Breaking into growth

👋 Hey, Lenny here! Welcome to a 🔒 subscriber-only edition 🔒 of my weekly newsletter. Each week I tackle reader questions about product, growth, working with humans, and anything else that’s stressing you out about work. Send me your questions and in return I’ll humbly offer actionable real-talk advice.

✨ Announcement: Applications for my PM course now open ✨

This is the course I wish I had when I was starting out. It’s targeted at new PMs (<2 years experience), and will run 11/29-12/17. The course is part-time (evenings PST), and fits into a busy PM schedule.

In addition to live lectures, practical assignments, group breakouts, and getting to know 100+ other early-career PMs, you’ll also learn from amazing guest speakers: Ken Norton, Shreyas Doshi, Jackie Bavaro, Andrew Chen, and Adam Fishman.

Dozens of students who took the previous course credit the course with helping them get a promotion, land a better gig, or simply become more confident in themselves.

Topics we'll cover:

  • Leveling up your strategic thinking and vision

  • Strengthening your written and verbal communication

  • Collaborating and influencing your peers more effectively

  • Mastering the art of shipping on time while keeping your team happy

  • Gaining confidence as a PM

  • Leveraging user research, metrics, and stakeholders to prioritize

  • Delivering better presentations

  • Understanding what separates good PMs from great PMs

  • …and much more

Become a more confident PM, armed with a toolkit full of actionable advice, tactics and frameworks to immediately put into action.

Spots are limited, so apply now 👇

Apply now

Pro tip: Ask your manager if you can expense this to your learning and development budget.

Q: How do I make the transition from a product manager to a growth PM? I’m a recent graduate with no technical background (from business school), and I’m new to PM and wondering how I make the transition into a growth-focused role.

Though the difference between a regular PM and a “growth PM” isn’t as big as you may think—most PMs are responsible for driving business growth one way or another—there are indeed roles where your job is solely to drive growth. A few examples:

Four years into my PM career, I made this transition myself, moving from a generalist role to a growth role (driving Airbnb’s supply growth). I had a feeling that growth work would be super-interesting and that deepening those skills would pay off, so I made an effort to make the move. I’m really happy I did.

My approach to making this transition was simple—and I would suggest the same approach to you:

  1. Ask

  2. Learn

  3. Do

1. Ask

This probably sounds exceedingly obvious, but start by telling your manager you want this, e.g.

“Hey, manager, I just want to let you know that I’m really interested in product growth, and I want to get into a growth-focused role as soon as I can. What do I need to do to get there?”

This step alone was the primary reason I got the chance. My manager knew it was important to me, so when an opportunity arose (about six months later), they helped me grab it. Use the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon to your advantage.

And don’t just ask once. Keep telling them. Ask them to work together on a plan to get you there. I suggest starting by identifying the skills you’ll need to be successful in the role and then putting together a plan to build them while in your current role.

2. Learn

Next, get smart about growth. Here’s a lesson plan to get you started (maybe find a buddy and explore one topic a week):

1. Experimentation

2. Growth strategy

3. SEO

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