Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
How Notion leveraged community to build a $10B business | Camille Ricketts (Notion, First Round Capital)

How Notion leveraged community to build a $10B business | Camille Ricketts (Notion, First Round Capital)


Camille Ricketts began her career in journalism, at the Wall Street Journal, in 2006. In 2010 she joined Tesla, where she worked in communications alongside Elon Musk. She transitioned into marketing and became the Head of Content and Marketing at First Round Capital and then went on to become the very first marketing hire at Notion. In today’s episode, we dig into community-led growth—what it is, and when and how to pursue it. We get super-specific on how Notion championed their most loyal users and built a passionate community, and the incredible outcome it had for the company’s growth. We also talk about how to create great content, and how content can drive growth for your business and brand.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for supporting this podcast:

• EppoRun reliable, impactful experiments: https://www.geteppo.com/

• FlatfileA CSV importer that says yes instead of error: mismatch: https://www.flatfile.com/lenny

• VantaAutomate compliance. Simplify security: https://vanta.com/lenny

Where to find Camille:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/camillericketts

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/camillericketts/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

People referenced:

• Ivan Zhao: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanhzhao/

• Simon Last: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-last-41404140/

• Lexie Barnhorn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexisbarnhorn/

• Ben Lang: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benmlang/

• Claire Butler: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clairetbutler/

• Jessi Craige Shikman at First Round: https://firstround.com/person/jessi-craige-shikman/

• Brett Berson at First Round: https://firstround.com/person/brett-berson/

• Josh Kopelman at First Round: https://firstround.com/person/josh-kopelman/#mystory

• Shaun Young on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaunyou/

• David Pierce at The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/authors/david-pierce

• Francisco Cruz-Mendoza: https://www.linkedin.com/in/franciscocrz/

• Emma Yee Yick: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmayeeyick/ 

Additionally, Camille would love to shout out Nate Martins and Andrea Lim, who ran Notion’s content program:

• Nate Martins: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nate-martins/

• Andrea Lim: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreawlim/

Content and companies referenced:

• Community & Content Resources: https://tinyurl.com/yrxbb542

• Station F: https://stationf.co/

• Figma: https://www.figma.com/

• Canva: https://www.canva.com/

• Stripe: https://stripe.com/

• Stripe Atlas: https://stripe.com/atlas

• Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/

• First Round Review: https://review.firstround.com/

• Jobs to be done framework: https://jobs-to-be-done.com/jobs-to-be-done-a-framework-for-customer-needs-c883cbf61c90

• The Only App You Need for Work-Life Productivity: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-only-app-you-need-for-work-life-productivity-1521640800

• Product Hunt: https://www.producthunt.com/

Referenced in lightning round:

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It: https://www.amazon.com/Obviously-Awesome-Product-Positioning-Customers/dp/1999023005

• April Dunford on Lenny’s podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/april-dunford-on-product-positioning-segmentation-and-optimizing-your-sales-process/

• April Dunford’s guest post in Lenny’s newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/positioning

• Harry Stebbings’s podcast, 20VC: https://www.thetwentyminutevc.com/podcast/

• Lenny on 20VC: https://www.thetwentyminutevc.com/lenny-rachitsky/

Tár: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14444726/

Fleishman Is in Trouble: https://www.hulu.com/series/fleishman-is-in-trouble-710e51f8-3387-404d-8b07-e7c9b766d11c

• Notion: https://www.notion.so/

• Arc: https://arc.net/

• Superhuman: https://superhuman.com/

• Cron: https://cron.com/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Camille’s background

(05:43) What it was like working with Elon Musk

(07:38) Working at Notion in the early days

(12:16) What is community-led growth?

(15:48) How Notion measured the impact of marketing efforts

(16:35) The most successful community efforts at Notion

(18:24) Why metrics aren’t always necessary for community growth 

(19:52) When it makes sense to invest in community-led growth

(21:34) How creators make money using Notion

(23:12) The Ambassador Program and Champions Program at Notion

(27:20) Why founders should consider investing in community and delay monetizing some features

(31:03) Companies that have done well in building community

(32:54) How to determine the level of community engagement appropriate for your company to invest in

(34:00) Using Camille’s 2x2 grid to implement community

(36:42) How to launch an ambassador program

(41:22) Advice for founders who want to build community

(47:17) How Lenny got his first 500 newsletter subscribers

(48:58) Examples of Camille’s most impactful content marketing

(51:20) Content-market fit: how to determine the needs of your reader 

(53:37) Content categories and the time it takes to create top-notch content

(57:02) The future of comms and how the press helped Notion grow

(1:01:35) Lightning round

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.