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How Things Grow

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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...


#9 The ascent 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...


#8 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...


#7 - Tale Of A City; Part 1/2 - New York: The New Amsterdam Days; With Russell Shorto(author - The Island At The Center Of The World)

Today’s episode is a special one. Past episodes of How Things Grow have told the stories of how technologies and companies have taken off. Today’s episode tells the improbable story of the rise of a physical ecosystem. This episode is the first of a two part story. This episode features the story of New York City - and how it went from a wilderness island in 1600 to the burgeoning trading town of New Amsterdam that was renamed New York. In our next episode, we'll talk about New York's...


#6 Ascent of a language learning phenomenon - with Gina Gotthilf(Duolingo, ex Tumblr)

In this episode, we talk about how technology & gamification have dramatically eased the process of language learning. We go behind the scenes of the meteoric growth of the language learning app Duolingo. My guest today is Gina Gotthilf, the VP of Growth at Duolingo.Duolingo has had a dramatic growth trajectory over the last few years. It’s gone from 3 million installs to 200 million installs, doing very little paid marketing or advertising. Gina and her team drove much of this growth....


#5 The early days of ridesharing & bikesharing - with Dan Riaz(ScaleUp Labs, 500 startups, ex Lyft, ex Zynga).

In this episode of How Things Grow, we revisit the early days or ridesharing - and look at how bikesharing is beginning to evolve. My guest today is my good friend Dan Riaz. Dan’s had a checkered career and an interesting life. Dan managed mobile acquisition at Zynga just when Zynga started to shift its business from web to mobile. He then joined Lyft when they were in just 4 cities to head up their mobile user acquisition. At Lyft, he saw from close up the ascension of the ridesharing...


The Art Of The Conference - with Jay Weintraub(, Mobile Apps Unlocked, LeadsCon, Contact.Io, InsureTech Connect, HRTransform)

Welcome to this week’s episode of How Things Grow! In this episode we explore the business of conferences, and of bringing people together. My guest today is Jay Weintraub, who is a true master of the art of the conference. Jay is a man who has started and grown 5 conferences in wildly different industries - mobile apps, call marketing, HR, lead generation and insurance. His conferences are such well-oiled machines and attended by thousands of people - and I’ve always wanted to sit down...


Invite-a-friend flows, rapid testing & more - with Dominic 'DistroDom' Coryell(Grabr, ex 500 Startups, ex Talkable)

Welcome to this week’s episode of How Things Grow! In this episode we dive into the mechanics of ‘invite a friend’ flows - or referral marketing, testing ideas quickly and much much more. My guest today is the amazing Dominic 'DistroDom' Coryell. Dom founded his first company GarmentValet while he was still in college. He then founded the Talkable, which is one of the leading referral marketing companies in the world. He then became a partner at 500 startups, in which capacity he advised...


Inside invites, surveys, fitness & viral growth - with Selina Tobaccowala(Gixo, ex SurveyMonkey, ex Evite).

Welcome to this week’s episode of How Things Grow! In this episode we dive into the nuances of how products go viral, about how companies and cultures are built for the long term - and much much more. [Before we get into this week’s episode, I do want to apologize for the unforeseen situation that caused last week’s episode to be taken down a few hours after it went live. As some of you know, folks from Zynga requested that the episode be taken off air since they were in an investor quiet...


#1 - The rise, decline and settling-down of daily deals - with Adam Lovallo(, ex LivingSocial)

It's finally here! After months of procrastination and fantasizing - and many more months of eventual research, reachouts, edits and agonizing.... the first episode of the How Things Grow podcast is here! My guest today is a man whom I’ve admired for a long time. Adam Lovallo runs some of the best-attended conferences in the mobile apps space.But before Adam started his first conference, he cut his teeth in the whirlwind that was the daily deals space. He worked at LivingSocial, where he...


#0 - Coming Soon: How Things Grow

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. How Things Grow is presented by Shamanth Rao, mobile growth leader and writer. Shamanth is the VP of Growth at FreshPlanet, and led or managed growth leading up to two acquisitions in the past. He also was the travel editor of Mint...