Director of Product & GM
How should you be thinking about improving retention? How Duolingo used growth models from gaming companies to ignite user growth.
One of the most difficult things about language learning is staying motivated. This is why Duolingo cares deeply about retention rates as the primary lever to fuel DAU growth. After years of efforts improving retention rates and not seeing much of it transfer over to increasing DAUs I lead the creation of a team to own all the metagame mechanics and improve retention with a different approach.
When thinking about increasing retention, many companies make mistakes by focusing on the wrong thing: improving onboarding.
I’ll address all the different levers you have to improve retention based on frameworks used by gaming companies (such as Zynga) and I’ll be giving specific examples on how we’ve put them to practice at Duolingo and the impact they had.
Daniel Falabella is currently the Director of Product Management at Duolingo (a language learning app currently valued at $1.5B with over 35M MAUs). Daniel has been doing product management work since his graduation in 2012. He ran a startup and grew it to over 350k users and 12 employees. He tanked the startup and had to shut it down because he couldn’t not get to product market fit. He got a job as a Software Engineer and transitioned to Product Management at Jane.com where his primary task was to improve retention. He ran retention and core experience at Lucidchart (a Lucid Software product). He worked as a PM at Dropbox where he solely focused on increasing retention/decreasing churn. He created the first retention team at Duolingo where he blew it up.
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