Scaling Language Models for Breakthrough Performance and Growth Hacking Insights



Sep 09, 20233 min read


Scaling Language Models for Breakthrough Performance and Growth Hacking Insights


In recent years, there has been significant progress in scaling language models, leading to breakthrough performance in various natural language processing tasks. This article will explore the advancements in scaling models, particularly focusing on the Pathways Language Model (PaLM), and its capabilities in achieving state-of-the-art few-shot results. Additionally, we will delve into growth hacking strategies and discuss four key metrics that every growth hacker should be monitoring for effective user acquisition and retention.

Scaling Language Models with PaLM:

The Pathways Language Model (PaLM) represents a significant leap in scale compared to previous language models. By utilizing a combination of model size scaling, sparsely activated modules, and training on diverse datasets, PaLM achieves remarkable performance in few-shot learning tasks. With a training efficiency of 57.8% hardware FLOPs utilization, PaLM demonstrates the potential of the Pathways system to generalize across domains and tasks efficiently.

PaLM's Success in Few-Shot Learning:

PaLM's effectiveness in few-shot learning is evident in its performance on arithmetic and commonsense reasoning datasets. By employing chain-of-thought prompting, PaLM outperforms previous models in solving grade-school math problems. For example, with just 8-shot prompting, PaLM solves 58% of the problems in GSM8K, surpassing the previous best score achieved by fine-tuning another model. This showcases the breakthrough few-shot performance made possible by scaling language models like PaLM.

Understanding Growth Hacking Metrics:

While scaling language models contribute to breakthrough performance, growth hackers need to focus on specific metrics to measure the quality and effectiveness of user acquisition and retention strategies. Vanity metrics like total users, daily active users (DAU), and monthly active users (MAU) provide limited insights into growth rates and user quality.

Key Growth Hacking Metrics:

  • 1. Daily Net Change: This metric assesses the daily growth of the user base by considering new user acquisition, re-engagement, and retention. By visualizing the impact of each component on the growth rate, growth hackers can make informed decisions to optimize user acquisition and retention strategies.
  • 2. Core Daily Actives: Counting only users who have been using the service regularly, this metric provides a more accurate picture of user engagement. By calculating the number of users who used the service today and have used it five or more times in the past four weeks, growth hackers can gauge the level of active and loyal users.
  • 3. Cohort Activity Heatmap: Arguably the most insightful metric, the cohort activity heatmap displays how the user retention curve has evolved over time. By tracking changes in the retention curve, growth hackers can identify trends and patterns, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to improve user retention.


Scaling language models like PaLM have revolutionized few-shot learning, enabling breakthrough performance across various natural language processing tasks. Simultaneously, growth hackers must focus on actionable metrics to drive effective user acquisition and retention strategies. By monitoring metrics such as daily net change, core daily actives, and cohort activity heatmap, growth hackers can make data-driven decisions to optimize growth rates and improve user quality. With these insights, the potential for both scaling language models and growth hacking strategies is immense, promising further advancements in the field.


  1. "Pathways Language Model (PaLM): Scaling to 540 Billion Parameters for Breakthrough Performance", (Glasp)
  2. "4 Metrics Every Growth Hacker Should Be Watching", (Glasp)

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