Lessons from Facebook

Of course we read every post and watch every video that can help us make a success of Stek. One of the sources that's really valuable to us is Startup School. 'Startup School, a Y-Combinator initiative, is a free 10-week massively open online course (MOOC).'

Recently, Alex Schultz, VP of Growth at Facebook, shared with Startup School how to get users, how to grow, and how to measure growth. Here are some higlights of his presentation ...

The single most important thing to growth is retention. Make your users come back. And when they come back, you know you've got the magic you were looking for. Every service looks for its magic moment. On Facebook that is when you see a long lost friend. Find out what your magic moment is by talking to your customers and trying to validate that with correlations.

How do you operate for growth? Simple: have a clear goal for your whole company. The approach to growth has 3 elements:

1) Understand. Understand what is going on. Look at all the data you have. Talk to your users.
2) Identify the opportunities in the data you understood.
3) Execute.

Data are key to make decisions. Data, when used in the right way gives you empathy about your users. Research is great, talking to your customers is great, but look at the data to validate if you do the right thing. If you build the right metrics you’re optimising for your users. Data helps you make decisions faster. Data wins arguments.

OK what helps you grow? Lots of things. But here are three examples:

1) The network effect. When all your friends get on Facebook you’re much more likely to use Facebook yourself.
2) Opening up a new interface can do this as well. For example: release an Android app after starting with an iPhone app.
3) The third thing that can help you is adding categories. Amazon started with books, but by adding different categories over time you realise new use cases to come back.

And when you are looking at the numbers, look at the amount of new users, the amount of churning users and the amount of resurrecting users. Then you know what your net growth is.

It's a known story, but the difficult and important thing is to get 100 users. How do you do that?
It isn’t scalable but ask your friends first to be your customers. And make them pay. They’ll give you honest feedback.
Another option is research and reach out. Send personal e-mails to people that you think might like your product. And get introductions to people that are potential customers.
Besides that social media and PR are important. PR is not scaleable but it can give you amazing spikes.
And last but not least, buying ads can be absolutely fantastic.

Watch the presentation here!

This blogpost is brought to you by Stek.io. We make installing, hosting and updating the best open source tools a one click experience. Stek.io makes publication, communication and collaboration with tools like Ghost, Discourse and Hackpad easy, safe and secure.

“The Collaborators” by D. Miller is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Erwin Blom

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