This talk, given by Kevin, it's the best one I've seen so far and enjoyed the most. I strongy recommend you to see it, not just because Kevin is fun explaining things, but because it gives a lot of examples that must be seen and cannot be copyed to a blogpost.
Kevin thinks that growth is a really easy concept to mesure, is the interaction of two concepts, conversion rate and churn; churn being the percentatge of the costumers that stop subscribing to a service. We can take a mathematical approach to this but Kevin will prefer to take a more human approach, because the interaction with your users (and the users with you) is key to success.
To know about interactions, they focus on understanding how relationships work in the real wold. Like in a relationship, what everybody tends to talk about is the starting of things, first date, first travel, how they meet, etc... **First impressions are important to start any relationship so you have to focus on, first, find first moments and, second, make them something memorable.
Some examples about this are the logo of login on wufoo.com that has a dinosaur on its side. If you put the mouse on it a tooltip shows up saying "wroar!". The reaction of people is to smile at it, and that's a relly good sign that you are doing it well.
Another example is about Chocolat code editor. After a 30 days trial period, you still have all functionality active but the font used to display your code is... Comic Sans; they invite you to pay to remove the font. They know that you'll care about this. Another good moment to have first moments is on the error pages. In Hurl you see a unicorn throwing up a rainbow (its quite fun).
When Wufoo lancuhed their API they wanted people to build stuff on top of it so they offered a hand-made axe to the best application. The contest caught attention and people got interested. "I'm coding for an axe". The point being that there are this so called 'first moments' and you have to take advantage of them.
When you code, you have to take responsability of the product and that translates on doing support. Be responsable, acountable, humil and modest (remember that we talked about this in the first chapter of The Pragmatic Programmer a few posts ago?). If people causing the problems are the ones who have to fix them the feedback loop is the shortest one possible, and the people have personal interest in having its stuff working and without bugs, because if not the client is going to call anyways.
According to John Gottman there are four major causes of break up. They are called the Four Horsemen.
Critisism is when you don't discuss an specific issue but the over arching issues like "you never listen to users".
Contempt is when somebody is trying to pruposely insult another person.
Defensiveness is trying to make excuses for your actions; pointing to somewhere else.
Stonewalling is basically not giving a shit about what your are being told, ignoring completely the other person and giving up.
If a client is calling you, you have to come back to them. You cannot ignore them because if you do it'll be the biggest cause of churn.
An awesome thing Kevin did at his startup was to put a field in their bug report form about "what's your emotional state". Like: angry, confused, hesitant, happy, etc. The idea is to provide a way for the user to transmit this information that otherwise he or she has to ignore or use a lot of exclamation marks, UPPERCASE WORDS or other funny stuff. At the same time, knowing the emotional state of the user give you invaluable information on how they feel about you when they have a problem. They are always come to you angry? Maybe you have to fix some stuff. Are they mostly hesitant? Maybe you have to improve your documentation or the UX to help them to find the answer themselves.
About that, at Wufoo they spend about a 30% of their time building internal tools to help their customer; both by providing better support service or giving the costumers better documentation or improving the usability.
In any relationshing, as John Gottam explained, is like en enclosed energy system; things tend to run down so you have to constantly putting energy and efford back into it. When there is not passion between people is really easy to give up and break the relationship so a really good idea they had at Wufoo was to create something called Alert System. What it does is to alert the users of the improvements that Wufoo has had since their last login so the costumer can see improvement overtime, know about the last improvements in the platform and have a sense that the product their are using is getting better overtime because, in fact, it is. The tooltip appears after login saying "Since you've been gone..." and it explain you all this cool features added. The thing is, not everybody is going to use them or take advantadge of it, but the client sees constant improvement and this is really valuable.
And that's all. Again, watch the talk. Its awesome and you'll have a lot of fun.