Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
How to drive word of mouth | Nilan Peiris (CPO of Wise)

How to drive word of mouth | Nilan Peiris (CPO of Wise)


Brought to you by Pendo—The all-in-one platform for product-led companies building breakthrough digital experiences | Wix Studio—The web creation platform built for agencies | Masterworks—Invest in blue-chip art

Nilan Peiris is Chief Product Officer at Wise, one of the fastest-growing (and profitable) tech companies in the world. Wise allows anyone to send money in more than 60 currencies to over 160 countries at low cost, and throughout its history has grown primarily through word of mouth. In today’s episode, we discuss:

• Tactical advice on driving word of mouth (WOM)

• Strategies for measuring WOM

• How NPS surveys helped Wise determine their growth and product strategy

• How Wise incentivizes teams to do the hard things

• The small change that generated a 3x increase in referrals

• How Wise structures its product and growth teams

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

Where to find Nilan Peiris:

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/nilanp

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

Where to find Lenny:

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

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

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

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Nilan’s background

(03:27) A brief overview of Wise

(06:11) How word of mouth is measured

(07:56) Why Wise leaned into WOM

(10:21) Why Wise built their WOM motion using the NPS method

(16:13) How WOM solves trust problems

(18:55) How to get to 9 or 10 on the NPS scale

(20:51) Determining what will wow users

(21:31) Common missteps companies make when trying to drive WOM

(23:24) Using the “working backward” method at Airbnb

(25:45) How Wise is able to offer drastically lower money transfer fees

(27:51) The three costs associated with moving money

(32:02) Rational vs. irrational reasons behind recommendations

(34:11) Prioritizing customer happiness

(38:14) How Wise approaches experimentation

(46:11) Thoughts on performance reviews and general analysis

(48:06) How Wise provides a 10x better banking experience

(51:57) Advice on how to approach word-of-mouth marketing

(53:47) Building a culture of doing hard things

(55:59) The macrostructure of international banking and where Wise fits in

(57:54) How Wise solves for local regulations in their onboarding flow

(1:01:49) How Wise structures teams

(1:03:26) The small change that generated a 3x increase in referrals

(1:08:01) Nilan’s philanthropic endeavors

(1:09:13) Lightning round


• Wise: https://wise.com/us/

• Henry Chen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/henry-h-chen/

• About NPS: https://www.productboard.com/blog/the-power-of-nps-in-your-product-strategy/

• How Snow White helped Airbnb prove that storytelling is the most important skill in design: https://uxdesign.cc/how-airbnb-proved-that-storytelling-is-the-most-important-skill-in-design-15d04ac71039

• Seth Godin: This Is How You Create a Remarkable Product: https://www.businessinsider.com/seth-godin-this-is-how-you-create-a-remarkable-product-2012-10

• Discover the Spotify model: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/agile-at-scale/spotify

• Beam: https://beam.org/

• Affinity: https://affinityghana.com/

Crime and Punishment: https://www.amazon.com/Crime-Punishment-Volokhonsky-Translation-Classics/dp/0679734503

Midnight’s Children: https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Children-Modern-Library-Novels/dp/0812976533

Barbie: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517268/

• Arc browser: https://arc.net/

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

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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.