How Greg Tseng Built Tagged and Hi5 into Companies with Over 300 Million Users

Posted by Anant January 12, 2023

Greg is the co-founder of Tagged and Hi5, companies that have acquired over 300 million users combined. He is an expert on viral loops and viral marketing, and he is an advisor to some of the largest names in the valley.


→ The history and growth of the social network Tagged

→ What year did Tagged launch

→ How big Tagged grow before

→ This change led to significant growth in Tagged’s user base

→ The current user base is not specified in the transcript

→ Tagged’s growth before the pivot was around 60 million registered users

→ The lesson learned is that entrepreneurs should constantly understand their users

→ Tagged pivoted to a space called “social discovery” which helped users meet new people

→ And a whole lot more


Greg’s LinkedIn




Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Greg Saine with us. Greg, thank you so much for coming on the program.

Greg: Hey, thanks so much for having me.

Bronson: Absolutely. Now, in case people don’t know a whole lot about you, they should. You’re the co-founder of Tagged and High five companies that have acquired over 300 million users combined. Is that right? Is that is that correct?

Greg: That is true. That’s true. 300 million between between the two properties.

Bronson: Yeah. Well, then you’re the right person to have on the show. And I actually acquired high five. And so we’ll focus on tag for this interview because that’ll be, you know, kind of where a lot of the insights will come from. So tell us, Greg, what year did tag the launch?

Greg: So time launched in October of 2004. Okay. As a social network for U.S. teens. So targeting the US high school market and people age 30, 13, 19.

Bronson: Okay. So in that original mission, when you were targeting 13 and 19 year olds back then, how big did tag grow to before? You guys kind of pivoted? And we’ll get to that in a second.

Greg: Right. So, Tad, when we were just a teen, we were a teen site grew to, I want to say, a few million registered users. So as we launch in oh four or by the end of our five, we were at 1 million registered users. And at the end of oh six, we were at 12 million registered users. But in October of oh six, we opened up to all countries and all in all, ages 13 plus. Gotcha. And so I’d say up to them, we’re out of here a somewhere in the single digit millions.

Bronson: Yeah. Now, give us some kind of context, because it’s hard to know where social networks were at back then. And it’s hard to remember here or other social networks growing around that same time where you are comparable. Were they outpacing you? How is that going?

Greg: You know, we were all, you know, really competing to be the king of social networking. So Friendster was really the one that really kicked things off. And, you know, I first heard about really paid attention to Friendster in January of 2003. Then MySpace launched in September of oh three, high five. We helped launch in December of those three. Then two months later, in February of force on Facebook, launched just as. Just just the Harvard. Yeah. And given that I went to Harvard, I was one of the first few thousand people on Facebook. And back then, Facebook was actually known as Friendster for college students.

Bronson: Really? Yes. I didn’t know that.

Greg: I mean, sort of sort of sort of like within the valley, because, like, you know, Friendster was actually what everyone based social networking on. And then Tag launched in October 24. So later that year. Yeah. And, you know, through that time, it were probably about ten or so social networks there all vying to be the king. So in addition to these ones I mentioned, there was also Bebo, there was Orchid, the one launched by Google and some others. And so, you know, depending on which metric you looked at, we were in different orders. You know, there were there were some times when TAG was the number one, if you look at just new registered users per day. But then typically by usage, it quickly became either Facebook and MySpace was a number one for a while.

Bronson: Yeah. And so you said you kind of changed mission. At first it was high school students, 13 to 19, and then you open it up to all ages across the world. Yeah. What happened at that point when you guys opened it up? Was that a win? Did it just not really change anything for you? What happened there?

Greg: So it changed things a bit because it really expanded our our potential user base from only 25 million US teenagers to a billion people online at the time. And so we were able to massively grow our user base through our viral marketing techniques. In the years just in the year 2007, we grew from 12 million registered users to about 60 million by the end of 211. And so that was a big change for us.

Bronson: Yeah. And then you actually went through another kind of big change, though, because you actually pivoted again in terms of how you positioned the company and what the company was really on mission to do. So what was the next kind of big change for Tagged?

Greg: Yeah. So the next big change was actually spurred from our experience with newsfeed. So in that same month, October oh six, when we and Facebook and other social networks opened up to all countries in ages 13 plus. Facebook also launched Newsfeed. And, you know, you remember back then, there’s actually a lot of hubbub about, oh, my gosh, is Facebook exposing too much information, so on and so forth. But for most of us, social networking founders and CEOs, we just thought of that as what a great idea. Wish I had thought of that. And every social network begun launching their own newsfeed. So later that year, Bebo High five launched theirs. And we launch ours in April of oh seven. But whereas Facebook and all the others saw lots of engagement increases from newsfeed, we didn’t see anything. It was as though we didn’t do anything even or really hard on this new feature. And so that really got us thinking about, you know, why is that? Why, why? Why is everyone, you know, seeing this great growth while we are being flat and and by the way, we are actually no longer even in the top five and more, we’re now the number seven social network. And so we took a good, hard look at our stats, did a lot of user surveys and such, and found out that people on Tide were quote unquote, misusing tag already to meet new people on the site. And no wonder newsfeed didn’t work because the feed of your friends for the past four years. That’s that’s a lot more interesting than people that you just met in the past ten days.

Bronson: Yeah.

Greg: It’s. And so given that people are using our site to meet to meet other to meet new people, plus we were starting to lag behind social networking that got us to, you know, what was a logical but also like an emotionally hard decision to accept, which is that we weren’t going to win social networking, i.e. we were going to lose social networking. That’s the right move to make, is actually now pivot to a space that we call social discovery, which is our way of saying meeting new people and discovering new social relationships as you made that pivot at the end of 27.

Bronson: Yeah, I don’t want to talk about that in just a second. But you mentioned something really interesting that they were already misusing tagged. Is that one of the lessons you kind of walk away with is look at a product and see how people are misusing it and maybe it’s not they’re misusing it that you gave them the wrong product.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, I, I sort of, you know, put put it in quotes because really, entrepreneurs should be, quote unquote, heat seeking missiles and be constantly, you know, whether it’s big course corrections or small or small minor corrections, you know, going to where the the the so-called heat and the opportunity and the action really is. Yeah. So really, it’s a it’s a lesson in just constantly being, you know, understanding our users, taking a pulse of what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and so on, and then, you know, making adjustments as necessary.

Bronson: Yeah. And so you guys grew to about 60 million, you said before this kind of change. What kind of growth have you seen? So you went from the single digit millions when you were focused on a high school to 60 million or so when you’re kind of a global, worldwide, all ages. And now where are you guys? Out.

Greg: Well, so now with with both tide and high five, we are over 300 million registered users. But more importantly, you know, it’s, you know, registered users is only part of the game. You know, it’s very easy to get a lot of growth and or I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s it’s easier to just get a lot of registered users than than it is to also make them really active and and actually build a product that they get a lot of sustainable value out of. Yeah. So, you know, a lot of our work since the start 2008 was actually on, you know, once we pivot to social Discovery, then building a great social story product that was very engaging, that provided a lot of value so that people want to use the site repeatedly and in any consumer product really needs to be used repeatedly in order to have sustainable value. And so that was that was our big challenge in starting in 2008.

Bronson: Yeah. And you guys have an interesting story because you had so much growth before you really found product market fit. I mean, people wish they could have millions of users when they still don’t have the right product in the market. What do you advise other companies to do? Do you do you say they should grow first or do you say they should try to find market fit earlier than you guys and it worked out for you all.

Greg: Yeah. So I would say that a, a, a, a consumer startup, like I said, only has value if you really have, if users are finding value and thus users site repeatedly and there’s sustainable engagement. Okay. So and thus a startup’s primary goal before they have product market fit is product market fit is really should be the only goal. And so anything that you do should be in service to that goal. Okay. So. Rather than just drawing for girls sake. You want to grow in service of product market fit. So you probably want enough growth, enough users so that you can do rapid AB testing, so you can do a lot of optimization and you’re not. And in order to iterate towards product market fit where you are not slowed down due to too few users. Yeah. So that’s one reason why growth. Another reason you might want growth is if the people in the users are part of the product. So in our case with social networking and our social discovery, because the whole site is about either connecting with people you know, or meeting new people, the people are part of the product. And thus it is true that the more people you have, the the more likely you’ll have a better user experience and then get closer and closer, closer to product market fit. And so it really depends on the type of business that that you’re trying you’re trying to launch. But the sort of key takeaway is that anything you do, growth, engagement or otherwise should be in service. Defining product market fit.

Bronson: Yeah. No, it’s great. Thank you for clarifying that because I was wondering, you know, given your unique story, how you feel about that now, you mentioned earlier that were tagged, you know, virality was a part of it and you actually gave a class online called Virality one on one. And I want to have you walk us through some of the pieces of that class. I know you don’t have your slides in front of you. So your slides for you all remind you of of the things that you had there, the class you teach, that the reality is an equation v of t equals x of t by y of t. Walk us through those three variables. What is v?

Greg: Okay. So V is virality. Uh, and so that really is the replication rate of every generation of users. So it’s on how many users does the average user generate? That’s what V represents. And we break it down into two components, X and Y. So why is the amount of spread that an average user causes? So that could be I leave it out for now and we’ll go to specific samples and then X is the conversion from being paying by part of the spread and then converting to a user self?

Bronson: Okay.

Greg: And so we can just split split the virality into those two components. Yeah. And then we also have have a time constants because for example, say, say we take the example of, of email. Okay. Why would be the number of invites that the average user sends out and an X would be the conversion from receiving an email to then signing up on the service yourself. So it’s possible that you’ll be sending out invites over time that you send out similar. So some on signup and then you send some a few days later. You have to track this over time. X can also depend over time also because some people don’t check their email instantly. So access when the email gets sent, but maybe you don’t see the email until 12 hours later and then you open it, but then you don’t click on it until 24 hours later. And then if and then it takes 24 hours before you actually sign up. And so all these need to have a time constant on them. And you can do pretty sophisticated modeling to figure out exactly where you were need to be, to be, to be viral. But I found that a good rule of thumb is just if you can get V to be over 1.0 in seven days, then you’ll be nicely viral.

Bronson: All right. Now, let me ask you this. You say you want to get V overall 1.0. Why is that the magic number? I know, but for our audience, why is one the magic number you want to be above?

Greg: Right. Because when if one users say create one more user, then it just keeps going. Like one causes another, retweets another is another. It just kind of goes out of an item. If you go more than one, then one user creates more than one user was even more than one user. And it just kind of compounds exponentially like interest in your bank account. A V is less than one. You still is some more users, but then you get exposed or decay. Yeah. So like, you know, a user creates half of user. Then in the next generation you only create a quarter user and then a later user and so on. And kind of you still get more, but but it decreases exponentially. You don’t get this sort of explosive hockey stick viral growth.

Bronson: Yeah. And in this class, you also taught that you need to do two things. First, you need to define your viral loop. And then the second thing is you need to optimize your viral loop and a high level. What do you mean, define and optimize?

Greg: Yeah. So by define, I mean really map out every step in this one loop where one user can create one more user. Okay. So in the case of email, a user will sign up and check their email address book. And decide to invite some of their contacts via email. So now you send other emails. The emails get delivered and then they get opened. They get clicked on to the registration page, which then the user can then sign up. Okay, so that’s the closed, closed viral loop for a for for the for the email viral loop.

Bronson: Why is it important to define it? Why can’t we just go out and just start doing stuff?

Greg: Because then, I mean, at least for one, you don’t really know what you are optimizing. Really? You need to define it. So. So then you can optimize.

Bronson: All right. So then what do you mean by optimize?

Greg: It is been is after you’ve mapped it out and sort of launch an initial version of it, you can then get stats on what are the know, what are all the conversion rates and all these different steps. And then and then start optimizing. Yeah. So say that, you know, you think your registration rate is actually a little bit too low. Then start trying with, you know, removing some form fields or maybe putting some tooltips next to form fields or changing just, you know, layout and buttons and colors and stuff. You know, we we found, for example, that, you know, a lot of registration pages. The, the the A button will say register or sign up. But we’ve actually found that if you change the text of the button to next or continue that there’s actually a higher conversion there.

Bronson: Really?

Greg: Yeah. And then if you also put like a little greater than sign at the end of the next so that you’re moving forward, that further increases a little bit.

Bronson: That’s funny. You would think they would click on the one. That’s the final one. Like you’re done now register when really when they’re in the middle of the process, they have a greater click there. That’s interesting.

Greg: Yeah. I mean, I think also that it’s just it’s just easier to understand. Like, I think more people understand the word next than understand the word register.

Bronson: Yeah. And that’s great. Thank you for sharing that.

Greg: In my mind, registering to vote, you know, or you got to think that, you know, this is a very mass market audience. You really want things just as simple and as clear and as usable as possible.

Bronson: Yeah. And you talk about some of the ways to optimize a viral loop. And one of the things you say you could do is provide value. What do you mean when you say you need to provide value to optimize a defined viral loop?

Greg: Yeah. So what I mean by that is. You know, give people an actual valuable reason that they would want to sign up, invite their friends, open email and so on. And so in the case of social networking. The the reason is that you want to connect with your friends. And so, you know, like the whole story is about connecting their friends. So the more people that you’re connected with, the more valuable the services. And thus, unless you want to invite them.

Bronson: Yeah. What are the other examples of providing value? Because not everyone’s in a social network watching this, so it’s just not how you connect with your friends. What are some other examples of, you know, of of value you can provide in this viral loop to give people ideas?

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. Well, so this might be a little too similar, but but you know, with all the new messaging apps, it’s also the case where, you know, a lot of those and they grow they grow really virally because the whole point is to be is to be messaging with people. And so they’re there, again, is where the people as part of the product, if is the case with the people aren’t part of the product, you can also do it. You can sort of take it on. So touch on the value. So. So I’ve seen on, say, Postmates, for example, after I make it after I make an order, they’ll give me a dollar off my next order. If I tweet out the fact I just made an order. Okay. Or or any sort of refer friend program when say, I go buy a pair of pants at bonobos. And if I then refer a new customer to them, they’ll give me, like, you know, 25 or 50 credits.

Bronson: Yeah.

Greg: Things like.

Bronson: That. Now, that makes a lot of sense. And you also say that it’s good to provide a make every step universally usable. Now, this might be really germane to kind of your email viral loop, but explain to us what you mean by that. Make every step universally usable.

Greg: Yeah. So trying to touch on what I said before, which is you really want to think about this as a mass market audience. Okay. So so, you know, we’ve now register over 300 million people. Facebook’s registered billions of people. And so if. But yet, if they’re you know, if they’re all Trump, if they’re all I guess you want it to be just as simple and as clear as usable so that anybody, whether they are, you know, 13 years old or or 50 years old, whether they have a college degree or not, whether they live in a in a in a city or a rural area where they live in the US or outside, are able to understand and go through your loop as a as as easily as possible.

Bronson: Yeah.

Greg: And so so it’s really just just a just a comment on usability. And and I’ve just found that you can always, always make things simpler, easier and more understandable and so on and so forth.

Bronson: Yeah. And you just mentioned the word simpler. And the last thing you say is that less is more. Have you found in your viral loops that removing usually works better than adding? I mean, I know there’s a place where you can remove too much, but.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. So generally speaking, fewer steps, fewer clicks, fewer taps, the better, just because there are fewer things to do. And so that’s a general rule of thumb. But I have also seen cases where you can do too much, where you do so much that, you know, people don’t even know what they’re signing up for. And thus there are there are just the less likely to sign up. So I’ve actually seen cases where even putting say like a splash screen that explains what the service is. That’s just in one click or tap before you decide on flow. That actually could overall increase your overall sign up rate, even though you now have two pages instead of one.

Bronson: Mm hmm. Gotcha. Because you’re giving them more information. Yeah. Yes. Which is just enough that they needed. Now, you give some examples in your class of different viral loops, and some of these people will be really familiar with maybe some they won’t be. But walk us through some of these. One of the first ones you mentioned is IM and you mentioned Facebook in that one piece about that a little bit.

Greg: Yes. So a decent amount of Facebook’s early growth actually came from a deal that they struck with AOL on on AIM, where they had a super user account named Facebook. And any user could sign up on Facebook and import their their I am buddies and then send invites via via im from this master facebook account to their aim buddies.

Bronson: Yeah.

Greg: And because so they were one of the few companies that had such a deal and, and IM is a lot more instant friends. Im then and then an email and thus they’re able to get a lot of girls that way.

Bronson: Yeah. And you know, we mentioned earlier that all the new messaging apps coming out, maybe this might come full circle. There might be another way to use these messaging apps as a platform to go viral again, if the APIs work the right way. Who knows?

Greg: It’s possible. It’s possible. I mean, and right now, a lot of messaging apps are growing. From the the the user’s phone contacts. There’s no further email responses from their phone contacts and through SMS.

Bronson: Yeah.

Greg: And so it’s kind of like, you know, every generation there like new platforms, like spawn new platforms. Yeah. And such.

Bronson: No. Exactly. Do you think anybody’s really figured out that mobile platform yet? It seems like it’s wide open. I mean, yeah, see path trying to struggle and figure out how to use it. Yeah. You know, is anybody really nailed it yet or is it just still trial and error?

Greg: Yeah, I think at this point nobody has nailed it yet and is probably, probably one of the most exciting, exciting opportunities in in in of AI reality today.

Bronson: Yeah. Is that something that has we focused a lot on in 2013, you think?

Greg: Yes, we we definitely are focused on focusing on it this year. Yeah.

Bronson: Yeah. Looking for potential there. You also mentioned widgets. You know, people are familiar with some of these like Rock You. But you also mentioned a slide, YouTube, MySpace. Tell us about widgets have been used to kind of go viral.

Greg: Yeah. So, you know, widgets is is a little bit in the past these days but you recall back and say 05207 in those days, you know, widgets were just these little elements that, you know, some are flash elements and the flash embeds and such where it can embed into other sites, including MySpace and blogs and so on. So probably the the the prototypical example is that at least MySpace claims that a lot of YouTube’s growth was on the back of MySpace was that it was very, you know, YouTube made it so that you could easily embed a YouTube video into your MySpace page, into your blog, into any sort of Web site. And that would cause there to be a lot more, you know, lots of lots of views out there and then clicking on the YouTube videos. So then wouldn’t take you to YouTube and cause you to become a YouTube user and maybe eventually embed a YouTube video into something something that, that, that you own. Yeah. So. So slide is probably the one that really mostly optimized this where after they make it really easy to create a slideshow and then once you are done create a slideshow, you can very easily use these auto posters which would just say like just put in your MySpace email and password and just auto post to MySpace. Yeah. And then and then the spread for a widget is actually how many views there is. And then the conversion is clicking on a button that says Get your own, and then you can go to to then the slide eight page and then created create a slideshow, then embed into your MySpace, MySpace page, and then the cycle continues from there.

Bronson: Just like the email example you gave just different things being employed in for the variables, but it all still works the same.

Greg: It’s also works the same. You know, there’s there’s some way of spreading the word, some conversion from being hit by the spread to becoming a user yourself to spread the word yourself.

Bronson: Yeah. There you go. You know, Facebook did something interesting where they used AIIM, but then eventually they became the IM that people are using. Essentially, they became a platform. Yeah, viral growth. So, you know, we I think we’ve all heard about Zynga and that’s one the examples you use is how Zynga really popped on the platform and spread using it, right.

Greg: Yeah. So I think, you know, Facebook was really the first company that actually built a platform to enable viral marketing. So, you know, the email services never, you know, designed the email address books specifically for this. You know, embedding widgets into them into MySpace was initially just like it was actually a security hole and that that that made it even possible but spawned this whole ecosystem of widgets. But then Facebook really decided to prioritize this with their platform, saying, you know, we are this massive social platform and now let’s actually find ways where where developers can actually build applications on top of Facebook, and we’ll actually specifically give them viral marketing tools. Yeah. So Zynga was, you know, one of the biggest to do this where when you install their games, you can say you’ll get extra coins or benefits if you add neighbors to your farm, say, and then that would cause you to invite your friends and so on and so forth. And then, you know, I also think is one of the best examples of a company that combined both viral marketing and paid marketing because often, you know, companies only do one or the other because, you know, you only have competency in one or the other or because there are people in viral marketing that see that almost as a religion and really, really had this religion about, oh, you know, we spend $0 on marketing and have a lot of pride in that and so on and so forth and don’t want to ever. Ever spend more than zero. But, you know, if you’re able to have competency, you know, I want to emphasize that viral marketing is a tactic not not a religion. And it’s one of several different marketing tactics. And if you are able to combine and be competent at both viral and paid marketing, then the combination is even more powerful than just one or the other.

Bronson: Yeah, well, because I aim to bring people in to your viral loop so that they can go and be a part of it.

Greg: Exactly. Exactly. You know, think about it as paid marketing. Just provide all the seeds that can then grow exponentially with with your viral loop. Yeah. So if you can do both then, then that is definitely better than, than doing one or the other.

Bronson: Yeah. And we’ve had people on the show before that worked in Zynga as product managers and that’s exactly what they said. They said inside of Zynga, they have the ability to grow in a lot of different ways and it’s extremely powerful. So you’re echoing exactly what they said. One of the final examples you give is people using Twitter to actually go viral. And you’ve said that, you know, people don’t use Twitter as much and you’re surprised there’s not more examples, but there is a few Formspring being one of them.

Greg: Yes. Yeah. So I am I’m generally surprised if you say compare the amount of effort that has gone to go viral on Facebook versus on Twitter, because, you know, Twitter is also a great kind of mass market broadcast platform. And it’s it is it’s different in that it’s more public, it’s more directional. And it may not have you don’t have quite as many tools and such as Facebook, but it just seems like a fertile ground to go viral. And I would it was expected by now that more people would have tried it, more people would have succeeded. That said, Formspring is a great example where it was this company’s site where you can say, you know, ask me anything and and I’ll answer on Formspring. And they made it so that you could basically just tweet out, ask me anything which would direct you to Formspring. And also, any time you answered something, you can post that to forms. You could pose that to Twitter. And so so they’re able to grow to, I think, 30 million or so plus registered users on Formspring and also double digit millions in in monthly uniques by by by primarily leveraging Twitter.

Bronson: Yeah. Do you think their secret maybe is just that they were a little more aggressive than other people because it seems like other people like, hey, tweet this thing, but not really deeply integrated that so many interactions end up on Twitter. Is that part? Yeah, they did. Well.

Greg: I think it’s part of it. And there’s I mean, and there’s also always this this danger of being too aggressive and, you know, be too spammy, too annoying. And, you know, they get you flak from their users that could potentially get you trouble legally and, you know, press wise and such. So so you definitely want to want to draw a line and and not cross it. Yeah. That said, yeah, you know, there’s, you know, viral marketing in viral is such a, you know, overused and misused term these days that people think that, oh, just adding a tweet button means you’re viral. But really, no, you really need to define this viral, this like tight viral loop. That is a full close circle loop where one user can just generate more than one user in the cycle continues. And so I think Formspring has much more of a loop than just someone putting a tweet this now there.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s a great point. What kinds of companies do you think should really lean toward viral? Because it seems like certain companies, it makes more sense. There’s more of a obvious innovation there. What kinds of companies should really look at viral as a huge channel?

Greg: Yeah. So I think the the more that your company depends on, the more that your product is about people and especially about people connecting with other people, the more it makes sense because then sort of the people become part of the product and you can become much more naturally viral and all the things that you optimize or optimizing something that that is really occurring very naturally already. Yeah. That said, there have been a lot of successful companies who, you know, where, where that wasn’t the case. For example, you know, a lot of Zynga games really aren’t that social and they’re really kind of single Twitter games with like light touch social elements. Well, they’re still able to to to leverage viral marketing very well. And so I’d say, you know, it’s yeah, it’s definitely better as a viral marketing is a lot more natural but there are ways of of of still providing value and in the end making it a, a sustainable marketing channel for you.

Bronson: Yeah. Now, beyond virality, I’ve heard you say recently that PR has become really a. Important for you guys. And you say that PR is just something that startups really think about and look into. What have you kind of discovered about PR? What’s been your journey there?

Greg: Yeah, so I say that I’m, you know, being a very kind of, you know, product focused and numbers driven guy, you know, starting out, I sort of didn’t really see the value in PR side. Like, you know, if we just focus on building a great product that reaches a lot of users, then the the story will just tell itself. And that was an incorrect assumption where I guess no matter how great you are, you still need to be out there telling your story. Otherwise either there will be a value so so that there will be no story or others will fill that vacuum for you and others will will be telling that story for you. And, you know, there’s generally speaking of us coming from the outside, there is a small chance that’s going to be very accurate so that you you really want your external perception to be consistent with your internal, internal reality. And to do that, you must you must really be out there telling is telling telling your story yourself.

Bronson: Yeah. And you went on TechCrunch and did a video interview. I think it’s a year or two ago, something like that maybe. And, and it had a really great experience. Was it I mean, people really were like, well tagged. These people exist and they’re doing really well and you’ve been doing great, but it’s. Nobody knew about it, right?

Greg: Exactly. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. This do a video interview with with with with Michael Harrington and then follow it up with with a with a guest post that that that I wrote myself. But yeah, I mean, you know, it helps for all types of things. I mean, it’s it it helps for, you know, internal morale. It helps for recruiting so that, you know, people in the industry knows you. It helps just generally with consumers as well that, you know, when they when they get to the your registration page, if they’ve heard about you before, there are probably a lot more likely to sign up then than than if they haven’t. Yeah. And so, you know, for me, it is this thing is this thing that is much harder to measure and quantify. And thus, you know, it’s harder for me to just believe by sort of having gone through it, I’ve sort of, you know, seen the difference. And and I can tell you it’s real. And so so every every company should be should have their own PR strategy.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Now, you mentioned your PR. You mentioned virality, obviously. You mentioned pay per click. How you’re you know, you see how you’re doing that well and a lot of other people. Are there any other marketing channels that you hold in high regard? Maybe use them a little bit. Maybe you don’t use them much as these other ones. But what else can you list off of live? Look. Think about these a little bit, at least.

Greg: Right. Well, so, I mean, PR advertising comes in so many different flavors. So right there is display advertising. There is there are search advertising. There is, you know, a mobile. Now, there there’s like the mobile version of all these. There’s also incentivized advertising where, you know, get coins or download this app, get coins for feeling this form. So there’s just all different ways of of paying for paying for user acquisition. And it really is pretty rare that all of them work for for a given product. But you really want to experiment with with most of them to see to see if one or a few of them work work for the product or service that you’re trying to grow. Another one that I that I do hold a high regard for, for people that do it well, is is SEO. So search engine optimization where or really you are, you know, creating pages and optimizing them. So they so they do provide value and thus should rise up high in search engines. And should you get a lot of, quote unquote, free organic traffic from search engines? People are trying to employ this now in an app stores and doing sort of app store optimization to see, you know, when people like either look on leaderboards or they search in and say in an app store that that your app comes up and you get a lot of organic traffic that way. One of my favorite examples actually is is OkCupid, which does something that I guess now is known as global content marketing, where they just write these really interesting, funny blog posts that are full of data and they just get so many views and it does spread quote unquote, virally just because it’s so interesting. I mean, they don’t actually optimize anything, but it spreads. And supposedly most of their new registered users comes from people that that that were exposed to their blog.

Bronson: I didn’t know that.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. So. So. So I just find it really interesting and.

Bronson: Interesting and I’ve been sucked into this blog post. I’ve been browsing the web and one pops up on Twitter and all of a sudden it’s showing you some breakdown of male versus female with some other subcategory, and you’re like or something and you’re reading it, you know that they are interesting. Well, Greg, this has been an awesome interview. I have two final questions for you here. Kind of high level questions to give back to the community a little bit. First, you’re an advisor to a lot of startups. You, you know, give advice. You help a lot of them. What do you want startups to know about growth that they usually get wrong? You’re speaking to a lot of startups right now. They’re watching this.

Greg: Mm hmm. What do I want them to know about growth that they usually get wrong? Hmm. Okay. So I would say. Probably probably a very common piece of advice is that it’s something that you really need to institutionalize in your company. It’s really not something that you can just like kind of set it and forget it and sort of check the box and is done. It’s something that, you know, we have talked a lot about concepts in this interview, but it’s something that you got to work on every single day in the in the viral marketing example, for example, you know, even after you achieve a reality, it’s even harder to stay viral because there are all there are various effects which we could go to another time that will actually start to cause overall morale to decrease. So even after you’ve crossed 1.0 to the to the to the to the plan of a reality, you want to keep on optimizing, grinding it out the everyday day in order to stay viral. And so this applies to paid marketing as well, where where the advertising marketplace is changing all the time. You just got to be on it. And so it’s a lot of hard work, but the by the benefits are worth it. And so it’s something that you really need to embrace and you really need to need to institutionalize in your company from the top down. The CEO needs to say this is this important that we’re going to make this a core competency within the company and then find the right team and then and then and then that that’s the only way that’s going to be sustainable.

Bronson: Yeah, well, I think that’s perfect advice to end on right there. Greg, again, thank you so much for coming on growth after TV.

Greg: Okay. Thanks for having me.

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