Ask me anything! (Andrew Chen)

(Andrew Chen) #22

Unfortunately we don’t have a program like this!

We do hire investment partners - typically out of operating roles. The best thing is to have a track record at one of the hypergrowth tech companies in the Bay Area, spend a lot of time making yourself visibile in the ecosystem, and then I’ll come find you :slight_smile:

(Levi Bethune) #23

@andrewchen What’s the elevator pitch for your forthcoming book? Tell me why I should be excited about it. You know, like I’m not already.

(Andrew Chen) #24

Crossing the Chasm, but for consumer companies in 2019. With case studies from Uber, Twitch, Insta, Airbnb, etc. Should be fun.

(Meghan McCarthy) #25

Okay now for a less philosophical / more tactical question: When getting a product off the ground, what is the right mix of paid growth versus organic/earned growth?

I’m converting 15% of people who hit my paywall into paying customers at $10 a week/$30 a month, but right now its a pretty narrow window of time that someone would be interested (parents looking for daycare in DC and NYC). That is largely through FB ads and a little content marketing.

Traditional referral programs to gain viral growth are a challenge, because people don’t necessarily know a lot of people in their city who are pregnant at the same time as themselves.

Anyway TLDR – should I be less cynical about the potential for viral growth, even in a niche market?

(Brett Green) #26

I keep hearing you on podcasts talk about looking for an exciting startup that leverages the workplace social-graph and associated data (calendars, slack etc).

I’m sure by now, someone has tracked you down and pitched this idea. Have you found any hot startups that are tackling this?

(Andrew Chen) #27

I can’t talk about which startups pitch me :slight_smile: but any products that about communication and collaboration in the workplace could have a tie in. This is more of a product aspect as opposed to a product category

(Ajay Mishra) #28

Hi Andrew,

I read your blog on product-market-fit I am wondering if you need a person with some specific skills on your team to increase your chances.


(Chris Miano) #29

Thanks for doing this and making yourself available, I’m very grateful for the insights you’ve provided since I started following your work.

Any advice for MVP-level sales team management? We’re running super lean (as in nobody’s getting paid until we make money) and my sales team is basically just people who are true believers and have access to the B2B market we need. They do have some sales experience, but this is all of their first time trying to sell a brand new product with a ‘still working on it’ business model. We’re self-funded for the most part and live in place that isn’t very wealthy, so we don’t have access to the capital required to really build out a robust sales team yet (nor should we without validating business model first).

My first thought is that I need to take the bull by the horns and show’em how it’s done and that will ease some of the insecurity around selling. Other than that can you share some insight into overcoming this challenge? I know it’s kind of vague and open-ended, but I think it’s a problem a lot of young startups face.


(Tanmayi Sai) #30

Hi @andrewchen , Not sure if the AMA is still live. I read your recent essay about future of marketplaces. I was wondering if you had thoughts on if there can be a company (even Uber) that is a marketplace company not marketplace for a specific service. For Ex. Uber seems to have a marketplace infrastructure built but they just happened to start out with rides, then food delivery and I’m hearing jobs is next. I could potentially see a “marketplace” company for all of service industry. There might be a couple of niche services that require something extra but seems like majority could fall under the same umbrella.

(Andrew Kvaal) #31

Possibly a naive question here @andrewchen – much of the work that you do relies upon comprehensive instrumentation of the platform for the purposes of data capture and subsequent analysis. I know it’s now table stakes! Is there a resource that describes the what best-in-class looks like these days – e.g. what events, design considerations, how managed both technically and organizationally, etc… ?

(choo,chongik) #32

Hi Andrew !
Thank you for your invite.

I have two things to share.

  1. Growth hacking -Would you please explain why used the word “hack” in growth.
    So many people( they say expert) explained definition of Growth hacking " bla bla
    bla" …but very very … amviguous to me as a foreigner.
    I think I know that level of understanding.
    After I read the book “Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis, I asked Sean Ellis(who coined the
    term) by this kind AMA mail but no replay.
    As “Beethoven” always think of Es Muse Sein(must it be?) /Es Muse Sein(It must be).
    HACK is must? It must Hack ! kind of doubt.
    Please let me(student) know meaning of “hack” here? why choose “hack” in such a so
    many words. Is it come from Spirit of hackers(developer) of silicon valley?
    Invade(collect data) to fix or improve weak and understate with speed?..……

  2. Whenever I tried to log in “The Backstory” Always error message "can not log in your
    place “url” . Why this message?

Thank you always your information.

(Andrew Chen) #33

Yes - if you think about Craigslist or eBay, they started pretty generically, as you could make a listing about almost anything, and grew from there. So I think it’s possible. However, it’s hard because all the obvious categories have already been digitized. In other words, if it’s easy, it would have happened already.

All the marketplace categories that are left requires you to add a lot of value to the transaction - and targeting a more specific service helps you add more value. So I think that’s why things have tended towards narrower categories

(Andrew Chen) #34

Unfort the industry and profession is so new that it’s a moving target. My friends over at Reforge (I’m on the board!) are doing their best to put it all together. But it’s definitely not something that exists in the form of, say, a book, for now.

(Heather Grunkemeier) #35

We are launching a new product and want to take a ‘local’ approach, start in one market / city, get feedback and then rinse and repeat. We are an extremely small company and this is new territory for me, so am wondering if you can point me to some reading material that can help me frame this up. Thank you!

(Brian Walsh) #36

Hi Andrew,
I read your recent essay with Li Jin on ‘Whats next for marketplace startups? Reinventing the $10 trillion service economy, that’s what.’ which was one of the best reads ive seen in a while. My question is; How do we excite VC’s about our software? Marketplaces are a real buzz word at the moment but it seems that the software that powers these marketplaces is less sexy all round. We have built software that powers service based marketplaces which is very unique and has taken us four years to get to where we have. We have tried and tested our software through 1,000’s of local services across many verticals and we can turn any service listing platform into a fully transactional marketplace. Who should we be talking to as not everyone seems to get it. You can check out our product at if you are interested.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Brian
P.S. Your essay really motivated us to realise we are doing the right thing and the opportunity is real…

(Joann Kuo) #37

Hey Andrew, thanks for setting up this forum! Am finding it super helpful :slight_smile:

I was wondering if you know anyone who might need growth work done? I’d love to find 1-2 folks who are working on interesting ideas, preferably something in a big market. I come from Product but am super interested in everything growth and can handle pretty much any aspect of it.

Any leads greatly appreciated!

(Monty Dariani) #38

Merry Christmas to all members in this group/forum/platform. Wish everyone a good time. Let’s enjoy these days and have a good start into 2019 soon. I’m already curious to see how growth will evolve in 2019. Thank @andrewchen for this platform.