This article was published on June 1, 2018

8 key takeaways from the Growth Quarters stage at TNW2018

8 key takeaways from the Growth Quarters stage at TNW2018
Camille Charluet
Story by

Camille Charluet

Former Editor, TNW Spaces

TNW Conference 2018 went by in a flash. As we cut off our now-manky wristbands and start getting tagged in embarrassing photos from the afterparty, let’s instead reminisce about all the incredible content witnessed at the first ever Growth Quarters stage hosted by TQ and Google for Entrepreneurs.

Des Traynor, Co-founder & CSO, Intercom

“Think in cupcakes, not wedding cakes,” explained Des in regards to your strategy.

As Boris was juggling on the main stage, none other than Intercom’s Des Traynor opened our stage and his focus was product strategy.

Strategy is so much about knowing what you don’t do,” Des explained. “The essence of what we get right at Intercom is all the things we say no to.”

There were many tangible takeaways from Des’ talk, but my favorite was this: “Every decision you make highlights a missing principle. Turn all the decisions you make into principles and you’ll save yourself a great deal of time.”

Åsa Nyström, Director of Customer Advocacy, Buffer

Åsa Nyström, Director of Customer Advocacy at Buffer breaking down salary transparency.

“Transparency breeds trust & trust is the foundation for great teamwork,” explained Åsa Nyström, Director of Customer Advocacy at Buffer. That’s why Buffer publishes all their employee’s salaries publicly in this spreadsheet! We caught up with Åsa before the conference to find out what being fully transparent in terms of salaries really means — especially when things go wrong.

Simon Oliver Ommundsen, No Isolation, and Renato Valdes Olmos, Honor, interviewed by Sophie Op Den Kamp, TQ

Sophie (left), Renato (middle), and Simon (right) discussing how accessibility is not a barrier to innovation.

“You have to do everything in your power to understand who you are designing for,” explained Renato Valdes Olmos, Head of Design at in-home senior care company, Honor. “This really requires you to be uncomfortable and be confronted with things you don’t necessarily want to be confronted with as a designer or engineer.”

After showing the audience tear-jerking video about No Isolation’s AV1, a robot designed to end loneliness in kids too sick to leave their beds, Simon agreed. “We believe that everyone in the company needs to understand our user groups. This is very important because it’s always different to get a first-hand experience of how something works and what the limitations are, rather than being told by the UX department.”

Didier Rappaport, CEO, Happn

The charismatic Frenchman and CEO of dating app Happn, Didier Rappaport.

Didier: “Do you like green salad?”

A woman in the audience: “Yeah, it’s okay.”

Didier: “Well, I like green salad too, but that doesn’t mean we’re going fall in love. And that’s why we, at Happn, don’t believe in matching algorithms.”

Axel Bard Bringéus, International Expansion Partner, EQT Ventures

EQT Ventures Axel Bard Bringéus interviewed by TQ’s MD, Robert Gaal

Axel, the former Global Head of Markets at Spotify knows a lot when it comes to the whens, whys, and hows of international expansion.

His main piece of advice for startups: “Regardless of what stage your company is in, think about international expansion from very early on.”

Nicole Mills, Director Talent Development,

Nicole Mills from explaining the process of scaling an agile culture.

When it comes to‘s strategy for scaling an agile culture, Nicole‘s main learning has been to always keep testing and always keep iterating. She left the audience with one question: “What is the smallest thing you can do today?” 

Connor Swenson, Partnerships, Google for Entrepreneurs

“I don’t have a magic life hack, but I do have some tips and tricks to boost your productivity. This is what we teach at Google,” explained Connor Swenson from Google for Entrepreneurs.

Do you struggle with productivity? Are you looking for that one trick that will change your life forever? Too bad, there isn’t one, explained Connor. It’s about building better habits, day by day. He then led the audience through a quick introduction to meditation — something they do at Google before and after meetings.

Connor’s advice: “That one thing you don’t want to do? Do it first thing in the morning!”

John Collison, Cofounder, Stripe

Director of STATION F, Roxanne Varza interviewing Stripe’s John Collison.

Who better to share insights about growing a company than John Collison, co-founder of TQ resident Stripe, now valued at over $9 billion.

He wants companies to remember that focusing on the customer is the number one priority. He also stressed that companies shouldn’t limit themselves to finding a completely new product or idea. John’s empowering piece of advice: “There are giant opportunities laying in front of you to do things better.”

To be honest with you, there were many more valuable takeaways from the Growth Quarters stage, but they won’t all fit in one article. Looking for more gems of advice from experts behind the growth of the world’s most successful companies? Check out these seven tactics you can implement tomorrow to grow your startup. And keep your eyes peeled for more Growth Quarters related articles in the coming weeks.✌

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