From driving successful IPOs to funding new ventures, Mike Maples is a product visionary who understands how to find "the next big thing." Growth hacking is on every product leader's radar - but before you get there, every product must have a clear value proposition. Mike outlines the importance of spending time to nail the "zero-to-one" phase in order to attain long-term success.

Floodgate Founder on Building For Growth Products (Part 3)

If you’re working at a startup, I’m sure that you’re plotting your path for growth. More specifically, you’re looking at ways to take your foundational product and take it to the next level. As I mentioned previously, growth products do not happen by accident. Instead, they act with intentional decisions. Ultimately, every product owner must recognize the necessary work to turn a great idea into a sustainable business.

To get there, it’s vital to focus on value hacking before you start to think about growth hacking. I know that growth hacking is all the rage these days. However, there’s no substitute for being able to discover the “truth” of your particular value proposition. In other words, you have to be able to understand the value of what you’re building rather than trying to convince someone of its value.

For example, it’s much easier to syndicate a defined truth than it is to launch a marketing campaign to overcome objections to your product’s overall value. Ultimately, successful growth products are those that sell themselves and don’t require brands to make up stories that “enhance” value.

The best way to get there is by being patient during your value hacking phase. Simply put, you want to enable the “ah hah” moment to come. By providing ample burn time, you’re able to scale at will later on. Conversely, if you cut corners and rush this, you’ll never be able to achieve product/market fit.

There’s a quote from Ryan Smith (Qualtrics Founder) that summarizes the impact that value hacking has on building growth products.

“There is no substitute for the scar tissue and the muscle memory formed in the zero-to-one phase.”

In the end, every great startup must go through several rounds of trial and error before achieving ultimate success. For example, value hacking is like being on Earth. Everything is clicking and falling into place. On the other hand, growth hacking is like being on Mars. It’s uncharted territory and you need to be in a position to make a “forward pivot” to stay on target. Simply put, to quote Matt Damon in The Martian, you need to “science the shit out of it.”

 

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Click here for Part 2

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About the Speaker
Mike Maples
Floodgate Founding Partner
Mike Maples Jr. is a Partner at Floodgate - a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. Featured on the Forbes Midas List since 2010 and was named one of “8 Rising Stars” by Fortune Magazine, Mike is an investment guru with years of experience in finding the next big thing in tech. Before becoming a full-time investor, Mike was involved as a founder and operating executive at back-to-back startup IPOs - including Tivoli Systems (acquired by IBM) and Motive (acquired by Alcatel-Lucent). Mike holds a BS from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In his free time, Mike enjoys the world of cinematography and is a fan of sporting clays.

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