How Fast Can You Learn?

Steve August
March 16, 2021
5 Rules for Rocket Ships

This week I started working with a new client. Like many other clients I work with, his company has a brilliant product offering.

And like many other clients, he’s in the early stages of figuring out product market fit.

The company has a number of early customers but has yet to have a predictable pipeline and be able to reliably hit their numbers.

Our session started from the question, “How can we hit our numbers?”

But the reality is that “How can we hit our numbers?” isn’t the right question.

I’m a lifelong learner. I love learning new things.

But after 20+ years in the entrepreneurial game, I’ve come to hate learning curves in my businesses.

Not because I don’t like learning, but because learning curves kill your speed. The longer it takes you to learn something, the slower you go.

Now I look at everything as a “speed-of-learning” exercise.

The question isn’t “How can we hit our numbers?” — it’s “How fast can we learn how to hit our numbers?”

How fast can we learn…

…which target customers are our 20% of our 80/20’s?
…which part of our funnel is broken (and how to fix)?
…which positioning/ad/web page will convert?

When we start looking at everything as a speed-of-learning exercise, really interesting things happen.

For example, paid Google or Facebook advertising becomes a way to rapidly test different targeting, messaging, and positioning that easily beats the speed of inbound content marketing (especially in earlier stage lower size list situations).

Once you get this speed-of-learning mindset, you’ll see your whole business is made up of learning curves that need to be shortened.

How fast can you:

- figure out which new team members will succeed?
- get useful product feedback and integrate it?
- ramp up a new salesperson?
- get everyone on the team aligned and focused on the right goals?

When you understand that learning speed determines your pace of growth, you’ll start looking at your business in a whole new way.

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