The User Activation Framework at Wave with Vivek Balasubramanian, Director of Growth at Wave (GMT097)

Whenever I talk to growth leaders on how they onboard users to their product, I’m always fascinated by how often the term “aha” moment comes up. They consistently say they want their users to get to their product’s “aha” moment, the interaction that fills their users with a feeling of delight and reveals the true value of the product to them.

According to Vivek, the Head of Growth at Wave, your job of onboarding new users doesn’t end when they experience the first “aha” moment, but what he calls the “First Activation Event” or FAE for short. In this episode, Vivek shares his user activation framework that helped Wave get acquired by H&R Block for $537 million.

In episode 97, you’ll learn:

  1. Why is the “Aha” moment not enough to determine if a user is activated?
  2. How the Wave team designed the onboarding experience
  3. Why managing up is an important skill for growth teams to have?
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Key Discussion Points
  • [02:33] What is Wave?
  • [06:48] What are the lessons from Vivek took from working in Growth at Shopify to Wave?
  • [12:10] As the first growth hire at Wave, how did Vivek get the buy-in from the executive team?
  • [16:55] Why managing up is an important skill for growth teams to have?
  • [20:13] What is the number one metric that Vivek and the growth team are accountable to?
  • [22:05] Why is the “Aha” moment not enough to determine if a user is activated?
  • [28:20] How do you figure out what your First Activation Event (FAE) is?
  • [32:43] How does Growth work with the demand gen and product teams?
  • [37:37] How the Wave team designed the onboarding experience
  • [52:32] Vivek’s advice to growth teams


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About Vivek

Vivek Balasubramanian is the Director of Growth at Wave. where he leads a metric-focused, experiments-driven function. The growth team at Wave is a cross-functional team with key players from engineering, design, and data.





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