High Growth Companies Grow Quadratically

Most runaway successes we hear about often have some mythology of the moment the founding team unlocked exponential growth. Examples include Slack, Facebook, and HubSpot. The only problem is, most of these growth stories are not actually exponential but closer to “an initial period of quadratic growth followed by linear growth”.

In The myth of exponential hypergrowth from A Smart Bear, the author argues that this distinction is important because we need better mental models for how to achieve high growth. To do that, consider successful products and marketing campaigns follow an elephant curve (steap rise, followed by a drawn out decline) and the idea is to stack these over time. Only then can you create multiple activities that sustain high growth.

See also: