How to build a cult-like brand | Laura Modi (Bobbie)

Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career

Apr 13 2023 • 1 hr 1 min

Brought to you by Vanta—Automate compliance. Simplify security | LMNT—Zero-sugar hydration | AssemblyAI—Production-ready AI models to transcribe and understand speech

Laura Modi is the CEO and co-founder of Bobbie, the first woman-owned, organic infant formula in the U.S. Previously, Laura spent over five years at Airbnb, where she served as Director of Hospitality. Before that, she spent over four years at Google in finance and operations. In today’s podcast, we discuss:

• Biggest lessons from five years at Airbnb

• Lessons about building great culture

• The power of naivete

• From growth to “slowth”: Why Bobbie prioritized existing customers over growth during the height of the formula shortage

• The importance of momentum above all else

• Finding work-life balance with the right infrastructure, support, and frameworks

• The importance of brand, and how to build a brand

• What it takes to win in DTC

Find the full transcript at:

Where to find Laura Modi:

• LinkedIn:

• Email:

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter:

• Twitter:

• LinkedIn:

Note: Lenny is a small angel investor in Bobbie.

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Laura’s background

(04:20) What Laura worked on at Airbnb

(06:22) The director of hospitality role

(07:08) How supporting hosts led to growth at Airbnb

(08:28) Lessons from Airbnb around culture and storytelling that impact how Laura runs Bobbie

(09:44) How Laura builds a strong culture at Bobbie

(11:45) The risk she took in starting her own company

(13:41) Advice on taking risks

(15:10) What is Bobbie

(17:15) The scale of Bobbie

(17:55) The infant formula shortage crisis

(19:49) How the growth team pivoted to being the “slowth” team

(23:23) Lessons from the crisis

(25:16) Building a brand

(31:12) Branding internally

(33:58) The time the FDA shut Bobbie down over labeling

(36:45) How Laura balances her busy mom life with being a founder

(40:17) The power of naivete

(44:03) Why Laura hires optimistic doers

(45:56) Growing a DTC company

(47:14) How Bobbie leverages content, community, and commerce

(49:42) Bobbie’s pie chart of growth

(50:43) Emily Oster’s influence

(52:40) The importance of momentum and how to create it

(54:15) Lightning round


• Bobbie:

• Davos:

• MrBeast’s YouTube channel:

• Josh Miller on Lenny’s Podcast:

Milk Drunk podcast:

• Emily Oster on Twitter:


Great by Choice:

Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine:

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable:

Expecting Better:

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity:

Bad Sisters on AppleTV+:

• NoseFrida the Snotsucker:

• Careers at Bobbie:

Production and marketing by For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email

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