A Child’s Talk With Santa Reveals The Secret To Product Growth

Fables Christmas

Fables is the award-winning comic book series exploring the lives of legendary characters, such as Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf, living among us in the modern world. Fables #56 by writer Bill Willingham and artist Mark Buckingham seeks to answer the burning question: Does Santa Claus really exist? And if he does, is he a Fable?

< SPOILER WARNING >

We’re going to reveal key plot points of Fables #56 as we explore the secret to product growth. And we’ll do it in 10 panels or less. You have been warned!

< /SPOILER WARNING >

The story begins with a flashback of Santa Claus stopping the trickster Jack Horner from stealing the fabled naughty and nice lists.

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In the present, we find Snow White, Bigby Wolf, and their children decorating their Christmas tree.

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Boy Blue and Rose Red have some trouble with a flying carpet…

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… but eventually they figure out the rules and use the carpet to visit the Wolf family.

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Auntie Rose tells the Wolf kids Santa will answer one question if the questioner forgoes presents that year.

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That night, the kids draw straws to see who will pose the question to Santa.

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Ambrose draws the short straw.

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Although he’d agreed to ask Santa how to get the best presents possible, a flabbergasted Ambrose instead asks Santa how he delivers all those presents across the world in a single night.

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Santa reveals he essentially has an army of magical duplicates who enable him to get it all done. After Ambrose goes to bed, Santa gives Bigby this year’s naughty and nice list for safekeeping.

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Ambrose’s Big Question To Santa Reflects The Big Question Every PM Gets Asked

And that question is, “Are you, like, a mini CEO?”

Just kidding. Nobody in the real world has ever asked a PM that question.

The $64K question is, “What’s your secret? What’s the secret to growing your product?”

I get asked that question all the time. If I’m honest, I ask others that question, too.

Our mental landscape is filled to bursting with articles about growth hacks, frameworks, and Tales Of How The Big Guys Achieved Massive Product Growth Without Even Trying.

And the answer is…

There is no secret.

There is no magic bullet.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, no matter how much we want there to be one.

Just looking at the mobile space, which I work in today, one could argue that the “secret” to growing your product is:

  • Personalized on-boarding, or
  • Push notifications, or
  • Social logins, or
  • In-app referrals, or
  • Contextual deeplinking

etc., etc., etc.

The truth is, all of those could be parts of the solution. Not a magic bullet but an arsenal.

Expensify’s CEO Said It Best

In a recent article on growth hacking that I actually found insightful and not just full of hype, Expensify CEO David Barrett said this:

“Keep an open mind, consider all opportunities, act decisively on those that excite you, and move on.”

Not the answer we might’ve wanted, not as emotionally satisfying as what Ambrose got from Santa, but a gift in its own way.

What do you think?

Are you and your team good at thinking creatively, choosing worthwhile experiments to test, and making decisions based on data and instinct?

Or would you recommend another approach?

If you stay up late to ask Santa a question, don’t ask if he has a magic bullet; ask instead how we can be more thoughtful and willing to experiment. If that fails, you could try to nick the naughty and nice list but that might land you a permanent place on the naughty list.

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