Casey Winters

Applying Lessons from Web2 to Unlock Web3 Product Growth: Casey Winters


Casey Winters is one of the world’s foremost experts on tech product growth. As growth lead at Pinterest, consumer marketing director at Grubhub, chief product officer at Eventbrite, and a strategic advisor for a dozen big-name web2 firms, Casey has turned growth into a science.

In his talk to the inaugural cohort of our Variant Founder Fellowship, he shares his quantifiable measures of product-market fit, explains the alchemy of establishing growth loops, and why onboarding itself ought to be your retention strategy.

Here are just a few of the many useful tips and tidbits he shared:

There are kindle strategies and fire strategies.

“Kindle strategies,” as Casey calls them, refer to things startups can do to bring in your first batch of users. They help validate that your product will work, but they don’t scale and are therefore not sufficient for growth. For growth, you’ll need a fire strategy. (Hear Casey talk about how Hipcamp leveraged a solar eclipse to turn a kindle strategy into fire at 11:20)

Don’t wait to figure out your fire strategy. 

When it comes to sustaining growth, you can focus on sales, use paid acquisition, distribute content, or try for virality. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but you should identify your strategy early on. “You need to be baking how you’re going to grow at scale into your product-market fit hypothesis,” says Casey. (See which strategies Pinterest and Eventbrite used to establish growth loops and scale at 18:36)

Better onboarding = better retention.

Obviously, retaining users makes everything easier. But many startups believe retention is fueled by adding features. “And I would say the opposite is generally true,” says Casey. New features add complexity when what new users need is reduced friction. According to Casey, retaining users is “the job of onboarding.” (Learn how to identify the exact moment when users are going to stick around at 25:00)




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