Explosive Growth Blog

Below are book reviews and blog posts about my book, Explosive Growth:  A Few Things I Learned Growing To 100 Million Users & Losing $78 MillionThe Ultimate Startup Playbook In Entrepreneurship, Business Strategy, Online Marketing, Leadership & PR.  View all my blog posts on Medium.

March 4, 2018

Explosive Growth Book Review By Irish Tech News

Explosive Growth Book Review By Simon Cocking of  Irish Tech News

This is a great book to read. Some of the business books are a bit of a chore to read, this was one that we looked forward to reading. It is painfully honest at times, and rather than falling for the hindsight bias, that if he is successful now then surely every decision he made before was awesome. Instead he looks hard at what he did, and did not do right. It makes for a much better, much more compelling read. There are several opportunities that he turned down, that in hindsight he explains he would definitely like to have played differently. Hint, if a billionaire comes calling, do at least explore how a possible collaboration might play out…

Continue Reading The Explosive Growth Book Review On Irish Tech News

March 4, 2018

Explosive Growth Book Review By Egg Marketing

Explosive Growth Book Review By Egg Marketing

A Story Well-Told

What kept me engaged on my flight to and from Maui, when I dove into this book, was Lerner’s story. After realizing that a Wall Street career was not for him, he launched an online dating startup (because, you know, that was supposed to be less stressful than working for Lehman Brothers). While the company had wild success after a media mention, the bigger story here is in the mistakes that he made along the way.

Lerner’s story reads like a business memoir (if that’s a genre), peppered with tips to avoid the mistakes he made. Frankly, the tips inserted in the story felt a little redundant to me after the story, but they fell in line with how business how-to books are written today.

Unlike many CEOs, Lerner admits his mistakes and offers insight into how he would have done things differently. Anyone in the startup space would benefit from his insight (such as: don’t leave all the money on the table when you’ve got it…don’t say no to high-profile investors like Mark Cuban, etc.).

The story ends well for Lerner, I think. He’s a media personality and celebrity entrepreneur who has, obviously, written a book. So the moral of the story here is: even if you fail in your business, you can always leverage that loss into something else.

Continue Reading The Explosive Growth Book Review On Egg Marketing

Explosive Growth Book
January 10, 2018

Explosive Growth Book Review By 9MuseNews.com

Explosive Growth Book Review By Keri Douglas of 9MusesNews.com on 1/2/2018

Brilliantly crafted Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing to 100 Million Users and Losing $78 Million by Cliff Lerner, founder and CEO of SNAP Interactive, Inc., is essential reading for every entrepreneur and leader seeking innovative solutions for their industry.

Lerner’s insights and experiences are as though he mastered the art of archery while surfing.

Among his many feats, it was his vision to launch a dating app AreYouInterested that set the stage for his success. Lerner quickly raised $10 million dollars from just a few phone calls. With a talented team, a solution to a problem, data, and hustle, Lerner’s AYI app went viral and gained an unimaginable 100,000 new users in one day. He even made $78 million in one week.

Lerner strikes his target with the skill and mastery required of a tech entrepreneur all the while riding the waves of the stock market, the nature of business, and the unknown territory of successfully translating digital users into revenue.

Now, with Explosive Growth, distilling years of experience as a multimillion dollar entrepreneur, Lerner identifies the path for success that can be applied across many sectors, including business, bureaucracies, and even life.

First and foremost, Lerner makes it clear that there is not one formula, nor one idea, nor one strategic actions that ensures success. Each idea and each action elicits a unique rapid reaction that then requires a rapid response. Entrepreneurs, like Lerner, demonstrate the grace, adaptability, and fortitude of leadership within innovation.

Reinforcing Lerner’s point, his brother and co-founder of SNAP Interactive Inc., Darrel Lerner wrote:

“Success in business doesn’t come from an idea or a formula, it comes from execution. No path is identical, and each key moment presents

January 9, 2018

Your Product Isn’t Growing Because It Sucks

There is one question that can make or break any marketing campaign, but you never hear it asked at meetings:

Does our product suck?

It’s a scary thing to say out loud. Leaders don’t want to appear to lack confidence in their product, and team members don’t want to piss anyone off.

But in my experience, asking that question can be the difference between a launching a product that is dead on arrival, and building a $150 million dollar company.

Why It’s So Hard To Ask Ourselves If Our Product Sucks…

Continue Reading On Medium…

Worst Ideas As A Founder That Worked
January 9, 2018

The Worst Ideas I Had As A Founder (That Went Extremely Well)

There is one truth that all founders — I don’t care if you’re a former CEO or a 22 year-old college dropout — must come to terms with:

Most of your ideas are bad.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Having bad ideas is just part of being human. Your “CEO & Founder” business cards don’t come with a brain implant that stops you from having dumb ideas in the shower (Look at that! Another terrible startup idea!).

The difference between a successful founder and a failed founder isn’t always the quality of their ideas. It is their willingness to put even their seemingly worst ideas to the test…

Continue Reading On Medium…

January 8, 2018

A Few Words About Explosive Growth: Importance of Mentors And Thinking Big

Every startup founder, even the most aggressively realistic, has a quiet pipedream in the back of their mind.

Everytime they hit launch on a new feature, everytime they publish an article, everytime a new piece of coverage is released—some part of their mind asks, “Is this the thing that is going to change everything?

We can’t help ourselves. It’s part of startup lore. A business with moderate traction is struggling along, until one video goes viral, pouring in millions of new customers. A founder adds one feature to their product, and suddenly it’s a sensation.

The reality is, 99% of the time, the feature doesn’t change the world. The coverage doesn’t spark a movement. Your content only gets a few dozen shares.

Continue Reading On The Huffington Post


Tinder Explosive Growth
January 8, 2018

5 Genius Things Tinder Did To Achieve Explosive Growth

As soon as I saw Tinder, I knew it was going to crush the competition. Unfortunately, I was included in that competition.

How did I know Tinder would succeed? Tinder found the Holy Grail — the one thing all online dating services (mine included) had been trying to find to no avail:

A way to stimulate word-of-mouth referrals.

Before Tinder, there was a serious stigma around online dating. You only told your friends you were dating online after you’d successfully met your match — and even then, it wasn’t information you went around broadcasting…

Continue Reading On Medium…


A/B Testing
January 6, 2018

How A/B Testing Got Us 100,000 Users In One Day

In 2007, my company was in a precarious spot:

  • We’d scrapped our product for a full rebuild.
  • We were rebuilding our product as a Facebook app — a totally untested platform.
  • We were quickly running out of funds.

We needed our new dating service, AreYouInterested?, to find traction quickly, otherwise we’d be out of capital.

I’m going to go ahead and spoil the ending — It worked out. AreYouInterested? is now FirstMet, a dating community with over 30 million users.

However, back in 2007, we had no idea it would work. We were sure of just two things…

Continue Reading On Medium…

Get 100,000 Free Press This Week
January 6, 2018

How To Get $100,000 In Free Press For Your Startup This Week

In 2007, my company’s marketing efforts were, in a word, lackluster.

I ran a dating service called IAmFreeTonight.com (later known as AreYouInterested, and now, FirstMet), and in 2007, we’d launched the following marketing campaigns:

  • We dumped $50,000 into one Spring Break promotion involving helicopters, skywriting, and girls in bikinis. It netted us zero signups.
  • We tested viral features that failed.
  • We’d appeared in a few major media outlets — USA Today, Geraldo, etc. — which had driven some signups, but not nearly enough.

In short, we had nothing but a handful of good stories…

Continue Reading On Medium…

Why Christmas Eve Is Your Startups Biggest Opportunity
December 23, 2017

Why Christmas Eve Is Your Startup’s Biggest Opportunity

Everything you PR team has told about when to issue your blog post or press release is dead wrong.

PR folks will tell you that timing is everything, and they are right about that. In order to get maximum visibility for your story, they will tell you to publish it when: 1) your target audience is available to engage your content; and 2) when bloggers and reporters are ready to spread your story while it’s still hot.

Continue Reading On Medium…


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