Why You Must Store Your Own Analytics Data

monk3Many companies get their analytics systems backwards. People love looking a graphs and performance dashboards. But analytics isn’t data porn. The fundamental purpose is to answer questions to help your business succeed.

At a young company, you probably don’t have all the analytics pipes setup. You should store your own data even at the very start. In this post I’ll explain why and the default way to get it done.

If you start sending event data to a tool like Mixpanel or Google Analytics, it means you can answer lots of questions. If you don’t need to write any code to answer a question, awesome! I love these tools and you should be using them.

Unfortunately. this doesn’t cover all cases. If you don’t control your analytics data, you’ll be left with a choice: answer with the tools you have or don’t answer at all. This is a poisonous problem for product teams — not just because you can’t answer the question immediately. It also changes the way you think about your data. You start to fear asking questions for the cost answering might incur. Your organization avoids answering hard questions, instead focusing on what is easy to answer. Poison.

If you have your own data, you can write a quick script to answer the question. Parsing analytics data with a targeted question isn’t the same as building a complicated dashboard. Building dashboards is a much harder engineering and design exercise than most people appreciate. So don’t do it — just answer your question directly with your analytics and user data. Once you do that a few times, you’ll start to build institutional know-how and tools around processing your own data. This is a virtuous cycle for startups.

I’d estimate around 50% of the questions I ask at YesGraph can’t easily be answered by our hosted analytics tools.

The Default Way To Store Data

There are lots of ways to get this done. I want to help you choose the most obvious way so you can get back to work. If your boss asks you, just tell them the growth experts at YesGraph told you to do it.

First, use Segment. They will help you structure your analytics events correctly. Segment lowers the cost of trying new tools, which can help you avoid. So you’re going to win by choosing them.

Next, implement their webhook. They’ll pipe data back through to your systems. You don’t need anything fancy at the start. A simple relational database can store your data. You only need to worry about scaling once your queries get really slow. Again, fear of the cost of answering a question will poison your culture into avoiding asking them.

If you have deep pockets, pick their enterprise tier and store the data in Amazon Redshift directly. Then Business Intelligence tools like Chartio and Looker can work directly off that data. You have your data, and better tools to analyze it. It’ll cost you money and save you engineering time.



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Growth Step #2: Build a Map


This is the second post in a series about how to grow. Click here to subscribe to new posts.

The first step to driving growth is picking a goal. Then you need to understand your product to know which areas might drive growth. It’s about finding your growth levers. You should refine your understanding until you have a clear sense of how any change might affect your metrics.

Guided By Actual User Experience

To start, put yourself in the shoes of a user. What is the very first thing they experience? They might land on your home page. They might get a message from a friend about your product. They might have seen your company covered in the press. Start there, and expand.

List all the places where your product touches the user. Include every page on your site and parts of your mobile app. It is also email, push notifications, SMS, and other messaging channels. Some pages are about communicating what the product does during onboarding, others are part of the product experience.

You can go deeper by making it stateful. Where is the user in their lifecycle, and how does that flavor the experience. Often you have multiple goals for a single page, and representing those constituents is really important. While conversion on a landing page might be direct, most experiences after signup and onboarding have diverse targets. Over time, you’ll build up a better understanding of what specific actions cause a user to activate and be retained. You can then prioritize those features.

Map To Your Goals

Break down your product to understand how each part influences your goal. You can dive down to a microscopic precision here, but many people don’t even get the satellite view.

Let’s walk through an example. Your goal is more active users. That isn’t directly actionable, so what are the components? You have new signups, retained users, churned users, and resurrected users. Every single active user or previously active user belongs to one of those categories.

Now go further. Where do your signups come from? Some from direct visits to your home page, some from invites from current users. Understanding signup source is the first step to improving signups. The same is true for the other categories: how do resurrected users come back?

Back to signups, again go further. Through what channels are invites sent? What are the conversion rates by channel? What is the message? Is that email subject good enough to open the message? Is the body of the email enough to make the invitee click? Does customizing the landing page improve conversion?

Finally you have something actionable. You can run a test on the email subject and body to see how it affects clicks, and then invite conversion, and then signups, and then active users. You’ve broken down a part of your product from an abstract goal to something actionable.

Think of it like an expanding tree of detail. Here is one pass, but you want to expand on everything:

Screenshot 2015-04-17 09.36.30

Now do this for everything, not just from the goals down but from the user experience up.


Include Uncharted Territory

The main challenge with this approach is that you focus on what is already there, but there is more to the story. You need to get creative and consider uncharted territory, things which you could be doing but aren’t. In the example above, you might be running a test on your initial invite. Are you sending a reminder? Do you reflect the status to the sender, asking them ping their friend directly? Do you use email when SMS might be more appropriate for your product? A good understanding of your product’s surface area should consider what isn’t there as much as what is.

Interestingly, when designers come up with possible implementations, they often have very different approaches. Too many times, I’ve seen these designs considered, filtered to pick one, and later on the product team is not sure what else to try. You already had variants, now just use them.

Too Much To Explore

It should be obvious once you break down your product that there is far more to improve upon than you can possibly do. If you’re running out of ideas, it means that you haven’t thought deeply enough about what you have and what it could be. The challenge becomes deciding on what to work on next. That is the topic of Step 3 in this series.

Samuel Hulick Will Save You (and Your Users)

At YesGraph, we’re all about growth. We’re obsessed. We talk to so many companies about growth that we think we can help in lots of ways.

Our new growth product can help, but there is a lot more to talk about too. So we’re blogging about metrics and growth. And now we’ll start interviewing growth experts and startup founders building the future.

Introducing YesGraph Office Hours

We’re really excited to start publishing some of our interviews. This first episode dives deep into user onboarding with Samuel Hulick. He runs the amazing site UserOnboard.com – you definitely need to check out his product teardowns. We also talk about his new product, available at UserOnboard.com/beta.

Help us Launch This Podcast

We have a few episodes recorded, and need to finish up editing. We’re actually not in iTunes yet. We’ve been told that to best launch a podcast, you want a few episodes queued up. You also want friends to leave positive reviews to make your iTunes launch go as well as possible.

So if you like this episodes, subscribe to get new blog posts and episodes in your inbox.

The plan is to get the community to subscribe and review on iTunes after a few episodes are available. If you have any other tips of launching a podcast, let me know in the comments or email me (ivan@yesgraph.com).

Another way to help is to spread this post. Things you can do:

  1. Tweet about it
  2. Share with Facebook
  3. Vote up the story on Hacker News
  4. Like the story on Quibb
  5. Vote up the story on GrowthHackers.com
  6. Vote up the story on Inbound.org

I’m new to this, and the best way to get better is to get feedback. Do I talk too fast? Too many “ums”? Should I have asked our audience for questions before the interview?

Add a comment or email me with anything and everything: ivan@yesgraph.com

Growth Step #1: Pick a Goal

We’re kicking off a new series on this blog. Starting from first principles, we want to outline how to grow. This is Part 1 of 5. This first post originally published on my personal blog about product and growth.

If you want to get the full series, subscribe to get future YesGraph posts here.



The very first step in growing your startup is to pick a goal.

It is surprising how often this isn’t mentioned as part of the process. When you hear people from Facebook’s growth team describe their process, they keep it simple: measure, test, deploy. This shows how deeply ingrained the growth ethic was at Facebook. Every employee knows they want the whole world on Facebook to the point that their advice skips goal setting.

To understand the importance of goal setting, just look at applications where the goal isn’t obvious for external observers. Before Twitter focused on monetization as a media company, they floundered with platform decisions along with the tension of getting regular users to publish vs consume. Is Foursquare a location API, a consumer local search utility, or a social network? This ambiguity is part of their current growing pains.

Deciding what the goal should be is hard. Startups are flooded with numbers: web traffic analytics, product event data, site speed & perf metrics, app store metrics, cohort data, and on and on. People see dashboards full of dozens of numbers, with additional complexity because you never just care about a number but also how it changes too.


Which numbers matter? Let’s explore the different aspects of a good goal.

Stage Appropriate

Goals change depending on your stage. In this post by Brian Balfour about different stages for a company, he explains how retention is the most important metrics at the start, as a measure of approaching product-market fit.

Easy To Understand

People tend to have a hard time understanding graphs and complex statistics. Your goals should become diffused throughout your team, which means ease of communication is essential. The goal should be a single number, and it should be something people understand. Active users and revenue are two that come to mind that would fit most companies, and everyone understands them. This also helps in PR if you’re going to announce milestones with your goals, like Facebook announcing one billion active users.


It is really tempting to have multiple goals. Signups and retention both matter, right? The problem is that you need a guide to help prioritize your product pipeline. Ambiguity here can cause you to work on the wrong things. It also makes communicating goals harder.

No Bullshit

It is surprising how often you continue to hear statistics that don’t matter, like pageviews. Some call these vanity metrics, because they don’t map to what matters for your business. Companies often publish the number of signups instead of the number of active users, when obviously the latter is what really matters for most businesses.


Teams within a company can certainly have their own goals. I’d recommend that they all have the same characteristics as a company goal. Ideally, the relationship between the company goal and the team goals are well understood. A good example breakdown can be found in this post by Tomasz Tunguz about structuring a sales team and the associated metrics of each component.

For my new startup, YesGraph, we went through this process. We’ve built multiple products, so have been through it more than once. Our new product helps companies grow, so the only reasonable metric is how much growth we’re causing. How many quality signups can be attributed to our tools?

There are other metrics for YesGraph, like the number of developers, data scale, and revenue. The good news is that they are all going to be proportional. So when building a new product, we’re focusing on a key metric that doubles as a quality metric.

Step #2: Build a Map

Need help? Just ask YesGraph. If you want to review your metrics, you should email us at support@yesgraph.com or ask in the comments below. We obsess over picking quality metrics, and would be happy to help.



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The Top 3 Actionable Metrics for Any Viral Flow









So you want to optimize the virality of your app. What metrics do you pick? There are dozens of numbers to look at. If you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed, don’t panic. I’ve been there, having helped run growth at Dropbox where social invites through referral and shared folder invitations were a huge part of our growth. (psst, now I’m working on YesGraph)

You might be surprised that I’m not going to talk about “Viral Coefficient” or “K-Factor”. They lack a strict definition (hint: time bounds matter) and aren’t actionable. I’ve also noticed that people that talk in these terms often haven’t worked for a massively successful company. So don’t be that guy.

At the start, keep it simple. Here are the three metrics I like using.

  1. % users participating
  2. # Invites sent / user on average
  3. # signups / invite

Let me try to define each.


1. % Users Participating. At the start, you want to know how many people are even participating in the invite flow. This doesn’t mean they’ve sent invites, just that they are actively involved in the process. For example, visiting a referral invite page like dropbox.com/referrals could count.

I like this metric especially because it is usually surprisingly low. Many sharing features only have 1% or 2% of users participating in a given month. You can cheat a little and only measure the percentage of active users. That doesn’t help much, but it does make your numbers look better. Try to make the events meaningful. Just being on a page with a small “share” button shouldn’t count.


2. Invites Sent / User Participating. This can get tricky depending on your exact flow. You might, for example, want to track percentage of people that publish to Facebook (which is one to many) separate from email invites (which are one to one). Email invites tend to perform far better (10X conversion) than publishing a link to Facebook or Twitter, so it is ok to focus on how many are sent. If publishing dominates over invites, add metrics for % participants who publish and # clicks per published link.


3. Signups / Invite. This measures how many people signup per invite sent. Again the math can get tricky if you’re looking at published links vs direct invites. Conversion of an individual signup will be less than one. From publishing a link you can get multiple signups.

You can further refine each of these measurements. I highly recommend you get started with the basics to understand what is performing well and what isn’t.

At the top level you might attribute X% of your signups to a sharing or invite flow. But if you want to make that number go up, you need to know where the dropoff is.


Two Examples

With Yammer, the last time I checked, everyone that signs up is presented with an invite flow to get 5 people into the service. I don’t typically recommend prompting invitations before engaging the user, but some social apps require others before becoming compelling. Some of the invites might be low quality for people that just want to get in. This means the conversion to signup will be lower than expected.

Here is a guess at Yammer’s stats:

  • 100% of the users see the invite flow.
  • 1.5 invites per user.
  • 0.10 signups per invite.

The only reasonable place to focus your effort is on conversion of invitees. 10% has a lot of room to grow. Here is where this gets actionable. Run tests on the messaging. Send multiple invites. Run tests on the landing page. Prompt the inviter to send reminders.

Now take a mythical service that just started making a referral program, InstaJoy. The only user exposure to the referral program is a link at the top of the home page that says “Give $10 Get $10”. Sounds compelling, but what percentage of users are looking at the home page at any one time? And how many even click that. This is an example where not enough people are participating.

  • 2% of users see the referral page.
  • 0.5 invites per user
  • 0.25 signups per invite

In this case, what might happen if the service sent an email to all users to make referrals? Maybe 2% of people would click the call to action in the email. But that means ~4% of users see the referral page, effectively doubling performance. If they send another reminder email, another 1% might engage. That is another 25% increase in performance.

These metrics are simple yet actionable.


Again, you can get a lot deeper in every dimension. Don’t let perfect accuracy get in the way driving immediate improvements.

If you need help with your metrics, just ask us. We are obsessed with this data, and actually love dorking out about metrics. Just email support@yesgraph.com or find me on Twitter.



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Radical Transparency: Here is YesGraph’s New Content Marketing Strategy

press room 2

YesGraph is embarking on a new direction, which changes our marketing audience and goals. I recently wrote up some notes on how we should use this blog and other marketing channels. Because YesGraph’s new product is all about helping companies grow, I thought the community would want to see how we think about part of our own growth.

Below is the internal doc I wrote, edited only for clarity for this blog’s audience. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments, on Twitter, on in email: ivan@yesgraph.com

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This document lays out YesGraph’s new content marketing strategy. The goal here is to get a cohesive picture of what the next few months look like. We should also flesh out some of the challenges and ways to address them.

What Are Our goals?

This is not immediately a traffic and sales play. We don’t need to drive quantitative metrics. Part of that rationale is that our sales process is ill defined and we don’t have a launched product yet.

Instead, the goal is to impact a few different areas:

  • brand
  • pre-sales
  • recruiting
  • press

Brand. We want to establish YesGraph as the best place in the world to learn about how to grow your product. Our content should be world class and authoritative. We’ll do this by writing about what we know, and interviewing experts who know more than we do. When potential customers, employees, and investors do diligence on our company, this content will convince them we’re credible.

Pre-sales. People that want to learn about growth will be qualified leads for our product. Eventually, our content marketing will become part of our sales machine. At the start, I just want to talk to more people that might be customers. This is still an early customer development stage, and funnel optimization for sales isn’t as important as building an amazing product.

Recruiting. We only have a few customers that are live with our API. We don’t have a good demo to show. We also haven’t made any noise in the press. All of this combines to make recruiting harder because convincing people to join our company comes with no background on what we’re about. What we write will showcase what we’re all about. YesGraph can help your company grow. This is an incredibly high leverage position, helping multiple companies at once. It’s also a complex engineering challenge. We have everything we need to convince people to join, and this content is going to help get the word out.

Press. We’re telling an outlier story with YesGraph. We are experts building something every developer needs. It is core to their business, and doing it yourself is hard and won’t work as well. Part of telling this story is showing it. The content we create will help us tell our story to the press. The content itself might be a story too. Our product helps customers, but there is so much knowledge that can’t be productized that we’re writing about it as openly as possible. This fits a good narrative because we’ve already blogged successfully about growth and also about startup ideas.

What Is the Format of the Content?

There are three formats: blog posts about growth, interviews with people about growth, and office hours with companies.

Blog Posts will match others we’ve written on blog.kirigin.com and blog.yesgraph.com. Some examples:

Each of these are thoughtful posts of moderate length covering an aspect of growth. Some are more tactical, others are more strategy.

Interviews are ways of creating compelling content without the overhead of writing clearly. Plus people we interview have their own audiences which can help with the promotion. Most importantly, getting people in the trenches working on growth to tell their story will likely product some really compelling content. Some of the content might be expanded into blog posts.

The format for the interview could be a phone call that is recorded and whose transcript is published as a blog post. Video interviews have the most overhead of production costs but also can make really compelling content.

Office Hours are all about directly helping a startup. We’d cover their goals, what they’ve tried so far, and what they might be able to try going forward. They’ll be recorded phone calls and maybe video calls. The format, like interviews, is better with video but that comes at higher costs.

An issue here is transparency, where maybe companies won’t want to reveal some information. It is most important to get to the truth in office hours, so we’ll allow companies to redact some questions

At the start, our pilot customers make great candidates for interviews. I routinely respond to requests to chat about growth, so the logistics of setting up office hours is really just recording what I’m already doing.

[ed: if you want help with growth and like the idea of office hours, email me ivan@yesgraph.com]

Where To Start?

This outline might make a good blog post. Starting by writing more on our blog is the easiest. Then in parallel we can setup interviews and work through the format.

We should also setup www.yesgraph.com to say the right information about our company, and other such details about capturing an audience.

I have an Asana project with blog post ideas. We should flesh out a few posts to help triage which might be the best to get out soonest. We can double the project to include tasks to setup the blog. I probably won’t go so far as to develop a content schedule besides a frequency baseline: 2 posts per week.

For interviews, I should reach out to a few friends working in growth. For office hours, I should start with companies I already know.





That is it for our internal strategy. Since writing I’ve discussed it with a few others and have refined the plan.

One new addition is a metric to track. Subscriptions to our mailing list is the easiest to track, so go signup here if you like the post: http://eepurl.com/LdRFj

If you have any feedback, let me know in the comments, or get in touch: ivan@yesgraph.com


How To Improve Product Quality

Screenshot 2015-11-03 12.46.45

The right way to grow your product’s user base is to focus on product quality. Above any “growth hack”, this is the key first step to successfully engineer growth. In a previous post, I described how we pushed to 10X in 100 days. In this post, I wanted to dig into how we’re organizing our product development to drive the next phase of growth.


There are plenty of examples of experts in growth that support a similar approach, but I haven’t read much practical advice on exactly what to do. I want to fill that gap, but keep in mind our approach fits our team and product. Just make sure to apply the framework to your own team and product, not the specific tasks.

Identify Goals & Friction

First, we broke down our funnel into buckets, each with a direct goal and moderately large focus. These will be the basis of ongoing projects, so don’t pick a focus too narrow. You also should avoid something so broad that there isn’t a clear metric to drive. For example, “retention” might be important, but it touched too much product surface area to be practically useful here.

To understand our list, you need to understand a bit about the product. YesGraph helps companies collaborate as a team to make referrals. We organize your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, ranking them according to a given role. We make it push button to make referrals and we help you get your whole team onboard to help scale the process. On to the goals:

Landing Page Conversion. This covers the signed out experience for new recruiters & hiring managers, along with invitee landing pages. Our main challenge is to explain a social product without having the user’s connections before they sign up. The key metric is conversion to signup and accept invitations.

Creating a Job. We organize your recruiting around different jobs. They require a title and a brief description. If you’re not immediately recruiting, this is a point of friction and we should show more example positions to demo the product once we have your contacts. We also should provide more guidance around what kinds of descriptions work best. Hint: shorter but still descriptive wins.

Getting Connectors. We call people that make referrals “connectors”. There are two sides to this goal: sending invites and getting invites accepted. Any invite flow is crucial for a collaboration or social product, and we have some exciting enhancements around the corner. Another interesting thing that we’ve learned is that affinity among contacts really matters when asking for help. More soon!

Connectors Make Referrals. Once a connector accepted an invitation, did they make referrals? How many? Are they high quality? A lot of the current friction comes from expectations about social apps. Clicking on a face in other apps often tells that person something happened. In the context of recruiting, that doesn’t make any sense and it isn’t how YesGraph works. We’re working on making that messaging much clearer. The ranking of your contacts is also an area where we can pretty dramatically improve the results here. If everyone you would have recommended is right at the top, you can keep quality high while boosting performance.

Are you noticing a pattern here? This is a funnel. If more people sign up, more signups create jobs, more jobs have connectors, and connectors make more high quality referrals, then the value of each visit goes up. Removing the friction in the core product funnel means we’re directly improving product quality.

We have two other projects:

Team Creation. We recently launched the paid tier of YesGraph, built around team collaboration. It is far easier to collaborate with your team to make more referrals. Creating a team is separate from the free product, so this step after you tried YesGraph and got some referrals.

Team Engagement. This is a pretty large area, but it helps us focus on making the ongoing experience of a team better. Onboarding new users is incredibly important, and if we get everything above right, we’re off to a great start. But there are some features that focus on engaging a team. For SaaS software, continued engagement over time is the most important metric. This is because recurring revenue from a customer’s retention adds up to far more than the first month’s subscription fee.

Prioritize Within Projects

For each area, we have many ideas about what could improve the product the most. This estimate has two sides: the cost of creating the feature and the expected impact. Cost could involve detailed design, complex UI engineering, or building new backend systems. We want to work on the highest leverage things that will help improve the product experience. In many cases, you make guesses and aren’t sure what the impact is going to be. Where you can, run an analysis to find a better estimate of expected impact, but only if the analysis is far easier than just running a real experiment.

Assign Owners

This is important and underappreciated. You need to give ownership to your team to help drive improvements. Many teams are organized around functional roles for different product features. For example, you might be the engineering manager on the mobile team. Such managers often have many different priorities pulling the team in different directions. Explicitly assigning an owner results in focus and empowerment that really helps boost productivity for a new product. The next thing to do becomes much more obvious.

Make ownership real. Updates to the team around what shipped should come from owners. Owners need to understand the metrics and trust them. They need to make the numbers improve.

That said, guidelines like this can be flexible. Maybe a specific task is too large for the team on it and you need to pull resources from elsewhere to get it done quickly. This constantly happens, but with this organization, the cost is really explicit. If you take resources from another area, you’re explicitly saying that area is for now less important than another. If you’ve setup your projects well, there will be no easy answers. Is landing page conversion more important than the performance of our invite flows? They both matter. Those tradeoffs are always there, and making them explicit helps you make an informed decision about prioritization.

In our case, we have three engineers and six projects. Each owns two areas. This seems to work out pretty well. If our team were larger, we might slice off more areas or maybe just have teams of people working in a single area.

Review success as a part of ownership. Discussing what works and why is a big part about helping prioritize future work. It is with your experience that you hone your intuition to make better product and engineering decisions the next time around. Plus often there are very explicit lessons learned for your target audience about what they like and don’t like.

Refine Your Projects

We have a goal around Team Creation, but we recently realized we can make this go to almost 100%. If we make team creation the easy default after signing up, then there won’t be enough to refine to justify a whole project around this. This is ok, we’ll just shift around the projects to better reflect the goals. In our case, we’ll probably shift around two team goals: conversion to paid and around subscriber retention. The features these distinct goals cover are currently lumped together in “team engagement”.

The Results

We’re actually publishing this post really early in the process, but the tone on the team has already improved. There is an added healthy urgency that makes startups vibrant. We’ll follow up with another post about the results.

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How YesGraph Grew 10X in 100 Days

Screenshot 2015-11-03 12.46.45

It can be pretty overwhelming running a young company. You can be pushed and pulled in so many directions that deciding what to do next is tough. Having a clear direction and hitting your goals can solve almost any other problem, so I wanted to organize the team around something easy to understand.

We decided to set a 100 day goal to grow 10X. YesGraph helps companies scale referral recruiting, so we decided growing the number of referrals was the best goal. I’m happy to report that we did it, with referrals actually growing 11X in that time. Let’s explore how we did it.yesgraph 10X

This idea for 100 Day Goals came from Jason Freedman at 42Floors (an office space search engine). Jason wanted to mimic the focus and urgency of doing Y Combinator. Those 3 months leading up to demo day are often regarded as the most productive. Read more here.

Growing 10X in 100 days sounded like a great goal because of the round numbers. This is an important issue because everyone on the team can understand the effort. Plus referrals map directly to our core product value.

The irony is that most of our time was spent on product development for YesGraph for Teams. We wanted to finish Teams because getting revenue in a B2B company is key to understanding whether your customers value your product. But working on Teams didn’t directly move the needle. Here is what did matter: press and searchlight meetings.

No Silver Bullets

Press is often regarded as a silver bullet for a young company. If you could just get enough attention, you’ll win. I don’t view it that way: there are unfortunately no silver bullets in building a company. Press is merely one channel among many that help drive penetration and trust.

YesGraph was even available well before our press launch, which is a surprisingly uncommon best practice. Pushing press around a product needn’t correspond with making it available. If anything, launching in the press right when the product is done will mean that a wave of users come at a time of greatest product instability.

I really enjoyed the process of getting press with the help of PressFriendly. You should check them out if you’re trying to find reporters to tell your story.

Do Things That Don’t Scale

We recently started visiting companies to help run their searchlight meetings. Searchlight meetings are all about getting a team together for a focused session to make referrals. If your team uses YesGraph, you can quickly collect a huge number of quality referrals. We help the team get setup and answer any questions and concerns about how it works. This is an example of doing things that don’t scale. We want to get companies to use YesGraph deeply to get higher quality feedback. It’s easy to test the top of the funnel, but knowing what comes up deep in the funnel gets harder. We care about getting some companies to really love us, and coming to meet them is a great way to help.

The numbers from these searchlight meetings are stellar. You can find hundreds of high quality candidates across a few positions in less than an hour. If you’re in the bay area, get in touch if you want our help to run a meeting: support@yesgraph.com

Patterns Towards Success

One reason I’m excited about hitting a 10X goal is that it is an easy pattern to project our success. If you start at a reasonable scale and 10X twice, your company matters. But picking the right goals is hard, and we’re now focused on smoothing out the product experience. Then when we do push for scale with more companies, the next 10X will be easier to hit. This is especially true because the strategy we followed to grow so far practically won’t take us another 10X. We need to do a lot better.

Our next phase of growth will almost certainly result from empowering our users to help us grow, making a quality focus now that much more important. It’s a true challenge making the product good enough that customers actively recommend you, but it’s arguably the only way to reach massive scale. For YesGraph, it’s all about the referrals. Stay tuned for more. For now, if you like YesGraph, it really helps us if you tell your friends!

Growing a Monetized Userbase

I was invited to give a talk at the 2013 Growth Hacker Conference. My understanding is that the conference organizers are going to share the full set of talks on Udemy, but I thought I’d share my talk early.

The way I practice presentations is to record myself talking over the slides. So making another version and recording it was really easy. Below is the full talk: Continue reading

How YesGraph Got Its First 1000 Users

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When you’re building a new kind of product, your focus should be on driving engagement, not scale. Do people understand your product? Are they actively using it? How often do they come back? Answering these questions is more important than user acquisition at the start because if your product isn’t engaging, that attention is wasted. Continue reading