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September 1, 2022
This week we turn our attention to a growth model that more early-stage startups should pay attention to.

The 5 Phases of Figma’s Community-Led Growth: From Stealth to Enterprise

For any startup, finding your wedge is essential to capture attention and warrant a second look from users. When you’re entering a crowded category, this wedge is what convinces folks to make the switch from whatever tool they were using before.

But when Figma first launched back in 2015, the design tool hadn’t quite put the finishing touches on what would be its main selling point — multiplayer design collaboration. Nonetheless, on launch day, it took the design Twittersphere by storm and racked up a waitlist for the private beta — a welcome relief after three years of quietly building in stealth.

Claire Butler, Senior Director of Marketing and Figma’s first business hire, credits the company’s community-led growth strategy for this feat. Butler joined Figma about six months before the product launch and began shaping the company’s bottoms-up growth strategy and laying the track for a vibrant community before the product was even publicly available.

When you hear community, you may think of an events strategy or starting a Slack group. With that framing in mind, most startup folks tend to think of community as something to tack on as an afterthought, after finding product/market fit. “Community is such a fuzzy word and there’s no standard definition. How I define community is that it’s not a set of specific programs or a Slack group. It’s an approach to building and your go-to-market strategy that orients around fostering a passionate user base who’s going to power up your product adoption,” says Butler.

In this exclusive interview, Butler imparts tons of lessons about how to build and cultivate a community along each phase of the startup journey. Here’s a sneak peek:

Phase 1: Lay the groundwork in stealth.

Phase 2: Capture attention on launch day.

Phase 3: Power up with early evangelists.

Phase 4: If you add on pricing, keep your magic moment free.

Phase 5: Stick to your roots as you bring in sales.

Thanks, as always, for reading and sharing.

-The Review Editors

Take me to The Review

Or listen to the interview on the In Depth podcast!

Butler also sat down for an interview with our In Depth podcast host, Brett Berson, for a community-led growth discussion.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the In Depth podcast yet, give it a listen.

Recommended resources:

- 5 mistakes even the pros make when interviewing buyers.

- Tips for recruiting your early team as a first-time founder.

10 podcast recs for PMs.

- A favorite here on the Review, Sam Corcos, shares his observations on what gets more difficult at 50+ employees.

Trending this week — Review Reads:

Why Now’s the Perfect Time to Retool Your Hiring Process and Get Creative
Whether hiring is slowing down or keeping pace, now's the time to revamp your process. Peoplism's founders share unexpected tips, from swapping resumes for a screener survey, to sharing interview questions in advance.
The Critical Startup Skills You Might Be Overlooking — And How to Bring Them Into Focus
We’ve combed the extensive Review archives for tactical guidance and ideas to put more focus into the critical development areas you might not be paying attention to. 
Stop Overcomplicating It: The Simple Guidebook to Upping Your Management Game
Russ Laraway cuts through all of the competing opinions, frameworks and advice on how to be a better manager to craft a simple leadership toolkit.
Ditch Your To-Do List and Use These Docs To Make More Impact
After tackling startup challenges from Stripe Press to Figma Education, Brie Wolfson shares her personal collection of templates — the docs that she's used to stay focused on the work that matters and her own career goals.

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Made with ✨ by First Round Capital.
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