Sam Mallikarjunan
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The FIRST Framework For Growing Successful Products

At Startup Turkey 2016 Sam Mallikarjunan from Hubspot (inbound marketing specialist) gave a speech about how to grow successful products following the FIRST framework. I recommend any entrepreneur to watch his full presentation that you can find at the end of this article.

It’s a really exciting time for commerce as big changes are happening in short amounts of time. 70% of US fortunes are less than 10 years old. However, because of the technology of smartphones and the fact that their penetration rate is so high your growth and marketing campaigns now have to compete with any piece of content ever created by anyone at anytime.

What FIRST stands for: F fake it I iterate R retain S scale up T test

Step 1: Fake it

Define your user assumption and work obsessively on that. There are a few low cost methods you can use to see if people really want before starting to actually build the product:

  • Create an animated explainer video and a landing page to generate sign-ups
  • Before creating a new product or feature put a button to see if the user clicks on it
  • Launch a crowdfunding campaign to get some cash and some validation

“I do one thing at the time, I do it very well and then move on.” – MASH (TV show)

Step 2: Iterate

Decide who you want to be and what is your goal, you then can go in a direction that fits your culture. Focus on the small changes for your core value proposition. Focus matters. You will have to make decisions and leave the rest behind. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, freelancers are sometimes a good solution. And don’t chase big deal fast cash.

Seek Product/market fit, you’ve found if

“40% of your users say they would be very disappointed if your product went away” – Sean Ellis

Step 3: Retention

Just as important as knowing why your customers started using your product is asking them why they stopped.

You can outgrow churn for a long time. Define what is an active user for your company and make sure your team knows what you’re working on.
“Don’t try to get your square peg customers to love your round hole product, find your round hole customers or build a square peg product.”

Step 4: Scale up

You don’t want to build something that is perfect you want to build something that people will use and that can grow. Once you’ve found fit grow as fast as you can.What is going to make you successful is the community that you build. Break apart the model that is working, isolate the individual components of growth and Focus on each of those. Also know what you are not good at, omission is an important. Focus on growing what you can.
“Cash flow is more important than your mother Growth is more important than your father.”

Step 5: Testing

Constantly isolate hypothesis and test, test, test.

“There is never a shortage of ideas, there’s a shortage of execution.”

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─ March 22, 2016