Growth doesn't happen on accident. The Reforge Growth Series is a selective 8 week program (up to 4 hours per week) to help you accelerate your career and/or company by developing a systematic approach to think, solve, and act on growth initiatives. The series is led by actual practitioners Brian Balfour (formerly VP Growth @ HubSpot) and co-hosted by Andrew Chen (Growth @ Uber). The program features top growth leaders from companies such as Dropbox, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Atlassian and many more. You will learn practical frameworks, be inspired with real stories and examples, and build meaningful relationships with other top growth practitioners. Previous program attendees have been from Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, Soundcloud, and many more. Apply here to attend.
Andrew Chen works on Growth @ Uber. He is an advisor and investor in tech startups including AngelList, Dropbox, Barkbox, Kiva, Product Hunt, and ZenPayroll. He writes extensively with over 650+ essays, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Fortune, Wired, and WSJ. Previously he worked in venture capital at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based firm with $2B under management.
Brian Balfour is the Founder and CEO of Reforge. Most recently, he was the VP Growth @ HubSpot. Prior to HubSpot he was an EIR @ Trinity Ventures and founder of Boundless Learning (acq by Valore) and Viximo (acq by Tapjoy). He advises companies such as Blue Bottle Coffee, Gametime, Lumoid, Grabcad, and Help Scout on growth and customer acquisition.
VP Growth @ Wealthfront
Dir Growth @ Atlassian
VP Optimization @ HubSpot
VP Growth & Marketing @ Patreon
Head of Global SEO @ HubSpot
VP Growth @ SurveyMonkey
Dir Product Growth @ Dropbox
Growth @ AirBnB
VP Growth @ Eventbrite
VP Marketing @ Bookbub
Growth @ Pinterest
Founder @ Quick Sprout
Sr Dir Growth @ Naspers
Dir Growth @ Glassdor
VP Growth @ Ipsy
The program is not about a series of tips, tricks, and hacks. You will walk away from the Growth Series with three key outcomes:
1. Comprehensive Foundation
By the end of the program you will walk with a comprehensive foundation that you can apply to almost any B2C or B2B software company. We will cover the core areas of growth including building a growth model, defining and understanding key growth metrics, developing growth roadmaps, growth team structure and management, and each of the primary channels to scale.
2. Strategic and Actionable Frameworks
If you want a laundry list of tactics like "make your buttons orange" this program isn't for you. We will enable you with a set of actionable frameworks that you can apply to your own business and product. We want to teach you how to think about the core elements of growth so that you can develop a winning strategy specific to your current and future companies and roles.
3. Build Meaningful Relationships With Other Top Practitioners
There is nothing more valuable then having a strong network of other growth practitioners that you can learn from. We curate a high quality group of practitioners and facilitate opportunities for you to build meaningful relationships through out the program. This network will live with you far beyond the program itself.
Our programs aren't for everyone. We select applicants based on professional experience, stage of company, type of company, and other factors. You should apply if you are an...
- Experienced Individual Contributor - 3+ years of experience as a product manager, marketer, designer, engineer or other professional looking to accelerate your knowledge about growth.
- Dir/VP/C-Level - A director, VP, or CXO of an early to mid stage startup facing growth as a major initiative in your company.
This program is not for you if you are...
- Entry Level - Less than three years of professional experience. The program material assumes a certain level of base knowledge.
- Career Switching - If you are looking to get your first job in growth. The program material is designed to help accelerate an existing professional's path rather than establish one anew.
- Enterprise/Hardware - If you are in a company that primarily sells enterprise deals or primarily a hardware product. The program material is not designed to address these topics.
We focus on delivering the highest amount of impact as efficiently as possible. No fluff, everything is straight to the point.
The program experience is designed to accommodate the busy schedules of experienced working professionals. To get the most out of the program you should expect to spend 4 hours per week. If you fall behind you will have access to the material after the program is completed.
There are 5 parts to the program:
Weekly Lecture Topic
Each week there will be a one hour video lecture on a specific topic (see more details on topics below). Each lecture is taught by Brian Balfour or Andrew Chen. The material is designed to provide you with actionable frameworks to apply to your own business and career. The lectures will feature mostly material never published publicly by Brian or Andrew. The video lectures will be hosted on the Reforge website and available for you to watch at any time during the week.
Case Studies and Examples
We apply the frameworks from the lecture to recent companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, and more. These examples are integrated into the lectures or included as separate case studies.
Weekly Interview With A Top Growth Leader
Each week there will be a one hour video interview with other top growth professionals. Guests will include Ed Baker VP Growth @ Uber, Aatif Awan Director Product Growth @ LinkedIn, Vlad Loktev Growth Product Lead @ AirBnB, and many more.
Online Discussion and Q&A
Each week Brian and Andrew will host online webinars to discuss the case studies and answer your specific questions about the lecture material. The discussions require active participation from you and other program attendees.
In Person Events With Top Growth Leaders
Each week there will be small in person events hosted in the San Francisco area. You do not need to attend every event. The program is designed for you to attend 4-5 throughout the eight weeks. There will also be opening and closing events at the beginning and end of the program. The events will feature appearances and discussions with top growth leaders. We'll help you build meaningful relationships with the other high quality program attendees. These events will range from discussions to purely social. You can still attend the program even if you are not able to make these events.
The following details are subject to change as we finalize things towards the start of the program.
We'll kick the program off with an opening event for all program attendees. You'll connect with other growth practitioners and get a taste of the upcoming 8 weeks.
Location and Time: TBA (Will be downtown San Francisco)
Your growth model is one of the key tools form your product's growth strategy. It describes how you grow end-to-end in both a qualitative and quantitative manner. The model is essential to identifying and prioritizing growth opportunities. You will learn how to construct a growth model for your product and how to use it form the foundation of your strategy.
Leader Interview: TBA
Case Study: TBA
Online Discussion: Wednesday July 13th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Evening of Thursday July 14th. Location TBD.
(July 8th - July 14th)
Growth Process and Roadmaps
There’s always a million things to do – how do you prioritize what product changes and acquisition initiatives will contribute to growth? Learn the step by step process on how to think about and prioritize growth initiatives, built on the growth model from week one. Plus, why a growth roadmap often has to be separated from a product roadmap, and why the traits that make you successful at one often don’t translate to the other.
Leader Interview: TBA
Online Discussion: Wednesday July 20th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday July 16th and Thursday Evening July 21st. Locations TBD.
(July 15th - July 21st)
Retention and Engagement
Before acquisition comes retention – you have to retain and engage people, otherwise your acquisition efforts will crash. We’ll discuss why retention is so important, how to analyze retention, and how to improve retention.
Leader Interview: Vlad Loktev - Director Product @ AirBnB
Case Study: TBD
Online Discussion: Wednesday July 27th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday July 23rd and Thursday Evening July 28th. Locations TBD.
(July 22nd - July 28th)
Every growth model is built on an existing, larger platform. We'll talk about the limited ways to scale and how to identify and prioritize new channels/platforms. To put it into practice, we’ll look at some case studies for how platforms such as display ads, Facebook apps, and push notifications have fared over the years.
Leader Interview: TBA
Online Discussion: Wednesday August 3rd at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday July 30th and Thursday Evening August 4th. Locations TBD.
(July 29th - August 4th)
Network Effects and Virality
The biggest consumer and SaaS companies of the last decade have been built without spending a dime on acquisition- instead it’s driven based on viral marketing. However, a systematic approach to virality is rare in the industry. See how viral loops are built on top of new platforms, and how key metrics like viral factor are calculated.
Leader Interview: Ed Baker - VP Growth @ Uber
Online Discussion: Wednesday August 10th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday August 6th and Thursday Evening August 11th. Locations TBD.
(August 5th - August 11th)
Organic growth will likely not sustain your product forever. As a result, it’s important to think about how you can complement this growth with paid marketing efforts that add fuel to the fire. You'll lean about how to identify when paid marketing is a scalable strategy, the key components on how to optimize, and how to win over the long term.
Leader Interview: Dan Smith - VP Marketing @ Bookbub
Online Discussion: Wednesday August 17th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday August 13th and Thursday Evening August 18th. Locations TBD.
(August 12th - August 18th)
Content marketing has exploded as a channel in the past 5 years. It can be a powerful channel, but it is hard to get right. This lecture will talk about how you can build a content marketing machine, the biggest mistakes most companies make with content strategies, the four ways to compete in today's crowded content environment, and what the future holds for content as a scalable acquisition channel.
Leader Interview: Hiten Shah - Founder @ Quick Sprout, previously Founder @ KISSmetrics
Case Study: TBD
Online Discussion: Wednesday August 24th at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Morning of Saturday August 20th and Thursday Evening August 25th. Locations TBD.
(August 19th - August 25th)
Organizing and building a team to focus solely on growth is a new challenge. It takes a concerted effort to interview, hire and train a team that will understand and expertly operate against a growth objective. This lecture will explore emerging best practices for leading and building these teams.
Leader Interview: Aatif Awan - Head of Growth @ LinkedIn
Online Discussion: Wednesday August 31st at 9am and 6pm PT
In Person Events: Thursday Evening September 1st. Location TBD.
(August 26th - Sept 1st)
We'll close the program with one final event for all program attendees to cap an ending to the program and mark your ongoing journey in growth.
Location and Time: TBA (Will be downtown San Francisco)
Frequently Asked Questions
How is this program different from previous programs?
We have completely revamped the content to add more depth, examples and case studies. In addition we have brought in more growth leaders to participate in the interviews and in person events. We have also revamped the format of the events to help facilitate more relationships.
Can I attend the program remotely?
Yes. About 1/3 of previous program participants have done it remotely. You do not need to attend the events to get value out of the program, but they are highly encouraged. If we have a meaningful group size in other cities we will help coordinate meetups in those cities.
How many spots are available?
We are limiting the number of program spots to 200. We typically can only invite 20% of those who apply. This could easily change, our first priority is ensuring the best possible experience by curating an amazing group of people and ensuring fit for the program material.
How do we choose who to invite?
We want to make sure if you take the time to participate that it is more than worth it. Our goal with the application process is two things. One, fit with the program material. Two, curating fit with the other program attendees. As a result, we manually review and curate the program attendees from the applicants based on professional experience, product type, stage of company and other factors.
How advanced is the material?
This program is not a fit for beginners. As with both of Brian's and Andrew's essays, the program is focused on practitioners who are already know the basics, and figuring out how to take the next step. The content will be intermediate/advanced. We assume that you know about AB testing, ad buying, etc., and the real challenge is thinking about the entire picture of growth and forming a coherent and compelling strategy. No promises of silver bullets– just lots of lead bullets.
What will be the cost for the program?
Price is $3500 for an individual seat. Group rates for teams of 3+ are $2895 per seat. If you need an invoice or any other materials to expense to your company we will provide that at time of payment.
Is this right for very early product teams seeking initial traction?
No. The best use of your time is to find product/market fit and build your initial business before you spend too much time on growth. If you are are at/past product/market fit then you will get a lot of value out of this program.
How actionable will the content be?
The content will provide actionable and analytical frameworks for understanding growth and forming a comprehensive strategy. But there will be minimal “how to” content on topics such as setting up landing pages, buying ads, etc. Those can be found on many other great sites free of charge.
What timezone will the live discussion sections be held?
We will have both morning and evening times for sections, Pacific time. If you can join for that, great, but if not all the section discussions will be recorded and it’ll be possible to attend this lecture series 100% remotely and asynchronously if you desire.
How much of the material is about SaaS/B2B versus B2C?
There is a balance of both SaaS and consumer. Many of the frameworks apply to both given that “consumerization of enterprise” is now real. On the other hand, there won't be direct material on selling/acquiring enterprise customers although it may come up in Q&A.
Will I get access to the material after the program is over?
Yes, for a period of up to one year from the start of the program.
Who will lead the live discussion sessions?
All of the live discussion sessions will be lead by either Brian or Andrew and sometimes both.