Lessons from Calendly’s Growth: Squads, Virality, and Network Effects

Posted on March 24, 2020

A couple of the topics we love to talk about on the GrowthTLDR is team structure and product-led growth.

Luckily in this episode, we got to talk about both of these things with a true leader in the space, Oji Udezue, VP of Product at Calendly.

We talked to Oji about:

– How the product team at Calendly is broken into different squads and Oji’s approach to creating these multi-disciplinary teams.

– What’s Oji’s approach to improving the virality of Calendly and developing features that improve the network effects of the product.

– How Oji thinks about making Calendly defensible, and his vision for how Calendly will continue to become more valuable to their customers.


Time Stamped Notes:

[3:40] – The Calendly product team is broken into different squads. Each squad focused on its own goals, mission, metrics, and customer segment. For example, a squad might focus on user acquisition, adoption, activation, upgrading to paid seats.

[6:50] – Oji believes in multi-disciplinary squads and takes us through what skillsets exist in each of Calendly’s squads. Each squad works off a VMSO (Vision, Mission, Strategy, Objective). The way people end up on a squad is through a mix of opting in, and managers recommending people to be on it. 

[11:35] – Oji takes us through an example of how the ‘Teams’ squad works at Calendly. They have a clear metric to focus on and determine problems they can solve to make an impact against that metric. The way Oji frames it is, from problems come solutions, and from solutions come features.

[14:50] – At Calendly, they plan bi-annually and will relook at the things they have prioritized. One of their values is ‘focus wisely.’ 

[16:45] – Something Calendly is well known for is their virality. Oji talks us through why he feels it has worked so well for them. He also thinks a lot about how he can build network effects into the product.

[19:55] – Most of Calendly’s virality comes from in product features. The job of the marketing team is to get more people using these features, which in turn will generate more new users via those viral loops.

[21:35] – We talk about the different kinds of virality a company can try to add to their product, and in particular, should you invest in incentivized virality. 

[25:35] – Oji talks us through features Calendly has that adds network effects to their software. 

[28:00] – Oji talks about what makes Calendly defensible. There are a lot of different elements that go into making a company defensible – brand, IP, value, pricing, network effects, holding the customer’s data. Some of Calendly’s defensibility comes from how they solve their customer’s problems in a very simplistic way. 

[32:30] – Calendly sits within its customer’s daily workflow habits. What Oji thinks about is how can Calendly continue to automate more of their customer’s workflow, how valuable is that to the customer, and how much should they charge for it.

[36:10] – One of the most recent squads Oji has spun up is a monetization squad who work to upgrade more of their free userbase to paid tiers.


Oji on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium