Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
The ultimate guide to adding a PLG motion | Hila Qu (Reforge, GitLab)

The ultimate guide to adding a PLG motion | Hila Qu (Reforge, GitLab)

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Hila Qu is an Executive in Residence at Reforge as well as a renowned growth advisor, angel investor, and published author (her book about growth was named one of the top 10 business books of 2018 in China). Previously, she served as the Director of Growth at GitLab, where she implemented and scaled their PLG motion, and VP of Growth at Acorns, scaling them from 1 million to 5 million users. In today’s episode, we discuss:
• The importance of having both a product-led and a sales-led motion for companies of all sizes
• A step-by-step process for implementing PLG
• Common pitfalls of layering on PLG
• How to audit your existing funnel
• Conversion, activation, and retention tactics
• Structuring your growth organization from day one, and as it scales

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

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-adding-a-plg-motion-hila-qu-reforge-gitlab/#transcript

Where to find Hila Qu:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/HilaQu

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

Where to find Lenny:

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

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

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

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Hila’s background

(03:26) The outcome of writing guest posts for Lenny’s Newsletter

(05:12) Why companies should have PLG and sales

(07:58) What PLG is and why it’s so popular

(09:41) Zoom, an example of a PLG company

(11:24) Common pitfalls in adding a PLG motion

(16:06) The spectrum of when PLG makes sense

(20:04) What you need to be successful in a product-led growth strategy

(24:52) The first step to adding a PLG motion

(30:11) What GitLab does and how the sales funnel and PLG funnel work there

(34:07) Mapping out the funnel

(35:29) Finding leverage and other next steps

(38:24) What an aha moment is and conducting an audit

(47:30) Activation and conversion 

(52:17) Why you should start with activation, and who is doing it well

(55:24) Retention, the messy part of the funnel

(1:00:34) How Hila made an impact on retention at Acorns

(1:03:03) The two buckets of data 

(1:04:56) Tools for implementing a PLG motion

(1:08:47) The importance of data 

(1:10:20) Tips to get started, and why you need to have good data first

(1:12:10) How to do a data audit

(1:15:04) Building a PLG team

(1:22:40) The core growth squad

(1:27:51) Lightning round


• Hila’s guest post on Lenny’s Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/five-steps-to-starting-your-plg-motion

• Ravi Mehta on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/building-your-product-strategy-stack-ravi-mehta-tinder-facebook-tripadvisor-outpace/

• Amplitude: https://amplitude.com/

• GitLab: https://about.gitlab.com/

• Lauryn Isford on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/mastering-onboarding-lauryn-isford-head-of-growth-at-airtable/

• Acorns: https://signup.acorns.com/

• PostHog: https://posthog.com/

• Mixpanel: https://mixpanel.com/

• Pendo: https://go.pendo.io/

• Optimizely: https://www.optimizely.com/

• Eppo: https://www.geteppo.com/

• HubSpot: https://www.hubspot.com/

• Clearbit: https://clearbit.com/

• ZoomInfo: https://www.zoominfo.com/

• Endgame: https://www.endgame.io/

• Pocus: https://www.pocus.com/

• Pace: https://www.paceapp.com/

• Toplyne: https://www.toplyne.io/

• Crystal Widjaja on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-scrappily-hire-for-measure-and-unlock-growth-crystal-widjaja-gojek-and-kumu/

• Redshift: https://aws.amazon.com/redshift/

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness: https://www.amazon.com/Almanack-Naval-Ravikant-Wealth-Happiness-ebook/dp/B08FF8MTM6

How Women Rise: https://www.amazon.com/How-Women-Rise-Habits-Holding/dp/1847942253/

• 硅谷增长黑客实战笔记 (Hila’s best-selling book on growth): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BZC8L78?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_ND87BRFMB0CMWBEVB747

The Wandering Earth II: https://wellgousa.com/films/wandering-earth-ii

The Three-Body Problem: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Body-Problem-Cixin-Liu/dp/0765382032

• Lululemon yoga pants: https://shop.lululemon.com/c/women-pants/yoga/

• ChatGPT: https://chat.openai.com/chat

Someday: https://www.amazon.com/Someday-Alison-McGhee/dp/1416928111

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.