It’s ya boy shaan (aka, Dad of The Year) after I setup a Halloween candy slide so that I could give kids candy while being socially distanced 💪💪💪

Today I’m going to share a framework about GROWTH.

Here are three things people get wrong about growth:

  1. They look for the silver bullet (one magic thing that fixes all of their problems)
  2. They try to do big flashy things (like getting press or an influencer to mention them)
  3. They don’t know how to rank different growth ideas

Let’s break em down:

No Silver Bullets

I stole this line from Ben Horowitz: “There is no silver bullet, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets.” (check the book out here)

That’s exactly how I approach growth - I don’t chase silver bullets - wishing that one change will fix everything. Instead I fully expect to fire lots of lead bullets - small wins that add up and compound over time.

Why is it important to have this mindset?

To keep your expectations in check. One of my life formulas is:

Happiness = Reality - Expectations

If your expectations are bigger than your reality, you’ll have negative happiness.

So we want to have a mindset that it’s going to take lots of experiments to find stuff that works… and even if it works, it might be a small improvement - but those small improvements add up to create big change.

Don’t do flashy stuff.

I typically avoid flashy stuff. Like getting mentioned in Forbes, or apple featuring the app, or an influencer shouting you out.


Because those aren’t sustainable. They are one-off spikes. I’m trying to build a growth engine, that will keep humming everyday. I rarely spend energy on things that are spikey, one-off events.

For example - I’d rather find a 5% improvement in our signup flow than get featured on the cover of the NY Times. One feeds the ego, and might drive a bunch of attention for a day… the other is like owning a parking meter...everyday I get paid a small dividend.

Learning to rank growth ideas

Whenever I want to drive more growth, I start with a simple excel sheet and brainstorm ideas.

For example, here’s a list I came up with in 20 mins for an ecommerce project I was helping someone with:

Notice, no silver bullets. Just a bunch of lead bullet ideas.

Notice, nothing flashy. Just a bunch of small tweaks to the funnel.

The last thing to do is to figure out how to rank ideas. I quickly try to score each idea (on a scale of 1 to 3) for Impact, Cost (effort or $), and Likelihood of success.

In this example, the ecom store’s email capture popup (‘hey put your email in for 10% off!’) is doing poorly right now, only converting 5% of people who see it. I know from friends that this number should be 10%+.

If a store gets 100k monthly visitors, changing that from 5% → 10% that would translate into maybe ~5k extra emails captured every month we can use for ongoing marketing. That’s high impact.

Changing this email popup won’t take long. Maybe an hour or two. So let’s call it low effort.

And since it currently is pretty bare bones, and we know other stores are getting 10%+ success rate...then we score this high likelihood of success.

Here’s what we put on our growth experiment board with scores:

This isn’t fancy, but it’s a very simple way to think through all the stuff you could do, to figure out where you want to start.

I used to always try to hit home runs. Now when I try to improve growth, I start with something quick that will give me instant momentum. Because momentum begets momentum.

The last step in running a growth experiment is to write shit down.

I use a simple template

Experiment Name:

Proof the problem exists:


Size of the prize:

Result (fill in later):

^ we do this so that it’s clear what we’re doing and measurable. It takes 5-10 mins to do this step, but very few people do it. I’m telling ya, it’s a life saver.

This has two benefits:

  1. If you're working with others, they can quickly see what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it (without requiring a meeting)
  2. This is how you train your gut instincts. You guess. You try it. You measure if you were right or wrong. Do that 1000 times and you’ll start to have good growth instincts.

Also as a bonus - 30% of the time you write this out, and you’ll realize the experiment is not even worth doing (small size of prize) or its not solving a real problem (cant find proof the problem exists).

For example, here’s the experiment we ran on Wednesday:

  • Operation EmailMONSTER
  • Problem: Not collecting enough email addresses from visitors
  • Proof: Last 30 days, our email capture rate is ~5%. I've heard this should be 10-15%.
  • Solutions: Make the popup juicier. Add a fun picture & change the text (eg. say “$5 off” instead of “10% off”)
  • Goal: Increase conversion from 5% --> 10%+
  • Size of the Prize: Extra emails collected per month should drive more revenue from every send. That should translate into an extra $5k/month of revenue from email marketing
  • Result: We'll get em after a few days!

Our goal was to ship this whole experiment in one day. Most experiments should take:

  • 1 hour to come up with + get the data
  • 1 day to ship it
    ~3-5 days to collect data if it’s working or not (while you ship the next experiment)

Now that it’s sunday, we can check back in on the experiment and see how our changes are performing:

Looks like we’ve been able to increase our pop-up form to 7.3%, not great yet, but a good start for some momentum!

Until next week,