How I Grew This

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In How I Grew This, Mada Seghete dives into the stories behind the World’s top companies and the leaders driving their growth from campaigns, measurement and tests to their personal journeys becoming growth leaders.

What is "How I Grew This"?
Trailer 1 min 56 sec

All Episodes

Aim big. This theme, along with successful cross-collaboration, aligning with strong mentors, and leading by example, seems to be common in many growth stories. How does the theme of family fit in? Manoj Tolety shares what he’s learned from becoming a parent and how human behavior, a dash of luck, and hard work drives both personal and professional growth. This, traveling the world every 6 months for eBay, increasing his app budget by 3x, and more are featured on this episode of How I Grew This with Manoj Tolety of StubHub. Listen now on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher!

Nov 25

30 min 36 sec

What does it take to build a leading Peer-to-Peer car-sharing company when the market is exploding with new competitors? How do you continue to drive growth after your company gets acquired? This, the stories of learning from failure, recruiting his first users one by one, and the decisions he made that ensured the product remained a market leader, are in our third episode of “How I Grew This” with Vincent Saint-Martin of OuiCar.

Nov 18

21 min 19 sec

What does it take to bring an iconic brand and experience to digital? What makes the Philz app one of the most loved and used apps in the industry and how do you take the specific vision of a founder and transform into an on par digital experience? That and stories of success, failure, the invention of the mobile boarding pass and how Philz ended up on HBO’s Silicon Valley are featured in our first episode of “How I Grew This” with Francisca Hawkins of Philz Coffee.

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Nov 11

32 min 51 sec

Some get to join a company that redefines an industry once in their life. Sheila has done it twice. As Dropbox’s first marketing hire, she led the transition from a consumer-facing product to one with an enterprise focus. Now at Opendoor, she is redefining a 100+ year-old industry and revolutionizing the way real estate is bought and sold. This, stories of doubling market share for Opendoor in 3 months, and how brands should approach marketing and caring for customers during a pandemic, are featured in our podcast episode with Sheila Vashee of Opendoor. Listen and subscribe on Apple/Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube!

Nov 4

31 min 31 sec

Emre Ertan is the Chief Product Officer at Getir. Emre has previously directed growth at Slice Technologies and Zum. He also co-founded not one but two companies, Mobito and Soru. Get people to share their referral links on social media, specifically mass social media avenues like timelines posts and groups. The more people share about your product, the higher the chances of their posts being featured (or “going viral”) on Facebook. This strategy takes time, requires an experimental mindset, and may require significant investments. Focus on nailing your product and service for your customers. If your product and customer service are not flawless, your viral marketing efforts can backfire on your brand. Try enabling local businesses even if you are not in a niche with a hyperlocal model. Local businesses can provide faster turnaround times and more personalized service to your customer. Have a “lighthouse customer” (similar to your ICP) who provides a base. From here, you can create a framework for services, products, and experiences for the rest of your customers. Start your business by thinking comprehensively about the problem you will solve. If you want to start a company, the problem you will solve must be a common issue for a broad audience. If the problem you want to solve is already being solved by another company, you can join forces and solve it as a part of a team.

Oct 28

28 min 51 sec

Greg Shelly is the VP of Enterprise Digital Marketing at Canadian Tire. Greg is, admittedly, obsessed with attribution and performance, and he cares about organizations needing to understand how their investments are driving customer outcomes. Before joining Canadian Tire, Greg led the business insights and marketing analytics organization at McDonald's and spent eight years at Dell in e-commerce and digital marketing. Being in sales and on the front lines of business lets you truly understand the customer’s perspective. It is a sensible, logical start to a career in digital marketing. People who can hack together data-driven solutions can help companies understand their customers in a concrete way that gives them confidence in their marketing decisions. Pushing your comfort zone in your career is necessary to challenge yourself. After a few years, you will start appreciating those struggles for helping you grow professionally and at a personal level. A loyalty program sets the foundation of digital growth by helping companies collect data to better understand their customers. The customer ceases to be a mystery when you have data to understand them. Without a mobile-first approach, you cannot build a close relationship with your customer on a web browser. Being on someone’s phone means you have created value in their lives, and you have to make efforts to stay installed on their phones. Action-ready, non-siloed data is the key to better digital marketing regardless of the business use case. Having the right people, the right data, and the right tech makes business growth possible through digital marketing. Personalization is about being customer-centric and talking about the things that matter to them.

Oct 21

24 min 44 sec

Carman Wenkoff is the EVP & Chief Information Officer at Dollar General. In this role, Carman has led the company’s digital transformation, implementing technology advancements to enhance the brick-and-mortar retailer’s offerings and elevate the overall customer experience. Throughout Carman’s career—from working in construction to practicing law, founding a tech company and now as the CIO of a major retailer—he has always addressed challenges head-on. In this episode, Carman shares the secrets to successfully leading a company through digital transformation, and explores how staying true to his purpose and focusing on making a difference in people’s lives have been the most important driving factors behind his success.

Oct 14

27 min 46 sec

Patricia Martorana is the Senior Product Manager, Mobile Growth at The New York Times. Over the past four years, Patricia has grown extensively as a Product Manager. She led the cross-functional team in developing The New York Times subscription footprint and designed the customer journey within the news, cooking, and game sections. She previously had worked in marketing and editorial roles at companies such as the New Yorker and ESPN. Let your existing customers - who are friends with non-subscribers - introduce your product to new users. Plan your growth strategy with all forms of media in mind across all platforms. Monitor growth channels regularly to decide what channels are working for you and what channels are not. Use data to drive these decisions forward. When modeling or remodeling your onboarding experiences, prioritize the kinds of behaviors that you want to introduce. Before showing subscribers any push notifications, explicitly ask them for push notification permission immediately after app installation. A subscription plan is about building relationships and nurturing them over time. Your product team must adapt the product according to the dynamic growth of different user personas. Introduce new features to users and help them discover the benefits over time in a calculated manner using data - don’t bombard them with all features at once.

Oct 7

34 min

What are some lessons you learn after being with a company for almost a decade? How do you end up changing your life based on the products you build? This, the stories of being acquired by Adidas while maintaining the freedom to innovate and practicing what you preach, are featured in this episode of “How I Grew This” With Robert Schenkenfelder of Runtastic. Listen and subscribe on Apple/Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube!

Sep 30

19 min 10 sec

What does it take to drive growth responsibly in today’s world of constant notifications? What are the values of the people behind the news & entertainment experiences that we engage in everyday? This, the stories of the power of mentors, and what we can all do to strike a better balance between our connected and offline lives, are told in our second episode of “How I Grew This” With Claus Enevoldsen of Flipboard.

Sep 23

36 min 50 sec

Morgan Brown is the VP of Growth at Shopify and the author of the book “Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success”. Prior to Shopify, Morgan led the product team at Facebook and was the Chief Operating Officer for Inman News - the leading news source for real estate and technology. Given the size of the Shopify brand, they optimize metrics and data analytic processes from a “merchant-first” perspective. This helps guide them toward their mission of making online commerce easier and better for everyone. There's no value in a spiking lead conversion rate if they don’t become customers. Shopify relies on its growth marketing team (which Morgan is the VP of) for user acquisition. They also have a growth product side that focuses on activation signup, activation trials, and success retention. Internally, growth goals are divided into “missions” and mission teams include channel experts, product leaders, data scientists, engineers, and other cross-functional roles. This decentralized split of marketing teams helps these growth pillars move forward without friction as self-contained units. Commerce is no longer a discrete point where you drive customers from point A to point B, but it's really about being where that action is going to take place. Shopify recently partnered with TikTok to take their merchants where their customers are and bring the tools of giants like Instagram closer to their merchants.

Sep 16

41 min 41 sec

Today’s digital climate requires a focus on healthier long-term gains as opposed to easy-short term wins. But where does one start? Fabien shares how a keen act of listening and parsing of the data can inform where to take your digital product next to drive growth. At SmartNews he’s tripled the monthly active usership from when he started. Beyond this, Fabien shares how his feminism has defined everything from career choices to the way he manages his team. That story, running a French presidential campaign, the importance of decentralized systems, and his perspective on the future of jobs in mobile, is shared on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher and more.

Sep 9

39 min 41 sec

Sylvain Gauchet is the Senior Manager, Growth Product and Mobile Marketing at Babbel, an internationally successful language learning app with millions of active subscribers and the #1 innovative education company in the world. At Babbel, Sylvain focuses on areas such as growth, early product adoption, and monetization. Before Babbel. he co-founded Apptamin, a creative agency that works with brands to produce creative video ad campaigns and app store content. Product-led growth is not just about helping customers solve their problems but also about the company’s bottom line. Balancing friction with positive signals and enough rewards throughout the onboarding process is crucial to customer retention, as it ultimately affects the bottom line. Improve this process by understanding the voice of your customer and by experiencing onboarding flows of other apps you admire. Emails and push notifications customized to your category are important ways to manage the customer lifecycle and bring them back when drop-offs are detected. Humans are thick-skinned and crafty. A life-defining pandemic didn’t change our capacity to communicate. We found a way out by finding new and better ways to communicate. If customers adapt like this, then product teams must also adapt in an appropriate direction for their category. In Google UAC, launch all ad groups at once. Don’t wait for an ad group to perform well and then tweak others before their release. Google favors your initial campaigns, compares all the new campaigns against them, and reduces the reach of newly-launched ad campaigns. You don’t have to be talking to an expert to be mentored by them. Listen to their podcasts, videos, and other resources - learning from them passively is also a great way to be mentored by experts. Keep exchanging knowledge with people you meet and implement what you learn. You might make mistakes, but you will also learn from them.

Sep 2

26 min 54 sec

While he might not say it himself, our next guest Varun Dubey was able to have an extremely successful career leading the marketing for some of the fastest growing tech companies in India because of two things: being empathetic and analytical. In the early days of his career writing for “Digit” Magazine, he learned that many people only had a few hours of energy to use a day. Later at Qualcomm, he learned that many people had to choose between paying to charge their phones or eating that day. In those instances, he learned that truly understanding the user was critically important for achieving immense growth to hundreds of millions of users which he achieved at Practo. He also took a much more thorough approach than most when it came to tracking. At one point Varun stopping all marketing activities to make sure the entire site and product tracked all the way to billing. Once they did that they realized why users were bouncing and were able to get $2 net revenue for every dollar spent, which made the CFO their biggest advocate. More on Varun’s story including how he helped drive growth for a new category, his thoughts on Apple’s decision on IDFA, and how the marketing world has completely evolved from TV to direct response. All this and more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere you find your podcasts.

Aug 26

55 min 4 sec

Erin McFarland is the Managing Director, Marketing Channels Strategy, and Personalization at JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. She is responsible for the optimization of JPMorgan’s industry-leading digital assets and marketing channels that deliver communication to more than seventy million customers. She has spent the last twenty years creating customer-first marketing strategies for national and global brands across healthcare, luxury, hospitality, and finance industries. Erin suggests diving deep into data because data is how customers talk to you, and it helps guide customer acquisition channels. Think of your company as a “caregiver” to your customers and build fault tolerance and stress testing into your technology. This way, you’re ready when they need you. To make life easy for your customers on mobile, automate recurring actions. Create seamless identity management across devices because privacy is a major concern of the modern customer. Cardless transactions are also a big trend in the financial services industry. Erin explains how it’s okay to change careers but not to burn old bridges because networks will matter during such changes. Have a role model that you identify with but don’t look to them for anything beyond inspiration for your career. You have to steer your path based on what you want to change and who it’s for using your strengths. When executing org-wide changes, Erin suggests building for the customer journey, experiencing what it would look like, and figuring out internal dependencies to navigate. Test your ideas because ideas are only assumptions until they’re proven. Erin’s final advice: A leader asking for the opinion of their team members and sharing credit where it’s due validates the team's skills and helps them feel seen. Invite diverse opinions, be curious to learn, and have the guts to pivot when data doesn’t agree with your decision.

Aug 19

30 min 24 sec

During a time of crisis, it’s crucial for companies to focus on maintaining and driving growth. It’s, however, equally as important to continue to find ways to strategically add value to your customers. Mike Antognoli shares with us how he’s led the mobile product team at Allstate during the pandemic, in an industry whose customers typically have more of a hands-off approach. More on that story, how the Allstate app plays into the overall company strategy, Mike’s views on how a company culture built on trust is key to innovation, and what he learned from a failed Allstate experiment with augmented reality, are featured on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and more.

Aug 12

27 min 2 sec

Kristina had never imagined working for a bank but when the opportunity came along to innovate the mobile experience for N26 she took it. Coming from a background in fashion e-commerce, Kristina asked, "How could we transform the learnings about mobile UX from e-commerce and apply them to the financial world to make everything less painful?" This and stories of why you shouldn’t build what your customers ask for, and reasons to always speak your mind, are featured in this episode with Kristina Walcker-Mayer of N26.

Aug 5

30 min 54 sec

Daniel Shlossman is the SVP, DIgital + Growth @ sweetgreen. He leads marketing, product, and digital channels. In his three years at sweetgreen, Daniel has been focused on enabling customer growth through channel expansion and improvement, including the launch of sweetgreen’s off-premise business, via Outpost and delivery. Daniel’s incredible background includes roles at Uber (as Head of West Coast Operations & Marketing) and at NFL (as their Director of Product for Fantasy Football). Disruption in any market starts with passionate founders who see opportunities to scale in all domains and are not limited by a particular mode or channel of growth. Don’t think that you need to build a mobile app because “everyone else is doing it”. A mobile app gives you the opportunity to use your resources to add value to your customers’ lives and grab a huge chunk of the market in the process. Even with a great product-market fit, your team is the most crucial aspect of building a mobile app. A collaborative culture among people who love to work together allows for that facilitation across different departments and different channels and is crucial to make growth happen. You should identify opportunity areas and really go after them. Even if you don’t know something - you will make mistakes and learn from them. It’s important to have candid conversations to get better with each decision. Follow a detailed diagnosis process within your team to learn from your mistakes as well as projects that were fully or partially successful. Sometimes, the best ideas come from taking something your customers already love and making it even better. One great way to turn such commonplace ideas into massive growth opportunities is to combine a few popular features that customers are experiencing in your app or your competitors. Also, look at enhancing key features to add something new to the app. Successful pivots in tough times like the pandemic require nimbleness and agility in executing a response to the new situation. At sweetgreen, they found this opportunity via shifting operations to donations to frontline medical workers in need. They repurposed and adapted their existing processes to respond to this opportunity. Personalization allows you to get close to the customers. At sweetgreen, Daniel thinks about personalization from the perspective of the customer. This way, personalizing a service goes far beyond small changes that give customers some control over the product you create for them. It means letting them care about the product in a way that grants them ownership of the product resulting from the service, including full customization of chosen ingredients.

Jul 29

30 min 54 sec

Ron Schneidermann is the CEO of Alltrails, where he spent the past six years helping grow the company, which is now one of the top five health and fitness apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Before joining Alltrails, Ron led growth teams at Yelp and co-founded Liftopia, the global leader of ski lift ticket bookings. Ron shares that the two most important things for any company are momentum and culture. If you lose either of them, they are impossible to rebuild. Have belief in your business model and look at the advantages in context. When you cannot control certain aspects of the funnel, let full-funnel growth (across all stages) be the central driver of your business. If your app is “content-centered,” your data sets hold the power to convert and retain users. First, focus on improving the quality of data you can provide to your audience. Don’t get attached to results because any growth experiment can fail. Instead, focus on learning from successful and failed experiments. Find and monitor feedback loops based on what your users respond to. The key to growth is to keep adapting as your audience adapts because they are the chief driver of your business growth. Re-engagement via push notification may put you at risk of annoying your customers. People may forget that they have the app installed, so it’s always better to focus on outside-the-app strategies such as SEO, personalized content, and reminders via emails to drive re-engagement through deep links into the app. Try not to depend on one platform because it can make a huge dent in your growth charts if the platform changes. Try to own your channels of growth as much as possible. Daily and sometimes even weekly metrics may be distracting. Monthly metrics provide a more accurate view of your audience’s changing consumption habits and are a healthier way to monitor growth. Ron shares that to maintain culture momentum during growth, your company’s senior leadership has to be the culture vanguard and train the rest of the leadership across the org. This becomes easier if people in your organization have a personal connection to your mission and stay longer. Ron’s final advice: be honest with yourself when making important decisions because you will be proud of the practical decisions you make and reactionary paths you avoid after you retire. Having a personal set of core values helps identify opportunities and enjoy the process of executing them.

Jul 22

45 min 15 sec

Holly Chen is an award-winning marketing and growth advisor who credits her inner rebelliousness and overall questioning of conventional thinking for leading her into a career in Growth. And she’s been a standout from the beginning. In Beijing, Holly was one of the few Chinese nationals majoring in Italian in the entire country. After taking on her first role at the United Nations, she felt the need to move to something where she could better measure the impact of her work and joined an early stage startup in New York City. Her entry into Product Management and Marketing teams at that start up eventually led to her becoming the Head of Growth at the Google Store, in charge of distinguishing the various Google Store and hardware brands. She then went on to build Slack’s Digital Marketing and Performance Marketing function globally driving user acquisition, retention, and monetization across SMB and Enterprise customers. Amidst her current work as a growth advisor, Holly is a co-founder of Ceilingbreakers.us, a coaching platform that is rethinking the way tech leadership looks by creating a direct line to top executive coaches for specifically people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups. Hear more about where Holly believes growth sits within a company, advice to those building their own multi-touch attribution systems, and her advice for her younger self on this episode of How I Grew This. App she can’t live without: Apple Podcast App Animal she would talk to if she could: Cats App she uses that others wouldn’t expect: Chinese apps

Jul 15

35 min 24 sec

Lisa Kennelly has been the CMO at Fishbrain for over three years and oversees marketing operations, strategy, and vision. Since the fall of 2020, Lisa has been responsible for growing and managing Fishbrain’s eCommerce marketplace. Outside of Fishbrain, Lisa is an advisor and mentor of multiple early-stage founders and startups. Fishbrain is a mobile app and online platform with map-based tools, fishing forecasts, social networking features, and recommendations on fishing gear. Fishing is the most popular hobby in the world… and is huge in the US, Fishbrain’s biggest market. During the pandemic, Fishbrain was a beneficiary of other businesses and sports shutting down and also from becoming the primary online retailer focused on a variety of fishing gear. Riding this wave, Fishbrain has grown to over 13 million users. Lisa led Fishbrain’s marketing expansion beyond their (mostly) paid advertising campaigns. Fishbrain’s social network feature attracts new users and contributes to their user retention. Fishbrain grows through SEO, word of mouth, influencers and even offline marketing (billboards, radio ads, etc) in some southern US states that have a thriving culture of anglers. Sometimes, all that is required to stand out in the market is observing a pattern and disrupting it with a bold design decision. At Clue, a female reproductive health app, Lisa and her team disrupted the ongoing pattern of having a pink-themed female health tracker app. This bold design decision contributed “big time” to their growth. If you are working with influencers, focus on micro-influencers because they are more approachable and have a more dedicated fan base. Nail your product benefits, product positioning, and its messaging. Be rigid about how influencers can use them and how they must not use them. If you are in a newer, less-saturated niche, SEO is a great channel because it’s easier to find content gaps in the niche and fill it with high-quality content. Lisa shares that to increase your premium subscriptions: make your pro membership content truly valuable and meant for the regular, high-frequency user - not just the occasional user. Split testing can be used to avoid making decisions. Sometimes, you just have to believe in your ideas and execute them because non-determinant results of A/B testing can be paralyzing. Lisa also shares management lessons for CMO’s: empathy, honesty, vulnerability, and direct feedback help connect with employees. Sometimes, simply giving your employees a kind ear to vent can do the trick. Consuming leadership content has also helped Lisa in her quest of becoming a great CMO.

Jul 8

28 min 49 sec

How does a woman go from teacher to running Kids and Family content at Netflix? What happened along the way to lead Michelle, a pre-med student in college to a career building the experiences for the companies we know and love. That and stories of failed experiments, taking an unconventional path to product management and why empathy is your most powerful tool are featured with Michelle Parsons of Netflix.

Jul 1

34 min 15 sec

Today’s guest, Nicole West, isn’t afraid of raising her hand and taking a risk, especially when it’s a project no one has ever done before. She’s built a reputation over her 14-year career at Chipotle in taking those tough jobs and turning them into big opportunities. For instance, in 2013, the then CMO asked Nicole if she would start up the new Ecommerce division of the marketing team. Pushing fear aside, she took the job. Today, she’s been at the helm as Chipotle has gone through a digital transformation which has seen digital ordering hit meteoric heights, with digital orders now accounting for over 20% of company sales. More on Nicole’s story of how she rose the ranks, her advice to those who are inspired by her story, as well as ways Chipotle is staying true to its mission of making the world a better place, on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and more.

Jun 24

28 min 7 sec

So much of learning how to drive meaningful growth is finding unsaturated and ripe growth channels and relentless focus on the actual end-user. This is our next guest's philosophy, Dharmesh Gandhi, the Senior Vice President and Head of Product at RentoMojo. Dharmesh shares how early in his career at Amazon, he learned how you could easily spot what seems like a popular growth option and not always get the return you’re looking for, especially when scaling. He adjusted his approach to play the long game and focus on important but not urgent growth methods. As he says in the interview, once something becomes urgent, it’s too late. He built out a multi-year roadmap that would allow continued growth through different channels. That experience also helped him when RentoMojo had to make dramatic shifts when COVID happened. They decided to implement a subscription pause, which reduced churn by 35% and played a significant role in helping the business continue to thrive even during the lockdown. Hear more on Dharmesh’s story, including how culture was the most critical driver of growth at Amazon, how he became the odd one out in his family and didn’t work on the family business, his time management, and so much more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

Jun 17

32 min 23 sec

EPISODE SUMMARY: Makoto Rheault-Kihara leads user acquisition at Hopper, one of the fastest-growing travel apps with over 60 million in sales to date. Makoto was previously the Director of Marketing at Cruisehub, an OTA aiming to modernize the cruise industry and lead search engine marketing at Busbud, a bus travel booking platform in 80 countries. Hopper differentiates its paid social strategy by focusing on user acquisition AND long-term trust through investing in paid social and other mobile ad channels. They use Facebook as the primary focus of their paid social ads with TikTok as a growing secondary channel. Paid social is becoming a lot more abstract and therefore more creative. Makoto believes paid TikTok ads must be kept fresh, platform-focused, and generated at a higher frequency. The pandemic did affect the travel industry but Hopper still achieved a 110% YoY growth last year and is on track to do over $1B of business this year. They did this by following a diversification strategy based on customer needs and expanded into hotels and car rentals. Hopper’s customer-obsessed culture and self-contained, autonomous teams have helped them grow multiple product arms simultaneously. A weekly catch-up call and an executive team focused on cross-team communication help these siloed teams at Hopper learn from each other’s challenges and successes. Sometimes ads that marketers like don’t appeal to actual customers and may end up performing worse than some simple customer-oriented ads. Over time, Hopper moved to these customer-centric ad creatives which helped them reduce expensive failures and triple their RPM (revenue per 1000 impressions). At Hopper, Makoto focuses on maximizing the overall contribution margin of a cohort and on-target rate to check their ability to drive revenue from specific target purchases or user actions. Because Hopper diversified across three generic categories (hotels, flights, car rentals), their ad targeting still focuses on great creatives and has not changed much since IDFA deprecation in iOS 14.5. Interested in joining the Hopper team? Click here to check out their open positions! https://www.hopper.com/careers/

Jun 10

32 min 23 sec

Today we’re joined by Brian Witlin, CEO of Yummly. Brian’s life has been dedicated to building and scaling consumer-focused startups and commercially successful teams over several years. In this episode, Brian shares his experiences of building and scaling Yummly and other companies along with his core message of living a well-rounded life, which is especially useful for founders in the early stages of their career. Yummly is a recipe discovery platform with a mission of helping people become the best version of themselves whilst achieving their goals in the kitchen. In the episode, Brian talks about how Yummly moved from conception to its current state by empowering its consumers and taking risks. In the episode, Brian describes how cooking went from being a way of sustenance to a form of healthy living throughout the pandemic. Brian also talks about the importance of relevant lifecycle messaging and how Yummly leveraged this to shift from an acquisition-focused to a retention-oriented growth strategy. In the episode, Brian shares how user-centered design and design thinking sparked his curiosity and has helped him start several new businesses. He also talks about his passion for helping set other entrepreneurs up for success. Brian also explores why recipe and food hardware startups struggle to attract investors and wind up early. Finally, Brian also shares his advice for startup founders on separating their identity from their work and avoiding burnout.

May 27

40 min 12 sec

Jayne Peressini is the Senior Director, Mobile Marketing and Growth @ Electronic Arts (EA). Her team manages user acquisition, retargeting, and user retention across the multiple genres of games that EA produces. Jayne’s interest in gaming dates back to the pre-iPhone era when her Dad purchased her a console on which she became hooked to playing games. Jayne believes that mobile gaming helps people gain a sense of community and can sometimes act as a welcome distraction, which is why mobile gaming metrics have been going through the roof during the pandemic. She also believes in taking a challenging campaign and iterating through to make it work. She fondly recalls a campaign where she challenged assumptions about women playing sports and eventually succeeded after multiple iterations. Furthermore, Jayne firmly believes in the idea of “you only fail when you quit” and also emphasizes the importance of working together through failure in order to achieve success as a team. Jayne thinks that, especially after IDFA deprecation in iOS 14.5, gaming companies should focus on overall user lifecycle metrics. She favors choosing the right time to transition them across the lifecycle instead of using interruption marketing. Jayne’s team management philosophy revolves around giving due credit and providing genuine encouragement regularly. Jayne advises younger folks in gaming to reach out to mentors with whom they identify personally and ask them for specific advice while also encouraging senior mentors in the industry to share their knowledge freely.

May 20

38 min 13 sec

Today we’re joined by Sue Cho, who has been the Head of Lifecycle Marketing at Calm for three years. For over a decade, Sue has focused on all their engagement, retention, and conversion. In this episode, Sue talks about everything from career advice, her current work at Calm, her vision for the team, and her badass dog Lizzy. Sue starts by telling us about her radical decision to move to the mountains, how the lockdown period was great for Calm’s business and how it suited her personality. Next, she shares her accidental journey into the world of email marketing and how she found her community in this job. Sue advocates embracing a data-driven approach, especially when it comes to matters of subjective opinion. At Calm, Sue emphasizes finding the right metrics that move the needle on business goals and giving Calm’s users a consistent experience regardless of their platform. She also highlights an exciting challenge that she’s working on that, if executed well, would help them avoid Apple and Google conversion taxes. She talks about her team and provides insightful advice for email marketers to improve email open rates, and even shares a cool exercise for this. Sue describes her process for activating new users and converting them into power users through gentle yet personalized reminders. Sue also shares how she developed authority in her field with a combination of her Asian-American values of hard work and perseverance, her opinionated nature, and a data-driven approach to her work. Her entrepreneurial attitude shines through as she talks about why she started the San Francisco chapter of the Email Geek’s club. In the rapid-fire round, Sue shares the one app she would never delete from her phone, an animal she would love to talk to, her badass dog Lizzy, and the most unlikely app on her phone.

May 13

37 min 41 sec

Today we’re joined by Prathamesh Dembla, the Head of Growth at Licious. Prior to Licious, Prathamesh was Head of Digital Marketing at Milk Basket. In this episode, Prathamesh talks about the positive effects of both lockdowns, working from home and one key skill that has benefited reliable professionals during these challenging times. He also shares what has helped him develop his business acumen and how his love for teaching makes him a better marketer. Prathamesh discusses various growth hacks he has implemented at Licious and how Branch has helped them with the attribution and channel optimization of these strategies. Prathamesh also stresses how “atomic personalization” helps them with conversion rate optimization. Prathamesh then goes on to share key takeaways from his experience as a co-founder of Infinity Minds, a personal development company for children. In terms of risk-taking, Prathamesh breaks down how he decides which risks to take and how startups can avoid “analysis paralysis” with an execution-first mindset. As Head of Growth at Licious, Prathamesh talks about his biggest challenge during and after a period of hypergrowth amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Prathamesh then finally talks about his leadership style and the power of compounding in business, relationships and health.

May 6

27 min 33 sec

Ashish Bajaj is the Head of Marketing at MediBuddy, which joined forces with DocsApp in 2020 to become India’s largest digital healthcare platform. Previously, he held roles as the Head of Media and Brand Alliance at Ola and as a Channel Marketing Manager with Microsoft. In this episode, Ashish fondly shares warm anecdotes from his current and past work experience to highlight the positive impact those projects have had on the lives of their customers. Ashish believes that the impact their campaigns leave and the value they contribute to their customers’ lives provide a much greater high for marketers. Ashish opens up about his outdoor sales experience working for his family in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and how that contributed to his growth story. Finally, Ashish also shares potent advice for new startups who often get distracted by the hypergrowth of other startups in a race to achieve “unicorn” status.

Apr 29

16 min 8 sec

Noa Gutterman is the Director of Marketing at VSCO. Before this VSCO, she spent six years in the digital marketing game in various roles. Noa runs VSCO’s marketing function and in the ten months since joining she has hired four team members, built up the entire lifecycle and product marketing functions and refreshed VSCO’s paid acquisition strategy. Noa shares details of an upcoming influencer marketing campaign, targeting the Gen Z generation that she is very excited to see the results of. She breaks down the strategies that can be used to find influencers, the difference between a normal and micro-influencer and what your first step should be if you are also aiming to kick off an influencer marketing campaign. Noa also breaks down VSCO’s approach to re-engaging users. She shares a step-by-step approach from discovering what users like most about the app and what behavior patterns most commonly lead to these revenue generating actions to then how to encourage those behaviors through owned and paid channels. Hear Noa’s advice for her younger self, why she has marketing in her blood, why the VSCO growth team sits within the product function, the one animal that Noa would most like to talk to, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.

Apr 22

32 min 47 sec

Frank Hulsebosch is the Head of Digital Marketing Europe at Banco Santander. Before this role, he spent two years as a digital marketing manager in the Benelux region of Europe, also at Banco Santander. Frank was responsible for driving for Banco Santander’s Benelux region’s digital transformation, launching a new mobile home banking app, new digital onboarding journeys, and CRO programs to optimize online channels. He then moved on to lead the digital marketing strategy and performance of Santander’s Consumer Finance unit in Europe. Frank shares an honest account of his transition from a media agency to leading the Santander Benelux region’s digital transformation. He mentions that he oversold himself during the hiring process, which did enable him to get the role but led to a lot more stress further down the road as he struggled with a lack of experience in the world of mobile banking. Frank provides career advice for aspiring growth leaders: “do more.” Frank found himself completing his assigned tasks during his first internship and then always searching for more work to do. This approach significantly increased his rate of learning over that of his peers, accelerating his career. Hear more career advice along with why you should never give up when starting something new, the reason why other people don’t want you to succeed, the impact of COVID-19 on the mobile banking industry, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.

Apr 15

31 min 7 sec

Today's guest, Sachin Singla, is someone who didn't stick to one career or path but found his way to marketing via other paths like finance and consulting (not unlike our host Mada). Sachin talks about how marketing has adapted and how marketing teams have needed to pivot and become more agile in the age of COVID-19. Mainly looking at your customer segments, Sachin explains how the lockdown rules vary wildly in India and how brands need to make their messaging reflect their target market's current state.

Apr 8

35 min 51 sec

Master at building community on the internet, Casey took his passion for user-generated content and built a career on creating sustainable growth strategies for companies like Pinterest, Grubhub, and Airbnb. At Pinterest, he drove an increase in sign-ups from Google by 50%, a tactic today that's still copied by Instagram and LinkedIn. Casey talks how companies can react to coronavirus, the mindset around building growth teams, and shares practical advice on decisions that build fulfilling careers. Hear all this and more on this episode of How I Grew this. Listen now on Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

Apr 1

33 min 17 sec

Ian Moore is the Head of Subscription Growth at Verizon Media. Before joining Verizon Media in August 2020, he spent five years at The New York Times, where he was the Growth Media Strategy Director. As the son of a first-generation American, Ian’s educational path pointed towards medicine, but that wasn’t where he found his career passion. An Economics professor turned things around. His professor taught him about the power of persuasion. From there, Ian felt inspired to predict human behavior through incentive programs. Ian dives into the concept of codeswitching early in his career and how his mentality has changed as he’s become more confident in his abilities. He reminds us to let the work do the talking. Quality work is going to do the talking. A turning point for Ian’s career is when the CEO of the New York times shared with him some advice he'd never forget (you're going to have to tune in to hear what she said). This interaction and his experience of pioneering subscriptions at the New York Times positioned Ian as an expert in subscription growth. Hear this and how his tenure at the New York Times shaped his view on how to drive subscription growth, how he’s investing in an online company replacing physical optometry appointments, what it’s like to build consumer relationships with legacy products, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.

Mar 25

29 min 5 sec

Growth and product are a completely different beast when you sell physical products and not software. Despite those challenges, our next guest Ramneek Khurana has grown Lenskart to help India’s vision problem. Ramneek went to Georgia Tech and expected to go to a major consulting firm, but he took some advice that led him into physical products as he started his career at Michelin Tires. Since Michelin was the top tire brand, Ramneek made very marginal improvements and eventually got bored and wanted to solve a bigger problem. That led him to co-found Lenskart, an optical eyewear chain that produces over 300,000 glasses a month. They saw the large gap in the Indian market for a convenient, stylish eyeglass brand that also helped tackle the millions of Indians who weren’t able to get glasses. Unlike almost every other eyeglass manufacturer, Lenskart focused on mobile and digital from the very beginning, making it easier for customers and allowed them to scale quickly. Some of their best growth campaigns came out of COVID. They received tons of videos from customers to showcase they could still help people get eyeglasses even during lockdown and turned it into a massively successful TV campaign. Hear stories like this, how they won the award for Best Mobile Innovation at Branch’s 2020 Mobile Growth Awards, how Ramneek manages his time as the company grows and changes, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.

Mar 18

27 min 1 sec

Our next guest Matthew Moore started his career at GE before going back to school for management consulting to grow as a leader. He realized that growth during his time working for the Boston Consulting Group. Matt's journey into driving mobile growth kicked off when he became the first Chief Customer Officer of Yum! Brands where he oversaw Pizza Hut for Europe and UK, and he also launched Pizza Hut Digital Ventures. During his time at YUM Brands, he pivoted the culture towards building digital in-house as most of Pizza Hut's business was online already. After that, he returned to his motherland, Canada, to lead digital for the iconic Canadian brand, Tim Hortons. Under Matthew’s leadership, they have shifted heavily to mobile through various strategies, including mobile ordering, loyalty programs, guest personalization, and more. Loyalty programs have arguably been one of their biggest wins during Matt's time at Tim Hortons. Tim Horton's initially achieved a 30% adoption rate and eventually 50% once the program was fully launched. Hear this and how Matt used to travel 300 days out of the year, his philosophy on why you need to find purpose in your work, and his experience working all over the world on this episode of How I Grew This.

Mar 11

26 min 56 sec

Caitlin Roman brings her collective experiences in consulting at McKinsey and Product at Linkedin & Medium to the world of sports news at The Athletic. Having come up in these subscription powerhouses, Caitlin has a potent combination of high level business strategy experience along with the tactical ability to work side by side with her teams to execute. All of these elements were crucial for a subscription business like the Athletic during a tumultuous 2020 in sports. Caitlin and her team released a number of initiatives during this time including different content formats like short format commentary and breaking news, and pricing strategies to keep users tuning in even when sports weren’t in play. If there’s a word we would use to describe Caitlin it would be resilient! Far before she was leading her team through the bumps of the pandemic, she had two keystone experiences that she shared on the show that shaped her. The first is her passion for media at a young age. Working as a newspaper editor in both high school and college, Caitlin sought out the challenge of the daily deadline for her daily newspaper. She talks about the late nights and stress but attributes this as the reason why she loves working in the trenches with her teams today, drawing similarities to product management. Before Caitlin found her way to Linkedin, she lived and worked in Ethiopia as a part of a Gates Foundation initiative in agriculture. During a solo trip in a gorge in Kenya, she fell and broke her back and had to self-rescue. After this grueling experience she recovered, but Caitlin didn’t only not fly home but continued her work at the time setting up microfinance systems for farmers. To hear more about Caitlin’s amazing story about how she found her way into product in subscription powerhouses, how she thinks about leading her teams, and her adventures in Ethiopia, take a listen to this episode of How I Grew This.

Mar 4

25 min 45 sec

Today we talk with someone who has seen the very beginnings of mobile and has helped some of the world’s biggest brands learn how to adapt and innovate by going mobile. Our guest is Matt Hudson. From the early days of mobile at just twenty-one, he helped Rock Fish build their mobile app and strategy, and he’s gone on to the same for Sam’s Club, Charles Schwab, and now Belk. Matt shares several campaigns that drove an incredible amount of growth, like the “App Attack” campaign. To drive downloads to the app, they had stores compete to see who could drive the most downloads, and they ended up driving 1.5 million total downloads through that campaign. Hear this and how Matt was featured in the Washington Post by proposing to his wife via Words With Friends, how he got started in mobile, and why he believes there’s still so much opportunity for growth and more all on this episode of How I Grew This.

Feb 18

28 min 10 sec

As marketers, we all hope that our efforts will transform a brand and have it become the talk of the town. Our next guest, Brandon Rhoten, has been able to do just this at several of the brands he has transformed. Brandon has worked at Wendys, Papa Johns and Potbelly and although his approach has differed with each challenge the results have been the same: transformational change. We learn that a company looking to adapt and evolve doesn’t need to hop on the hottest trend; it needs to isolate its market problem and find a solution that aligns with its brand’s positioning. In the case of Papa Johns, it was moving their advertising to digital channels from traditional ones. For Wendys, it was reasserting its voice with clever and funny ads on social platforms like Twitter to engage with a younger audience. In this episode, Brandon shares exactly how he approached evolving the marketing strategies at each of these companies to adapt to the times and ultimately get incredible results. Hear this and how they hired comedians for Wendy's Twitter account, whyPotBelly hired former professional football player Peyton Manning and why Brandon studies the financial news as much as anything else, all on this episode of How I Grew This.

Jan 28

37 min 6 sec

The days of unsaturated channels and growth hacking, as we used to know it is over. Our guest today, Bharat Bhatia, dives deep into new strategies and the understanding of the product that has helped him achieve continued growth. Bharat comes from the gaming industry, an industry that he explains has one of the tightest bonds between product and marketing. He shares how he and his team approach that integration through in-app growth channels. In addition, with today’s growth channels like Facebook and Google ads more saturated and restricted, he breaks down how he has approached growth, especially when reaching the tipping point of scaling beyond existing audiences. Hear more about how Junglee Games grew through COVID, how he has managed to take better care of his physical health, and the most important and unexpected lesson he learned at business school, all on this episode of How I grew this.

Jan 21

24 min 38 sec

Andy Rebhun is someone you just get excited to talk to. He’s an extrovert with opinions and vision. He is an accomplished Marketing Executive, who has delivered first-to-market products and profitable growth for billion-dollar brands across Fortune 50 companies like the McDonalds Corporation and Ford Motor Company. He is currently Vice President of Digital at El Pollo Loco, where he is responsible for CRM, E-Commerce, off premise delivery, loyalty program, and social media. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. In this episode, Andy dives into (1) how he got tapped to manage marketing for an 800+ restaurant market before 30 yrs old, (2) how he took the McDonald’s app from 0 to 5M users, (3) how he navigated COVID to triple digital sales at El Pollo Loco, (4) along the lessons he learned along the way.

Jan 14

34 min 50 sec

Holly Chen is an award-winning marketing and growth advisor who credits her inner rebelliousness and overall questioning of conventional thinking for leading her into a career in Growth. And she’s been a standout from the beginning. In Beijing, Holly was one of the few Chinese nationals majoring in Italian in the entire country. After taking on her first role at the United Nations, she felt the need to move to something where she could better measure the impact of her work and joined an early stage startup in New York City. Her entry into Product Management and Marketing teams at that start up eventually led to her becoming the Head of Growth at the Google Store, in charge of distinguishing the various Google Store and hardware brands. She then went on to build Slack’s Digital Marketing and Performance Marketing function globally driving user acquisition, retention, and monetization across SMB and Enterprise customers. Amidst her current work as a growth advisor, Holly is a co-founder of Ceilingbreakers.us, a coaching platform that is rethinking the way tech leadership looks by creating a direct line to top executive coaches for specifically people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups. Hear more about where Holly believes growth sits within a company, advice to those building their own multi-touch attribution systems, and her advice for her younger self on this episode of How I Grew This. App she can’t live without: Apple Podcast App Animal she would talk to if she could: Cats App she uses that others wouldn’t expect: Chinese apps

Jan 7

35 min 24 sec

Lynn Blashford, CMO of White Castle, has risen the ranks during her 10 years at the company. White Castle, known for pioneering the fast food industry, turns 100 years old in 2021 and operates with a long term vision which runs counter to today’s hypergrowth and short-term gains environment. Maybe unsurprisingly, this mindset has allowed them to weather the storm of 2020 both by taking care of their employees as well as how they’ve strategically diversified the business. White Castle was one of the first non-pizza companies to roll out online ordering and was the first fast food chain to adopt the vegan Impossible Slyder in the nation. Beyond just the bottom line, Lynn spoke about how the private nature of the company allows them to take care of their people and the communities they serve. One of the beautiful stories she shares is how healthcare workers could eat for free when the pandemic lockdowns began. Hear more about how White Castle has adapted to the many challenges of 2020, Lynn’s advice for her younger self, and of course, Lynn’s behind-the-scenes story of how the film “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” came to be, all on this episode of How I grew this.

Dec 2020

32 min 35 sec

So much of learning how to drive meaningful growth is finding unsaturated and ripe growth channels and relentless focus on the actual end-user. This is our next guest's philosophy, Dharmesh Gandhi, the Senior Vice President and Head of Product at RentoMojo. Dharmesh shares how early in his career at Amazon, he learned how you could easily spot what seems like a popular growth option and not always get the return you’re looking for, especially when scaling. He adjusted his approach to play the long game and focus on important but not urgent growth methods. As he says in the interview, once something becomes urgent, it’s too late. He built out a multi-year roadmap that would allow continued growth through different channels. That experience also helped him when RentoMojo had to make dramatic shifts when COVID happened. They decided to implement a subscription pause, which reduced churn by 25% and played a significant role in helping the business continue to thrive even during the lockdown. Hear more on Dharmesh’s story, including how culture was the most critical driver of growth at Amazon, how he became the odd one out in his family and didn’t work on the family business, his time management, and so much more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

Nov 2020

32 min 23 sec

Today, most SaaS companies were started in the last few years or at the beginning of Web 2.0. Our guest Rick Stollmeyer, Co-Founder and current Executive Chairman of Mindbody, however, saw an opportunity back in 2001, when he started the company out of his garage. In March, Mindbody saw 90% of their appointments disappear through the platform, which led the team to innovate and drive towards a virtual fitness platform. Fast forward to today, and they see this as their most significant growth opportunity. Hear more on Rick’s story, including his leadership training in the Navy, the lesson he learned when his former boss refused to give him equity, his transition to Executive Chairman, and so much more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

Nov 2020

34 min 55 sec

Our guest today, Siddarth Jena, has learned a lot about growth running the largest platform for fans of India’s most popular sport, Cricket. Siddarth came into Cricket.com at a time where they had to scale their marketing efforts from 0 to 100, he shares how they tested Google, Facebook, affiliates, and many other growth channels to capture the market. They were able to rapidly test then scaled their growth channels to drive 5 million installs in just 4 months. Hear more on Siddarth’s story including his love for travel, how he and his team adapted marketing during COVID, how to deploy empathy in your marketing efforts and so much more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

Nov 2020

33 min 12 sec

Today’s guest, Chetana Deorah, talks about the role of design to drive business outcomes for some of the top companies in the world. Growing up in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Chetana’s curiosity and rebelliousness led her to dabble in the life sciences before finding her calling in UX design. She’s taken her success and translated it into not only hockey stick growth for profit-motivated companies but also inspiring the next generation of designers from under-resourced communities in the Bay Area through the Inneract Project. In her own words, the role of a designer is to ask not the what or the how, but the why. In a time where mobile and technology platforms are pushing to A/B test, fail fast, and use analytics to adapt to our new world, Chetana reminds us that oftentimes the sole goal of creating growth may be limiting. She reminds us we must start with why. Hear more about Chetana’s incredible story of how one becomes a design leader, the reason why she believes Netflix stays so adaptable (her answer will stay with you), as well as some of her own questions around what the future looks like in education, on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher and more.

Oct 2020

37 min 46 sec

Today’s guest, Nicole West, isn’t afraid of raising her hand and taking a risk, especially when it’s a project no one has ever done before. She’s built a reputation over her 14-year career at Chipotle in taking those tough jobs and turning them into big opportunities. For instance, in 2013, the then CMO asked Nicole if she would start up the new Ecommerce division of the marketing team. Pushing fear aside, she took the job. Today, she’s been at the helm as Chipotle has gone through a digital transformation which has seen digital ordering hit meteoric heights, with digital orders now accounting for over 20% of company sales. More on Nicole’s story of how she rose the ranks, her advice to those who are inspired by her story, as well as ways Chipotle is staying true to its mission of making the world a better place, on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and more.

Oct 2020

28 min 7 sec

Some people stop after creating their first successful company, but today’s guest, Sachin Bhatia, has created three products and companies that have flourished. Sachin shares how he got his parents' entrepreneurial spirit by selling water and other items as a child. He started his first company, MakeMyTrip, in 2000, and while they had a successful launch due to word of mouth, they weren’t able to keep up with demand. He learned his lesson, on the launch of his second company, TrulyMadly, they had the campaign to allow people to date not based on creed or religion in India which picked up a lot of press and was very successful. He then shares the story of how he and his Co-Founder teamed up again to build Bulbul, a video-based shopping app. More on Sachin’s story, including how his marketing campaign where MakeMyTrip asked for a second chance, his strategy for breaking down his campaigns, and more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere you find your podcasts.

Oct 2020

30 min 19 sec