Book Summary: Explosive Growth Summary Cliff Lerner
Explosive Growth Summary
Imagine waking up one morning to find your previously unknown start -up all
over the news.
After years of hard work and unsuccessful investor pitches, your
valuation has increased tenfold overnight and investors are suddenly
acknowledging your success and banging down your door to throw money at
Within a few weeks, you’ve raised nearly $10 million on the basis of just a
few phone calls, and every media outlet in the world wants to talk to you.
Sounds like something out of a dream or a movie, right?
Well, this crazy story is entirely true. As SNAP Interactive’s cofounder and Cliff’s brother, I was fortunate enough to be there for nearly all of it.
Explosive Growth Summary
“Make your life a story worth telling.”
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1. MY EPIPHANY AT LEHMAN BROTHERS
“In the end, it’s not the things we did that we regret, it’s the things we didn’t do.”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 1 : Find something that people are doing inefficiently
and create a solution that makes it substantially easier (ten times easier) to
achieve the same result. Does your product accomplish this?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 2 : Once you’ve figured out how much start -up capital
you need, double it.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 3 : Make the unknown known by creating a worst
case scenario plan. You’ll discover that the situation is rarely as bad as you
initially thought. Do you have a worst -case scenario plan?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 4 : First -mover advantage is useless if the timing isn’t
right. Have you thought about ideas, products, or features that failed in the past
—simply due to being too early—that may work now?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 5 : Your first few hires will set the tone for your
culture. Secure elite talent ASAP and hire carefully. Are you confident your last
few hires are the right cultural fit?
2. THE EARLY LESSONS LEARNED FROM IAMFREETONIGHT.COM
“I’ve learned it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed, you only have to be right once.”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 6 : Learn how to validate an idea with as little time
and financial investment as possible. Do you have a plan to validate your ideas
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 7 : A few fanatical customer advocates are worth more
than hundreds or even thousands of casual signups. Fanatical users will supply
word -of -mouth growth, while providing the necessary feedback to iterate on
the product. Do you have at least twenty fanatical users or a plan to get them?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 8 : Having a remarkable product is not subjective.
Either people remark and it grows organically or they don’t. Are people
remarking about your product?
Explosive Growth Summary
3. DOES OUR PRODUCT SUCK?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 9 : A marginally better product is worthless. It needs to
be at least ten times better. Have you quantified how much better your product’s
core offering is than the competition?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 10 : You can often find success at the intersection of
passion and expertise. Are you passionate about the problem your product solves?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 11 : Have you looked outside your industry for new
solutions and approaches to solve the problem in order to create the 10X experience?
Explosive Growth Summary
4. BET THE COMPANY
“You miss 100 percent ofthe shots you don’t take.”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 12 : Do you know what your product’s “aha” moment
is? If not, figure it out, and focus on optimizing that experience for all users.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 13 : Are there projects you’re keeping alive by
ignoring the sunk -cost principle (or for emotional and non -practical reasons)? If
so, shut them down now to free up more valuable time and focus.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 14 : Perfect is the enemy of shipped. Creating the
perfect feature indicates making lots of assumptions without gathering user
feedback and data, and will take significantly more time. Are you continuing to
work on features that are polished enough to put in front of a few customers now
and get feedback?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 15 : Building product and testing features without
robust analytics is like driving blindfolded—it won’t end well. Do you have an
effective dashboard with all your key metrics?
5. THE GROWTH ROCKET (100,000 NEW USERS IN ONE DAY!)
“Virality isn’t luck. It’s not magic. And it’s not random. There’s a science behind
why people talk and share. A recipe. A formula, even.”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 17 : When writing copy, sell the benefit, not the feature.
Are you selling the benefit?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 18 : If you’re not running tests, start now. Do you plan to run at least three tests in the next thirty days?
6. FROM REVENUES OF $3 MILLION TO $19 MILLION IN TWO YEARS!
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTHTIP 19 : Many of today’s billion -dollar companies
succeeded by growing on top of other platforms. Are you testing integrations
with emerging and established platforms?
“You need to identify social influencers in small areas, see who the influencers
are, and target them. That’s how we spread throughout college campuses and
other social scenes.”
—WHITNEY WOLFE, FORMER TINDER VP OF MARKETING AND FOUNDER OF BUMBLE
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 20 : Have you targeted a partnership that would
provide massive visibility and growth for you?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 21 : Your growth strategy can’t be an afterthought. A
great product with a poor or traditional marketing plan will have poor results. Do
you have a growth rocket strategy?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 22 : If people are complaining about something, it
means the product is good enough that they care about it. The real problem is
when no one’s complaining. Is anybody complaining about your product?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 23 : Read all your customer emails, because there’s a
pot of gold in them if you look closely enough. If you have too many customer
emails to review, have somebody summarize them each week for you, but never
become disconnected from your customer. Did you read all your customer
service emails last month?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 24 : Do you have every employee (including
management) spend one hour per quarter with customer service, listening to calls
and answering customer emails?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 25 : Try to hire employees who will also use your
product, because they will have some of the best ideas and will outperform non
user employees. Do at least 20 percent of your employees use the product
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 26 : Hold a monthly brainstorm session, ideally with a
theme such as “new features” or a specific goal and encourage the entire
company to participate. Did you have a brainstorm meeting with all of the
company’s participation recently?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 27 : Better late than never is a bad plan for site reliability. Users are ruthless, and if your product doesn’t work, they will go somewhere else, fast. Are you actively addressing site reliability?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 28 : When a competitor starts copying your features,
you can pretty much write them off completely, as it means they ran out of
innovative ideas. Are you copying features?
“Imitation is the sincerest form offlattery.”
—CHARLES CALEB COTTON, NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH WRITER AND CLERIC
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 29 : If your largest source of revenue stopped paying
you or disappeared, could your business survive for at least six months? Come
up with a contingency plan now.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 30 : Revenue tests take several months to reveal their
true impact and long -term ramifications on user growth and retention. Reaching
conclusions too soon can be very damaging. Do you wait until your crucial tests
reach statistical significance before reaching conclusions?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 31 : Never start charging for something that users are
used to receiving for free. They will revolt and cause irrevocable damage with
bad reviews. Do you have any plans to charge for features you are currently
giving away for free?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 32 : Come up with new features to charge users for
instead of monetizing previously free features.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 33 : Write down the five people you spend the most time with. If you become the average of them, would you be happy with that outcome? If not, it might be time to upgrade your inner circle.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 34 : When a billionaire wants to work with you, never
say no. Are you fully exploring opportunities to work with a billionaire?
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7. MY $78 MILLION WEEK
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 35 : Don’t be pressured into making any decisions or
signing any documents you’re unsure about. Rushing into a poor decision or
agreement can be catastrophic, whereas missing an opportunity will not be.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 36 : Leverage is everything in a negotiation.
Understand when you have it and when you don’t. Are you maximizing your
leverage before key negotiations?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 37 : The best time to raise money is when you don’t
need to. Is the company financially stable enough where you can walk away
from a bad or mediocre term sheet?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 38 : Investors are a lot like jealous exes—they want
you a lot more when someone else is interested.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 39 : Whenever you can take some money off the table
(especially life -changing money) do it.
8. SUCCESSFUL ON THE OUTSIDE, SCRAMBLING ON THE INSIDE
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 40 : Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t want to have a
beer with after work. Do you want to enjoy a beer with most of your coworkers?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 41 : The threshold question when evaluating a current
employee is: would you hire that person again if you could do it over? If not, let
them go. Are you in the process of letting employees go who don’t pass the “re
hire ” test?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 42 : Can you describe your product’s USP in one
concise sentence? Is it truly remarkable?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 43 : Have you asked your users to describe your
product in one sentence? Did at least half of the responses refer to the same concept?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 44 : Ask if users have already recommended your
product to a friend. Do you know what percentage of your users have
recommended your product to a friend? If they said no, try to find out why.
Perhaps you just haven’t made it easy enough for users to share your product—
an easy fix.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 45 : Are you actively measuring your NPS? Is your NPS above fifty? Don’t waste time and money by trying to market and grow a product that has a poor NPS.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 46 : Marketing a product with a low NPS is essentially
saying to potential customers, “Hey, my product sucks, come check it out.”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 47 : Do you know what single user action or
experience compels users to come back to your product repeatedly? If not, figure
it out now, because this could be the most important insight you need to grow your business.
9. SOLVING PROBLEMS AND SUSTAINING GROWTH THROUGH
VISION, VALUES, AND DATA
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 48 : Growth without retention is worthless. However,
retention without growth is a problem any entrepreneur should love to have,
because it means people love the product. Do you know what your one -day and thirty -day retention is?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 49 : Don’t spend significant money on marketing until
your one -day and thirty -day retention is well above average for your industry.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 50 : Do you have any features that are rarely used? If
so, do you have a plan to obliterate them in the next thirty days?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 51 : Do you have a process to actively evaluate new features? If not, implement CIO (Celebrate, Iterate, Obliterate) ASAP.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 52 : Do you have a concise and inspiring vision and mission statement?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 53 : Do you have documented core values? Does every
employee know them? Are you doing anything to actively reinforce them?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 54 : Do you offer fifteen -minute in -office massages to all employees at least monthly? Trust me, do it.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 55 : Are most of your employees working on
something to help the company reach a single critical goal?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 56 : Figure out what motivates every employee, and understand that their motivations may be different than yours. Are you asking
each interviewee and employee what would make them more excited about coming to work every day?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 57 : Don’t be afraid to test any idea, because you can
rarely guess what will and what won’t work. Have you tested an idea recently that somebody from your customer service team was passionate about?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 58 : What is the one goal that, if achieved, would solve
most other problems? Do you have a plan to obsessively focus on and achieve that one goal?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 59 : Small goals lead to small ideas. Double or triple your goals and use a company -wide brainstorming session to solicit ideas.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 60 : Do your employees have ways to be creative and
try their own ideas? Do you have a monthly hackathon?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 61 : Do you have any internally developed tools that
may be a better business opportunity on their own than your current product?
Are you doing anything to pursue them as a new opportunity?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 62 : Have you made a list of fun, taboo, or
controversial topics in your industry? Do you have a plan to get data to prove or
disprove them? Issue a press release highlighting the controversial data and you’ll have an explosive growth story.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 63 : Schedule a company brainstorming session to come up with ideas for a top ten list about your industry or product.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 64 : Have you identified trending news stories that you
can inject your company into? Are you actively providing the writers with a new
angle or fresh data?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 65 : Anticipate newsjacking opportunities by
identifying upcoming concerts, festivals, sporting events, conferences, annual
events, and trade shows. Do you have a list of at least three upcoming
opportunities for newsjacking?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 66 : Speed is key and the big boys can’t keep up. Have
you contacted key writers to tell them you will provide any data and survey information they need within a tight timeframe?
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10. TINDER CRACKS THE CODE
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 67 : Can you quantify how much superior your core product offering is than the competition? Is it 10X better?
11. MY INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 68 : Are your most talented people working on the biggest opportunities instead of the biggest problems?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 69 : When creating a new product, create a separate
account with funds earmarked exclusively for the new initiative. Do you have different accounts for different products?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 70 : Make sure any potential investors are fully aligned
with your strategy and vision. Talk to the companies behind their failing prior investments to see how the investors behaved when the going got tough.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 71 : Raising debt can be very dangerous. Try to avoid it entirely, if possible.
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12. MAKING “THE GRADE”
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 72 : Focus on building solutions to problems, rather than building new products or features.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 73 : Do you have all your media and product
information (listed above) easily accessible on one page online for the media to access anytime?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 74 : Do you have a few “friendly users” on standby,
ready to speak positively about your product to the media?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 75 : Have a meet -and -greet at your office with key
reporters and bloggers. The most social employees should be there to mingle and
show off what they’re working on. Have you met personally with key reporters yet?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 76 : The corporate setup is crucial. For us, being
publicly traded had some advantages, but in the end, it hurt us far more often
than it helped. Are there any structural issues with your company setup that are
holding you back, and are you addressing them now?
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 77 : Have you and all your employees read Contagious
, by Jonah Berger? If not, have everyone read it ASAP!
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 78 : Find a fun and positive way to include your
targeted blogs or influencers into a data story. They just may connect with you
Explosive Growth Summary
13. MY REBOOT
#EXPL OS IVEGROWTHTIP 79 : Does your business have a moat, a sustainable
competitive advantage around it? If not, formulate a plan to create one.
#EXPLOSIVE GROWTH TIP 80 : If you want more out of life, or have any fears that
are holding you back, attend the Tony Robbins event, “Unleash The Power Within.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CLIFF LERNER is an accomplished business leader who gave up a lucrative
Wall Street career to launch an online dating start -up . With little funding, Cliff
founded Snap Interactive. His start -up would go on to create the first successful
Facebook dating app, grow revenues 4,412 percent in five years, and sign up
more than 100 million users. Cliff resides in New York City and is always on the lookout for his next entrepreneurial endeavour.
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