Science of Growth

What do you do once you have product market fit? I argue there is an entire science to generating growth once a startup has achieved the first milestone of p/m fit and it’s not as simple as “hire a growth hacker.” This fall in addition to my course on Lean Entrepreneurship during mini 1 & 3 at Carnegie Mellon, I’ll be adding a second course focusing on this topic taught during mini 2 & 4.
Over the last year, I’ve led an exploration to rigorously look at the process of scaling startups, ultimately leading us to better understand this science of growth. We looked at twenty different companies in pairs who have achieved product-market fit at about the same point in history with the same general target customer. Yet one has gone on to achieve real scale, while the other languished, never realizing their full potential. Beyond those 20 startups, we’ve also augmented our research with an additional 5 companies who don’t have a clear peer to analyze but have achieved tremendous scale and reinforce the best practices identified from our earlier research.

As a serial entrepreneur turned VC, I understand how difficult the entrepreneurial journey can be yet also how fulfilling it is to “dent the universe” as Steve Jobs famously said, creating something truly revolutionary used by millions of people. In The Science of Growth, I’ll codify a set of best practices and vocabulary to increase the probability of having that kind of impact. I hope this will help entrepreneurs at the scaling stage of their journey in the same way The Lean Startup does during customer discovery. While our research has focused on start-ups, many principles are also applicable to large companies searching for growth through innovation.