#275 – Ken Babcock, CEO of Tango on creating a flywheel for growth

A story about embarking on a startup growth dream when the market locks down

#275 – Ken Babcock, CEO of Tango on creating a flywheel for growth A story about embarking on a startup growth dream when the market locks down

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to take the pain out of software training. My guest is Ken Babcock, Co-founder and CEO of Tango.

Ken Babcock spent most of his career in the Bay Area at Uber, where he held roles in Launch Operations, Data Science, and Product Strategy from 2014 to 2018. In 2019 he decided to do his MBA at Harvard Business School. But shortly in, he and his co-founders, Brian Shultz and Dan Giovacchini, dropped out of Harvard during the pandemic to start Tango.

Today he’s the  Co-founder and CEO of Tango, which takes the pain out of documenting processes by automatically generating how-to guides while you work.

Since then, the company has grown to over 350,000 users and is trusted by people and teams at organizations, including Netflix, IBM, Salesforce, Nike, and more.

Tango has been recognized as a finalist for Product Hunt’s Product of the Year, Google’s 12 Favorite Chrome Extensions of 2022, and Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech for 2022. They have raised $19.7M in venture capital funding to date. 

Their mission: building a future of work where processes are easier to document and faster to follow. 

And this inspired me, and hence I invited Ken to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the way we capture and transfer knowledge. Ken shares how the company went from idea to GTM in literally months due to how the problem was exposed during Covid. He shares stories about how he overcame their biggest hurdle for growth: how to market their solution. And he shares some of Tango’s secrets to spark viral growth and increase conversion from free to paid plans.

Here’s one of his quotes

What we saw with a lot of our users is that their prior way of doing something was taking screenshots, manually going in and annotating the screenshots, dumping them into a Word doc, and typing it all up. And so the old way of doing things was so clunky. It wasn’t anything that was rocket science. But it was extremely tedious. 

And what we found with the market is everybody knows that this is a problem. What we realized was that people actually didn’t know that there would be a solution out there. 

So that was the hardest part: How do we shift our marketing strategy, knowing that our best users, the people that are doing things the old way, aren’t even going to know that they can solve their own problems?

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. Why putting all functionality in your Free plan is a good thing
  2. That product market fit is an illusion, and how to go about that
  3. How to stay ahead of the market and user expectations
  4. What’s the magic combo of core principles to create alignment and scale in your organization 


For more information about the guest from this week:


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