What we cover in Episode 21
Pinterest is an incredible success story. Founded in 2010, they now have well over 250 million monthly active users.
Pinterest is also known for having an excellent growth team who have documented a lot of their work online.
In this episode, we catch up with Jeff Chang, who is a tech lead on their growth engineering team to talk about how you set up a growth team for success.
Enjoy the show, and happy growing.
Ideation is an important subject at Pinterest. They work to empower individuals to not only come up with different ideas for experiments but to also be responsible for taking that idea from concept to execution.
There are many reasons why Pinterest approach ideation in this way:
– Pinterest has a large growth team, with 50 to 75 engineers. With a team that large, it’s difficult for one person, or a couple of people, to come up with the best ideas.
– You get a better diversity of ideas
– You get a better quality of ideas because the person who comes up with the idea is the expert in that area, so they’re the best person to turn that idea into a real growth initiative.
Pinterest encourages everyone to come up with their ideas, and they review all of them every two to three weeks.
If the idea gets a thumbs down from the community, that person is still free to pursue their idea. Pinterest cares about autonomy.
It’s a great way to teach people about the importance of decision making and how to be accountable for the choices you make.
It’s also a great learning experience. Being wrong about something teaches you a lot more than being right.
Most ideas in Pinterest fall into two buckets:
A good example of removing friction is:
To encourage users to do more of something, I can better educate them on the value of my product.
I can demonstrate why they should use it, what features that will be of most benefit to them, and how it can help improve their daily lives.
When deciding on what ideas are worth dedicating time and resources to, you need to consider what the maintenance of change is?
If you build something, how much work is required to maintain it continually?
A lot of people only consider the upfront cost of an idea and not how expensive it would be long-term to maintain.
Adding authentication methods is a small upfront cost, but an expensive long-term price.
Growth teams are goal and metrics focused teams.
But how do you attach a goal or metric to something if you have no historical context for it? What if the thing you want to do is brand new?
Those experiments will be run as minimal viable tests. That allows you to use a minimal amount of resources to gather enough data to make good decisions on what initiatives are worth pursuing.
But what happens when the minimal viable version is something that requires you to invest a lot of time and resources upfront? In these cases, there is a lot more risk involved as there is a greater cost of gathering enough data to prove something is worth further investment.
When setting goals you want to ensure the team can have clear accountability for it. That it’s both relevant and achievable.
The worst goals to set a team are when they can either miss or hit their goal through the actions of others.
For example, if an SEO team is goal’d on traffic, and a CRO team is goal’d on conversions, the CRO team can hit or miss its goal dependent upon how much traffic the SEO team generates.
Another common example in growth is where one team may own user signups, and a separate team may own monetization and retention of those users.
The podcast provides a more in-depth look at these topics, so if you enjoyed reading the above, please do give it a listen.
And until next time,
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