At InVision, like many companies, we have a Growth team that works on parts, but not all, of the product. When I took over as lead of the team, I wanted to figure out a clear way to communicate how we would work with the other product teams, and what we could commit to delivering to the business. I came up with the above graphic.

It relates the four components of Growth with Retention/Engagement in the center, Activation and Monetization as the inputs and outputs and Acquisition fueling it.

  • Retention/Engagement. Everything in product-driven growth stems from a deep understanding of…

I highly recommend the Reforge Growth Series to anyone who is involved in the growth of their company. The course dramatically changed the way that I approach growth.

In short, I learned a bottom’s up approach to growth strategy. Often times strategic conversations on growth start from tops-down criteria like TAM or highly conceptual principles like “ubiquity”. The challenge with taking a tops-down approach is that it doesn’t create clarity on how to operationalize growth.

In contrast, a bottoms-up approach starts with the key workflows and behaviors of the user. …


My experience at MXES was foundational to my belief that if we only consider education to be the learning that happens inside of the classroom, then we miss the opportunity to bring the energy and reality of the world to students. And, missing that opportunity is a great disservice to all of our students, regardless of their socio-economic background.

From 2009–2011, I taught in a school without walls. Malcolm X Elementary School (MXES) was constructed in 1973 and served generations of families living in the projects of DC’s famously ignored Anacostia region. The furniture and amenities were all from the…


Four types of failure: Communication, Context, Complexity & Ego. All illustrations by Jonathan Dubin.

It’s always uncomfortable to write about failure. Even though company slogans announce that you should “take risks” and “fail fast”, actually doing the failing, not just talking about it’s merits, completely sucks.

While failure is a great teacher, you shouldn’t have to fail yourself to learn from the mistakes. There should be a set of questions that you can use to minimize the risk of failure.

To that end, I’ve identified the ways that I’ve failed as a product manager and grouped them neatly into four buckets. In this article, I’ll give an example of a personal fail for each…


It has been over two years since Google, in becoming Alphabet, dropped “Don’t be Evil” for “Do the Right Thing”. However, the events of this past year have shed light on just how far away many technology companies are from doing this “right thing”.

Against this backdrop, I have been thinking about what Harvard Professor of Cognition and Education, Howard Gardner, calls “good work”.

“Doing things in a new way is easy; we call this novelty. What’s challenging is to do things in a new way that eventually gets accepted by others; we call this creativity. What’s even more challenging…


A few days ago, a friend and I were taking a late-night walk and ended up spending several blocks talking about the power of story. We work in different industries — tech vs. advertising — and sell our ideas to different audiences — team/stakeholders vs. clients/customers — but for both of us, finding the right story can make all the difference.

The next day, I got a series of texts about a presentation he was working on, and how hard it was to get the story right. …


Iterating on Google Venture’s Design Sprint Process

This post builds on the idea of developing a culture of design thinking on product teams and throughout a company, which I wrote about in Design Thinking for Startups: Part I.

Jake Knapp’s book Sprint has been making waves in the start-up world. It is a blueprint for ideating, developing and testing a prototype in 5 days, starting on Monday and ending on Friday. Not only does it offer a process for speeding up product development, it also offers tantalizing stories of success by start-up legends and luminaries. …


Why Your Brain is the Ultimate Brainstorming Tool

A few weeks ago, I was in and out of sleep on a rickety van speeding up to Nong Khiaw, a village north of Luang Prabang, Laos.

I hadn’t thought deeply about my job in days, deliberately pushing any work-related thoughts to the back burner of my mind.

But those thoughts must have been simmering without me knowing it, because along this bumpy ride in the middle of Laos, an idea bubbled to the top and woke me from my state of half-consciousness.


Three Kings Monument, Chiang Mai Thailand

Great things come in threes. Take, for example, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Or, Harry, Hermione and Ron. Or, the primary colors.

The rule of threes states that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. (It is from the internet, so it is true.)

Threes are powerful. Here is how to harness the power of threes to create great products.

Teams — roles, motivation & accountability

A great team is one where roles are clearly defined and everyone is motivated to do their best work.

Team composition will depend on need, but a team is at least…


How to leverage Design Thinking methodology and mindset to bring BIG ideas to your teams

For more on applying Design Thinking to product development, and specifically how to use the Google Ventures Sprint model, see my post Design Thinking for Start-Ups: Part II.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to lead a company “Lunch & Learn”, which is a one-hour workshop over lunch. The topic? Design thinking.

Design thinking is a broad topic. It includes empathy interviews, idea generation and rapid prototyping among other topics.

As a start-up, I have found that we are pretty good at rapidly testing ideas and trying the lightest possible version first before building it out in full. …

Jessica Dubin

People first || Product Manager @InVision || Georgetown, TFA, Harvard.

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