Nov 6 • 1HR 32M

How Snyk built a product-led growth juggernaut | Ben Williams (VP of Product at Snyk)

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Lenny Rachitsky
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.
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Ben Williams is VP of Product at Snyk, an industry-leading security platform for developers, last valued at $8.5b. He’s also a product and growth advisor with over 20 years of experience building and scaling high-performing product and growth teams. Through product-led growth, product-led sales, and community, Snyk rapidly scaled and won over the lucrative developer audience. In today’s episode, Ben shares the successful growth levers that helped Snyk get started, all of the details of how Snyk has structured their growth, product, and marketing teams and set them up for success in terms of cross-collaboration—and also how their initial plan for self-serve monetization fell flat. We go into Ben’s many useful tips for product-led growth, including his thoughts on free vs. paid versions, trials, and how to build amazing growth teams.

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

Find the full transcript here: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-snyk-built-a-product-led-growth-juggernaut-ben-williams-vp-of-product-at-snyk/#transcript

Where to find Ben Williams:

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

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

Where to find Lenny:

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

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

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

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

• Coda: https://coda.io/lenny

• Athletic Greens: https://athleticgreens.com/lenny

• Vanta: https://vanta.com/lenny

Referenced:

• Snyk: https://snyk.io/

• Weekly Team Impact & Learnings Review Template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GibNaJ4aONgp5Kg824NCionr1citHIDk3FLvMdkpX_Q/edit?usp=share_link

• Monthly Group Impact & Learnings Review Template: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nQ18OTuRtc8urBnUWEObD_BlfdGDKlDDMFg8-G2GK7E/edit?usp=share_link

• Experiment Plan Template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18LiGXKphGe1tUpZCQA20i4bJqf-S3kDbYnY4Pls_9kQ/edit?usp=share_link

• Vision & Mission Framework: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1CiRwscu-50lBr2c7yRLY_zXVzv5DCnYqNnS5Au83WC8/edit?usp=share_link

• Ed Sim’s newsletter: https://whatshot.substack.com/

• Tamar Yehoshua on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tyehoshua

• Julian Shapiro on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/growth-tactics-retention-strategies-and-becoming-a-better-writer-julian-shapiro-demand-curve-hyper-webflow-techcrunch/

• Annie Duke’s website: https://www.annieduke.com/

• Elena Verna on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/elena-verna-on-how-b2b-growth-is-changing-product-led-growth-product-led-sales-why-you-should-go-freemium-not-trial-what-features-to-make-free-and-much-more/

• Growth loops: https://www.reforge.com/blog/growth-loops

• Brian Balfour on using learnings: https://brianbalfour.com/growth-machine/maximize-learning

• Adam Fishman on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/videos/how-to-build-a-high-performing-growth-team-adam-fishman-patreon-lyft-imperfect-foods/

• Amplitude: https://amplitude.com/

• FullStory: https://www.fullstory.com/

• User Interviews: https://www.userinterviews.com/

• User Testing: https://www.usertesting.com/

• Sprig: https://sprig.com/surveys

• Airtable: https://www.airtable.com/home/toolkit

How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0470110120/

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days: https://www.amazon.com/Sprint-Solve-Problems-Test-Ideas/dp/150112174X

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078QSCM3V/

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race: https://www.amazon.com/This-They-Tell-World-Ends/dp/1635576059

Acquired podcast: https://www.acquired.fm/

Turning Red on Disney+: https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/turning-red/4mFPCXJi7N2m

Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/curb-your-enthusiasm

• Christine Itwaru’s blog: https://prodops.blog/

In this episode, we cover:

(04:44) Ben’s background

(07:27) What is Snyk, and what’s the current scale?

(08:45) Why Ben joined Snyk

(09:29) How Snyk got their first 100 users

(15:14) How Snyk used developer conferences and in-person meet-ups to launch

(19:23) How Snyk used GitHub as a growth lever

(23:50) Snyk Advisor, and other growth loops Snyk successfully used

(26:56) Snyk’s failed attempt at self-serve monetization

(31:21) How to win the hearts and minds of developers

(33:38) How adding sales and marketing teams helped Snyk gain momentum

(35:11) The evolution of Snyk’s growth team

(37:26) Snyk’s key areas of growth and how Ben solved tension between teams

(39:32) What is Snyk’s decision science team?

(40:59) Why Snyk has a growth marketer embedded on each team

(43:39) The importance of having an amazing SEO person

(46:21) Advice on building growth teams

(51:32) Ben’s vision and mission framework

(53:53) More on the growth process and experimentation

(56:04) Using learnings as a path to impact

(57:32) Growth strategy

(1:02:26) Data in growth teams

(1:06:33) How Snyk socializes learnings

(1:10:05) How Snyk structures their product org

(1:13:15) Free vs. paid features and how to approach trials

(1:18:57) Activation milestones at Snyk

(1:23:05) The most valuable tools for Snyk’s growth team

(1:25:21) Lightning round

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