Top 5x3 Resources around Onboarding and Retention

Issue 30

Good Morning,

In this post, I have shared the top resources I have come across while researching on Retention. A lot of readers requested this. Planning to keep it as the last post on the topic.

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share my thoughts on the Growth Catalyst Newsletter so far and what’s coming next. In the last 6 months, we have covered 6 of 9 topics we started with in mind,


  1. Product-Market Fit: 5 posts - May’20

  2. Positioning: 4 posts - Jun’20

  3. GTM: 4 posts -Jul’20


  1. Growth Analytics: 3 posts - Aug’20

  2. Growth Accounting, Models and Loops: 5 posts- Sept’20

  3. Onboarding and Retention: 5 posts - Oct’20


  1. Research and Experimentation: How to generate ideas and improve the metrics - Nov’20

  2. User Psychology and Gamification: How applying game mechanics can put you to advantage - Dec’20

  3. Mental Models for Growth: Bringing it all together and best models from various disciplines like behavioral psychology, finance, computer science, biology, etc. - Jan’21

So far, I have written 50 k words at Growth Catalyst. It’s a good milestone 😊 Looking forward to the next three months ✌️

3,000+ people have subscribed to the growth catalyst newsletter so far. To receive the newsletter weekly in your email, consider subscribing 👇

Off to the update,

In the post on resources around data, I wrote why I have started sharing these resources.

Depending on the kind of person you are, you might prefer one or more of the methods to learn about a topic.

Everyone has a different learning style. And that’s why I am going to share 5x3 resources on topics I write

  • top 5 books

  • top 5 articles/blogs

  • top 5 videos/channels

Please feel free to choose the medium and learn :)

In line with this thought, I have also started making videos around product, growth, and career recently on the YouTube Channel.

Here you go!

top 5 articles/blogs

  1. Mastering Retention by Amplitude — Most extensive guide on the topic of retention. This one is my favorite.

  2. How to Increase Your Product Retention by Lenny Rachisky — This is a good blog post by Lenny and will supplement whatever you read in the retention masterclass series at Growth Catalyst.

  3. Intercom on Onboarding by Intercom— Another playbook by Intercom. As Intercom is a user onboarding product, so you can be assured that they know what they are talking about

  4. 6 User Onboarding Flows by CXL — The post starts with

    “There’s a popular user experience quote: “A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.” While clever, that statement is far from true.”

    A very strong start gives you a sense that this post is going to be good. It also gives you a good sense of how to study the onboarding flows of different products and learn from them.

  5. Why Retention Is The Silent Killer by Brian Balfour — Another good post by Brian

top 5 videos/channels

  1. Why Customer Onboarding is the Most Crucial Part of Your Growth Strategy by Casey Winters: Casey is the CPO of Eventbrite and has built growth courses at Reforge.

  1. Growth for Startups by Gustaf Alstromer: Gustaf has mentored multiple teams around growth at Y Combinator. In this video, he covers product-market fit, retention, and a few more topics.

  1. How to Think About Onboarding by Colin Bentley, Senior Director of Product at Inside Intercom

  1. How to Improve Conversion Rates by Kevin Hale at Y Combinator: Conversion rate improvement is the ultimate goal of Onboarding and a leading indicator of retention. So added one video around that.

  1. Growth Masterclass by Chamath: This is a video I share every time someone asks about how to grow a product. Retention is a function of all the small things that you do on a day-to-day basis. Nothing exemplifies that better than Chamath, who built the growth team at Facebook.

top 5 books

  1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal: Hooked is a good book about how user habits get formed. User Habits = High Retention

  2. Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis: A complete book that covers all the topics of growth comprehensively. Probably the only decent book on product growth.

  3. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman: To be good at Onboarding, it’s vital to understand the fundamentals of design. This is the definitive book on UX design fundamentals.

  4. Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future - and What to Do About It by Tien Tzuo: Studying subscription businesses is a masterclass in retention because you keep seeing user behavior and preferences month on month.

  5. The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses- The lean startup is one of the cult books around product development. It explains the importance of testing your product with users early on and building based on those insights. The methods discussed in this book can help you build the right product for the right audience.

Hope you liked the suggestions. DM me for any suggestion/feedback :)

See you next week ✌️