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The tumult that’s marked 2020 appears unlikely to abate anytime soon, and founders and CEOs are scrambling to keep pace with the speed and scope of change and challenging market conditions. Andrew Chen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and former leader of the growth team at Uber, and Brian Balfour, founder and CEO of Reforge and former vice president of growth at HubSpot, discuss how leaders can rethink growth, find opportunity in the midst of the crisis and lead their organizations through uncertainty to thrive in the long term.

Summary

Conventional growth models don’t apply in the current environment.

The crisis has rendered moot many companies’ growth predictions: Business growth hinges on bringing in new users, which often happens through the recommendations of existing users. Business leaders translate hypotheses about engagement and corresponding actions into quantified models and run experiments to validate the numbers. Due to the 2020 pandemic, however, these hypotheses have become invalid, as user engagement and company growth no correlate differently. For example, many people might still use travel websites to do research, but page visits may not translate into bookings. On the other hand, a higher percentage of users on collaboration platforms like Zoom may be sending out meeting invites.

For some companies, the quantitative variables have strengthened, and for others, they’ve deteriorated, resulting in headwinds or tailwinds that vary from business category to business category and even from company to company. For those companies experiencing significant benefits or clear disadvantages, the effects are obvious, but those ...

About the Podcast

The a16z podcast, produced by Silicon Valley–based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, features discussions of tech and culture trends with industry experts, business leaders, and other thinkers from around the world. In this episode, host Lauren Murrow, an editorial partner at Andreessen Horowitz, speaks with Andrew Chen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and former leader of the growth team at Uber, and Brian Balfour, founder and CEO of Reforge and former vice president of growth at HubSpot.


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