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How Things Grow

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Season 2 ends - we'll be back with Season 3 soon!

Hi everyone - Welcome to How Things Grow. I’ve been very stoked to present some amazing stories as a part of season 2 of How Things Grow. As all good things do, this season has run its course. I’m taking a step back to reorient, readjust - and come back with a whole new season of how things grow. We’re already begun preparing for the next season. We have some amazing speakers lined up - and I can’t wait to get this out to you. Stay tuned - we’re going to be back very very soon for season 3...


How Things Dont Grow; Reflections on Failing To Be a Billionaire - with Sahil Lavingia (CEO at Gumroad)

My guest today is Sahil Lavingia, and this is an incredibly powerful, honest & inspiring episode. Sahil is today the founder & CEO of Gumroad, a platform that helps creators get paid for the work they do. What is significantly more impressive though is Sahil’s journey to where he is today. Sahil was in many ways a prodigy as a teenager, working on apps & websites - and making $100k by age 15. He joined the University of Southern California, only to drop out after a semester to join the then...


How viral content can trigger habit change at scale - with Victoria Repa (Founder & CEO - BetterMe)

My guest today is Victoria Repa. Victoria is the founder and CEO of BetterMe, a fitness app based out of Ukraine. I’m very excited to have Victoria on the show because she has such an incredibly unconventional background and story that I find very very inspiring. In this interview, we talk about Victoria’s early upbringing in a tiny village in the east of Ukraine, how she educated herself early on, her move to Kyiv, her transition from working on transportation logistics to technology, her...


On the art & science of making games fun - with Josh Lu(VP & Commercial Leader, Blizzard Entertainment)

My guest today is one of the leading experts in the world on games and growth in games. He’s a man who who has helped launch & grow many many hit mobile games. He started his gaming career at Playdom, where he helped the game Social City get to 5 million installs in the first week of launch. He was the founding product manager at Scopely, where he helped grow the daily actives for Dice With Buddies 30x. Yes, you heard that right - 30x. Subsequently he moved to Zynga, where he served as the...


Decoding freemium, the unlikely drivers of cybersecurity adoption & more - with Elena Verna(Growth Advisor, ex SVP of Growth, Marketing, Product & Design at Malwarebytes & ex SVP of Growth at SurveyMonkey)

My guest today is Elena Verna. Elena is a growth advisor - she advises a number of companies - and helps scale businesses with marketing, product, analytics and growth. Elena joined SurveyMonkey as an analyst a year and a half out of college - and found herself trying to understand a growth trajectory that was incredible. Yet this was a growth trajectory that no one on the team had insight into. As an analyst, Elena wrote the queries that helped answer many of the fundamental questions...


The unseen forces driving mass-market adoption of technologies - 8 lessons from season 1 of How Things Grow.

In today’s episode, we take a very short break from regular programming - as I present to you my talk at my alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras last year. This is a talk called ‘The Unseen Forces Driving Mass Adoption Of Technologies’ - featuring 8 key takeaways from season 1 of How Things Grow. I spoke to some of the smartest engineering students in India - the Indian Institutes of Technology(the IITs) tend to be super-selective and have an acceptance rate of under 1%. Fun...


Making the internet work, building an eCommerce business in the age of Amazon - and more; with Mauria Finley(CEO of Allume)

My guest today is Mauria Finley. Mauria has lived in very interesting times - and worked on some industry-defining products. Her first job out of college was at Netscape, where she not only saw from close up the large scale adoption of the internet but also helped build utilities and products for it like email, chat and browser features. She then worked on mobile in the days before mobile apps, when mobile was primarily a work and productivity platform - before working with PayPal and eBay....


A brief history of mobile user acquisition - with Eric Seufert(Head of Platform at N3twork & Founder at MobileDevMemo)

My guest today is Eric Seufert. Eric is the Head of Platform at N3twork, the founder of, author of the book ‘Freemium Economics’ - and one of the foremost experts on mobile user acquisition today. Eric started his career as an analyst at Skype, and went on to work with gaming companies like Digital Chocolate, Grey Area and Wooga - before heading up user acquisition for Rovio, in which capacity he headed up much of the launch activity for Angry Birds 2, which launched with...


The inner workings of internet fame - with Sophia Yeh(Influencer Manager) & Adam Hadi(VP of Marketing at Current)

Today’s is a unique episode. I have two amazing guests to offer two different perspectives about a theme that I’ve always been very very fascinated by - influencer marketing, and the economics of internet fame. Sophia Yeh(aka Sophia Beatbox, or Sophia Kiddbeatz) is a YouTuber and influencer manager. Sophia literally grew up with Youtube. She started making videos in high school, and really took off on the Youtube platform as a teenager making these really cool beatboxing videos. After...


Making design accessible to the world - with Cameron Adams(Co-founder & CPO at Canva)

My guest today is Cameron Adams. Cameron is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Canva, the graphic design tool website that recently was valued at over $1 billion. In today’s interview, we talk to Cameron about his long and checkered career. We talk about his work on Google Wave, which seemed to be a product way ahead of its time - and which gathered some incredible buzz but saw limited adoption. In his next startup Fluent, he seemed to have everything going for him with a huge surge...


Inside Facebook & Pinterest’s growth machines - with Cat Lee(Partner at Maveron, ex Facebook & Pinterest)

My guest today is Cat Lee. Cat Lee is the newest partner at Maveron, a $160MM consumer-tech fund, primarily focused on funding hyper-growth startups at the series A and seed rounds. Cat has had a long history of working on some groundbreaking growth projects - and taking huge leaps in her own career. She worked on the Facebook platform team starting in 2008, and helped drive the adoption of Open Graph, which drove some breakout growth for Facebook outside of its own platform. She then joined...


The one word strategic plan - with Lomit Patel(VP of Growth at IMVU).

My guest today is Lomit Patel, VP of Growth at IMVU. Prior to IMVU, Lomit managed growth at many early stage startups including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired. by Apple) and Earthlink. Lomit is a frequent speaker at different conferences and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. In today’s episode, we talk about one of the pivotal moments in Lomit’s career - when he presented a one word strategic plan to kick off a massive transition within his company IMVU....


From hypervirality to sustainable growth - with Zack Onisko(CEO at Dribbble)

My guest today is the Zack Onisko, who is behind some incredible breakout growth stories. Zack was an early team member at Tickle, which is generally considered to have pioneered virality as we know it - and did this at a time before Facebook existed. He then worked with Branchout that mastered growth through virality on the Facebook platform, before he led growth for Creative Market and Hired, solving very unique growth problems. Zack today is the CEO of Dribbble, which has been described...


How to drive social change at scale - with Nick Allardice - VP of Product & Design at

My guest today is someone with a very unconventional background. Nick Allardice is the VP of Product & Design at Nick started his career as an activist - about as far from the world of tech products as you can imagine. He joined because it was a tech enabled social platform that could have larger impact than the world of activism that he was in. He led’s internationalization effort - and subsequently the campaigns team before heading up’s product...


Inside Draw Something's perfect storm: from the brink to 50 million installs in 50 days: with Wilson Kriegel, CEO of HrtBeat Audio

My guest today is Wilson Kriegel - and he’s going to tell us the story of a perfect storm that he lived through that in many ways shaped & pioneered the way we think about virality and breakout growth. Wilson is today the CEO at HrtBeat Audio, a wearable hardware and software company that could very well change the way we communicate and capture moments safely using handsfree devices. Wilson has been a leader in many companies in gaming and mobile since far before the first smartphones came...


The original growth hacker, and inside Dropbox’s blockbuster referral loop - with Sean Ellis from

My guest today is Sean Ellis. Sean is widely regarded as the Godfather of Growth, and is credited with coining the phrase ‘growth hacking’. Where do I begin talking about him? Sean has held leadership roles with gaming platform Uproar and the remote desktop tool LogMeIn - and pioneered the cross functional approach to growing businesses that has since become known as ‘growth’, ‘growth hacking’ or ‘growth marketing’. All of that was before he worked on some of his biggest wins - most...


Season 2 intro: How Things Grow Season 2 is coming soon.

The second season of How Things Grow will become available next Monday - and will include transcripts as well. As you may know, How Things Grow tells the stories of the people who help companies, technologies and economic systems take off. Each episode features an interview with one of the leading growth practitioners, entrepreneurs, experts or historians in the world today. In our first episode of season 2, we’ll dive into the origin story of one of the original referral sensations. I...


How Things Grow takes a break....

Thank you so much for listening to How Things Grow! I’ve been truly humbled by the feedback and response that you guys have shared about the show and the episodes thus far. The last 9 episodes have not only been a blast, but they’ve also been incredibly instructive learning experiences for me. How Things Grow will take a short break, simply because each episode takes many many weeks to prepare and make. I’ve already started working on the next season of episodes - and I have some amazing...


The rise of co-living - and how it’s transforming urban housing and community - with Brad Hargreaves(Common, ex General Assembly)

In this episode, we talk about the phenomenon of co-living, and how it's changing urban housing and community. We go behind the scenes of the tremendous growth of the co-living company Common. My guest today is Brad Hargreaves, the CEO and founder of Common and co-founder of General Assembly. Brad was separately recommended by two of the guests on How Things Grow - Jay Weintraub and Adam Lovallo. The more I researched Brad, the more fascinated I was by everything he’s done in a wild variety...


Tale of a city; Part 2 - New York: taking over the world - with Sam Roberts(The New York Times)

This episode is the second part of a two part story - and it features the story of New York City - and how it went from a wilderness island in 1600 to the metropolis that we know it as today. If you havent yet listened to part 1, you can check out the interview I did with historian Russell Shorto on My guest today is Sam Roberts. Sam is a journalist who has written for the New York Times since 1983 - and is the host of the NY1 show The New York Times Close Up. Sam...