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Brian Balfour
Worked at Trinity Ventures
Attended University of Michigan
Lives in San Francisco, CA
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Brian Balfour

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Growth is optional...
The wrong mantras have been pushed.  Product is everything.  You growth hack your way to success.  The way to find growth is to try every channel possible.  Paid acquisition is for companies with bad products.  They are all simply wrong.  The concepts behind growth are much simpler than most people think.  As with most things, it is executing that is the tough part.  Here are 10 things I’ve seen companies fail at executing that prevent ...
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More about the principles that drive the culture of the growth team...
There is a cycle that plagues a lot of companies.   It typically works like this: 1.  XYZ startup wants some press, so they look for some bloated number to give the writer (downloads, registrations, visits, etc) 2.  XYZ startup then celebrates that press article internally supporting the message that the bloated metric is worth pursuing 3.  In order to get additional press hits, XYZ startup needs to increase that bloated number, so ...
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When I meet new companies to advise them on growth, the number one question I get is “what tactic should I use to grow my business?”  At first I would try to give an answer.  But it never felt right.  After all, I just met this person and knew next to nothing about their business.  Even more important though I started to realize that the question typically stemmed from the search for a secret, hack, or tip about a growth tactic that was...
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Thank you for this article.  It was very well reasoned, and emphasizes the patience and focus we all need to have.  We can't rely on magic or  a silver bullet.  That's great when you're lucky, but it's not repeatable or predictable. 
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Why focus wins....
I have come very close to a few very big wins in my career.  Close, is the key word in that sentence.  My first company was a college specific social network prior to Facebook existing.  My second company was in virtual goods a year before social gaming really existed.  Both were in the right place at the right time, but neither turned into “home runs.”   I could probably come up with many reasons for the wins.  Intelligence, ambitio...
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As growth continues to become a popular subject, more content on the topic is being published.  I think this is great.  The more quality content out there on the subject, the better for the startup community.   But as I read a lot of this content and watch others react to it I cringe on the inside because I know many of the readers are going to start chasing down incorrect paths.  Let me explain...
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I get the premise of what you are saying. I am a freelance writer so my sacred cow is quality content. I feel you can get attention but can't keep it without the message.
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Product market fit is more complicated than a simple survey....
There are key differences between the traction phase and the growth phase of a company. Understanding what stage you are at, helps you focus on the right goals, metrics, channels, and team structure....
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Brian Balfour

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The third principle that drives our growth team...
Is growth an art or science?  Some praise the creativeness of new growth hacks.  Others praise the quantitative maneuvering of analytical growth geniuses.  That question has been debated.  But are we asking the right question?     The creative juice brings new ideas around story telling, great copywriting, unique ad creative, and never tried before growth tactics.  But the quantitative science helps us measure the largest friction po...
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The first in a series of 5 posts about the principles that drive the culture of our growth team. 
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A framework for prioritizing channels/options to get traction...
The following is a guest post by Justin Mares, Co-Author of Traction:  A Startup Guide To Getting Customers.  Choosing how to get traction can be an overwhelming process.  The Bullseye framework helps organize all the options and drive toward a decision.
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The topic of growth has been more polarizing than I would have ever expected.  The animosity largely surrounds the use of the term “growth hacking.” It is so high in fact that I debated whether I should even publish this post.  Growth is a maturing topic though.  I think the way that we progress is by having this conversation and focusing on the right things.  
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If we were to lay out a line and on the left end put B2C, and on the right end Enterprise B2B and ask where the mentality of Growth is being applied first and where it can be of the most value, it would certainly be on the left end of that spectrum.  Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, etc were the first to really form these types of growth teams for a lot of reasons.  Today, if you are a B2C company and not applying this mentality you are behind.

That being said Growth is quickly moving into the right end of the spectrum.  First are freemium B2B products like the one I'm working on:  http://GetSignals.com.  There are some B2B SaaS companies applying some of these techniques and processes.  Thats largely due to the "consumerization of the enterprise" trend where companies are applying consumer techniques to make their funnel more efficient. 

Over the long term I think the number of companies with large enterprise sales cycles today will be fewer and fewer as adoption models of enterprises change.  In the interim I think growth teams in those types of companies can be applied to identify and remove friction from the cycle using technology.  Ultimately though the longer your customer cycle is and less amount of data you have (and thus the longer the experiment cycles) the less useful Growth processes will be. 
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Double down before you diversify....
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How priorities, goals, team, and more change as you go from Traction to Growth. 
Broadly speaking, a startup goes three phases of growing. 1. Traction 2. Transition 3. Growth The goals, metrics, channels, focus, team structure, everything evolves and changes as you move through...
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Have him in circles
605 people
Laura Fitton's profile photo
KÊNH TỔNG HỢP GIẢI TRÍ's profile photo
Nelson Joyce's profile photo
Scott Belsky's profile photo
Sal Matteis's profile photo
Sean Lindsay's profile photo
Yvonne Wilson's profile photo
Haroon Khan's profile photo
yan ren's profile photo
Work
Employment
  • Trinity Ventures
    Entrepreneur In Residence, 2013
  • Boundless
    Co-Founder & CMO
  • Viximo
    Co-Founder and VP Product Marketing
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
San Francisco, CA
Previously
Boston, MA - Chicago, IL
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Tagline
http://brianbalfour.com
Education
  • University of Michigan
    Statistics, Economics, Sports Business, 2001 - 2005
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Male