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Want Hockeystick Growth? Try These Strategies from Airbnb, Slack, Instacart, Dropbox and Netflix When you look at stories from the early years at these and other hugely successful companies, three trends emerge.

By Lenny Rachitsky Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the May 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Vitavalka |

We've all seen those charts showing "hockey-stick growth." They are the envy of entrepreneurs who haven't found it, and among the most important moments in a company's history for those who have. Hockey-stick growth tells a story: A company was slowly finding its way, and then — rocket ship. The rest is history.

But hockey-stick growth didn't just happen. Something triggered it. There was an inflection point. What was it?

I was a founder and longtime product lead at Airbnb, and now I write a newsletter about product growth that's the No. 1 business newsletter on Substack. (Find it at And I wanted to answer this question: What precedes an inflection in growth? To find out, I spent weeks researching inflection points and chatting with leaders at two dozen of today's most successful companies — including founders and early employees at Figma, DoorDash, Tinder, YouTube, Snap, Airbnb, and others.

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