Seven Growth Hacking Lessons to Learn from Olx Pakistan Country Manager

Learn how OLX Pakistan increased its growth on web and mobile.

A session took place at the Nest I/O tech incubator in Karachi on Sept. 27th, Wednesday. The theme of the session was ‘Growth Hacking’ and the guest of honor was none other than OlX Pakistan Country Manager Bilal Bajwa.

In the session, Bilal shared his personal experiences with the newer generation of growth hackers. We have created a list so you don’t miss them out.

But first, a little about Bilal and how he came to be Olx’s country manager.

Bilal spent most of his young-adult life in USA. He did his bachelors from Berkley and then joined Enron as an analyst. After it dissolved, he came to Pakistan and joined Nestle. He went back after a year to start MBA with the same university. After graduating, he joined a banking firm and worked there for a while. He joined Zynga as director of product and growth. There he worked for around six years and then he became the Chief Product Officer of Dubizzle. Now he is the Country Manager of OLX, a Dubizzle product.

Lessons from Bilal Bajwa, Country Manager at OLX Pakistan

Keep reinventing yourself

‘Just as a software is updated after taking feedback from the user,’ Bilal says, ‘A person should also reinvent himself with time.’ He should always seek to improve himself mentally and physically, so that he can get better at what he does. His aim should be to focus on version 2.0, version 3.0 and so on…

He explains that this is not just relevant to growth hacking but to growth of the personal well-being.

Failure can speed up success

We all fear failure. And, some of us, who don’t fear it often succeed. It is not that they never tasted failure. It is just that they never give up. Bilal gave example of how in Zynga, they used alphabetical sorting of invitations but they were only able to reach the users whose names started with either A or B. They tested with the descending order. Now they were reaching out to the users whose name started with X, Y and Z. Because users only invite a few of their friends. Then they came up with an intelligent sorting, where the invitation will only go to a facebook user if he has not been invited 10 times.

Get help early and from the right people

As many of the listeners were part of the startup community of Pakistan, Bajwa told them that they shouldn’t become jack of all trades and master of none. If they are not good at something, they should seek help. Many startups fail because not many people are involved in it. The feedback isn’t valuable enough or the product simply fails to launch.

Go for escape velocity

Bajwa had previously worked in Enron, Zynga, Dubizzle and now is the country manager of Olx Pakistan. He said we should always aim for escape velocity. Because in a startup if you focus on incremental growth only, you will fail. He told the audience that he always had a picture of either a rocket or an astronaut in his office cabin. ‘Have you ever seen the rocket? It moves straight upwards. If it tilts a little, it will not reach its destination. That’s how the growth of a startup goes,’ Bilal added.

Paranoia is good

Another personal life example that Bilal shared from his times at Zynga was that, during the Christmas season, many gamers stop playing. They go on holidays and come back with a diverted mind. Some make resolutions that they should focus on healthy activities. At that time of the year, the bosses at the company became paranoid that they will lose growth. That’s where one has to come up with various ideas.

One idea he came up with was to launch chicken pox plague in one of his company’s games named ‘FrontierVille.’ A small group of individuals was affected with the plague. Now, any user who visited their house, or if they visited any user’s house, the other user will get affected. This led to huge boost in that game’s ratings.

In the start, speed matters… later, quality does

Finally, Bilal gave the example of craiglist and how it was the best platform for classified ads. But they never changed their user interface. Today, their market share has decreased tremendously. He said that in the start you have the first mover’s advantage. The market is ripe and it is easy to move ahead. But when competition occurs, you have to focus on quality. And, to test quality, use A/B tests.

Use your network

Growth hacking isn’t of one kind only and there are many threads attached. One example of growth hacking through the use of network that Bilal gave was, how they improved their app installs through the network alone and with zero budget.

He said he came up with an idea for improving the app installs through Olx’s own network. Olx has a website with 30,000 daily active users (avg), a facebook page with 35lac likes and a youtube channel, apart from other social and search channels. They populated them with app install ads, and the installs increased from zero to 3lac in a matter of days.

That was it for the day.

What do you guys think about growth hacking, have you dabbled with it for your product? Please share your lessons in the comments below.

Pictures taken from OLX Pakistan facebook page.

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