good Retention •  Retention curve for good products flattens out after a few months. •  If your retention isn’t good, nothing else matters. Good retention Bad retention
  15. 15. You can Improve Retention by… •  Getting feedback from existing users to understand what’s working and what’s not. •  Finding a segment of users for whom your product has good retention. •  Getting users to experience core value (A-ha moment) sooner.
  16. 16.  Once you have good retention, it’s time to grow.
  17. 17. Picking Your Top Metric •  Define one primary metric that •  is aligned with the success of your business •  measures value for users •  is summable
  18. 18.  User Behavior Identifying Growth Channels •  Do existing users share your product via word of mouth? •  Are people using search to find a solution? •  Do users have a high LTV?  Channels to explore Virality, referrals SEO, SEM Paid acquisition •  Does having more users improve the experience? Virality •  Are your target users already on another platform? Partnership, Integration
  19. 19. Prioritize channels and levers Brainstorm hypotheses and ideas Assess impact on primary metric Prioritize based on impact, likelihood and effort Build, A/B test and measure Growth Requires Continuous Prioritization and Feedback
  20. 20. Hiring for Growth •  Analytical •  Get shit done •  Curious – Ask why? •  Find new ways to do things – Ask why not? •  Prior growth experience is optional
  21. 21. LinkedIn Growth Team SEO Network Growth þ Onboarding Comms SEO, Conversion optimization, Public profile PYMK, Virality, Connections Onboarding, Activation, Intent discovery Engagement through Email/Push, Resurrection
  22. 22. Culture •  Set ambitious goals •  Move fast •  Data trumps opinions •  Continuously learn •  Celebrate wins
  23. 23.  Thank you!  aatif_awan