2hp's blog

by Jack Mardack

growth, startups

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Inertia, Pain and User Acqusition

In a prior post I talked about something called an adventitious growth strategy. One of the main concepts within that strategy is thinking conjecturally about what kinds of people might like to use (or might even be delighted by) your product. The value of doing this is so that you can construct theories and experiments about how to find and acquire them.

One of the ways I find it useful to consider the suitability of a theoretical user (“Sophie” or “Dillon”) for a certain product is to apply a simple mathematical formula.

This is not a formula into which you plug numerical values. But kinda just gut feel estimates. Big, small, etc. The point is in forcing yourself to think about these things as quantities, and then to relate those quantities to each other.

The simple formula I use is Inertia / Pain.

The best way to understand the implications to user acquisition is like this:
Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 4.06.09 PM.png

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An Adventitious Growth Strategy

adventitious growth

I often steal ideas from nature and bring them into what I do. When you’re making shit up as you go along, at the intersection of totally original software user experience, business, and human behavior, I have found it frequently helpful to incorporate patterns and models from the natural world into my strategies. Absent any direct experience with a complex and entirely unprecedented experimental scenario, models from nature can provide a framework for your intuitions. They can also provide a path forward when you don’t have a clue what to do next.

One such natural model I’ve become obsessed with lately, that is singularly relevant to the topic of startup growth, comes from the world of plants. The model from nature I want to hold up is the adventitious root. This is a special kind of root. Not all plants produce them. But they are common enough that you will surely have seen them

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