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Should founders and investors be mutually agreeable to use the Y Combinator Series AA documents and what changes should founders deem generally unacceptable?

I can see where Gil Silberman and Antone Johnson are coming from in their answers to this question. I think founders who want to be their own bosses shouldn’t use the Y Combinator Series A Term Sheet Template.If you can muster the patience to build what John W Mullins calls a customer-funded business, you can reject the terms of the Y Combinator Series A Term Sheet Template that are not founder-friendly.As Mullins writes in The Customer-Funded Business, “Making do with the probably modest amounts of cash your customers will give you enforces frugality, rather than waste… and will force you to run your business better.” Customer-funded or bootstrapped companies have the option to walk away from angels and venture capitalists (VCs) and grow organically until they command investment terms in line with the Founder Friendly Standard.INFOGRAPHIC: How Founder-Friendly Standard compares to term sheet templates like the Y Combinator Series A, Y Combinator Safe, 500 Startups KISS, and moreComparing the Y Combinator Series A Term Sheet Template to the Founder Friendly StandardHow do you define founder-friendly? To perform this comparison, I used the Founder Friendly Standard to grade the Y Combinator Series A Term Sheet Template (“YC Term Sheet” or “the term sheet”) for founder-friendliness.Section 1.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Individuals who work for the company and are instrumental in its inception (“Founders”) receive a class of equity such as Common Stock which provides no less than twenty-four (24) votes to one (1) vote of stock held by investors or employees.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 1.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard. There is no super-voting equity for founders.Section 1.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Investors receive a class of equity such as Class A Preferred Stock which will have one vote per share with a higher par value justified by a liquidation preference.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 1.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard. While the term sheet provides a liquidation preference of 1x the original issue, it lets the Lead Investor appoint one member (“Preferred Director”) of a three-person board. Investor shares also have special veto powers when adjusting Preferred Stock to let new investors in, selling the company, or changing the number of directors on the board. This is akin to giving investors super-voting equity, not one vote per share.Section 1.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Employees and contractors receive a class of equity such as Class B Common Stock which carries one vote per share and does not have a liquidation preference.YC Term Sheet is compatible with Section 1.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard. Although the term sheet doesn’t provide for a third class of stock for employees, one would expect employee equity to receive 1 vote per share with no liquidation preference as this is not special treatment.Section 1.4 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:The first board consists only of Founders. The term of the board is one year. After the first year, a new board is elected by the equity holders at the annual meeting. Board decisions are made by a majority vote of the board. Board members cast no more than one vote each on any decision. Board committees are disallowed for at least the first two (2) years.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 1.4 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet provides that two directors are elected by the holders of a majority of Common Stock, and one Preferred Director is appointed by the lead investor. While it looks like the founders would control two-thirds of the board, further provisions require the Preferred Director and the majority of the holders of Preferred Stock to approve actions like adjusting Preferred Stock to let new investors in, selling the company, or changing the number of directors on the board. These veto powers can put the investors, rather than founders, in control of the company. Founders, isn’t the point of starting your own company to be your own boss?Section 1.5 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:New equity of any kind, including stock option pools, dilutes all equity holders equally. Therefore, no investor in the company has anti-dilution rights of any kind.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 1.5 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The conversion of Preferred into Common shares is subject to the “Broad-based Weighted Average anti-dilution protection.” This means that if the company raises money in the future at a lower valuation than the valuation used in the current round, the current investors will be partially protected. Down-side protection seems unnecessary in such an early round of funding. Early-stage companies are risky by definition. Do you think investors and founders should share that risk equally?On a positive note, the YC Term sheet calculates the option pool on a post-money basis. That helps reduce the trickery that my colleague, Jennifer Persico Rohleder, points out in Section 1.5 of her analysis of the Gust Series Seed term sheet.Section 2.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Founders agree in writing they will give and receive performance reviews at the end of each fiscal quarter for the first four (4) years.YC Term Sheet does not address section 2.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is silent on this issue.Section 2.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Sweat equity vests each month over a period of four (4) years with a one (1) year vesting cliff. Vesting begins on the date shares are issued.YC Term Sheet does not address Section 2.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard. This is a big issue to be silent on. What if a co-founder holding 25% of the equity leaves after a few months? Watch out for how vesting gets addressed in any follow-on documents that may be needed to finalize the investment.Section 2.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Founders keep all information confidential and assign the company all intellectual property created within the scope of their work for the company.YC Term Sheet does not address Section 2.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard. Watch out for how confidentiality and intellectual property get addressed in any follow-on documents that may be needed to finalize the investment.Section 2.4 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Due to potentially devastating tax consequences, the company tells individuals receiving sweat equity in the United States to consult with a tax professional about making an election under Section 83(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. Founders who live or pay taxes outside the United States are similarly advised to consult tax professionals about applicable local and national taxes.YC Term Sheet does not address Section 2.4 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is silent on this issue. Make sure you talk to a licensed tax professional in your state/province/country as soon as possible.Section 2.5 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Non-compete restrictions only apply to employee or independent contractor agreements and do not survive termination. The company’s bylaws and other investor agreements are either silent on the issue of non-competition or expressly allow competition.YC Term Sheet is compatible with Section 2.4 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is silent on the issue of non-competition, which makes it possible for founders to find work after they leave the company. Watch out for non-compete restrictions in any follow-on documents that may be needed to finalize the investment. Agreeing to a non-compete can have devastating consequences if you are underpaid and ultimately leave the company without selling your equity at a high price.Section 3.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:For at least the first two (2) years of operations, the company will not agree to pay the legal expenses of any investor as a condition of investment.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 3.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet says the Company is responsible for paying the Lead Investor’s legal fees up to $30,000. How could this be used to extract concessions from founders in any follow-on documents to finalize the investment?Section 3.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:For at least the first two (2) years of operations, the company does not agree to binding arbitration with any investor.YC Term Sheet is compatible with Section 3.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is silent on dispute resolution, which opens the door for founders and investors to go to court rather than arbitration. Watch out for arbitration clauses in any follow-on documents that may be needed to finalize the investment.Section 3.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:For at least the first two (2) years of operations, the company does not agree to binding arbitration with any Founder.YC Term Sheet is compatible with Section 3.3 of the Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is silent on dispute resolution, which opens the door for founders and investors to go to court rather than arbitration. Watch out for arbitration clauses in any follow-on documents that may be needed to finalize the investment.Section 4.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:Upon any transfer or sale of Founders’ super-voting equity, the portion of equity transferred converts to the class of equity described in Section 1.3. This also includes any transfer to a Founder’s estate, spouse, or heirs.YC Term Sheet is incompatible with Section 4.1 of the Founder Friendly Standard. Founders do not have super-voting equity in the term sheet.Section 4.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard says:The company has the right of first refusal on any transfer or sale of equity for up to forty-five (45) days, but it cannot veto a transfer or sale. This provision is void after a company’s stock is listed on a public exchange such as the NASDAQ, OTCBB, New York Stock Exchange, etc.YC Term Sheet is compatible with Section 4.2 of the Founder Friendly Standard—although not as much as founders might like. The term sheet doesn’t provide an outright veto right, but it does have stipulations. Investors get the right of first refusal to buy a founder’s stock. And if a founder finds a buyer for her stock, investors would have the right to sell to her buyer first.Should I accept ‘standard’ seed investment terms that aren’t Founder-friendly?YC Term Sheet is compatible with five issues (sections 1.3, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, and 4.2) in Founder Friendly Standard. The term sheet is incompatible with six issues (sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 3.1, and 4.1). It is silent on four issues (sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4).YC Term Sheet states that all terms are non-binding except the 30 day “No Shop” provision. The implication is more legal documents are needed to complete the transaction. Combined with my finding in Section 3.1 above that the company pays up to $30K of legal fees, the “No Shop” provision could set entrepreneurs up to make big concessions before the deal is done.José Ancer puts it this way in his blog post, The Problem with ‘Standard’ Term Sheets (including YC’s):The problem, once you sign a term sheet, is your leverage and flexibility dramatically go down. It becomes far easier for investors to pressure you with this or that language (which they will usually claim is also “standard”) than it would’ve been during the term sheet phase. So, rushing to sign a short term sheet favors investors over startups.Experienced investors will expect the final legal documents to be consistent with the National Venture Capital Association (“NVCA”) model documents. To see how the 100+ pages of NVCA docs compare to the Founder Friendly Standard, read Keith Strahan and Josh Mathews’ analysis. (Summary: NVCA docs are not founder-friendly.) You don’t want to give up negotiating leverage until the deal is done.If you need to build more leverage to get the investment terms you want, consider bootstrapping. Read The Customer-Funded Business by John W Mullins for ideas on how you can tweak your business model to be cash-flow positive with customer funds—even as you’re investing in growth. Bootstrapping is short-term pain for long-term career fulfillment. You’re more likely to end up your own boss if you bootstrap.If your California or New York-based startup has received a term sheet from an investor, and you’d like to talk through the issues, visit my Avvo profile or send me an email [email protected] of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: K. Adam Bloom (“Author”) is not providing any financial, economic, legal, accounting, or tax advice or recommendations on this site. Although Author is an attorney licensed in California and New York, the information contained on this site was prepared for general information purposes only, does not constitute research, advice, or a recommendation from Author to the reader and is not a substitute for personalized financial or legal advice. Neither Author nor any of his affiliates make any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements contained on this site. Author and his affiliates expressly disclaim any liability (including any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damages) for all posts and their content.

Is the Y-Combinator Series AA term sheet appropriate for life sciences and/or biopharma companies?

To answer this question, I'm assuming you are referring to the Series AA equity financing documents in Page on ycombinator.com.The short answer is yes.The medium answer is that any company is governed by the same type of documents and thus wether a term sheet or Certificate of Incorporation is appropriate for a company does not really depend on the activity the company is engaged in (tech, medtech, biotech...), but whether it is acceptable and appropriate for the directors and shareholders (assuming the documents are properly drafted from a legal standpoint).The long answer follows:In principle you can take any template that is valid in your jurisdiction (please note YC Series AA as written are only valid in US), and modify it to suit the terms that your current shareholders and your new investors agree on in order to accept the investment.So what is important here is that, if you decide to use the YC template, you are fully aware of the type of rights you are giving the new investors. I shall try to explain the terms of these documents in "plain English", so you have a better idea of what you are signing if you accept investments using these models.To cut down on the legalese clutter, just focus on the document entitled "Series_AA_COI.docx", that is, the AMENDED AND RESTATEDCERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION. This is the key document that explains the rights of the different classes of shares, and that you need to "decipher" to know what you are signing into. The rest of documents are more just operational to effect the required steps to accept the investment and the new amendments to the certificate of incorporation. They are obviously also important, but basically they just need to be internally consistent. All the "meat" is in the Series_AA_COI document.Let's analyse what that most important terms in the COI document are saying:Series AA are preferred shares: First you need to understand that the way the document is written, it establishes the Series AA shares as preferred shares, that is, giving the holders of such shares rights ABOVE the holders of common shares (which the document assumes are all the previously existing shareholders). Next step is to understand what are the rights you are giving the Series AA investors.Liquidation right: In the event of liquidation (i.e. company goes bust, is sold, or you close it down), Series AA have the right to receive assets of the company before the other shareholders that own common stock. The amount they are entitled to receive is known as "liquidation preference" (colloquially "Liq Pref"), and can be from 1x to whatever you agree in the document. If the price per share for the Series AA shares that your investors pay is, say for example, $1, then it could be considered "fair" that their liquidation preference per share is $1 (i.e 1x). This is to protect your investors from you closing down the company immediately after their investment, and redistributing the cash according to shareholder ownership. Without this clause, for example if your Series AA investors put in $1m for 20% of the company, and you close down the company the next day, they would only get $200K back (i.e. they would lose 80% of their investment in one day)! Of course your investors would try to sue your a$$ off, but that's another matter. With a 1x Liq Pref, the investors will get their money back before the rest of common shareholders. Where this gets "naughty" is if the investors demand a higher than 1x Liq Pref. That is, they could invest at $1 per share, but have a Liq Pref of $3 per share. What this means is, say again the Series AA invested $1m for 20% of the company, and the next day you get an offer to buy you out for $3m, all the money would go to the Series AA investors! This is something many entrepreneurs don't realise, and a lot of VCs demand such extra Liq Prefs. Be very very careful here, as if you get several rounds with investors each with Liq Prefs, and together with other rights, your preferred investors can force you to sell ("drag along"), you could find you worked your a$$ off for 5 years, sold your company for $100m, and still made no money.Conversion right and mechanics: The series AA have the right to convert to common shares, either at their own will anytime, or automatically upon some events, such as an IPO. This is not per se a big deal, as there are many valid reasons why this is necessary, which I won't go into. However, the tricky bit is in conjunction with the clauses defining the Conversion Ratio (CR). The CR is equal to the Original Issue Price (OPI, $1 per share in our previous examples), divided by the Conversion Price (CP). So, normally CR=1, that is, the OPI is say $1 and the CP is $1 as well. Again, this makes sense if the CR=1, but be careful that OPI=CP, otherwise if CR=2, if your series AA get say, 10% of the company, they could convert to common immediately next day and increase their shareholding to 18.2%! (not 20% because of added dilution). I've never seen this done, as it would be outright evil, but just be careful. Where this becomes more relevant is in the next right, which is not explicitly mentioned in these documents.Anti-dilution right: In these set of documents, it's a bit obfuscated, but you can find this right under the "(d) Adjustments to Conversion Price for Diluting Issues" clauses. Basically what this means is that, if you in the future issue shares to other investors, at a price which is lower than what your Series AA investors paid for their shares, the Conversion Price (CP) which we mentioned in point 3), will be "adjusted". I bet you can imagine such "adjustments" won't be precisely in your favour, can't you? In the way that the formula works in this set of documents, it is a "broad-based weighted average" adjustment. This is considered to be quite "fair", so it's kind of fine (if you are happy giving investors anti-dilution rights at all, which is not a must and I would try to negotiate against it). Be however very very careful again if someone changes this formula to a "full ratchet" calculation, where if New Issue Price (NIP) < Old Conversion Price (OCP), then New Conversion Price = NIP. This would mean, if Series AA originally invested at $1 with CP=$1 (CR=1), and you get new investors buying just 1 share at $0.5, ALL your Series AA new CP would be also $0.5, and thus their Conversion Ratio would go up to 2. Again, one of the areas that investors can take advantage of in negotiations with inexperienced entrepreneurs.Voting rights: I don't see anything too "nasty" here, but basically the holders of preferred have same voting rights as common, except that if you want to amend again the certificate on incorporation, you would need the approval of at least 50% of the Series AA preferred shares. That might not seem a big deal, but you have to understand that if you were to get a VC wanting to have another class of preferred shares (say Series B), even if your Series AA investors only make 10% of the shareholding, they could block such an agreement. This is actually a conflict that arises quite frequently, as VCs might demand rights above those of the Series AA which the Series AA are not happy with, and since they can block the deal, you will have to bring them into the negotiations. You may end up with the Series AA wanting same rights as the Series B to agree to an investment, so if you have given a lot of rights to the VC, you will be "doubly screwed".So, in summary, these are not too bad documents per se (supposing you enter the right amounts in the right places), but nonetheless you are giving out preferred shares and rights. If you can get away with just giving out common shares would be way better, but as in any negotiation it's all about how badly investors want to invest in your company vs how badly you need their money...Hope this helps and good luck with your venture!

What is the ultimate growth hacking process?

I love the fact that you are asking about the Growth Hacking Process instead of the best X growth hacks.Tactics fade away, processes stay.Here is the ultimate guide on how to set up your Growth Hacking Process, run your first experiment and save up to 849$/month doing it.Feel free to copy it to your Google Drive with this link.I wrote this because of the following returning question:“How would you Growth Hack my business?”It’s a question I smell coming miles away.I love the expression on their face when I tell them:“I have absolutely no clue”.That’s like asking a stranger on the road: ‘how would you love me?’You can’t ‘just love somebody’.He/she doesn’t know who you are, what you do and whom your friends are.My reply is always the same.It’s that one question that determines how they are doing:“How does your growth process look like right now?”The reason why I ask this question is because the rule to growth is simple, but therefore not easy.Process comes before Tactics.Why?The reason is simple, tactics change, processes don't.Period.This guide will teach you how to:Set up your growth process without paying 849$ / monthly fee to Growthhackers Projects and say goodbye to google docs and paper sheets.Automate your idea flow and prioritization the ideas in order to spend the minimum amount of time in Google Sheets nobody reads. (wow that rhymed).Set up your first experiment.This guide will not teach you:How to brainstorm growth ideas.How to become a Growth Master and decide which experiments to run first.This guide is for:Business owners/founders who want to coördinate the growth of their teams.Marketing Managers who need a more structured way to grow their business.Self-proclaimed growth hackers who need a framework.Growth Consultants that want to guide their clients in a processed way to growth.Process:Understand & choose your One Metric That Matters.Set up a structured way to document your brainstorming ideas.Create & automate a backlog for your ideas to prioritize themCreate, test and analyze your first experiment.(Optional) Use a chatbot to capture ideas on the fly.Tools used:PipefyZapierGoogle SheetEstimated time to set up:35-45 minutes. (depending on your awesome reading skills)In case you hadn’t figured it out. I write about growing companies in a structured and processed way.Join 1072 like-minded people that receive my guides every 2 weeks on Monday 9am right here: http://bit.ly/ricardoghekieregrowthprocesses.Growth OutlineStep 1: Find & write down your One Metric That Matters.1.1. Why you need an OMTM1.2. How to pick the One Metric That MattersStep 2: Set up your growth process for success.2.1. Process before Tactics: Set up your OMTM in Pipefy2.2. Process before tactics: Set up your Brainstorm Process in Pipefy2.3. Track those juices: Create your idea backlog in Google Sheets.2.4. Let the adults speak: create a Zapier account to connect your Google Sheet with your Pipefy.2.5. Don’t trust the humans: correct the human perception out of your idea score.2.6. Be more like my buddy Edison. Set up your experiment the right way, without losing valuable data.2.8. Let’s become Mister Edison: run your first experimentPick you OMTMThe BrainstormThe experimentDon’t think, just test it.Be a doctor, analyze your results.3. The last step to real growth.Step 1: Find & write down your One Metric That Matters.If you have been in the Growth Marketing scene, you’ll know what an OMTM is .For those who don’t, this is the simple explanation:“It’s the One Metric That Matters to you and your company at this moment of time.”Picking the OMTM lets you run more controlled growth experiments quickly and compare the results more effectively.For example, If you would compare your company to running a Marathon, you would say that your OMTM is the amount of miles you have to run to win the race.Always keep in mind that the OMTM will change over time as you get further down the race.Because at one point, you’ll need to start swimming or jumping on your bike.As there are tons of great blogs explaining what an OMTM and how to find yours, i’ll discuss them very short while mainly focussing on the process you can use to start creating your first experiments.Here is a quick recap why you need it and how you can find it.1.1. Why you need an OMTMAccording to Kissmetrics, there are 4 reasons why you need to have an OMTM, I have added one more:You need answers.During your growth sprints, you’ll have tons of assumptions that need to be validated. Knowing which metric you need to move will help you answer your teams questions and assumptions.2. It draws a line in the sand and have clear goals.You could celebrate that you drank enough water during the Marathon, but if this has no impact on your end result, which is the amount of miles you are running, it’s a worthless metric. Having an OMTM allows you to have a clear way to define success for you and your team.3. It focuses your entire company.I think the title says it all, not?4. It sets the line to experimentOn average 9 out of 10 experiments fail, and most of the time, the ones that succeed aren’t the ones that you saw coming. Let me repeat that, on average 9 out of 10 experiments fail. As you are moving the Metric and your general ideas run out, people will start thinking outside of the box to get everything moving.5. You can hold teams accountable.Noticed I used the word teams and not individuals? Because you are running experiments together, there is no ‘you screwed it up’. If it goes down, and it will, everybody is responsible. Having a big fat number up there, helps you hold the team responsible without them shooting vanity metrics in your face.1.2. How to pick the One Metric That MattersSince every growth experiment evolves around your OMTM, its’ important to think about which metric to choose.There are 3 criteria of questions you need to answer in order to determine your Marketing Metric:What marketing goals are you trying to accomplish?What kind of company are you? (B2C or B2B)Who is your audience that you are running experiments towards? (everybody is not an audience)Once the above questions are answered, it will become clear what is most important to your business, right now. Use that goal and implement the best practices below to create your one marketing metric that matters.This metric will then guide you in setting up additional supporting metrics that can be used to dig deeper when necessary to understand increases, decreases, and anomalies in performance.Now, I know some smart people will say: ‘that’s easy, my metric is sales’.Not quite right.Here are 3 rules of thumb for determining your OMTM:Measurement comparison: Use a rate or ratio instead of a hard number.Comparison over time: Use a comparative metric, such as year-over-year or month-over-month, instead of a simple figure.Keep it simple: Your metric should be “no more complicated than a golf handicap”.Take for example the OMTM of Medium (reading app):The OMTM they measure is the total time reading per month. On the surface, this seems like a simple metric, but deceptively so. It points toward a focus on quality content and engagement.Here are some great blogs to read further about this topic if you haven’t quite figured it all out yet:http://leananalyticsbook.com/one-metric-that-matters/https://blog.kissmetrics.com/single-startup-metric/https://medium.com/@bayramannakov/how-to-find-omtm-using-googe-analytics-ada9e22b2147In this guide i’ll choose the OMTM as the amount of monthly subscribers to my Facebook chatbot as an example.If you want to receive content like this and you haven’t subscribed yet, this is your link to go: http://bit.ly/ricardoghekieregrowthprocessesStep 2: Set up your growth process for success.I have tried Trello.I have tried AsanaI have tried Google Documents.I have tried tons of tools to execute Growth Experiments in an efficient way.The key word is efficient here, since you don’t want people spending too much time in sheets they can’t find, tests that have gone missing or data that wasn’t captured.The problem is that every person in Growth Marketing has his own vision on how to run Growth Experiments, therefore you need to have a system that is versatile and has an interface people want to work in.This is the simple reason I choose Pipefy for my Growth Processes.Clean interface, Integration with Zapier for automation to safe time, almost anything is customizable and free up to 5 users.Today i’ll teach you exactly how to set up the interface in order for you to run experiments by the end of this guide.Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that you’ll adapt it more towards the needs of your own company.2.1. Process before Tactics: Set up your OMTM in PipefyLet’s start with creating an account on Pipefy right here (that was pretty obvious).While setting up your account, you’ll see they have a ready-made Growth Hacking Experiment template. This is the template we will be using as a foundation in our next step.First we are going to use an empty template to set up our OMTM and name it, well, One Metric That Matters. If you did everything right, you’ll end up seeing following template:2. Great job. Setting up and tracking your OMTM is going to be the first critical step to designing your Growth Hacking Experiments. This is the guideline where all your experiments will flow from. Now it’s time to customize it!Double click on the names and give them the following names respectively: ‘OMTM’, ‘Doing’, ‘Goal Reached’’ and ‘Did not reach Goal’Great! Now we need to set the structure we want to have when writing down our OMTM. For this, we want to track the following data:1. What is your one Metric That Matters? Always choose a ratio/percentage over a flat number! (in my case this is the monthly subscribers on my FB chatbot)2. Baseline Metric: where does this metric currently stand?3. Target Metric: Where do you want the number to be?4. Leading indicators: What are metrics that are linked to your OMTM. (in my case, this is website traffic, people reading my guides and people referring to my chatbot).5. Target date: A goal without a timeline is just a dreamLet’s start with creating this form. Head over to blue plus sign on the right bottom of your screen.Delete the ‘what?’ → move your mouse to the entry field → you’ll see 3 dots on the right corner → delete.Recreate the below image by customizing your form. Here are some tips to help you out:1. First 4 are created by ‘text’, last one is ‘date’.2. Add descriptions to make it clear to everybody walking in your form (or for you to remember). These are the light grey texts.Done? Great! Write down your first OMTM. Don’t worry if this isn’t the final one.Now as a last step, we need to make sure that when the target date is reached, we can decide if we have reached our goal or not.Therefore we need to make a small change to our pipe.Go to ‘Goal reached’ and click on the 3 dots → edit this phase → this phase is an end of the proces → save (I always forget this)! This makes sure we can recall the data later-on.Awesome, you have now created your first pipe to track the progress of your OMTM.2.2. Process before tactics: Set up your Brainstorm Process in PipefyIt’s time to set up the template where you’ll be spending most of your time to organize structured growth sprints.Add a new pipe and pick the ‘Growth Hacking Experiments’Before starting any experiment, you need ideas (pretty obvious). How to brainstorm ideas for your growth processes is a whole different process i’ll be writing about next. For now, I’ll help you set up the process.Every idea always has the same template.Pirate funnel: We choose which part of the Pirate Funnel (AAARR) we are trying to impact. The Pirate Funnel is a wonderful framework to help you better understand your consumers. It’ll help you measure your funnel and enable you to optimize it for the better. Read more about it here if you want to have a quick update about it.Idea owner: We add idea owners in order to remember who launched the initial idea to explain later-on, not to give praise if it works.Short idea name: to find them quickly later-on.Detailed Description Idea: this is where we explain everything into details about our idea.Probability: each idea is given a score between 1 and 5 by the PIE framework (Probability, Impact & Ease). Basically, the higher the number, the fewer the resources and the easier it would be to test. If the overall score is high, there's a better chance it'll get tested.Now, this is the first step where every Growth Marketer will argue about. Some use different terminology & other’s user other frameworks. This one works best for me, feel free to adapt to your needs.In this case, we rate the chance the experiment will succeed or not depending on your own experience or past experiments. It’s scary and vague in the beginning but don’t worry, you’ll only get better at this.Impact on Metric: Just as explained above, we’ll give a score on what we feel the impact is going to be on the OMTM we picked earlier. This makes sure you always keep your eyes on the ball.Ease: Give a score on how hard you think the test is going to be to implement. Some ideas are great, but sometimes too difficult or long to implement, making them less attractive.As a final step, let’s tell Pipefy how we want to register our ideas.Click on the plus sign on the bottom right cornerClick customize this form and add ‘Assignee’ with the name ‘idea owner’.Add a checklist, name it ‘Probability’, pick horizontal and give it 1 to 5 numbers.Repeat the step above twice and name them ‘Impact on Metric’ and ‘Ease’It should look like this (don’t bother about the order):f. Go ahead and write down your first experiment, don’t worry about it being a shitty idea. It’s important to have at least one idea in your pipe for our automation later-on.You’ll see that a new card has been added to your Brainstorm pipe. Awesome!Now every single time a team member has an idea to grow the business, they can now use this template to register it in the same format.2.3. Track those juices: Create your idea backlog in Google Sheets.You know how to document all the ideas you and your team have to grow the OMTM, great!Now you have another problem my mother always used to say:“Ideas are worth sh*t, it’s all about execution”.Maybe she didn’t say it like this, but you get the point.Once you have all those amazing ideas, how do you pick the ones you want to test first (since you can’t test all of them).This is where the PIE framework, discussed earlier, comes into play.Every idea has been given a score on their Probability, Impact and Ease which will add up to a general score.The higher the score, the higher the chance the idea will be tested.It’s that simple.Since Pipefy can’t make calculations and we still want a nice backlog of all the ideas, we need to create a Google Sheet where all our ideas are kept.Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend ages creating and figuring out how. You can use this pre-made template to save you some time.Make a copy to your Google Drive and make sure to not make any changements. It’s important for our automation steps later-on. Trust me, it sucks figuring it out on your own.Now we have all our ideas written down in Pipefy, it’s time to automate all that data towards your Google Sheet.No monkey work for you!2.4. Let the adults speak: create a Zapier account to connect your Google Sheet with your Pipefy.The only thing I hate more than burned Belgian Fries are doing tasks that can be run more efficiently. The key idea here is that all the experiments you are documenting in Pipefy are automatically shot to your Google Sheet in order to prioritize and create a backlog of your ideas, without doing the monkey workCreate A free Zapier Account right here. If you haven’t worked with Zapier before, don’t worry, it’s easier than cooking Spaghetti (which says more about me I guess).Create your first Zap.Search for Pipefy and select it.Choose ‘new card’Connect your account. You’ll be asked to give your API key and email you signed in. If the links don’t work, go to ‘user settings’ in your Pipefy account and scroll down until you see API key’.Choose the pipe you want to receive data from, which will probably be named ‘Growth Hacking Experiments’.Test your connection, eh violà, you are half way! (If it’s not fetching data, go to your pipefy and create a new experiment and retry).Now you are pulling data out of Pipefy, it’s time to send it to your Google Sheet to document everything. Go to ‘set up this step’ → ‘choose app’ → search and choose google sheetsCreate the 3rd option, not the first. (create spreadsheet rows)Connect your Google Account (use the same account you have used to save the Google Sheet Backlog template)Search for the template you have saved in your Google Drive.Choose the worksheet you want to send data to, if you haven’t changed anything there will only be one named ‘idea backlog + prioritization’.Now comes an important step. We are going to tell Zapier in which column the data needs to be moved to. This is how it should look like at the end, but let’s start with baby steps. Start with clicking on the ‘thing’ inside the red square.You’ll see a long list of options. Lucky you, because you have a guide to tell you what to pick.Search for ‘Field’ in the search option. Choose the Field ‘pirate funnel Metric’ or in your case it will probably be named ‘where does it impact?’. (not the unformatted one)The same goes for the rest of the list:Owner → search ‘Field’ → Field ‘ idea owner’Idea title → search ‘Field’ → Field ‘What is your idea?’Idea description → search ‘Field’ → ‘describe your experiment’.Probability → search ‘Field’ → ‘probability’.Impact → search ‘Field’ → ‘impact on metric’.Ease → search ‘Field’ → ‘ease’.Score is empty (you’ll be calculating this yourself in Google Sheet, you could automate this, but i’ll save you the trouble for now)Let’s put it to a test! If everything worked out fine, you’ll see a new row is created in your Google Sheet with the experiment you wrote down in Pipefy. Just like this:All you have to do now click on the score in row 2 (18), you’ll see a blue square appear in the right bottom corner of the number 18. Drag that down to your experiment.Warning! Don’t drag it further than the experiments that are in the sheet or it will become a mess. (I had some great time figuring that out).Eh violà. You now have an automated way to shoot your experiments into a google sheet and calculate the score of your experiments in a jiffy.Before understanding why you shouldn’t trust humans, join 1072 like-minded people whom receive my guides every 2 weeks on Monday 9am right here: http://bit.ly/ricardoghekieregrowthhack.2.5. Don’t trust the humans: correct the human perception out of your idea score.Most of us think we're awesome and more often than not, we judge ourselves as better than average in most traits. We do this in all kinds of ways.You might believe you're a better driver than you really are (after all, everyone else on the road sucks, right? You must be above average). Or you might think you're a lot nicer than you are (other people are jerks). You might even see yourself as smarter than you are.Psychologists call this illusory superiority. Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias that causes us to overestimate our positive qualities and underestimate our negative qualities.The same goes for the ideas we have. We tend to overestimate our own ideas, because you know, it’s your idea.The things that were supposed to only take a day's work, end up a being a weeks work.The referral campaign you planned to build is stopped by the legal department.The developer comes in 2 days later telling you that it’s technically impossible within the timeframe given.I have seen it all.Therefore it’s advised to have these 2 people in your growth sprints:Growth Master: Have an experienced person who knows about growth experiments to have a look at the experiments and reset the score to something more realistic.All the creators: Have the people who are going to be building the experiment in the room and ask their opinion about the ease of implementing it. Most of the time it takes longer than what you might had in mind.Alright, you now have the experts opinion on what is feasible and are prioritized by scores.It’s time to start building your experiments.Head over back to your Pipefy ‘Growth Hacking Experiments’ and move all the chosen experiments from your Google Sheet to phase 2: ‘Prioritize’.It’s time to design your growth experiments.2.6. Be more like my buddy Edison. Set up your experiment the right way, without losing valuable data.Most people think that Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb.They’re wrong.In fact, Edison was spectacularly late to the game.The moment he started focussing on building the light bulb, more than 20 people had already invented earlier versions of what we now call lights bulbs.The interesting question to ask is therefore:“How did Edison win in such a crowded field when he was so far behind?”He and his team spent a year working day and night doing thousands of experiments.On October 21, 1879, they succeeded, creating a light bulb for everyday use in the home.Edison would go on to pioneer five different multibillion-dollar fields with his invention factory: electricity, motion pictures, telecommunications, batteries, and sound recording.What was the key to Edison’s incredible success?In two words —processed experimentation.For Edison, building a company was synonymous with building an invention factory.As said in my intro, growth is very simple but therefore not easy.The more experiments you run, the faster you learn, the bigger the chance you breakthrough from your competitors.“I always compare growth to calling somebody lucky.”People call successful people ‘lucky’ because they only notice a screenshot of their life.What they don’t notice is the amount of sweat, blood and tears they have put into their career.The same goes for growth.The more experiments you run, the bigger the chances that people will call you ‘lucky’ for growing your company.Be more like Edison and create your own ‘luck’ by remembering these wise words after asking him why he hadn’t had any results after 9000 experiments:‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.’Let’s start setting up your process to document every step of your growth process.2.7. Tactics change, processes not: Set up your process for repeated success.A typical experiment set up looks like this.Just a Google Docs that you’ll end up spending a bunch of time naming it, sharing it with the right people, putting it in the right map and separate the winners from the losers.That time is all over now, we have moved on into a more digital way of doing it.To start your experiment, you’ll need to capture the following data:Your assumption. (what do you believe to be true?)How you are going to verify your assumptionsHow you are going to measure itThe metric that has to be achieve to know if your assumption is true.Possible blockers.We build this form to make sure that every time an idea is prioritized, it contains this information which saves us a bunch of time when analyzing the experiment.This is where Pipefy comes in great.It allows you make certain fields required and therefore helps you remember to fill in the blank spots when forgotten, after all, we are still human.Let’s set the data entry and the required fields:Go to your Growth Hacking Experiment pipe → click the 3 dots next to ‘Prioritize’ → edit this phase →Let’s delete the field ‘prioritize’ → click on the gear → scroll down and deleteCreate the following new fields, make sure to always checkbox the ‘field is required’ and ‘editable’:Once you have created all the fields, it’s time to go back to your pipe. Click on your prioritized experiment, you’ll see a new screen pops up:Every time you want to move an experiment card to the next phase, you or your team will now need to fill in all the blank fields to describe your experiment.Congratulations! You have now brainstormed an idea, prioritized it according to the PIE framework and set up the process to write down your experiments.Now it’s time to write down your first experiment.2.8. Let’s become Mister Edison: run your first experimentPick you OMTMBefore designing any experiment or brainstorming about growth ideas it’s important that everybody in the team understands what the end goal should be.Everybody needs to know these 5 factors:What is your OMTMHow much is that metric right nowWhere do you want that metric to beWhat are your leading indicators? (metrics related to you OMTM)The target date you want to achieve that goal. (A goal without a timeline is just a dream)Once everybody on your team is clear about the goal you can move towards brainstorming ideas to grow that number.For this exercise we will choose the following set up.OMTM: growth of your monthly newsletter/chatbot subscribers.Metric right now: 1074Goal to reach: 1500Leading indicators: website visitors & # of people reading the growth guides.Target date: 1 February 2018Now everybody knows what the goal is, where you are now and where you want to go, it’s time to brainstorm ideas to move the metric.The BrainstormThere are tons of ways to brainstorm ideas to move your Metric, so I won’t go any deeper into this.Let’s say you have brainstormed 15 different ideas to acquire new users and build awareness.You gave it a PIE score, revised it with your Growth Manager and the people involved building the experiment.You end up deciding that retargeting all your Linkedin Connections is a great way to start building awareness and acquire possible users for your newsletter/chatbot.You end up moving that experiment card to the second stage ‘prioritize’ and using this guide to pull it off.Great, let’s start designing the experiment.The experimentBefore you can move the experiment to your 3rd row, you’ll need to create an experiment card.The card will ask you for:What your assumption is (we believe that):This is where you describe what you believe will happen when you run the experiment. For example: You believe 50 people will sign up to your newsletter/chatbot when you retarget your Linkedin connections on Facebook2. What you will do to verify your assumption:This one is easy, all you have to do is copy-paste the detailed description you wrote down on the left. In this case this could be following this guide in order to retarget your Linkedin Connections on Facebook.3. What you will measure:Figure out what you will measure in order to test your assumptions. In this case it will be the amount of people who click on your Facebook add and the amount of people who sign up to your newsletter. In Marketing terms, you conversation rate.If possible, try to resonate why something would happen (ex: people already trust you as a person).4. What needs to happen if you are right:Describe what you expect to get from the experiment, in other words, the target goal you want to achieve (ex. 50 new subscribers).5. Possible blockers:Think about what could block the experiment upfront so you can solve the problems before starting your experiment. in this case that would probably be the legal department if you have one :).Filled in every blank space?Great.Let’s save the card and move it to the ‘Set Up Experiment’ pipe.It’s time to put it to a test.Don’t think, just test it.I think this would work, I think that might to the trick.Whatever.Just put it to a test and let the numbers speak.Once your experiments are described and everybody knows what to do, it’s time to move it the next phase: Testing.Click on the experiment card and set a start and end date.Be a doctor, analyze your results.What if you would go to your doctor, freak out about having your blood taken (yikesss) and never get your results analyzed?Everybody would freak out if this happened.Yet, most people forget the most important step.Analyzing your results to understand why something worked or didn’t work (especially the last one).As mentioned before.Growth is simple but therefore not easy.You experiment, test and analyze and scale what works for your company.But without the proper analyze, you are doomed to fail from day 1.Move your card the last phase ‘Analyze’ and click on your expriment.It’s time to analyze your findings.To have a basic analyze of your findings, you’ll need to be able to answer the following questions:What’s your improvement rate?How many new subscribers did you get in the period of time.Did you reach your intended goal?This one is pretty obvious.Why did you achieve or not achieve the goals?Before moving to your next experiment and categorizing it, you need to know why something did or did not work out well.What is the learnings you have learned for your further experiments?These learnings aren’t just important for you and your team right now, but for future experiments. Your team might evolve throughout the years. Having a set of learnings ready for new people to come in is gold.Once you have everything written down, it’s time to move to your last and final step.Drag your experiment, depending if it’s a winner, loser or inconclusive (you’ll have to still change the name of the column from ‘archived’ to ‘inconclusive’), to the right column. :)You can now give yourself a big high-five and treat yourself a coffee, you are now ready to kickstart your first experiments and grow your company in a processed way.3. The last step to real growth.Do you know what the last step to finish a AA (alcoholic anonymous) course is?Probably not.The last step to finish an alcohol course is to help another person get out of his addiction.Why?For the simple reason that helping another person will lower the chances of you falling back to your old habits.Now I am not saying you are an Alcoholic.But what will happen in the near future (and probably already in the past) is this:You will see top posts on different sites that go like this:15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja10 Brilliant Marketing Stunts That Put Startups On The Map ReadThe 3 hacks that got SpringSled 138,790 users in less than 40 daysIt’s tricky to fall back into only implementing tactics, without thinking about the processed way.Therefore, I ask you just this one favor:Share this guide with just 1 person (or more) to spread the word about:Process goes before tactics.In the meantime, join 1072 like-minded people that receive my guides every 2 weeks on Monday 9am right here: http://bit.ly/ricardoghekieregrowthprocesses.

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