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Home » Foti Panagiotakopoulos – The Accidental Growth Mentor on Scratching His Own Itch, Validating Ideas Through Conversations, Building a “Friend Factory”, and Why Giving Comes Full Circle (TMMF #010)

Foti Panagiotakopoulos – The Accidental Growth Mentor on Scratching His Own Itch, Validating Ideas Through Conversations, Building a “Friend Factory”, and Why Giving Comes Full Circle (TMMF #010)

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“…what questions can we ask on our onboarding that make the user think, Oh my God, this person, this company is in my brain, right?”

— Foti Panagiotakopoulos

Foti Panagiotakopoulos is the founder of GrowthMentor, a curated platform of invite-only startup and marketing mentors with proven experience in their fields. What started as a way to get his own questions answered evolved into a global community of experts and mentees.

In this episode, Foti shares his journey of validating the idea for GrowthMentor through real conversations instead of just consuming content, how he ensures quality by interviewing every mentor, the power of reciprocity in convincing experts to offer their time for free, categorizing user research to inform FAQs and messaging, and how genuine giving creates a environment for authentic relationships.

Foti also dives into using friction as a filter, the importance of founder intuition, his counterintuitive launch strategy, and a unique “heavy metal” productivity hack. Whether you’re a founder, marketer, or just looking for mentorship, this episode is brimming with insights on entrepreneurship, growth, and the rewards of building a business centered on giving.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.

Want to learn from other SaaS founders how they study their customers to give them exactly what they want and need? Check out our episodes with Jimmy Rose (Content Snare) and Amar Ghose (ZenMaid).

What was your favorite insight or lesson from this episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



  • 02:03 The Genesis of Growth Mentor: A Unique Solution for Marketers
  • 06:07 Foti’s Journey: From Finance to Growth Marketing
  • 07:46 Understanding Growth Mentor’s Core Mission
  • 10:59 Building Relationships and Learning from Conversations
  • 15:30 The Power of Reciprocity and Mentorship
  • 24:20 Adding Friction for Better Engagement
  • 25:10 Harnessing Friction in Onboarding for Better Customer Experience
  • 25:44 The Power of Personalized Onboarding Questions
  • 26:25 Setting Expectations and Utilizing Microcopy
  • 27:16 Leveraging FAQs and User Feedback for Improvement
  • 31:10 Incorporating AI for Enhanced Product Features
  • 32:33 Building a Community: The Friend Factory Concept
  • 35:11 Learning from Mentor Experiences and Product Launch Insights
  • 39:25 Navigating Messaging Challenges with Diverse Audiences
  • 42:59 Productivity Hacks and Closing Thoughts


  • “It was one of those scratch your own itch products. So I needed something like exactly like this and it didn’t exist.”
  • “It’s making decisions with more confidence and less indecision so that you can then move faster, iterate quicker. And ultimately that is the secret to growth, right? It’s speed of decisions times the quality of those decisions.”
  • “There’s no secret that I’m going to tell you or any of the other mentors are going to tell you that is going to change your business really. It’s change your business. Yes, that was understatement of mentorship. We can help you avoid a lot of mistakes and expose unknown unknowns, which I think is the biggest by far.”
  • “Really the insights. Many times don’t happen on calls. It happens two weeks later when you’re taking the shower, because you heard something else from someone else, or you read something else, or you saw something in your data, which connected with another point that was made on that call.”
  • “How do you create messaging on the homepage really that kind of can target everybody generically enough as to not exclude someone, but at the same time have enough specificity to be like, okay, I’m in the right place.”
  • “Everything else is cool, but like most of my intuition is built from jumping on dozens of calls per month. With my people, right? And that’s out of the mentees or the mentors and really getting that very like gear to the railroads, being in touch with what’s really happening out there.”
  • There’s no silver bullet… You just have to do really high quality work, do it really quick, and make sure you’re doing it tangentially in the right direction.”
  • “Growth is pain… You have to be in discomfort in order to build and become better.”
  • “We take for granted what we know… We undervalue it big time.”
  • “I’m a big proponent of using your onboarding process as a form of marketing.”

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