Lenny Rachitsky, Lenny’s Newsletter + Ex AirBnb // Growth Engines, Early Traction + Creator Economy


💻 Who is Lenny Rachitsky?

Lenny writes the #1 business newsletter on Substack (Lenny’s Newsletter) and previously sold his company, Localmind, to Airbnb.

He then spent 7yrs at Airbnb leading product + growth teams and now angel invests + works as a full-time creator.

Let us know what you think on Twitter, I’m @bzaidi and he’s @lennysan


🧠 What You’ll Learn

After listening to this conversation, you’ll understand:

– the racecar growth framework:
growth engines, turbo boosts, lubricants + fuel

– core growth engines:
performance marketing, virality, content + sales

– examples from Airbnb, Zapier, Superhuman, Wish , Casper + others

– benchmarks for user retention + types of virality

– 3 steps to getting early users

– growing a newsletter + the differences in approach for creators vs companies


⏳Time Stamps (YouTube)

0:00:00 – Snippet + What We Cover
0:01:09 – Lenny Intro + Background
0:06:29 – Scale of Newsletter
0:08:09 – Questions To Ask Yourself When Figuring Out Your Next Step
0:11:10 – Energy + The Struggle Of The Content Treadmill
0:12:23 – Early Days Of Airbnb
0:14:01 – Creating Something Remarkable
0:16:14 – Racecar Growth Framework – Who Is This For?
0:17:11 – Early vs Late Stage Growth
0:18:39 – Engine, Turbo Boosts, Lubricants + Fuel
0:18:57 – Growth Engines – virality, performance marketing, content, sales + bonus examples
0:23:03 – “1st time founders focus on product, 2nd time founders focus on distribution”
0:27:01 – Becoming The Best In The World At 1 or 2
0:27:29 – Airbnb vs Booking
0:28:07 – Performance Marketing
0:29:43 – Wish + Casper – Built On Performance Marketing
0:30:34 – Feasibility When Bootstrapping
0:31:22 – If You Should Be Performance Marketing Driven: 1) Generating Revenue From Users 2) Not Something Users Are Looking For
0:32:53 – Growth vs Brand Marketing
0:34:29 – When To Expand To The Next Engine + S Curve
0:35:47 – Examples Of Virality – Word-of-mouth, referrals, inviting friends, etc
0:39:14 – Bottoms Up vs Top Down Virality
0:40:23 – Knowing When You’re Going Viral – K Factor vs % of people who came in thru referral
0:41:25 – % Benchmark To Aim For – Over 50%
0:42:16 – Companies Who Are Suited To Viral Growth
0:42:40 – Clubhouse + FOMO
0:44:08 – User Generated Content Loop
0:46:21 – Data Driven SEO – Zapier + Thumbtack
0:48:03 – Editorial SEO + Figuring Out Content Strategy
0:49:22 – Superhuman Example
0:50:05 – Desired Outcomes, Primary + Secondary KPIs
0:51:35 – Sales Channel
0:54:11 – Turbo Boosts + Lubricants
0:55:44 – Power Of Events
0:57:29 – Retention + Conversion
0:59:33 – Activation: Using Product For Its Core Purpose
1:00:54 – Superhuman, Creators + The Customers Who Care
1:04:30 – User Retention Benchmarks
1:06:35 – Common Pitfalls
1:08:27 – Getting First 1000 newsletter subscribers
1:10:12 – 3 steps to getting early users
1:13:36 – Creators vs Companies – Finding Core Users
1:18:18 – Would You Still Be Doing This With 1000 Subs?
1:19:46 – 5 “Jobs To Be Done” Of Content
1:20:40 – Newsletter Discoverability
1:22:34 – What Gives You Energy
1:24:15 – Airbnb Job vs Creator Life
1:25:14 – Tim Urban on Content That Spreads
1:26:09 – Creators: Value vs Support
1:28:13 – Decision To Stay On Substack
1:30:22 – Knowing What To Write About
1:34:48 – Longer-Term Plan


⏳Time Stamps (Podcast)

0:00:00 – Snippet + What We Cover
0:01:28 – Sponsor Break
0:02:17 – Lenny Intro + Background
0:07:38 – Scale of Newsletter
0:09:17 – Questions To Ask Yourself When Figuring Out Your Next Step
0:12:18 – Energy + The Struggle Of The Content Treadmill
0:13:31 – Early Days Of Airbnb
0:15:09 – Creating Something Remarkable
0:17:22 – Racecar Growth Framework – Who Is This For?
0:18:20 – Early vs Late Stage Growth
0:19:48 – Engine, Turbo Boosts, Lubricants + Fuel
0:20:05 – Growth Engines – virality, performance marketing, content, sales + bonus examples
0:24:11 – “1st time founders focus on product, 2nd time founders focus on distribution”
0:28:09 – Becoming The Best In The World At 1 or 2
0:28:38 – Airbnb vs Booking
0:29:16 – Performance Marketing
0:30:51 – Wish + Casper – Built On Performance Marketing
0:31:42 – Feasibility When Bootstrapping
0:32:31 – If You Should Be Performance Marketing Driven: 1) Generating Revenue From Users 2) Not Something Users Are Looking For
0:34:01 – Growth vs Brand Marketing
0:35:37 – When To Expand To The Next Engine + S Curve
0:36:56 – Examples Of Virality – Word-of-mouth, referrals, inviting friends, etc
0:40:22 – Bottoms Up vs Top Down Virality
0:41:31 – Knowing When You’re Going Viral – K Factor vs % of people who came in thru referral
0:42:33 – % Benchmark To Aim For – Over 50%
0:43:24 – Companies Who Are Suited To Viral Growth
0:43:48 – Clubhouse + FOMO
0:45:17 – User Generated Content Loop
0:47:29 – Data Driven SEO – Zapier + Thumbtack
0:49:11 – Editorial SEO + Figuring Out Content Strategy
0:50:31 – Superhuman Example
0:51:13 – Desired Outcomes, Primary + Secondary KPIs
0:52:43 – Sales Channel
0:55:19 – Turbo Boosts + Lubricants
0:56:52 – Power Of Events
0:58:37 – Retention + Conversion
1:00:41 – Activation: Using Product For Its Core Purpose
1:02:03 – Superhuman , Creators + The Customers Who Care
1:05:38 – User Retention Benchmarks
1:07:44 – Common Pitfalls
1:09:36 – Getting First 1000 newsletter subscribers
1:11:20 – 3 steps to getting early users
1:14:45 – Creators vs Companies – Finding Core Users
1:19:27 – Would You Still Be Doing This With 1000 Subs?
1:20:55 – 5 “Jobs To Be Done” Of Content
1:21:49 – Newsletter Discoverability
1:23:42 – What Gives You Energy
1:25:23 – Airbnb Job vs Creator Life
1:26:22 – Tim Urban on Content That Spreads
1:27:18 – Creators: Value vs Support
1:29:22 – Decision To Stay On Substack
1:31:31 – Knowing What To Write About
1:35:57 – Longer Term Plan


Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors:

AppSump – the marketplace entrepreneurs trust to buy and sell the products that grow small businesses into name brands:
https://www.appsumo.com

Space – the easiest way to engage your team over audio:
http://www.JoinSpace.co




Connect On Social

More Stories
Andrew Wilkinson, Tiny // Building The Berkshire Hathaway Of The Internet, Going Public & Charlie Munger’s Mental Models