There's Only One Way To Make Your Company Really Grow

Andre the giantWikimedia CommonsWant to get big like Andre the Giant?

How do you build a really big company?

“All companies that grow really big do so in only one way: people recommend the product or service to other people,” says Sam Altman, who founded and sold Loopt, a mobile startup.

Altman currently spends part of his time working at Green Dot, which bought Loopt, and part of his time at Y-Combinator, the startup school in San Francisco that has birthed companies like Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox.

He continued, saying, “What this means is that if you want to be a great company some day, you have to eventually build something so good that people will recommend it to their friends–in fact, so good that they want to be the first one to recommend it to their friends for the implied good taste. No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long term if you don’t have a sufficiently good product.”

You might want to file this under: “Duh.”

It’s a little bit like saying, “The best way to be successful is to be successful.”

But this post has 40,000 views. It’s getting shared in Silicon Valley. As obvious as it sounds, it sometimes takes a simple view to make things clear.

The reason this post is getting shared: Right now, there are a lot of small startups getting funding, but no traction. So they’re looking for “growth hacks,” or ways to bump up their users.

VC Chamath Palihapitiya for instance says his firm has figured out a way to guarantee growth for a startup. He told AllThingsD he can make just about any company grow.

Maybe it helps to have people unlock your growth potential, says Altman, but really, it all boils down to one thing: “The only way to generate sustained exponential growth is to make whatever you’re making sufficiently good.”

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