The Reforge Growth Series is a selective 8-week program (4 to 6 hours per week) to help you accelerate your career and company by developing a systematic approach to thinking about, acting on, and solving growth problems.
The series is led by actual practitioners Brian Balfour (formerly VP Growth @ HubSpot) and co-hosted by Andrew Chen (Growth @ Uber) and Hiten Shah (Co-Founder of Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, and CrazyEgg). The program features top growth leaders from companies including Google, Facebook, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Atlassian and others.
You will learn actionable frameworks, be inspired with real stories and examples, and build meaningful relationships with other top growth practitioners. Reforge Alumni have brought growth learnings back to work at Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, Evernote, Soundcloud, and other high-impact companies.
All businesses are unique, but everyone faces similar growth challenges. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is how they approach those challenges.
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 including Blue Bottle Coffee, Gametime, Lumoid, Grabcad, and Help Scout on growth and customer acquisition.
Andrew Chen works on Growth @ Uber. He is an advisor and investor in tech startups including AngelList, Dropbox, Barkbox, Kiva, Product Hunt, and G. 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.
Hiten Shah is the co-founder of Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg and Advanced Consulting Services. Since 2003, he’s been creating and growing both self-funded and venture backed SaaS and marketing businesses. As an advisor, investor and/or service provider, he has played an instrumental role in supporting hundreds of companies with marketing, product and growth initiatives.
VP Growth @ Wealthfront
Dir Growth @ Atlassian
VP Growth/Marketing @ HubSpot
VP Growth & Marketing @ Patreon
Head of Global SEO @ HubSpot
Former VP Mrk @ SoFi/LogMeIn
VP Growth @ SurveyMonkey
Growth @ Slack
CMO @ ClassPass
VP Growth @ Eventbrite
Growth @ Gusto
Naomi Pilosof Ionita
VP Growth @ Invoice2Go
Formerly Growth @ Pinterest
Head of Growth @ Instagram
Head of Growth @ Google
VP Growth @ Zillow
VP Growth @ Ipsy
Head of Growth @ Mozilla
Reforge does not focus on tips, tricks, and hacks. Instead, we focus on the things that build a strong foundation for accelerated professional growth:
1. Comprehensive Foundation
By the end of the program, you will walk away 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, understanding your user psychology, developing growth roadmaps, growth team structure and management, and each area of the funnel (Acquisition Strategy, Retention + Engagement, Virality, and Monetization).
2. Strategic and Actionable Frameworks
If you want a laundry list of tactics like "make your buttons orange" this program isn't for you.
Instead, we will enable you with a set of actionable frameworks that you can apply to your own business and product. Our goal is 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 than having a strong network of other growth practitioners that you can learn from. We review every application and curate a high-quality group of practitioners and facilitate opportunities for you to build meaningful relationships throughout the program.
Our goal is to help you build a network that will live with you far beyond the program itself. The Reforge Alumni community is active and connected, and includes growth practitioners from all of the top technology companies including Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, Spotify, Atlassian, Google, and more.
4. Examples, Knowledge, and Inspiration From Top Growth Leaders
A lot of the best knowledge is still trapped in the heads of the world's top growth leaders.
Reforge's exclusive access to this knowledge brings it to life through examples, stories, and lessons that haven't previously been shared publicly. Our growth leaders are at the forefront of Google, Instagram, Slack, SurveyMonkey, HubSpot, Atlassian, Wealthfront, and other companies leading innovation in growth.
Our programs aren't for everyone. We select applicants based on professional experience, initiative, and program fit. You should apply if you have...
- 3+ Years of Experience - 3+ years of professional experience as a product manager, marketer, designer, engineer or other professional looking to accelerate your knowledge about growth.
- Strong Initiative - The program includes both passive and active participation. Those that not only consume the content but engage with it and the community will get the most value.
- Growth Related Role - The topics we cover aren’t for every role. Typical roles of successful applicants are a Product Manager, Sr. Marketer, Data Analyst, Engineer, or Executive working on growth initiatives or making the transition to growth
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.
- Pre Product-Market Fit - If you are working on a product that is just getting started. The program material is designed for those working on products that have signals of product-market fit.
- 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. We know your time is valuable, so we've streamlined a program that cuts straight to the point with no fluff or "filler content."
There are 5 parts to the program:
1. Weekly Lecture Topic
Each week there will be a 60- to 90- minute video lecture on the weekly topic. Each lecture is taught by Brian Balfour or Andrew Chen and will teach you actionable frameworks to apply to your own business and career.
The lectures are comprised of original material exclusive to the Reforge Program. The video lectures will be hosted on the Reforge website and available for you to watch at any time during the week.
2. 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.
3. Weekly Interview With A Top Growth Leader
Each week there will be a 30- to 60- minute interview with one or more industry growth leaders. Guests will include Andy Johns (VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront), Casey Winters (Formerly Growth @ Pinterest), Ken Rudin (Head of Growth @ Google), Shaun Clowes (Dir Growth @ Atlassian), and others.
4. Online Discussion
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.
5. In-Person Events With Top Growth Leaders
Each week there will be small in-person events hosted by Brian, Andrew or Hiten in the San Francisco area.
We will also hold three events throughout the series in each of our satellite cities (NYC, LA, BOS, London). You do not need to attend every event; the program is designed for you to attend 3-5 throughout the eight weeks.
Each event features live, small-group discussions with top growth leaders and your fellow program attendees. Events range from hands-on workshops to purely social get-togethers.
NOTE: 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 to 6 hours per week to consume and participate in the material. If you fall behind you will have access to the material after the program is completed. You can still participate in the program even if you are not able to make these events.
The following is subject to change as we finalize details 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.
SF/Bay Area: Downtown San Francisco (Venue TBA)
NYC/LA/BOS/LON: Locations and Times TBA
(Feb 7th, 8th, or 9th)
Your growth model is one of two key tools that form your product's growth strategy. It describes how you grow end-to-end in both a qualitative and quantitative manner.
You will learn how to construct a growth model for your product, how to use it form the foundation of your strategy, and how to use it to identify and prioritize growth opportunities.
Leader Interviews: Andy Johns - VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront and Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Discussion: Wednesday, Feb 15th at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Evening of Thursday, Feb 16th
(Feb 10th - Feb 16th)
Your user and customer psychology is the second key tool to form your growth strategy.
Your user psychology is essential to understanding what will drive your users/customers. You will learn a key user psychology framework to apply to your product.
Leader Interviews: Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Discussion: Wednesday, Feb 22nd at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, Feb 18th and Evening of Thursday, Feb 23rd
(Feb 17th - Feb 23rd)
GROWTH PROCESS AND ROADMAPS
There are 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. Additionally, learn 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 Interviews: Shaun Clowes Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Adam Fishman VP Growth @ Patreon
Online Discussion: Wednesday, March 1st at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, Feb 25th and Evening of Thursday, March 2nd
(Feb 24th - March 2nd)
Acquisition Channel strategy
Every growth model is built on an existing, larger platform, but successful growth also depends on identifying and maximizing new channels and platforms.
We'll learn about the limited ways to scale and how to identify and prioritize new channels and 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 Interviews: Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest and Nick Soman, Growth @ Gusto
Online Discussion: Wednesday, March 8th at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, March 4th and Evening of Thursday, March 9th
In Person Event (NYC/LA/BOS/LON): Evening of Thursday, March 9th
(March 3rd - March 9th)
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 Interviews: Shaun Clowes, Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest
Online Discussion: Wednesday, March 15th at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, March 11th and Evening of Thursday, March 16th
(March 10th - March 16th)
Virality and network effects
The biggest consumer and SaaS companies of the last decade have been built without spending a dime on acquisition. Instead, their growth has been driven by viral marketing. But, 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 Interviews: Nick Soman, Head of Growth @ Gusto, Gustaf Alstromer, Growth @ Airbnb, and James Currier, Managing Partner @ NFX Guild
Online Discussion: Wednesday, March 22nd at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, March 18th and Evening of Thursday, March 23rd
(March 17th - March 23rd)
As acquisition channels become more competitive, those with the best monetization strategies win.
Learn how monetization affects all parts of growth, the three layers of monetization, and how to improve each layer.
Leader Interview: Elena Verna, VP Growth @ SurveyMonkey
Online Discussion: Wednesday, March 29th at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, March 25th and Evening of Thursday, March 30th
(March 24th - March 30th)
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 Interviews: Ken Rudin, Head of Growth @ Google and Elena Verna, VP Growth @ SurveyMonkey
Online Discussion: Wednesday, April 5th at 8:30 am PST and 12 pm PST
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Morning of Saturday, April 1st
(March 31st - April 6th)
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.
SF/Bay Area: Location TBA
NYC/LA/BOS/LON: Location TBA
(Tentatively April 7th)
"I strongly, as strongly as possible, encourage product managers in Growth roles to apply for Reforge. This program is the holy grail for Growth professionals who may be one of the few members of their organization tackling growth models and AB testing. With Reforge you find your peer set who share best practices and insights onto the responsibilities and goals of their Growth teams. In addition, the robust online content puts structure around the many concepts floating around tech companies and blogs on what Growth actually entails! I can’t thank the team enough for building such a comprehensive program – Reforge shaped the foundation of how I will approach the Growth team at SurveyMonkey."
"The content was excellent. Even though I work on a growth team at Facebook, I still learned new concepts that I implemented right away.
I focus my work specifically on developer growth, and based on the course content, I improved how we build growth loops into our developer acquisition channels. Overall, the course made me adopt a more robust way of instrumenting, logging, and tracking our funnel.
Beyond the content, I met so many growth people through the events - the program is a powerful growth network that I'm excited to be a part of."
"Reforge has easily been one of the best investments of time and money I've ever made in my professional development. I love how the course codifies what I've been doing for the last four years as VP of Marketing at an early stage startup, turning it into a science.
What I've learned has helped me be more systematic and analytical in my work, so that I'm not just throwing stuff at the wall, and moving on to the next thing, with only anecdotal lessons learned."
SR. PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER
"Thanks to the Reforge Summer Growth Series, I have gained a foundational understanding of one of the newest and yet most valuable areas of understanding to companies: growth. Brian and Andrew have done an incredible job of pooling and delivering knowledge acquired by industry leaders through extremely accessible content. The in-person get-togethers and online community also provide a terrific forum for idea exchange amongst all participants. I highly recommend this course to any individual who is looking to gain widespread adoption of their product or service."
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm not located in the San Francisco Bay Area, can I attend the program?
Yes. About 1/3 of previous program participants have attended remotely. We will host three events in each of our satellite cities (New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, London). If you are not in a satellite city you can still participate in the program remotely. You will have access to 100% of the content, the online discussions, the private Reforge forums, and more ways to connect.
How is this program different from previous Reforge Growth Series?
We make significant changes to the program content with every Growth Series to add depth, detail, clarification, examples, and additional expert interviews. However, if you have attended a Growth Series within the past two years, you should not attend this one.
How many applicants get invited?
In previous programs, we've accepted 12% of applicants, though this may change as applications increase. Our first priority is ensuring the best possible experience by curating an engaged and high-quality group of people whose backgrounds and goals are a strong fit for the program material, in a class size that's intimate enough to facilitate some of the most memorable relationships of your career.
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 application process screens for 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 the company, and other factors.
How advanced is the material?
This program is not a fit for beginners. As with Brian's and Andrew's public essays, the program is focused on practitioners who already know the basics and are figuring out how to take the next step. The content will be intermediate to advanced. We assume that you know about A/B testing, ad buying, etc., and the real challenge is thinking about the entire picture of growth and forming a coherent and compelling strategy. We do not cover tips, tricks, hacks, or tactics. Instead, we provide strategies and frameworks that enable you to solve growth challenges specific to your situation.
What will be the cost for the program?
Price is $3500 for an individual seat. The Group Rate for teams of 3+ is $2895 per seat. If you need an invoice or any other materials to expense to your company we will provide that at the time of payment. Aside from the Group Rate, there are no additional discounts or scholarships available at this time.
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 at or 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.
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 enterprise sales or 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 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.