The Reforge Growth Series is a selective 8-week part time program to help you accelerate your career and company by developing a systematic approach to thinking about, acting on, and solving growth problems. The program is for both B2C and B2B practitioners and can be done from any location.
The series is led by actual practitioners Brian Balfour (formerly VP Growth @ HubSpot) and co-hosted by Andrew Chen (Growth @ Uber). The program features top growth leaders from companies including Google, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Atlassian, Slack and others.
You will learn actionable frameworks, be inspired with real stories and examples, and build meaningful relationships with other top growth practitioners. Reforge Alumni have brought growth learnings back to work at Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, Evernote, Soundcloud, and other high-impact companies.
All businesses are unique, but everyone faces similar growth challenges. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is how they approach those challenges.
Brian Balfour is the Founder and CEO of Reforge. Most recently, he was the VP Growth @ HubSpot. Prior to HubSpot he was an EIR @ Trinity Ventures and founder of Boundless Learning (acq by Valore) and Viximo (acq by Tapjoy). He advises companies including Blue Bottle Coffee, Gametime, Lumoid, Grabcad, and Help Scout on growth and customer acquisition.
Andrew Chen works on Growth @ Uber. He is an advisor and investor in tech startups including AngelList, Dropbox, Barkbox, Kiva, Product Hunt, and G. He writes extensively with over 650+ essays, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Fortune, Wired, and WSJ. Previously he worked in venture capital at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based firm with $2B under management.
The Reforge Growth Series features the worlds leading growth experts from the fastest growing companies in deep dive interviews, small discussion group events, and more.
VP Product/Growth @ Wealthfront
Head of Growth @ Stripe
CMO @ ClassPass
VP Growth & Marketing @ Duolingo
VP Growth & Marketing @ Patreon
Head of Global SEO @ HubSpot
Former VP Mrk @ SoFi/LogMeIn
SVP Growth @ Malwarebytes
Growth @ Slack
Naomi Pilosof Ionita
VP Growth @ Invoice2Go
VP Growth @ Eventbrite
Growth @ Gusto
Eng Manager, Growth @ Dropbox
Sr Dir Eng Growth @ CreditKarma
Formerly Growth @ Pinterest
ADA CHen Rekhi
Former SVP Mrktg @ SurveyMonkey
Head of Growth @ Google
VP Growth @ Zillow
VP Growth @ Ipsy
VP Growth/Marketing @ HubSpot
Sr Dir Growth Marketing @ SurveyMonkey
Reforge does not focus on tips, tricks, and hacks. Instead, we focus on the things that build a strong foundation for accelerated professional growth:
1. Comprehensive Foundation
By the end of the program, you will walk away with a comprehensive foundation that you can apply to almost any B2C or B2B software company.
We will cover the core areas of growth including building a growth model, understanding your user psychology, developing growth roadmaps, growth team structure and management, and each area of the funnel (Acquisition Strategy, Retention + Engagement, Virality, and Monetization).
2. Strategic and Actionable Frameworks
If you want a laundry list of tactics like "make your buttons orange" this program isn't for you.
Instead, we will enable you with a set of actionable frameworks that you can apply to your own business and product. Our goal is to teach you how to think about the core elements of growth so that you can develop a winning strategy specific to your current and future companies and roles.
3. Build Productive Relationships With Other Top Practitioners
There is nothing more valuable than having a strong network of other growth practitioners that you can learn from. We review every application and curate a high-quality group of practitioners and facilitate opportunities for you to build productive relationships throughout the program.
Our goal is to help you build a network that will live with you far beyond the program itself. The Reforge Alumni community is active and connected, and includes growth practitioners from all of the top technology companies including Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, Spotify, Atlassian, Google, and more.
4. Examples, Knowledge, and Inspiration From Top Growth Leaders
A lot of the best knowledge is still trapped in the heads of the world's top growth leaders.
Reforge's exclusive access to this knowledge brings it to life through examples, stories, and lessons that haven't previously been shared publicly. Our growth leaders are at the forefront of Google, Instagram, Slack, SurveyMonkey, HubSpot, Atlassian, Wealthfront, and other companies leading innovation in growth.
5. Bring Growth Mindset and Practices Back to Your Product and Company
Meaningful growth doesn't happen in a vacuum, or from one individual growth practitioner, no matter how expert they are.
We dedicate one entire week of lecture material, plus supplemental interviews and expert Q&As, to tackling the cultural challenges of growth within a greater organization to help you maximize the value that the rest of your company gets out of your Reforge experience.
Our programs aren't for everyone. We select applicants based on professional experience, initiative, and program fit. You should apply if you have...
- 3+ Years of Experience - 3+ years of professional experience as a product manager, marketer, designer, engineer or other professional looking to accelerate your knowledge about growth.
- Strong Initiative - The program includes both passive and active participation. Those that not only consume the content but engage with it and the community will get the most value.
- Growth Related Role - The topics we cover aren’t for every role. Typical roles of successful applicants are a Product Manager, Sr. Marketer, Data Analyst, Engineer, or Executive working on growth initiatives or making the transition to growth.
This program is not for you if you are...
- Entry Level - Less than three years of professional experience. The program material assumes a certain level of base knowledge.
- Career Switching - If you are looking to get your first job in growth. The program material is designed to help accelerate an existing professional's path rather than establish one anew.
- Pre Product-Market Fit - If you are working on a product that is just getting started. The program material is designed for those working on products that have signals of product-market fit.
- Enterprise/Hardware - If you are in a company that primarily sells enterprise deals or primarily a hardware product. The program material is not designed to address these topics.
We focus on delivering the highest amount of impact as efficiently as possible. We know your time is valuable, so we've streamlined a program that cuts straight to the point with no "filler content."
There are 3 core parts to the program:
1. In Depth Lecture Material
Each week there is a 1 to 2 hours of video and written material on the weekly topic. Each lecture is taught by Brian Balfour or Andrew Chen and will teach you actionable frameworks to apply to your own business and career.
The lectures are comprised of original material exclusive to the Reforge Program. The video lectures will be hosted on the Reforge website and available for you to watch at any time during the week and as reference material after the program.
Each lecture is accompanied by application sections designed to guide your application of the material you learn to your own product or company. You'll receive feedback from other experienced practitioners in the community for additional ideas and learning.
2. Examples + Case Studies
To complement lecture material, we weave in examples and case studies applying the frameworks from the lecture to recent companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, and more.
3. Weekly Events (Online or Offline) w/ Discussion Groups + Expert Interviews
A key part of the Reforge experience is connecting with other top growth practitioners via weekly events, both online or in person (SF only). The program can be done from any location.
We start the events with small discussion groups where you will apply the material to a hypothetical case with peers in similar roles/companies. All events require your active participation.
We end the events with an interview with a top growth leader. All of our featured guests are leading active practitioners in the field of growth. Examples of past featured guests include Andy Johns (VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront), Ken Rudin (Head of Growth @ Google), Naomi Pilosof Ionita, former VP Growth and Monetization @ Invoice2Go and formerly Evernote, Matt Plotke, Head of Growth @ Stripe and formerly LinkedIn, John Egan, Growth Engineering @ Pinterest, Ada Chen Rekhi, former SVP Marketing @ SurveyMonkey and formerly LinkedIn, Elena Verna, VP Growth @ MalwareBytes and former VP Growth at SurveyMonkey, Fareed Mosavat, Growth @ Slack, and many others.
One of the most common questions we hear about the Growth Series has to do with the time and effort required to get the most out of the program?
While the Growth Series is designed to fit with your current work and personal schedule, we also believe that you get out what you put in. The value that you and your company get from the program is directly correlated with the amount of time and participation you're able to dedicate to the experience.
We've designed the Growth Series to be a time-effective experience that condenses decades of collective expertise in growth into 8 weeks. To get the most out of the program, you should expect to spend a minimum of 4 hours per week on program material:
- 1 - 2hrs on lecture content.
- 1 hr applying frameworks and community participation.
- 1 - 2hrs participating in an online or in person event.
Our most successful participants set aside additional time each week to connect with other people, review what they learned with co-workers and managers, apply the material to their product, and go over bonus material, spending up to 8 hours per week total.
The following is subject to change as we finalize details towards the start of the program.
Laying The Groundwork
We'll kick the program off with an opening event for all program attendees. You'll connect with other growth practitioners and get a taste of the upcoming 8 weeks.
SF/Bay Area Kickoffs: Tuesday Feb 6 at 6 pm PT or Thursday Feb 8 at 6 pm PT in downtown San Francisco (venue TBA)
Online Kickoffs: Wednesday Feb 7 at 8:30 am PT or 5 pm PT
Your growth model is one of two key tools that form your product's growth strategy. It describes how you grow end-to-end in both a qualitative and quantitative manner.
You will learn how to construct a growth model for your product, how to use it form the foundation of your strategy, and how to use it to identify and prioritize growth opportunities.
Growth Leader Interviews: Andy Johns - VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront and Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Events: Thursday Feb 15 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In-Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Feb 15 at 6:30pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
Your user and customer psychology is the second key tool to form your growth strategy.
Your user psychology is essential to understanding what will drive your users/customers. You will learn a key user psychology framework to apply to your product.
Growth Leader Interviews: Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Events: Thursday Feb 22 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Feb 22 at 6:30pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Event (NYC): Thursday Feb 22 at 6:30pm ET, Featured Guest TBA
GROWTH PROCESs, ROADMAPS, and teams
There are always a million things to do – how do you prioritize what product changes and acquisition initiatives will contribute to growth?
Learn the step by step process on how to think about and prioritize growth initiatives, built on the growth model from week one. Additionally, learn why a growth roadmap often has to be separated from a product roadmap, and why the traits that make you successful at one often don’t translate to the other.
Finally, learn emerging best practices for leading and building a team that will understand and expertly operate against a growth objective.
Growth Leader Interviews: Shaun Clowes Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Adam Fishman VP Growth @ Patreon
Online Events: Thursday Mar 1 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Mar 1 at 6:30pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
retention and engagement
Before acquisition comes retention. You have to retain and engage people, otherwise, your acquisition efforts will crash. We’ll discuss why retention is so important, how to analyze retention, and how to improve retention.
Growth Leader Interviews: Shaun Clowes, Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest
Online Events: Thursday Mar 8 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Event (SF): Thursday Mar 8 at 6:30 pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Event (NYC): Thursday Mar 8 at 6:30 pm ET, Featured Guest TBA
Acquisition Channel strategy
Every growth model is built on an existing, larger platform, but successful growth also depends on identifying and maximizing new channels and platforms.
We'll learn about the limited ways to scale and how to identify and prioritize new channels and platforms. To put it into practice, we’ll look at some case studies for how platforms such as display ads, Facebook apps, and push notifications have fared over the years.
Growth Leader Interviews: Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest and Nick Soman, Growth @ Gusto
Online Event: Thursday Mar 15 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Mar 15 at 6:30pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
Virality and network effects
The biggest consumer and SaaS companies of the last decade have been built without spending a dime on acquisition. Instead, their growth has been driven by viral marketing. But, a systematic approach to virality is rare in the industry.
See how viral loops are built on top of new platforms, and how key metrics like viral factor are calculated.
Growth Leader Interviews: Nick Soman, Head of Growth @ Gusto, Gustaf Alstromer, Growth @ Airbnb, and James Currier, Managing Partner @ NFX Guild
Online Event: Thursday Mar 22 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Mar 22 at 6:30pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Event (NYC): Thursday Mar 22 at 6:30pm ET, Featured Guest TBA
As acquisition channels become more competitive, those with the best monetization strategies win.
Learn how monetization affects all parts of growth, the three layers of monetization, and how to improve each layer.
Growth Leader Interview: Elena Verna, SVP Growth @ Malwarebytes, Former SurveyMonkey
Online Event: Thursday Mar 29 at 8:30 am PT, Featured Guest TBA
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): Thursday Mar 29 at 6:30 pm PT, Featured Guest TBA
Our program wraps on March 30.
"I strongly, as strongly as possible, encourage product managers in Growth roles to apply for Reforge. This program is the holy grail for Growth professionals who may be one of the few members of their organization tackling growth models and AB testing. With Reforge you find your peer set who share best practices and insights onto the responsibilities and goals of their Growth teams. In addition, the robust online content puts structure around the many concepts floating around tech companies and blogs on what Growth actually entails! I can’t thank the team enough for building such a comprehensive program – Reforge shaped the foundation of how I will approach the Growth team at SurveyMonkey."
"The content was excellent. Even though I work on a growth team at Facebook, I still learned new concepts that I implemented right away.
I focus my work specifically on developer growth, and based on the course content, I improved how we build growth loops into our developer acquisition channels. Overall, the course made me adopt a more robust way of instrumenting, logging, and tracking our funnel.
Beyond the content, I met so many growth people through the events - the program is a powerful growth network that I'm excited to be a part of."
"Reforge has easily been one of the best investments of time and money I've ever made in my professional development. I love how the course codifies what I've been doing for the last four years as VP of Marketing at an early stage startup, turning it into a science.
What I've learned has helped me be more systematic and analytical in my work, so that I'm not just throwing stuff at the wall, and moving on to the next thing, with only anecdotal lessons learned."
SR. PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER
"Thanks to the Reforge Summer Growth Series, I have gained a foundational understanding of one of the newest and yet most valuable areas of understanding to companies: growth. Brian and Andrew have done an incredible job of pooling and delivering knowledge acquired by industry leaders through extremely accessible content. The in-person get-togethers and online community also provide a terrific forum for idea exchange amongst all participants. I highly recommend this course to any individual who is looking to gain widespread adoption of their product or service."
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm not located in the San Francisco Bay Area, can I attend the program?
Yes. The Growth Series is designed to be location-independent, with over 50% of program participants joining from outside the SF Bay Area. In addition to our all-online original content and live online events, we also offer in-person events in San Francisco and New York, that all participants are welcome to join, whether you're local or traveling in. All participants enjoy access to 100% of our original content, our live online discussions, the private Reforge forums, and community.
How is this program different from previous Reforge Growth Series?
We make significant changes to the program content with every Growth Series to add depth, detail, clarification, examples, and additional expert interviews. However, if you have attended a Growth Series within the past two years, you should not attend this one.
How is the Growth Series different from the Retention + Engagement Series?
The Growth Series is a comprehensive overview of the key models and frameworks for growing your B2B or B2C product or company (note: the program does not speak to enterprise models).
The Retention + Engagement Series is best for people who have clearly defined a problem around retention — whether that is in user activation, engagement, or churn.
If you have been in a growth-specific role for awhile and/or are part of a growth team that’s in charge of customer retention, then the Retention + Engagement Series would be a great fit for you.
Both programs are designed for mid-career Product Managers, UX, Marketers, and Engineers who are 3+ years into their field.
Can I join both the Growth Series and the Retention + Engagement Series?
Both the Growth Series and the Retention + Engagement Series are held concurrently, so it’s not possible to join both at the same time. We will be holding additional cohorts of each program throughout the year, and you can get notified about future programs here.
How many applicants get invited?
In previous programs, we've accepted 12% of applicants, though this varies program to program. Rather than focus on an acceptance rate, we focus on ensuring the best possible experience by curating an engaged and high-quality group of people whose backgrounds and goals are a strong fit for the program material, in a class size that's intimate enough to facilitate some of the most memorable relationships of your career.
How do we choose whom to invite?
We want to make sure if you take the time to participate that it is more than worth it. Unfortunately we can't cover every topic for every person in one program. As a result, our application process screens for three things. One, fit with the program material. Two, curating fit with the other program attendees. Three, your work experience (3+ years is required).
How advanced is the material?
This program is not a fit for beginners. As with Brian's and Andrew's public essays, the program is focused on practitioners who already know the basics and are figuring out how to take the next step. The content will be intermediate to advanced. We assume that you know about A/B testing, ad buying, etc., and the real challenge is thinking about the entire picture of growth and forming a coherent and compelling strategy. We do not cover tips, tricks, hacks, or tactics. Instead, we provide strategies and frameworks that enable you to solve growth challenges specific to your situation.
How much time should I expect to spend on the program?
Please see more details in the Time Commitment section above. The Reforge Growth Series represents decades of collective expertise in growth. To get the most out of this condensed "8 years in 8 weeks" experience, you should expect to spend at minimum 4 hours per week on program material and event attendance. That said, our most successful participants set aside dedicated time each week to stay current with lecture material, connect with other participants and growth leaders at online and offline events, and complete interactive activities -- spending up to 8 hours or more per week.
While the Growth Series is designed to fit with your current work and personal schedule, we also believe that you get out what you put in. The value you and your company get from the program is directly correlated with the amount of recurring time and participation you're able to dedicate to the experience.
What will be the cost for the program?
Price is $3495 for an individual seat. The Group Rate for teams of 3+ is $2995 per seat. If you need an invoice or any other materials to expense to your company we will provide that at the time of payment. Aside from the Group Rate, there are no additional discounts or scholarships available at this time.
Is this right for very early product teams seeking initial traction?
No. The best use of your time is to find product/market fit and build your initial business before you spend too much time on growth. If you are at or past product/market fit, then you will get a lot of value out of this program.
How actionable will the content be?
The content will provide actionable and analytical frameworks for understanding growth and forming a comprehensive strategy. But there will be minimal “how to” content on topics such as setting up landing pages, buying ads, etc. Those can be found on many other great sites free of charge.
In what timezone will the live online events be held?
We offer our live online events in the mornings, Pacific Time. If you can't join during that time, all sessions are recorded, and our community and online discussion forums provide global time zone coverage. It is possible to attend the Growth Series 100% remotely and asynchronously.
How much of the material is about SaaS/B2B versus B2C?
There is a balance of both B2B and B2C coverage in all of our weekly materials. Many of the frameworks apply to both given that “consumerization of enterprise” is now real. Please note, however, that there won't be direct material on enterprise sales or acquiring enterprise customers, although it may come up in Q&A.
Will I get access to the material after the program is over?
Yes, participants will retain access for a period of one year from the start of the program. After one year there will be ways to keep access and receive updates to the material.
Who will lead the events?
All of the events (both online and offline) will be led by either Brian or Andrew and sometimes both.
Are the in person events recorded or live streamed?
No. The format we use does not lend itself well to recording. The events are designed to attend one per week (online or in person). Both online and in person events follow the same format with the same exercises so you won't miss out on any content or learnings.