Episodes

Gagan Biyani

Gagan Biyani

Gagan is the co-founder of Udemy, a fast growing educational platform, and he is the founder of the Growth Hacker Conference, one of the few conferences centered on growth. He is also a growth consultant to startups.

TOPIC GAGAN COVERS

  • Identify target customers
  • Use data to inform decisions and track progress
  • Test and measure different channels and tactics
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and iteration
  • Utilize social media, content marketing, and partnerships
  • Tips for overcoming the chicken and egg problem in a two-sided marketplace
  • To build a two-sided marketplace like Udemy
  • Strategies for remarketing to an existing user base
  • Ideas for increasing engagement on a learning platform like Udemy
  • And a whole lot more

LINKS & RESOURCES

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

READ THE TRANSCRIPTION

Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have jargon beyond. Did I say your first name? Right.

Gagan: Gag and beyond.

Bronson: Jargon. I thought I was going to get it. Goggin Beyond jargon. Thank you so much for coming on the program.

Gagan: No problem. Thanks for having me.

Bronson: Absolutely. So Goggin, you are the co-founder of Udemy. You’re the founder of the Growth Hacker Conference and you’re a growth consultant to startups. So you have a lot of experience in the start of world and a lot of experience with growth. And I think we’ll talk about all three of those a little bit. But let’s start with you. To me, that’s probably the most household name that you’ve been involved with. So tell us, what is Udemy? Let’s start there.

Gagan: Sure. Yeah. Udemy is a marketplace for learning. Our vision is to bring the best experts in the world to anyone so that anyone can learn from the best experts in the world. And so you can go on Udemy dot com and take online courses from experts like yourself. And, you know, we have, of course, with the Growth Hackers Conference on Growth Hacking on the on Udemy. And we also have, you know, thousands of other courses from experts like Jack Welch or George Lucas or experts in yoga and and and health and wellness and finance, etc.. So our goal is to democratize education.

Bronson: Yeah, I’m a big fan of it as someone who takes courses and teaches courses, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so glad to have you on here. When did you all launch Udemy?

Gagan: So, you know, we usually had kind of two launches on I think the first launch was in two US based launches. The company has a long history before that, but I’ll just talk about about since I joined. The first launch was in May 2010 and that’s when we opened up the free version of Udemy. Essentially, you could teach courses and take courses that were completely that had no transaction, so it was completely free. And then around February of 2011 is when like January 2011 is when we had our first paid courses on the platform. So I think of that is like when we came out of beta. Okay.

Bronson: No, that’s great. Yeah. And so since that time kind of from 2010 and 2011, I don’t know what numbers are public, so you can tell me, but what kind of growth have you guys seen in terms of the number of courses, the number of instructors and the number of people taking classes? What kind of growth have you experience there? You to me.

Gagan: Yeah. I mean, you know, the most probably like numbers probably or something like we’ve had over $6 million run rate of marketplace sales. It’s more than that. We grow every month. But I think that’s the most recent number that was public. And then, you know, 5000 instructors and over half a million students. So the company the company has has grown very well. And one of the things we did we did successfully at Udemy, you know, is unlike other education companies, we’ve been able to be very consistent with our growth. So our growth has been we haven’t done like this, we haven’t gone like that. We’ve been like this consistently month over month. And that’s because we have a much more analytical approach to marketing. But, you know, it’s not always a good thing. You know, there are companies that have grown like this and kind of overtaken us at times. Luckily, so far, a lot of those companies have kind of flattened out and we are just chugging along like that.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. And we’ll get into the details of that in just a second. You know, Udemy is a two sided market. You have the instructors on one side and you have the students on the other side. What unique difficulties does a two sided market kind of introduce for someone to try to grow a startup?

Gagan: Yeah, so it’s a great question. I mean, so I’ve now been involved with two, two sided marketplaces, first at Udemy and now I’m a consultant at Lyft and kind of led their their marketing in, in Los Angeles, which was the new market they launched. And the Udemy problem was it was significant, was extremely difficult but easier actually than even the Lyft problem. So I’ll talk about both that on Udemy. The challenges that you don’t provide value to either side of the marketplace without the other side of the marketplace existing. It’s the classic chicken and egg problem. So without content, users can’t learn on Udemy and without users, teachers have nobody to teach, right? And so naturally what you have to do is figure out how to basically fake one of them or juice one of them or fund one of them so that you can get enough supplies, that you can compete. You can you can provide demand or vice versa. And, you know, companies over time Kickstarter, Etsy, you know, Airbnb, eBay, all these marketplace businesses have done it in various ways. But getting off that getting off the ground from from there is extremely difficult and the most important part.

Bronson: Yeah. And so let’s talk about how you did that because you have a very interesting story that I believe you posted on Quora about how you seeded one side of that market. So how did you end up with your courses when they won? You have zero courses. Obviously it’s not going to work.

Gagan: Yeah. So two main strategies are on the supply side, which is supply is people putting on courses. The first one was getting content that already existed on the Internet and putting it up there so that we could build a small user base. And so what we did is we basically, you know, there’s a lot of open source, free content out there. We similar to Academic Earth, which is another company that was in the education space they’ve since been acquired but somewhat academic earth. We basically took a lot of that content and packaged it in a neat, nice little Udemy package and provided it to prospective students. And that was one way that we actually saw that the chicken and egg problem, basically by baking the chicken, acting like they’re real instructors on the site when in fact the recorded videos and then we got a little bit of demand from that. But honestly, that was a very small part of the problem, part of the solution. The rest of the solution comes after that when we actually started to recruit instructors directly to teach on Udemy ended in a highly scalable manner. So we have a team of people who basically reach out to instructors who we think would be great on Udemy. We get on the phone with them and then we we help them understand why you to me could be helpful to them, whether, you know, figure out whether or not they’re a good fit for us since we don’t like every type of instructor and then convince them to actually build a course on Udemy. And you know, over time that process became the way that we we scaled from 0 to 5000 courses and of. So in the beginning, you know, you’re adding 2 to 5 courses a month. And the reason is because it’s a lot harder to convince those people in the early days. But after the first couple of courses are successful, it’s a lot easier to get people to basically believe that you can deliver value to them. And so then the supply side of the market becomes easier and easier over time.

Bronson: Yeah. So you solve the supply side. Did the users just kind of flock to it? Do they say, okay, now this is the place? Or what was the primary customer acquisition channel? Once you had the courses, what did you have to do?

Gagan: Yeah, so a bunch of different things. It started certainly with, you know, with a lot of guerilla marketing essentially. So we partnered with various people who had audiences that were interested in our courses. So we knew we had tech courses that startup people would be interested in. And there was a massive, you know, we were lucky. It was during the sort of boom of seed financings and stuff. And so there were a lot more people than there were, you know, when we started Udemy who were interested in learning about tech. And so we were able to provide, we made sure we found great instructors who had brand recognition in that space. And then we went to all the email lists and all the, all the, all the websites that have that audience. And we said, Hey, we can promote you, we can make you we can provide you with the monetization vehicle as long as you promote us. And so we did 5050 deals with a lot of those partners at Udemy. There’s no marginal cost for our course, so we can afford to basically give 50% of the money on marketing. And so we’d give them 50%, we’d take 50%, and they would promote our course to their email lists.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. And now a part of your marketing is also marketing to students that have already purchased one course. What kind of efforts do you do there? How do you kind of remarket to your existing user base? Because I’m a user, so I get to see it. I want to hear you kind of explain it.

Gagan: Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, so, you know, ultimately there’s a lot of different ways to do this. But we’ve found email to be the most effective for you to be users specifically. So if you are already taking courses on Udemy, whether it’s free or paid, you probably like the experience of learning and find that to be a very valuable thing. So our job then is to figure out, okay, if you like that, what are the drivers for you to decide to actually come back to the site? Right. And there’s really two drivers. One is a course or a like a deal on a course that you’re interested in. And so you come back to actually take a new course and choose to get you take existing courses. So we did a great job on the first one and are still doing a good job in second one but need to do a better job on the second one. So engagement is really underrated, but actually the second one is very important because if you come under to and buy a course but you don’t watch it, then you know, it’s like buying a book at the bookstore and having it sit on your shelf. It’s not nearly as valuable as you reading it because if you read the book, then you might be able to tell your friends about it and really enjoy it and come back to the bookstore and buy a new book and so on. Engagement. We provide a lot of engagement emails to encourage people to finish courses that they’ve started on and then on the on the other side, the one I did the wrong order. But the other thing I talked about was discounting and sort of providing people with an incentive to buy sooner rather than later on. You know, we try our best to provide people with and with a sufficient value to saying, hey, this course is available to you. And oh, by the way, this week it’s for 50% off. So you can you can get it at a significant discount and that works extremely well.

Bronson: Yeah, I’ve actually reaped the benefits of you’re all discounting to other people so it’s good. Yeah, great. Yeah. When you talked about, you know, having the manual, take the course and finish the course, do you have any features coming up on the roadmap to kind of build more engagement between professors and students or anything like that that you think will actually get them engaged even more?

Gagan: Yeah. So to be clear, you know, it’s been it’s been ten months now since I’ve been full time, day to day on Udemy. I’m obviously still an advisor and active with the company, but and so I know, I know what’s going on, but I’m not really the right person to be answering questions about the future of Udemy. You’re better off if you’ve already currently there.

Bronson: No, that’s fine. Did anything surprise you about the growth of Udemy? You talked about how you were kind of linear. Other people spiked more, other people died quicker. Is that what you expected or was anything surprising about kind of the way it worked out?

Gagan: Well, I mean, I think your first time, you’re just surprised that it grows in the first place, right.

Bronson: As it works.

Gagan: So that that’s one thing. Definitely was a big was a big part of it is just we’re just happy that we were able to provide value to people. And people actually liked the service and their fans, like you and I myself am a fan of a lot of courses on there. And that’s, you know, that’s the biggest blessing to an entrepreneur ever is to have people actually enjoy using the product so that and but the biggest surprise on growth so yeah the fact that we were consistent we had no idea that that was going to happen. We didn’t know it was going to be consistent. We didn’t know whether we were going to spike or what. You never know really that. I think looking back, it’s easy to explain why it was consistent. But, you know, ahead of time, we had no idea. And then the one the biggest surprise for us, that’s interesting, I think, to your your community of sort of growth hackers were interested in learning about this. The biggest surprise to us is how much organic and word of mouth growth we actually had. And as a growth hacker, someone who’s used to levers and having control and kind of hacking or doing SEO, you feel like like organic and word of mouth user growth is kind of, you know, it’s it’s not trackable and therefore you can tend to ignore it a little bit. And that was probably one of the biggest mistakes we made early on. And something that we’ve since corrected is.

Bronson: Look.

Gagan: Actually, you know, this is good news, but it’s something we didn’t realize. Like people, you know, our growth is largely because people like you to me and they tell their friends about it. And our instructors love it, obviously a lot more. And so instructors tell their their prospective students about it. And the combination of those two things was actually a larger driver of growth than anything else we did. Now, that won’t get you off the ground and it’s not sufficient. You know, 50% of your growth or less should be coming through that, because if you have that kind of brand loyalty, then you can afford to spend money on marketing and actually do other things. So you should try to grow as fast as possible. That’s that this is the other 50% is things that you can actually you can actually spend more and get more out of it. Yeah. Whereas viral growth and word of mouth growth, you can’t yeah. It’s, it has its own rate and you can try to improve it by improving the quality of the service and the viral channels. But fundamentally the word of the non trackable viral stuff, right? There’s trackable viral stuff. It’s very different like stuff that Zynga does. Game mechanics that’s different. But the word of mouth growth is something that you can’t control.

Bronson: Yeah, I mean, I’ve told people about it that have come to your site, paid money to you, and there’s no way for you to track it because it was all offline. It was here, my arms behind me that I was telling you about it, you know. So I totally hear what you’re saying there. You also mentioned, you know, being able to spend money, you know, and not just rely on that solely. Where do you guys dump money? Are you dumped them into Google ads or you dump them into retargeting? Are you dumping and where are you putting that piece of the pie when you do spend money on marketing?

Gagan: Yeah. I mean, so we’ve, you know, we’ve kind of stabilized our ad campaigns. So we’re not doing we’re not in heavy growth anymore on that side. But, you know, Facebook has been the best for us. The way I look at it, advertising is that there are two key insights about advertising that I think a lot of people don’t understand or that are not obvious. Actually, the first insight is that advertising is fundamentally a business model competition.

Bronson: You’re right.

Gagan: It’s you competing with the other company to figure out who can afford to pay more for the user at the end of the day. Changing the copy, changing the images, everything. Anybody can do it. Any monkey can do and have a task to basically like get to a certain level of optimization. So if I’m paying $5 per user, the worst case scenario is an unsophisticated buyer is going to pay is going to pay $6. They’re not going to be paying 25. Right. And so if I if they can afford to pay $10 and they’re paying six right now and I can only afford to pay 550 and I’m paying five, then they’re going to beat me and me afford is what your lifetime value is, which is basically a business model competition. So whose business is better? And so that’s one thing that’s really important. The second thing that’s important is that there’s a core difference between demographic advertising and intent based advertising. This is particularly different between Google and Facebook or Google and Display. I consider Facebook to be a type of display marketing that just has extreme sophistication around the granularity that you can get to in terms of targeting. So with Google.

Bronson: The.

Gagan: The thing is you’re getting intent based targeting. So when people are searching for something, you’re basically able to say, hey, I’m willing to pay to be the first one that they click on. That’s obviously super interesting and valuable, but the problem is that it only works for a certain set of things. The same thing is true with display in bread advertising, just plain bread rising, saying I know who my customer is, but I don’t know when they’re going to buy. Right. So like on Google, I know when they’re going to buy, but I don’t know who you are. And on Facebook, I know who you are. You have you know, your certain gender. You’re a certain age. You are you live in a certain city, etc., You have certain interests. I can target all based on that. But then I have no idea whether you’re going to buy my product tomorrow or in the next six months. I don’t know why you, I don’t know, have any understanding of what your priorities are at the time. Yeah. And so for companies like Udemy, where you don’t buy on a need, you buy on an interest, you buy because you’re interested in learning about something you don’t buy because.

Bronson: So you know Facebook because that’s where they’re going.

Gagan: To Facebook because we get demo targeting, we’re able to target people who are who are interested in our courses and we know what that looks like, but we don’t do very well on Google because you don’t usually search. Can I buy a course on. It’s a very small volume thing, right? But if we can find people who are entrepreneurs who are interested in learning, learning development, then we can find you that way on Facebook.

Bronson: Now, that’s great insight advertising. Thanks for breaking that down for us. Go ahead.

Gagan: No, I said no problem. The third thing, actually, there is something else that we’ve got that I think is helpful. The third thing is to keep in mind that Facebook is just a newer, newer and less saturated advertising channel than Google. So one of the real benefits of growth hacking and sort of keeping up and watching videos like this one is hearing more recently what’s working for people and what’s not. And, you know, Facebook is less saturated with brand advertisers who are throwing their money away than Google is. And so therefore, even though ironically, Facebook is better for brand advertisers, they’re just not as savvy about it yet. There’s less money being put into Facebook and there isn’t a Google and therefore there’s less competition and so.

Bronson: Have a new model and still get margins out of it.

Gagan: Exactly. Yeah, that’s right.

Bronson: Yeah, it makes sense. Well, let’s talk about the growth hackers conference. This is something that a number of people have mentioned on this show before. All the growth hackers conference.

Gagan: Yeah. You know, I mean, basically, I’ve been thinking about this term growth hacking for a long time. And I’m really a big fan of a lot of the work that Shawn Ellis and Andrew Chan have done. And one of the clear opportunities that Erin, my co-host, Erin Turner and myself saw kind of at the same time separately, we weren’t we weren’t gonna work together originally, but it was that it would be great to bring all these people in a room together, like let’s get the smartest people in growth, hacking together in a room for one day and have them teach everybody else who is interested in learning from them what you know, what it’s all about. And we’ve been lucky enough to know some of the best people in this space here in San Francisco and elsewhere throughout the country. And we bring them in for a one day conference about marketing. And, you know, last time we sold out in three weeks, this time we we tripled the the space. So hopefully, you know, we’ll I expect us still to sell out in 24 hours. We we like had over 100 people sign up for the for the conference. And so it’s been two or three days now, and we’re really excited about it. It’s it’s fun. I mean, our goal with conferences is just making sure that we provide value to attendees and we focus almost entirely on that. So you’ll notice there’s a lot less sponsors because we don’t care as much about the money associated with sponsors. It’s more about the speakers. So we spend a lot more time interviewing speakers, working with them on their presentations, and then more importantly, also making sure that the right audience is attending the conference.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. It seems like a great conference since you do run a conference like this. My guess is you have kind of a pulse of the industry that very few people do because you interact with the growth hackers, you know, on a more regular basis. Where do you feel like we’re at as an industry? It seems like it used to be a complete art. There was a few people that had mastered this thing. It was a black box. We didn’t know how it worked. Is it becoming more of a science? Is it becoming more repeatable and more systems in place? Or is it still just a free for all Wild West? Some people can do it. What’s your take on it?

Gagan: Well, I mean, marketing like growth hacking is just another word for marketing, right? It’s just our way of saying, hey, we think we’re a little bit different than the old school marketers. Right. But we’re still marketers. I still tell people who don’t know what growth hacking is. I’ll say I do marketing for startups, right? And so fundamentally, marketing is always half art and half science. It’s just moved a lot closer on the science side of things. And so not half and half. I mean, it’s always been a mix of those two things and now we’re kind of seeing a lot more science. However, I, you know, I strongly feel that too much emphasis is being placed on the numbers and the science behind it and not enough on the art of it.

Bronson: So explain that to me a little bit.

Gagan: Well, you know, classic example. The average growth hacker spends very little time interviewing customers. That seems like something that’s become very popular among startup entrepreneurs, you know, with lean startup and something that’s very popular among UX designers with Linux and stuff. But we don’t have lean marketing yet. And to me, growth hacking should be both understanding your customers so well that you know exactly what to say and what copy and what like what time of day and why they’re buying and sort of convincing them that they should. And then on the flip side, using math and analysis to then take your sort of best case, best case guesses as to what’s going to work and comparing them and bringing out which one that actually is working. And so the problem is, keep in mind, like anybody can run AB tests, AB testing is not a very difficult thing. There’s a million people out there in the United States who have enough statistical knowledge to do AB tests. Right. It’s not that hard. Maybe, maybe 100,000, whatever. The thing that’s hard is coming up with A and B, if you come up with a good and it could be right, then all of a sudden you’ve figured out you’re much further ahead than the average person who’s doing a B testing. And so it’s not just about science. I think people really. Misunderstand that. It’s both.

Bronson: Yeah. No, that’s great. Thanks so much for diving into that for us. Let me ask you this. What’s the best lesson or lessons that you’ve learned from your own conference, from sitting in the crowd watching the speakers from interacting with other people there? What have you personally just learned? And you kind of put in your tool belt and said, All right, I’m glad I know this now. Yeah.

Gagan: That’s a great question. So honestly, like a lot of the things that you’re hearing me talk about are things that I may have already understood to some extent, but that crystallized in my mind when I heard more experienced people talk about them. So when I talk about business model competition, that’s not my analysis. That’s someone else who I’ve listened to, who I respect from the conference, basically talking about it and me then being able to say, okay, now I get why I understood it to some extent, but it really crystallized in my mind. So, you know, you can’t it’s hard to learn new things, completely new things without doing that. And so I think fundamentally the conference does not provide you with a with a new skill set on day one. What it does is a, anything that you already know, it’ll, it’ll take us. It’ll, it’ll move you a step function or an order of magnitude up to the next level of where you’re at. So if you’re doing mobile marketing right now and you’ve been thinking a lot about it and spending a lot of money, someone at a conference will will provide you with their insights and their perspective on the overall market. And you’ll be like, Oh shit, I’ve been thinking about this thing. Now I’m here. Right? The same thing I’ll do is I’ll introduce you to terminology that you should then go look up afterwards like. Honestly, a lot of this is like you have to go and do a lot more research than what you can get in a full day conference. Yeah.

Bronson: So interviews do for me. I got to go look up stuff after every interview.

Gagan: Exactly. Like I’m using terminology left and right during my interviews and people should actually go and Google those things and look them up on Quora. And then the third thing that you get is obviously it’s just so many smart brains in the room and you’re all talking about marketing. I mean, all of us live and breathe this stuff. Like, you know, today I was geeking out with my with my coach, my partner in crime at Lyft, talking about the new like new opportunities on Facebook. Right. And like the fact that I sit next to someone who’s spending the amount, moderate amount of money and sort of like building a business like Lyft every day has dramatically increased my sort of like my understanding of marketing. And it’s just because there’s two people or in the case of the Growth Hackers Conference, it’s 300 people or 400 people all in a room who are all talking and thinking about the same thing. You know, it’s like learning by osmosis.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Who do you think are some really underrated growth hackers? People that you feel like are doing great at certain companies that really understand the space but don’t have a household name. Give that. Give them some props. Who do you really respect that are lesser known?

Gagan: Yeah, I mean, a guy who who we got referred to who speaks now at the Growth Hackers conference is a guy named Elliot Smuggler from LinkedIn. And LinkedIn doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the most impressive growth hacking companies in history. Right. Like Reid Hoffman, who is someone who gets plenty of crowd. I kind of pioneered growth as a primary focus of a company in the early days, and LinkedIn kind of had a lull period, I think, during which they were doing okay, but not great on on that stuff. And they’ve recently stepped up their game like crazy. I mean, the email marketing they’re doing, the sort of engagement tricks that they’re doing is are all awesome. And Elliot, I think, is very much at the forefront of that. And his talk at the last conference was easily one of the most well received ones.

Bronson: That’s great. Yeah.

Gagan: And nobody really knew who he was, I don’t think before the conference.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. So for our audience, because I think this will be out before the conference, tell them what website can they go to and what are the dates in case they’re still able to register in case it’s not sold out.

Gagan: Yeah. So it’s on May 3rd in San Francisco. It’s a one day conference in North Beach. So it’s it’s in the central part of San Francisco and you can go to growth hackers conference dot com or GHC two dot eventbrite.com and hopefully we can send that link out with this video. But yeah, I mean, the conference is, you know, it’s so we are really lucky. You know, a lot of people we’ve been able to get great speakers and great speakers. People want to come here. So we would love to have you. If you’re someone who’s focused on growth hacking, we want you there more than we do. The random dude who is Twitter has no idea what they’re talking about yet, or if you’re the random dude who has no idea but you’re more interested in learning, we want you to come.

Bronson: And so though.

Gagan: We’d rather you come sooner rather than someone else get your ticket. And then, like, I don’t know, three weeks, four weeks from now, we get emails from you and you seem like an awesome person and we just can’t have you because we ran our space. That’s what happened last time. I’m not trying to sell you like that’s really what happened last time. If you get Twitter and Foursquare who didn’t didn’t know about the conference and the last minute, we just couldn’t let them in because we have to obey fire code.

Bronson: Yeah. There you go. It’s great. I know you have to go in just a few minutes. So a few last questions here. I know you’re also a startup consultant. You know, you go in people, you know, pick your brain and they learn from you. What do you find yourself? Just wishing they knew before you got there. You go in and you’re talking to a startup and you’re like, Oh, why do they not already know this? And you just feel yourself, you know, saying that yourself often. What is that thing you wish they knew?

Gagan: Yeah. So first of all, I don’t I’m not really a consultant like full time. I just during the last six months, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And so I decided to pick up a consulting role with Lyft. And I particularly wanted to work with Lyft. So I’m a growth consultant for Lyft because, you know, the company was a little further along. I’m more of a founder type and but I wanted to work on a cool project. So, you know, I’m going to be jumping into my own company again and that’s kind of my focus. But of course I meet with people all the time and I think honestly, it’s all about core literacy around the terminology. And and there’s not one thing that I think people need to learn. I think it’s the fact that, you know, it’s the mentality that, hey, you can use a high level of analytics and sort of like like numbers based analysis to figure out that was super repetitive. But anyways, look, you you can use spreadsheets to analyze your marketing extremely well. However, at the same time, there’s a soft side of marketing that you ought not ignore. You know, I spent the last month interviewing ad agencies who could potentially work with us at left. And it is you know, every company works with ad agencies to do some of their media buys depending on on what type of media buy. And we interviewed I interviewed a bunch of them and not a single one of them told me that part of their process was interviewing the customer of of my company of I’ve. Not a single one. A big.

Bronson: Problem.

Gagan: Yeah. And it’s a huge problem. And a lot of them came in the door without ever having taken the Lyft. Yeah. And my reaction to that is, like, you live in San Francisco. First of all, that’s weird that you haven’t taken a Lyft like everybody. Everybody in tech in San Francisco has tried it. But. But second of all, I. How did you.

Bronson: Get the bid?

Gagan: So what type of what type of copy and images to use if for every one of your clients you just throw shit at a wall and see what sticks like that doesn’t. That’s not a good idea.

Bronson: Yeah, it’s bringing the art, not just the science. What you talked about before. Absolutely. Is that in your experience of looking at startups, what common traits do you see among startups that grow? Is it a certain size team? Is it that they have somebody on staff with a particular skill set? Is I mean, is there any commonality or is it just are the ingredients mixed up all different for every startup in some work and some don’t?

Gagan: Um, no. I mean, there is, you know, it’s the wiki model, it’s build something people want. I mean, if people want your product, you’re far more likely to grow and you can grow in spite of any growth hacking tricks or not. Right. So whether you’re, you know, left in San Francisco has grown extremely fast and we don’t do any marketing in San Francisco. And the reason is because people love the product and we put so much heart and soul into the experience of someone ordering a lift, you know, sorry, not ordering, calling the lift, requesting a lift, meeting a driver, talking to them, the fist bump, the mustache, all these little things that we do at lift have made people love our product and so they tell other people about it. That’s, that’s that’s the most powerful thing in terms of startups. Yeah. Once you figure that out, once you have a product people want, then that’s where growth hacking kicks in. That’s when growth hacking allows you to take your growth from wherever you are and go faster and faster and faster. Right. And changing the trajectory is the goal of growth hacking. It’s not creating trajectory in the first place. And people missed that.

Bronson: All because they want. And then you fine tune it from there. Absolutely. That’s the correlation between Lift and Udemy. It’s the same thing. They wanted it at its core. And then you figured out how to fine tune that process. But Udemy is something I log before you ever start tweaking the dials.

Gagan: Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Yeah, that’s, you know, that’s. That’s the trick, right? Entrepreneurs search for products that people really want, and then they go and bring on people or learn themselves how to do things like growth hacking and and scaling a company. Yeah.

Bronson: Absolutely. Well, one last question here. Kind of a vague, broad question. So you can take it anywhere you want. But what’s the best advice that you have for any startup that’s trying to acquire new users? It’s trying to grow what’s what’s what’s some advice you got for them?

Gagan: Yeah, if you’re a business co-founder, then the only way that one of the best things you can do in order to become valuable to your current company or other companies in the future is to learn marketing and to really understand the the various facets of marketing in a way that nobody else does. Because ultimately, you know, people talk about hacker, hustler and designer, really what it is in consumer Internet. It’s a hacker marketer, designer or hacker growth hacker designer. And then in B2B, it’s it’s hacker, you know, engineer, essentially a salesperson and end designer. And ultimately, the best teams are formed when you have a very solid understanding of the when you have a very solid understanding of marketing as a business person on top of all the other things like fundraising and PR and everything else.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming on. The program has been incredible interview. You’re a wealth of knowledge. You need to spew out data. That’s awesome. So thanks so much for being here.

Gagan: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for doing this. This is great.

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