Pros and Cons of Growth
Smarter GTM 11.17.2021

Pros and Cons of Growth

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Growth is good, but it’s not always easy. As Senior VP for Technology, Mike’s role has been to guide the leading mobile engagement platform’s evolution with focus and intentionality. Hear about the process Airship deployed in defining what it does best and executing strategies aimed laser-like at one goal: Being the best of the best. Mike provides a preview of his company’s upcoming Elevate 2021 online conference, which will include some exciting app unveilings, and he also shares some recommended reading for executives trying to foster a collaborative, ordinary but extraordinary, a culture of growth and development across the enterprise.

About the Guest

Mike Herrick is the SVP of Technology at Airship and is responsible for discovering, developing, operating, and sustaining Airship’s products. He joined the company in 2010. Before Airship, Mike was the Vice President of Products for Collaborative Software Initiative. In that role, he was responsible for product management, product development, technical support, and hosted operations. Mike holds a BS in Management Information Systems from the University of Dayton.

Connect with Mike Herrick 

Key Takeaways

  • Mike provides some background on where the Airship was in terms of growth and maturation when he came aboard.
  • Growth is exciting but has to be carefully managed.
  • How Airship decided where to focus moving into their next stage of growth. 
  • Moving from push notifications to other forms of engagement inside of apps, mobile wallet, email, SMS made sense on every level. Airship had the engineering bench strength and tremendous scale based on their track record.
  • Apps are coming full circle and are front and center in the marketplace today.
  • Mike offers some recommended reading. (Links below.)
  • There’s power in embracing the ordinary – contributing as part of a team and working collaboratively to deliver winning products.


“SaaS companies are so competitive now that shipping software isn’t enough.”

Highlights From the Episode

Are There Downsides to Rapid Growth?

Mike helped Airship wrestle with rapid growth, understanding that – if unrestrained – could quickly leave the company spread too thin and not very good at anything. Instead, they focused with great intention on where and how they wanted to scale up. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into “keeping the lights on” activities and lose the big picture.

What Role do Analysts Play – Pro or Con?

They have a point of view that’s oftentimes very astute, but many cover multiple categories and are trying to tease out how various markets are going to converge over time. They’re focused on dynamics between markets and are a factor in driving and broadening versus truly focusing in and trying to be great.

What is the “Hedgehog Concept”?

In his book “From Good to Great,” Jim Collins describes what he calls the Hedgehog Concept, an outgrowth of the famous Isaiah Berlin essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” In short, it’s all about the importance of defining what product or service your company is passionate about. Does it have a shot at becoming the best in the world? And how do you make that economically viable? Mike’s team had intensive conversations and deployed all these measures when formulating their path forward – and deciding whether to identify as a hedgehog or a fox.

Why Has Airship Returned to Its Roots?

When Airship took everything into account in terms of where they’d come from and wanted to go with their next-stage growth, there was a strong pull to return to what they historically had done best. Not push notifications, specifically, but a priority on mobile apps and ways to leverage them. It was clear that Airship customers wanted this focus and that bringing people back into the app was a strategic asset.

What Defines Airship’s Winning Strategy?

The airship is committed to an immersive, customer-first strategy. Mike says you’ve got to identify what is your desired outcome and track it, which is hard enough. But most importantly you’ve got to look at what the data say and what you’re going to do about it. How are you going to move the needle? You’ve got to keep wrestling with it and find the answer. It’s always there, but you’ve got to keep going.

Recommended Reading/Resources

” Good to Great,” by Jim Collins

“Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products,” by Marty Cagan

“Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love,” by Marty Cagan

About ELEVATE 2021: The Airship Customer Forum 



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