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 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. Weekly Lecture Topic + Interactive Work Template
Each week there is a 60- to 90- minute video and written lecture 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 work templates designed to help you apply 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. Growth-in-Action Supplemental Case Studies + Interviews
To complement lecture material, we apply the frameworks from the lecture to recent companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, and more. These examples are integrated into the lectures or included as separate case studies.
Each week also includes an original 30- to 60- minute interview with one or more industry growth leaders. Interview guests include Andy Johns (VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront), Casey Winters (Formerly Growth @ Pinterest), Ken Rudin (Head of Growth @ Google), Shaun Clowes (Dir Growth @ Atlassian), and others.
3. Weekly Events (Online and Offline)
A key part of the Reforge experience is connecting with other top growth practitioners via weekly events, both online and offline (in person).
Program attendees are invited to join one event per week, and can elect to attend an online event OR an offline (in-person) event in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Both event types are designed as interactive workshops to dig in to each week's lecture topic in more detail, and feature special guests including Naomi Pilosof Ionita, 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 fomerly LinkedIn, and many others.
All event feature live, small-group discussions with top growth leaders and your fellow program attendees. Events require active participation from all attendees.
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 5 hours per week on program material:
- 1 - 2hrs on lecture content.
- 1 hr applying frameworks and community participation.
- 1.5 - 2hrs participating in an online or in person event.
That said, our most successful participants set aside additional time each week connecting with other participants, reviewing what they learned with co-workers and managers, applying the material to their product, and consuming bonus content we provide-- spending up to 8 hours per week.
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 Sep 5 at 6 pm PST or Thursday Sep 7 at 6 pm PST in downtown San Francisco (venue TBA)
Online Kickoffs: Wednesday Sep 5 at 8:30 am PST or 5 pm PST
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.
Leader Interviews: Andy Johns - VP Growth/Product @ Wealthfront and Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Events: Wednesday Sep 13 at 8:30 am PST and 5 pm PST Featuring TBD
In-Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Sep 14 and 10:30am PT Saturday Sep 16 Featuring Ken Rudin - Head of Growth/Analytics @ Google and Simon Tisminezky - Head of Growth @ Ipsy.
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.
Leader Interviews: Fareed Mosavat Growth @ Slack, Formerly Instacart, Zynga
Online Events: Wednesday Sep 20 at 8:30 am PST and 5 pm PST Featuring James Currier - Managing Partner @ NFX Guild
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Sep 21 and 10:30am PT Saturday Sep 23 Featuring Darius Contractor Eng Manager Growth @ Dropbox and Adam Fishman - VP Growth @ Patreon
In Person Event (NYC): 6:30pm ET Thursday Sep 21 Featuring TBD
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.
Leader Interviews: Shaun Clowes Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Adam Fishman VP Growth @ Patreon
Online Events: Wednesday Sep 27 at 8:30 am PST and 5 pm PST Featuring Steven Dupree - Former VP Marketing @ SoFi, LogMeIn
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Sep 28 and 10:30am PT Saturday Sep 30 Featuring Fareed Mosavat - Growth @ Slack and Siqi Chen - VP Growth @ Postmates
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.
Leader Interviews: Shaun Clowes, Dir Growth @ Atlassian and Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest
Online Events: Wednesday Oct 4 at 8:30 am PST and 5 pm PST Featuring John Egan - Eng Manager Growth @ Pinterest
In Person Events (Palo Alto): 6:30pm PT Thursday Oct 12 Featuring Andy Johns - VP Product/Growth @ Wealthfront
In Person Event (SF): 10:30am PT Saturday Oct 14 Featuring John Egan - Eng Manager Growth @ Pinterest
In Person Event (NYC): 6:30pm ET Thursday Oct 12 Featuring TBD
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.
Leader Interviews: Casey Winters, Formerly Growth @ Pinterest and Nick Soman, Growth @ Gusto
Online Event: Wednesday Oct 11 at 8:30 am PST Featuring Steven Dupree - Former VP Marketing @ SoFi, LogMeIn
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Oct 12 and 10:30am PT Saturday Oct 7 Featuring Brian Rothenberg - VP Growth @ Eventbrite and Ada Chen Rekhi - Former SVP Marketing @ SurveyMonkey
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.
Leader Interviews: Nick Soman, Head of Growth @ Gusto, Gustaf Alstromer, Growth @ Airbnb, and James Currier, Managing Partner @ NFX Guild
Online Event: Wednesday Oct 18 at 8:30 am PST Featuring Gustaf Alstromer - Former Growth Lead @ Airbnb
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Oct 19 and 10:30am PT Saturday Oct 21
In Person Event (NYC): 6:30pm ET Thursday Oct 19 Featuring Paul Jeszensky - VP Marketing @ Breather, Former Airbnb & Ebay
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.
Leader Interview: Elena Verna, SVP Growth @ Malwarebytes, Former SurveyMonkey
Online Event: Wednesday Oct 25 at 8:30 am PST Featuring Matt Plotke - Head of Growth Marketing @ Stripe
In Person Events (SF/Bay Area): 6:30pm PT Thursday Oct 26 and 10:30am PT Saturday Oct 28 Featuring Naomi Pilosof Ionita - VP Growth and Monetization @ Invoice2Go and Elena Verna - SVP Growth @ Malwarebytes
We'll close the program with one final event for all program attendees to cap an ending to the program and mark your ongoing journey in growth.
*Date is subject to change.
"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. About 1/2 of program participants participate remotely. We will host three in person events in New York City. If you can not attend in person events, you can still participate in the online events. You will have access to 100% of the content, the 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 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 5 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 $3500 for an individual seat. The Group Rate for teams of 3+ is $2895 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.
What timezone will the live discussion sections be held?
We will have both morning and evening times for sections, Pacific time. If you can join for that, great, but if not, all the section discussions will be recorded and it’ll be possible to attend this lecture series 100% remotely and asynchronously.
How much of the material is about SaaS/B2B versus B2C?
There is a balance of both SaaS and consumer. Many of the frameworks apply to both given that “consumerization of enterprise” is now real. On the other hand, 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, 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.