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Growth of a company lies in its power of distribution: Mona Gandhi

Sindhu Kashyap
9th Feb 2019
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At the second edition of YourStory's Future of Work, Mona Gandhi, the first female engineer at Airbnb, explains why organisations need to focus on growth. 

Mona Gandhi, First Female Engineer, Airbnb Future of Work

Mona Gandhi started out as the first female engineer at Airbnb. Then, she went on to build the company's growth team.

"Poor distribution and not a product is the number one cause for companies to fail,” said, quoting Peter Thiel, Founder of PayPal, and an investor in the Valley. At the second edition of YourStory's Future of Work, Mona spoke to a packed hall about simplifying growth.

She said, “Growth can be simplified with one word - distribution. How can you introduce more people to you and your product? Back in the 90s, tech was the leverage. In early 2000s, it was the product. Today, it is the power of distribution.”

While growth is important for any organisation, very few understand when they need to focus on it. According to Mona, there are a few things that work for startups who want to focus on growth.


Also read: Take decisions for your company by using AI to go after data that's not obvious: Fractal Analytics' Sameer Dhanrajani 


Retention over acquisition 

Retention is when users keep coming back to use your product. Mona explained that there is no product-market fit without user retention.

She said, “If you then look for acquisition, it is premature and it is bound to fail. It is important to go to the customer and see what they want, build according, get the product market fit and then retain customers before acquiring new ones."

Mona added that close to 30 to 40 percent of Indian startups fail because of lack of retention. This is due to a lack of product market fit. “Growth is relevant only after product-market fit," she said.

Audience_Future of Work_2_Product Track

Also read: Tech is a tool, not a master: Udaan Co-founder Amod Malviya on what differentiates great engineers from code monkeys 


Test, learn and iterate 

Mona explained it is super important to test your hacks, products and understanding to know what works and what doesn’t.

When you test, you get the confidence to try different things and fail fast and move on to the next experiment. When you do that, you build things and learn faster. Only when you learn can you scale your product and grow," she said.

Double up more on what is working 

Often, we focus on all the things that haven’t worked. But, Mona advised against this.

“We go back and analyse everything that failed, but it is more important is to look why something is working so that you can do more of the same,” she said.

Mona added that when you already know something isn’t working, there is no point going back to it. But if something shows even a small shift, double up and work on different combinations of the same.


Also read: The Product Management map for entrepreneurs: how to create great products that delight customers  


A big shout out to Future of Work 2019 sponsors – Deployment partner Harness.io, Super partner GO-JEK, our Women-in-Tech partner ThoughtWorks, Voice Tech partner Slang Labs, Technology partner Techl33t, AI/ML partner Agara Labs, API Partner Postman and Blockchain partner Koinex.


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