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Erik Trautman

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
-- Pablo Picasso

4 Steps to Initial Product Growth

This post is based on a great talk given by Jared Fliesler, formerly VP of User Acquisition at Square.

How do you begin thinking about growing your startup or product? "Build it and they will come" is long gone and "Be user centric" has taken over product development but what frameworks do we have to think about growth and user acquisition specifically?

These 4 simple steps, starting from the most coarse to the somewhat finer grained, should get your feet firmly planted and your mind pointed in the right direction.

1. Identify Your Core Product Loop

Every product has a single core user experience, a set of finite steps that represent a successful use or transaction. If you had to define your product's use in as few steps as possible, what would it look like? What happens after the use is complete?

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Lessons Learned in Hustle: Marketing a Weekend Workshop

The other weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a Rails workshop with Daniel Kehoe of RailsApps. I really wanted a chance to do some teaching and organization and Daniel was testing out the material of his new Rails 4 book. Feedback about the workshop itself was quite good but we also learned a lot about marketing and hustle along the way. In the spirit of that learning, here are some of our victories and mistakes:


We decided to do a full weekend in-person workshop aimed at beginners and technology switchers in the Bay Area. It was two full 9-hour days on Saturday and Sunday with a brief 2 hour installfest on Friday evening. App Academy was generous enough to host for us, so we had a good space to work with and expected to have 20-30 students.

The goal was to install Rails then build and deploy a sample app by the end of the weekend and to help the students understand why they took the steps they did. The app favored APIs like Google Drive instead of using ActiveRecord on the back end so we could actually cover all the material in the time allotted.

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