Mario Araujo, Head of Growth at Softr on his journey 🎯, monetization vs. engagement🔄 and his ideal team 🙌🏼
Mario gets candid with us on his journey from a technical role to Head Of Growth at Softr, the one goal his team relentlessly chases and the tools he can't live without!
👋 Hey there! Welcome back to 🥁 Humans of PLG💥—a space where we bring you insights directly from the OGs - the humans in the drivers’ seat, building your favorite PLG companies.
Since we started this newsletter, our #1 goal has been to get enough folks excited about the product-led world that we so dearly love ❤️; this is yet another extension of this grand effort.
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Today, we’re picking the 🧠 of Mario Araujo, Head Of Growth at Softr; the world’s largest ecosystem for building no-code apps. The product makes enables anyone without prior experience in coding to build an online presence in the form of communities, portals, stores, and even CRMs. 🤯
Softr has zoomed organically from 0 to 50k users in less than 15 months, picking up Product Hunt’s Product of the Year 🥇at the 2021 Golden Kitty Awards. 🤩
Watch the full version here 👇🏼 or scroll ahead for the TLDR highlights🔥
(We’ve also done a deep-dive on their growth levers. Check it out here.)
Backed with over $15Mn+ of venture capital from marquee investors Matt Turck and FirstMark Capital, and joined by some of the world’s top minds in growth, product, and community - Elena Verna, Packy McCormick, Julian Shapiro, Gokul Rajaram, Brian Balfour, Shreyas Doshi, Kieran Flanagan amongst others (phew…)
—this No-code movement is turning into a REVOLUTION! 🙌🏼
Heading this revolution from the frontlines is Mario Araujo💥 We met Mario less than two weeks ago, in a closed-door candid chat, where he let us in on everything that led him to Softr, the love that the product gets, signs of a toxic culture, and the #1 metric his team relentlessly chases!
Mario has spent 16 years of his career at OutSystems, where he started out as a Technical Training Manager, and upon leaving, was the Senior Director of Product Growth. Having been through lots of bull and bear cycles, and amassing wisdom that only experience can teach, we knew there was A LOT TO UNPACK! 💪🏻
Let’s get right into it 👇🏼
This interview is edited for clarity.
Mario’s Journey to Softr🏎
Mario Araujo (MA): I got an engineering degree and so I started working as a software engineer many years ago for a startup that was sold to Microsoft at some point. The startup world, meanwhile always fascinated me, small teams, nimble teams where people were just creative and putting their passion into solving something that they believed in. However, I joined a relatively big company soon after as a consultant., I was, creating software solutions for customers for maybe four years. In the following years, I had six or seven jobs but they were all related to solving for growth. However, back then these things weren’t called growth. Just a cross-functional team that was working on challenges that would hypothetically unlock a business growth opportunity, for us at the time.
On Leading the Growth team at Softr💪🏻
MA: When I started, my team and I were in the honeymoon stage. I'm still seven months in. But, what kind of, what kind of impact does the growth team drive? So I'll give you a couple of examples. So the first thing we did together was put together a growth model. The founders took part in it. The members of the team took part in it. And the goal of every growth model is to get a predictable, sustainable, and defensible growth motion in place. It's not perfect, but we feel all of us are aligned and directionally, correct. This is where we want to go. And in some areas, we're not yet measuring the right metric, but we know that we will get there. So we don't get too dogmatic about it.
Mario’s Content Recommendations 📚
MA: I follow a bunch of newsletters. There's too many, more than I can possibly read. I use this application called stoop, which centralizes all the newsletters. Whatever is there from the newsletters follow, including the Top Of The Lyne newsletter (yaay, score!) There are a handful of folks that I follow very concretely. Elena Verna is one of the people I follow on LinkedIn. I follow Lenny's newsletter. And, Reforge I did a bunch of courses in Reforge and I'm still a member and I still go in and consume some of the content.
On Softr’s evolving positioning 🔄
MA: We try to be clear and specific, so we don't break people's expectations. But we do have a growing percentage of users that do not know Airtable and our joining software. So our positioning may change now that we know we can serve users that regardless if they use their table or not, they will have a good experience. So because we know we are already, we are ready for them. We can onboard them, they can be successful. We will be able to adjust the positioning. But we wouldn't do that if we weren't ready because that would be just, Growth hacking not growth marketing. No, I'm just kidding. That would be unethical.
Heartwarming customer success 💕
MA: We talk to a lot of customers; we interview like 100 more than maybe 100 or more customers a month. And for our size, if you think about it it's is too much. And some of the customers just reach out and want to share their success. They’re making money and Softr has changed their life because of what they were able to build with us. Like last week I spoke to a potential customer that is about to take live a solution that is gonna help every retired person in the United States. There's a big problem with supporting the elderly in the United States to provide them healthcare, not only healthcare but, quality elderly care. And they created this entire app that will change the life of a lot of people. So this guy was inspired by his personal situation with his father I'm very proud of the value that our customers claim that were, that we're delivering.
Mario on his ideal team 🙏
MA: An ideal team has members that are humble, hungry, and smart as in people smart. And so that, helped me a lot. And it changed my life when I was considering moving. I was validating. If the Softr team was hungry, humble, and smart. You don't wanna work with only hungry people, that are not people smart that are not empathetic, that are not humble because they're gonna be jackasses. They're gonna stab a knife on your back. If they're more or less in the middle, maybe towards the right, that's fine. But for example, you will never, that he argues that is really hard to coach a person to be humble. Anyway, something that changed my life.
Watch the full interview with Mario HERE! 🔥
We’re on the hunt to interview the OGs of PLG. Let us know who you’d like us to interview next 👇🏼
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