Lars Lofgren – Unlocking the 4 Gateways of Growth – MicroConf Europe 2014

The MicroConf Europe 2014 Hub Page has notes on all the talks and additional information.

Twitter: @larslofgren
Slides: here

  • When picking metrics, always ask:
    • What is biggest constraint right now?
    • Which metric help me measure, if I am making progress?
  • Main metric: Get someone to pay AND/OR use your product regularly
  • Bad metrics for this gateway:
    • Asking people if they will pay
    • AdWords clicks
    • Beta or waiting list signups
    • Traffic

Gateway #2: Is your product good enough?

  • main metric: Ask 500 users the Product/Market Fit Question
    • “How would you feel when you could no longer use [PRODUCT] ?”
    • At least 40% of users should say “Very disappointed”
  • P/M Fit Question isn’t perfect, verify with a retention metric

Gateway #3: Can you grow?

  • Pick just one channel
  • Work on it for 3 months. Assume it will work & get ressources needed to execute
  • main metrics:
    • main business metric
      • SaaS: Monthly Recurring Revenue
      • Ecommerce: Monthly Revenue
      • Consumer Tech: Monthly Active Users
    • acquisition funnel (e.g. visitors, signups, used product, converted to paid)

Gateway #4: Do you have a stable model?

  • main metric: Depending on business model
  • SaaS:
    • LTV >= 3x CAC
    • Recover acquisition cost within 12 months
    • Get monthly churn below 2%
  • Consumer Tech:
    • Virality > 1
    • Usage 3 out of 7 days
    • 30% of users active day after signup
    • Organic growth of 100s signups/day
    • Clear path to 100,000+ users
  • Find someone in your industry that knows the key benchmarks
  • Start with constraints, hack together what you need to measure them

Big Win Hunting

  • Get qualitative insights for hypothesis
    • Use words that your leads/customers use when talking about the problem
  • Launch, do it LIVE
  • Use the eyeball test

Finding Ideas to Test

  • Whenever you’re not sure what to test, get qualitative data
  • Your customers want to help you, go talk to 20 of them
  • How to structure your interviews:
    • Brief overview of who they are
    • Deep dive into their problems
    • Present solution for feedback
    • Tell them that this is NOT a sales call
  • Start running surveys:
    • Expect 10% response rate
    • Only ask questions that you need
    • Don’t exceed 10 questions
    • Start with open response
    • Categorize responses to see trends
  • Use Qualaroo surveys to target steps in funnel (“What is preventing you from wanting to start a free trial?”)
  • Pull user activity logs on two groups
  • Find 20 of each:
    • Ideal customers
    • Customers that started but left
    • How are these two groups different?
  • Start doing usability testing – e.g. through Amazon Mechanical Turk
    • great for general UX
    • no good for market-specific insights

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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