Entrepreneurship 2.0: The rise of the Growth Hacker.
In 1995 the web consisted of 16 million people on dialup connections. Today, 2 billion are connected. The rise of the superplatforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn gives a nascent Internet startup access to millions of potential customers from the day they put out a beta version.
Traditional marketers are at a loss. Their skills are for 1-many channels that could reach hundreds or maybe thousands, but not for this new era of 100+ million customer channels. The route to customer is not through the PR agencies, newspapers, retail stores. The growth channel is viral referral-based adoption of your product. Zynga, Pinterest, Dropbox and Instagram grew to millions because they figured out the growth hacks.
Hotmail was probably the first product to benefit from a growth hacker mindset. They were a small web mail company growing slowly but steadily until one of their investors suggested that they add a “get your free email at www.hotmail.com” link to the bottom of all messages. This created viral growth, each new user leading to multiple follow-on users. One email sent to India generated 300 new sign-ups that day, and 300,000 within a month.
What is a growth hacker?
A growth hacker is 100% focused on growth. This means solving 2 challenges 1) get relevant traffic to your site, and 2) maximize conversion once a potential customer lands on your site. Growth hackers are disciplined in prioritizing ideas and brutally testing every assumption with customers. They are analytical and want hard, clear data to drive their decisions. They love google analytics, A/B testing of conversion pages, trial and error of call to action messages. They don’t fall in love with ideas, but are brutal in ongoing testing of all market and product assumptions. They don’t ever say “that should work better”; they say “let’s test that!” on real and potential customers.
Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing
Sean Ellis, the first Marketer at Dropbox says: “After product-market fit and an efficient conversion process, the next critical step is finding scalable, repeatable and sustainable ways to grow the business. If you can’t do this, nothing else really matters. So rather than hiring a VP Marketing with all of the previously mentioned prerequisites, I recommend hiring or appointing a growth hacker.”
Further Reading on Growth Hackers
- Case Study of Airbnb, early Growth Hacks by Andrew Chen
- Detailed Analysis: Should your Startup go Freemium?
Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 Events
- 12/11 Madrid SoftLayer Catalyst Program, host: Tetuan Valley
- 12/11 Barcelona 17:00 “How entrepreneurs innovate”, host: IESE Business School
- #GEW Spain website
- If you have an open event please feel free to post it in the comments.