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Steven Bartlett on building a culture of experimentation

Article originally published in June 2022 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in April 2024.

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We had the pleasure of watching Steven Bartlett talk about the importance of building a culture of experimentation at GROW London 2022 yesterday.

Steven is the 29-year-old founder of the social media marketing agency Social Chain, with a current market valuation of over $600M.

He is also a speaker, investor, author, content creator and host of one of Europe’s biggest podcasts, The Diary of a CEO. In 2021 Steven released his debut book ‘Happy Sexy Millionaire’ which was a Sunday Times best seller.

Why build a culture of experimentation?

Steven believes one of the best ways to keep up with the pace of change in business today, and to stay ahead of the curve, is to experiment faster than everyone else.

“Get your team to conduct fast, fearless, experiments – more often.”

Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain @ GROW London 2022
GROW London 2022 (00:18 seconds long)

To do this requires building a culture of experimentation in which team members are rewarded for running experiments with less focus on individual experiment outcomes. It is important to celebrate and reward the process, as much as the individual outcomes and results.

“Even in our team now, every Monday, even my social team, they report up to me a list of experiments that they did in the last 7 days”.

Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain @ GROW London 2022
GROW London 2022 (01:29 seconds long)

Steven talks about how a successful culture of experimentation is most often down to leadership, and requires a culture of risk taking, trust and empowerment.

“Your team either behave in that way of they don’t, and that’s usually, honestly, down to the leadership.

Whether the leadership are risky taking, whether they’re fast moving, whether they trust their team members, whether they empower people, whether they’re punishing people for doing the wrong things. All of these things matter.”

Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain @ GROW London 2022

He finishes by talking about how Jeff Bezos has successfully built an experimentation culture at Amazon:

“Experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, 2016 Letter to shareholders

Grow London

GROW London is a one-day hybrid event from the HubSpot team, it brings together leading professionals and brands focused on positioning themselves and their businesses for maximum growth.

Image source: https://www.hubspot.com/grow-london

Update 23/1/23

HubSpot just released a recap video of Grow London 2022, see below.

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