November 17, 2021
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Building and scaling a growth team — Key insights from Andy Johns’ new 20 Minute VC interview

John Vrionis
Building and scaling a growth team — Key insights from Andy Johns’ new 20 Minute VC interviewBuilding and scaling a growth team — Key insights from Andy Johns’ new 20 Minute VC interview
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Editor's note: 


The amazing thing about having a great team is that you’re able to constantly learn from them. Even after years of knowing and working with Andy Johns, I learned so much in his new episode on the 20 Minute VC podcast hosted by friend of Unusual Ventures, Harry Stebbings.

The conversation is extremely relevant for early stage founders (and beyond), because it centers on something we stress to every founder we work with: a world class team is transformative. Nowhere is that more true than on a growth team. As Andy discsusses in the podcast, a startup’s GTM and growth strategy will often determine how it makes growth hires and builds its team. A startup that has the right people executing the right strategy is dramatically increasing its odds of becoming a successful company.

Andy Johns joins 20VC.



The whole episode is a master class on growth and we encourage everyone to listen to it here. We also want to underscore some of the key points that Andy makes, in case it helps early founders thinking about hiring a growth leader or building out a growth strategy.


  1. Don’t think of hiring a growth team as one-size-fits-all: You have to build around the specifics of the kind of business you’re building (the sector, the nature of competition, etc.) and whether you’re a network effects business or not. The answer to these variables will inform the specifics of the team you hire, and the tactics they employ. For instance, a startup using The Modern GTM will have a very different approach to growth than one using a traditional top-down motion.
  2. Deploy growth strategies along — not in lieu of — product innovation: Many startups lean too hard too quickly on the standard ‘growth hacking’ playbook of optimizations and A/B testing without focusing enough on product innovation. The levers of growth are important of course, but Andy rightly points out that they can be a crutch that causes startups to miss the chance to take big product risks. Growth tactics are good and important, but you can’t let them come at the expense of discovering core user experiences that can generate a more fundamental and durable flywheel effect.
  3. Think about the growth function like the finance function: Finance measures the flow of capital in and out of the business, and contributes ideas to optimize that flow, whereas growth’s job is to measure the flow of users and customers into, and out, of the product while optimizing that flow.


Those are just a few takeaways from this brilliant conversation, but we encourage you to listen to the whole thing. Once you’re done, check out some of the in-depth growth guidance from Andy and other members of Team Unusual here in the Field Guide.


Thanks again to Andy and Harry for taking the time to discuss these important insights!

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