#006: Fast Learning - The Closest Thing To Guaranteed Success
Cultivate a growth- instead of a performance mindset.
As I have described in the previous post, successful software companies have unlocked growth through finding their “aha“-moment, when something suddenly “just works“.
But to get there, a systematic approach can be followed - rather than just hoping to get lucky with your product one day.
A famous example for such an “aha”-moment is the magic referral-hack Dropbox implemented that triggered viral growth:
They offered 16GB of free space if a user referred a new user to Dropbox.
However, this was not the first of Dropbox’s growth hacks.
In fact, they had been trying a number of things to unlock growth before they finally managed to crack the code.
Yet, it wasn’t luck. It was the process of “fast learning“ that allowed them to find this nugget.
The framework is the strategy.
In corporations - and sometimes startups with inexperienced investors - it is more difficult to implement such tactics as they are based on running as many experiments as quickly as possible, doubling-down on what works and getting rid of what doesn’t.
But it is somewhat dissatisfying to the corporate audience (or “wall-street” startup investors) to present exactly this approach in a committee or corporate/board meeting claiming this is our strategy.
Yet, at pre-product-market-fit (PMF) stage the fastest way to get to PMF is through failure and retrying.
if you stop learning you stop growing
is equally true for the company, the product team or the individuals (I wrote a detailed article about this here).
A common mistake made in young product teams is to confuse a growth (= learning) mindset with a performance mindset.
Having a “performance mindset” is often referred to as a company or team that delivers the numbers: revenue, profit margins, user growth, customers, etc.
Such performance can only be achieved when scaling post-PMF.
But a growth mindset is necessary at all stages as learning is necessary at the product-building stage, pre-PMF and post-PMF / scaling stage.
An analogy to describe the concept in simple terms is:
Every baby has a growth mindset. But nobody would say a baby has a performance mindset.
A growth mindset can be cultivated and is deeply related to curiousity and the desire to learn and hence, has a very human aspect to it.
If you are a product leader, think deeply about how to establish a learning culture in your team in order to make the individual contributors and the product grow.
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