Startup Growth Quotes

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Demand is one of those factors which decide the fate of your business.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
There can’t be anything more fatal to a business than making decisions based on somebody else’s assumptions.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Launching a similar product still needs some kind of differentiation.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
The process of decision-making can become efficient and effective, if the right information is handy on time.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Being successful is not that tough, you just need a little mindset change.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
You don’t want to run your business based on mere suspicions and assumptions.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Business growth happens when people remember you.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
A successful business owner will know their business as good as they know their favorite celebrity, their partner, and even their dogs.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
The future of your business depends on what kind of decisions you are going to make.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
The fear of the unknown is deadly for our personal growth as well as for the growth of our business.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Perfecting a product which is not selling is a waste of time and energy.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Become a leader that shows humility and not stubbornness.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Search engines' results aren’t always trustworthy. As a matter of fact, they can be easily manipulated.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Accepting that you’re wrong, shows humility which will set a better example of you as a leader on your team than sticking to something that others can clearly see is wrong.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
While Uber was more a business-like limo car sharing, Lyft was more casual. Though with time, that distinction has become less prominent, but this definitely helped them in the starting stage.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
When it comes to riding a trend for business growth, there are three important steps that we should always remember: data analysis, trend identification, and fast and effective decision making.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
When it's about your life, it's time to be selfish.
Dee Dee Artner
Perfection is born of imperfection.
Richie Norton
These are the bozos. They are graspers and self-promoters, shameless resume padders, people who describe themselves as “product marketing professionals,” “growth hackers,” “creative rockstar interns,” and “public speakers.
Dan Lyons (Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble)
HYPERGROWTH FOR A COMPANY ALSO REQUIRES HYPERGROWTH OF THE PEOPLE INSIDE IT.
Eric Ries (The Startup Way: How Entrepreneurial Management Transforms Culture and Drives Growth)
If you’re in permanent beta in your career, twenty years of experience actually is twenty years of experience because each year will be marked by new, enriching challenges and opportunities. Permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous personal growth. Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’. If
Reid Hoffman (The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career)
In fact, the general model for successful tech companies, contrary to myth and legend, is that they become distribution-centric rather than product-centric. They become a distribution channel, so they can get to the world. And then they put many new products through that distribution channel.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
The faster you run high quality experiments, the more likely you’ll find scalable, effective growth tactics. Determining the success of a customer acquisition idea is dependent on an effective tracking and reporting system, so don’t start testing until your tracking/reporting system has been implemented.
Gabriel Weinberg (Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers)
According to the pioneering work of Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow, technological innovation is the ultimate source of productivity and growth.22 It’s the only proven way for economies to consistently get ahead—especially innovation born by start-up companies.
Dan Senor (Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle)
Pursuing a rapid experiment and finding out you were wrong and changing directions isn’t failure. That is the road to success.
Nathan Furr (Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation: The lean startup book to help entrepreneurs launch a high-growth business)
The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.
Gabriel Weinberg (Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers)
... coding and technical chops are now an essential part of being a great marketer. Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder...
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
Love the Problem, Not the Solution.
Ash Maurya (Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth)
Good customer support is so rare that, if you simply try to make your customers happy, they are likely to spread the news of your awesome product on that basis alone.
Gabriel Weinberg (Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth)
Think big. Start small. Scale fast.
Eric Ries (The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth)
Make your mistakes fast
Uri Levine (Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs)
Growth-minded people seem to take the attitude, “Anything can be improved upon, and I’m the one to do it.
Walker Deibel (Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game)
But in our experience, the things that matter the most are the things that are the hardest and least fun to do.
Jordan Raynor (Startup Stories: Lessons Learned from a Startup's Launch, Grind, and Growth)
Instead of waiting to start big, start small so that you can grow big
Nicky Verd
If building a startup is a roller-coaster ride, then fund-raising is a roller coaster in the dark - you don't even know what's coming!
Uri Levine (Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs)
Every company I have ever worked for, or with, has realized that one of the biggest determinants of candidate conversion is how quickly you interview them and how quickly you can make an offer.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
As you go through various stages of your career, you’ll start to realize how much uncertainty there is in the world. It’s a pretty universal truth that once you get the job you thought you wanted, the enjoyment eventually fades and you find yourself looking for something else. You think you want to work for that cool startup, and you get there only to find it’s a mess. You think you want to be a manager, only to discover that the job is hard and not rewarding in the ways you expected. In all of this uncertainty, the only person you can rely on to pull through it is yourself.
Camille Fournier (The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change)
Companies that pivot—that is, switch business models or products—while on the upswing tend to perform much better than those that stay on a single course. The 2011 Startup Genome Report of new technology companies states that, “Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5x more money, have 3.6x better user growth, and are 52% less likely to scale prematurely.
Shane Snow (Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking)
The people who are thriving—at any level, junior to senior—tend to have people approaching their desk all the time.” —Keith Rabois
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
Test small, bet big. Build on what works, get rid of what doesn't. Repeat.
Molly Norris Walker (Design-Driven Growth: Strategy & Case Studies For Product Shapers)
No methodology can guarantee success. But a good methodology can provide a feedback loop for continual improvement and learning.
Ash Maurya (Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth)
In the case of querymongo.com, RJMetrics built a tool that translates SQL queries to MongoDB syntax (two database technologies). This
Gabriel Weinberg (Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth)
Product market fit (PMF) or die
Uri Levine (Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution)
Não sei quem o Growth Hacker acompanha, mas o Brasileiro padrão trabalha para caralho.
Startup da Real (Este livro não vai te deixar rico: tudo o que ninguém te contou sobre startup, empreendedorismo e vender agua. (Portuguese Edition))
Bill Gates famously said that he often hired senior executives so that he could learn from them.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
The two most important assumptions entrepreneurs make are what I call the value hypothesis and the growth hypothesis.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
pivot is a special kind of change designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, business model, and engine of growth.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
Paul Graham explains, “The best way to increase a startup’s growth rate is to make the product so good people recommend it to their friends.
Ryan Holiday (Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts)
Be patient. Creating something good takes time. So take your time.
Jacky Fitt (How to Be in Business: Build the Mindset and Marketing to Adapt and Succeed as a Startup)
I run Venture for America, a nonprofit organization that recruits dozens of our country’s top graduates each year and places them in startups and growth companies in Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Providence, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and other cities around the country. Our goal is to help create 100,000 new US jobs by 2025. We supply talent to early-stage companies so that they can expand and hire more people. And we train a critical mass of our best and brightest graduates to build enterprises and create new opportunities for themselves and others.
Andrew Yang (Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America)
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. Nobody in the startup world could have such a mug, I mused; it would be ridiculous. My experience is full of situations where reality proved too unpredictable to avoid failure.
Eric Ries (The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth)
The really dramatic growth happens when a startup only has three of four people, so only three or four people see that, whereas tens of thousands see business as it's practiced by Boeing or Philip Morris.
Jessica Livingston
For a company to be valuable it must grow and endure, but many entrepreneurs focus only on short-term growth. They have an excuse: growth is easy to measure, but durability isn’t. Those who succumb to measurement mania obsess about weekly active user statistics, monthly revenue targets, and quarterly earnings reports. However, you can hit those numbers and still overlook deeper, harder-to-measure problems that threaten the durability of your business.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
A definite pessimist believes the future can be known, but since it will be bleak, he must prepare for it. Perhaps surprisingly, China is probably the most definitely pessimistic place in the world today. When Americans see the Chinese economy grow ferociously fast (10% per year since 2000), we imagine a confident country mastering its future. But that’s because Americans are still optimists, and we project our optimism onto China. From China’s viewpoint, economic growth cannot come fast enough. Every other country is afraid that China is going to take over the world; China is the only country afraid that it won’t. China can grow so fast only because its starting base is so low. The easiest way for China to grow is to relentlessly copy what has already worked in the West. And that’s exactly what it’s doing: executing definite plans by burning ever more coal to build ever more factories and skyscrapers. But with a huge population pushing resource prices higher, there’s no way Chinese living standards can ever actually catch up to those of the richest countries, and the Chinese know it. This is why the Chinese leadership is obsessed with the way in which things threaten to get worse. Every senior Chinese leader experienced famine as a child, so when the Politburo looks to the future, disaster is not an abstraction. The Chinese public, too, knows that winter is coming. Outsiders are fascinated by the great fortunes being made inside China, but they pay less attention to the wealthy Chinese trying hard to get their money out of the country. Poorer Chinese just save everything they can and hope it will be enough. Every class of people in China takes the future deadly seriously.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch publicly with what we think is our final, perfected product. Today,
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
Often, CEOs try to find early employees a place where they won’t do much harm, versus a place they will excel. If you find yourself thinking this way, 99% of the time the right answer is to part ways with the early employee. You can let them go with grace and they may be relieved to be free to do something new.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
Another lesson that I learned from Brian Chesky—one way to think about when to upgrade executives—is that a really great executive is about six to twelve months ahead of the curve. They’re already planning for and acting on things that are going to be important six to twelve months in the future. A decent executive is delivering in real time, now to one to three months in advance.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
Sometimes that gets confused, though, because the group thinks they’re the decision-maker and that the goal is consensus. When really the goal is, “Let’s hash it out together. We may not all agree. One person will be the decision-maker, and then we will all commit to it.” If you don’t clarify what kind of decision this is, then groups really struggle because their expectations are not set correctly.
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
Entrepreneurs are everywhere. You don’t have to work in a garage to be in a startup. The concept of entrepreneurship includes anyone who works within my definition of a startup: a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty. That means entrepreneurs are everywhere and the Lean Startup approach can work in any size company, even a very large enterprise, in any sector or industry. 2. Entrepreneurship is management. A startup is an institution, not just a product, and so it requires a new kind of management specifically geared to its context of extreme uncertainty. In fact, as I will argue later, I believe “entrepreneur” should be considered a job title in all modern companies that depend on innovation for their future growth. 3. Validated learning. Startups exist not just to make stuff, make money, or even serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. This learning can be validated scientifically by running frequent experiments that allow entrepreneurs to test each element of their vision. 4. Build-Measure-Learn. The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. All successful startup processes should be geared to accelerate that feedback loop. 5. Innovation accounting. To improve entrepreneurial outcomes and hold innovators accountable, we need to focus on the boring stuff: how to measure progress, how to set up milestones, and how to prioritize work. This requires a new kind of accounting designed for startups—and the people who hold them accountable.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
After identifying when you’re having fixed mindset thoughts, Dweck suggests the next steps are to recognize that you have a choice in how you interpret the challenge, setbacks, or criticism; then “talk back” to the fixed voice with a growth mindset voice. Examples she gives are, “If I don’t try, I automatically fail”; “Others who succeeded before me had passion and put forth effort”; and, “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it.
Walker Deibel (Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game)
Thiel’s loathing for government spending did not apply when the government spent money on him. His next big startup, Palantir—a name borrowed from Tolkien—depended for survival upon the least transparent, least accountable, and most profligate extension of the federal government, the CIA. The agency invested in Thiel through its Silicon Valley VC front, In-Q-Tel. With Palantir, this self-described “civil libertarian” became an important player in the growth of a secretive, invasive, and patently unconstitutional global surveillance apparatus. Asked in a 2014 online chat if Palantir was “a front for the CIA,” Thiel replied, “No, the CIA is a front for Palantir.” With 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget going to the private sector, this dismissive wisecrack was not so much an outright denial as it was a sly wink at the extent of corporate dominance over even the most powerful federal agencies.
Corey Pein (Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley)
How to build a strong culture44 1. Have strong hiring filters in place. Explicitly filter for people with common values. You need to be careful that this does not act as a mechanism to inadvertently filter out diverse populations. You can have both a common sense of purpose and a diverse employee base at the same time. See later sections and the interview with Joelle Emerson for more information. 2. Constantly emphasize values day-to-day. Repeat them until you are blue in the face. The second you are really sick of saying the same thing over and over, you will find people have started repeating it back to you. 3. Reward people based on performance as well as culture. People should be rewarded (with promotions, financially, etc.) for both productivity and for living the company’s values. 4. Get rid of bad culture fits quickly. Fire bad culture fits even faster than you fire low performers.45 This chapter focuses on #1 above:
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
I think network effects are great, but in a sense they’re a little overrated. The problem with network effects is they unwind just as fast. And so they’re great while they last, but when they reverse, they reverse viciously. Go ask the MySpace guys how their network effect is going. Network effects can create a very strong position, for obvious reasons. But in another sense, it’s a very weak position to be in. Because if it cracks, you just unravel. I always worry when a company thinks the answer is just network effects. How durable are they?
Elad Gil (High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups From 10 to 10,000 People)
This is the same problem that established companies experience. Their past successes were built on a finely tuned engine of growth. If that engine runs its course and growth slows or stops, there can be a crisis if the company does not have new startups incubating within its ranks that can provide new sources of growth. Companies of any size can suffer from this perpetual affliction. They need to manage a portfolio of activities, simultaneously tuning their engine of growth and developing new sources of growth for when that engine inevitably runs its course.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
Growth hackers resist this temptation (or, more appropriate, this delusion). They opt, deliberately, to attract only the early adopters who make or break new tech services and seek to do it as cheaply as possible. In fact, part of the reason the scrappy start-ups, services, and apps in this book might not always be well-known or topics of daily conversation is because their founders have focused their energies on product development with an eye toward growth—they’re now millions of members strong without any superfluous “buzz.” They got to mass market by ignoring the urge to appeal to the mass market, at least to start with.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
To be clear, splitting your time evenly between product and traction will certainly slow down product development. However, it counterintuitively won’t slow the time to get your product successfully to market. In fact, it will speed it up! That’s because pursuing product development and traction in parallel has a couple of key benefits. First, it helps you build the right product because you can incorporate knowledge from your traction efforts. If you’re following a good product development process, you’re already getting good feedback from early customers. However, these customers are generally too close to you. They often tell you what you want to hear.
Gabriel Weinberg (Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth)
Take Evernote, a start-up that offers productivity and organization software, which made the companywide decision to delay spending even a penny on marketing for the first several years of its growth. As Evernote’s founder, Phil Libin, told a group of entrepreneurs in a now-classic talk, “People [who are] thinking about things other than making the best product, never make the best product.” So Evernote took “marketing” off the table and instead poured that budget into product development. This undoubtedly slowed brand building at first—but it paid off. Why? Because Evernote is far and away the most superior productivity and note-taking application on the planet. Today, it practically markets itself.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
asked him to imagine the following: If I selected an employee of the company at random, from any level or function or region, and that employee had an absolutely brilliant idea that would unlock a dramatic new source of growth for the company, how would he or she get it implemented? Does the company have an automatic process for testing a new idea, to see if it is actually any good? And does the company have the management tools necessary to scale this idea up to maximum impact, even if it doesn’t align with any of the company’s current lines of business? That’s what a modern company does: harnesses the creativity and talent of every single one of its employees. Jeff answered me directly: “That’s what your next book should be about.
Eric Ries (The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth)
millions—often more than the budget of the movie itself—studios regularly write off major releases as complete washes. And when they do succeed, no one has any idea why or which of the ingredients were responsible for it. As screenwriter William Goldman famously put it, nobody knows anything—even the people in charge. It’s all a big gamble. Which is fine, because their system is designed to absorb these losses. The hits pay for the mistakes many times over. But there is a big difference between them and everyone else in the world. You can’t really afford for your start-up to fail; your friend has sunk everything into her new business; and I can’t allow my book to flop. We don’t have ten other projects coming down the pike. This is it.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
On describes the earliest startup as like driving a race car. You’re close to the ground, and you feel every move you make. You have control, you can turn quickly, you feel like things are moving fast. Of course, you’re also at risk of crashing at any moment, but you only take yourself down if you do. As you grow, you graduate to a commercial flight. You’re farther from the ground, and more people’s lives depend on you, so you need to consider your movements more carefully, but you still feel in control and can turn the plane relatively quickly. Finally, you graduate to a spaceship, where you can’t make quick moves and the course is set long in advance, but you’re capable of going very far and taking tons of people along for the ride.
Camille Fournier (The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change)
The most insidious part of the traditional marketing model is that “big blowout launch” mythology. Of course, equally seductive is the “build it and they will come” assumption that too many people associate with the Web. Both are too simple and rarely effective. Remember what Aaron Swartz realized. Users have to be pulled in. A good idea is not enough. Your customers, in fact, have to be “acquired.” But the way to do that isn’t with a bombardment. It’s with a targeted offensive in the right places aimed at the right people. Your start-up is designed to be a growth engine—and at some point early on, that engine has to be kick-started. The good news is that we have to do that only once. Because the next step isn’t about getting more attention or publicity. The endless promotional cycle of traditional marketing is not our destiny. Because once we bring our first customers in, our next move is to set about turning them into an army.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
Let’s say experiment A is testing a small change, such as the color of the sign-up button. As results start coming in, it becomes clear that the increase in the number of new visitors signing up is very small—garnering just 5 percent more sign-ups than the original button color. Besides the obvious assumption that changing the color of the sign-up button may not be the key factor holding back new users from signing up, it’s also an indication that you’ll have to let the experiment run quite a long time in order to have enough data to make a solid conclusion. As you can see from the chart above, to reach statistically significant results for this test, you’d need a whopping 72,300 visitors per variant—or, in other words, you’d have to wait 72 days to get conclusive results. As Johns put it in an interview with First Round Review, “That’s a lifetime when you’re a start-up!” In a case like this what a start-up really ought to do is abandon the experiment quickly and move on to a next, potentially higher-impact, one.
Sean Ellis (Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success)
A good metric is a ratio or a rate. Accountants and financial analysts have several ratios they look at to understand, at a glance, the fundamental health of a company. You need some, too. There are several reasons ratios tend to be the best metrics: • Ratios are easier to act on. Think about driving a car. Distance traveled is informational. But speed—distance per hour—is something you can act on, because it tells you about your current state, and whether you need to go faster or slower to get to your destination on time. • Ratios are inherently comparative. If you compare a daily metric to the same metric over a month, you’ll see whether you’re looking at a sudden spike or a long-term trend. In a car, speed is one metric, but speed right now over average speed this hour shows you a lot about whether you’re accelerating or slowing down. • Ratios are also good for comparing factors that are somehow opposed, or for which there’s an inherent tension. In a car, this might be distance covered divided by traffic tickets. The faster you drive, the more distance you cover—but the more tickets you get. This ratio might suggest whether or not you should be breaking the speed limit.
Alistair Croll (Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster)
TechCrunch, Fast Company, Mashable, Inc., Entrepreneur, and countless other publications. LinkedIn and Hacker News abound with job postings: Growth Hacker Needed. Their job isn’t to “do” marketing as I had always known it; it’s to grow companies really fast—to take something from nothing and make it something enormous within an incredibly tight window. And it says something about what marketing has become that these are no longer considered synonymous tasks. The term “growth hacker” has many different meanings for different people, but I’ll define it as I have come to understand it: A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth—and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
Launching “Buy It Now” was a large change that touched every transaction, but the eBay team also innovated across the experience for both sellers and buyers as well. With an initial success, we doubled down on innovation to drive growth. We introduced stores on eBay, which dramatically increased the amount of product offered for sale on the platform. We expanded the menu of optional features that sellers could purchase to better highlight their listings on the site. We improved the post-transaction experience on ebay.com by significantly improving the “checkout” flow, including the eventual seamless integration of PayPal on the eBay site. Each of these innovations supported the growth of the business and helped to keep that gravity at bay. Years later, Jeff became a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he would kick off the firm’s success in startups with network effects, investing in Airbnb, Instacart, Pinterest, and others. I’m lucky to work with him! He recounted in an essay on the a16z blog that his strategy was to grow eBay by adding layers and layers of new revenue—like “adding layers to the cake.” You can see it visually here: Figure 12: eBay’s growth layer cake As the core US business began to look more like a line than a hockey stick, international and payments were layered on top. Together, the aggregate business started to look like a hockey stick, but underneath it was actually many new lines of business.
Andrew Chen (The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects)
Here’s some startup pedagogy for you: When confronted with any startup idea, ask yourself one simple question: How many miracles have to happen for this to succeed? If the answer is zero, you’re not looking at a startup, you’re just dealing with a regular business like a laundry or a trucking business. All you need is capital and minimal execution, and assuming a two-way market, you’ll make some profit. To be a startup, miracles need to happen. But a precise number of miracles. Most successful startups depend on one miracle only. For Airbnb, it was getting people to let strangers into their spare bedrooms and weekend cottages. This was a user-behavior miracle. For Google, it was creating an exponentially better search service than anything that had existed to date. This was a technical miracle. For Uber or Instacart, it was getting people to book and pay for real-world services via websites or phones. This was a consumer-workflow miracle. For Slack, it was getting people to work like they formerly chatted with their girlfriends. This is a business-workflow miracle. For the makers of most consumer apps (e.g., Instagram), the miracle was quite simple: getting users to use your app, and then to realize the financial value of your particular twist on a human brain interacting with keyboard or touchscreen. That was Facebook’s miracle, getting every college student in America to use its platform during its early years. While there was much technical know-how required in scaling it—and had they fucked that up it would have killed them—that’s not why it succeeded. The uniqueness and complete fickleness of such a miracle are what make investing in consumer-facing apps such a lottery. It really is a user-growth roulette wheel with razor-thin odds. The classic sign of a shitty startup idea is that it requires at least two (or more!) miracles to succeed. This was what was wrong with ours. We had a Bible’s worth of miracles to perform:
Antonio García Martínez (Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley)
a young Goldman Sachs banker named Joseph Park was sitting in his apartment, frustrated at the effort required to get access to entertainment. Why should he trek all the way to Blockbuster to rent a movie? He should just be able to open a website, pick out a movie, and have it delivered to his door. Despite raising around $250 million, Kozmo, the company Park founded, went bankrupt in 2001. His biggest mistake was making a brash promise for one-hour delivery of virtually anything, and investing in building national operations to support growth that never happened. One study of over three thousand startups indicates that roughly three out of every four fail because of premature scaling—making investments that the market isn’t yet ready to support. Had Park proceeded more slowly, he might have noticed that with the current technology available, one-hour delivery was an impractical and low-margin business. There was, however, a tremendous demand for online movie rentals. Netflix was just then getting off the ground, and Kozmo might have been able to compete in the area of mail-order rentals and then online movie streaming. Later, he might have been able to capitalize on technological changes that made it possible for Instacart to build a logistics operation that made one-hour grocery delivery scalable and profitable. Since the market is more defined when settlers enter, they can focus on providing superior quality instead of deliberating about what to offer in the first place. “Wouldn’t you rather be second or third and see how the guy in first did, and then . . . improve it?” Malcolm Gladwell asked in an interview. “When ideas get really complicated, and when the world gets complicated, it’s foolish to think the person who’s first can work it all out,” Gladwell remarked. “Most good things, it takes a long time to figure them out.”* Second, there’s reason to believe that the kinds of people who choose to be late movers may be better suited to succeed. Risk seekers are drawn to being first, and they’re prone to making impulsive decisions. Meanwhile, more risk-averse entrepreneurs watch from the sidelines, waiting for the right opportunity and balancing their risk portfolios before entering. In a study of software startups, strategy researchers Elizabeth Pontikes and William Barnett find that when entrepreneurs rush to follow the crowd into hyped markets, their startups are less likely to survive and grow. When entrepreneurs wait for the market to cool down, they have higher odds of success: “Nonconformists . . . that buck the trend are most likely to stay in the market, receive funding, and ultimately go public.” Third, along with being less recklessly ambitious, settlers can improve upon competitors’ technology to make products better. When you’re the first to market, you have to make all the mistakes yourself. Meanwhile, settlers can watch and learn from your errors. “Moving first is a tactic, not a goal,” Peter Thiel writes in Zero to One; “being the first mover doesn’t do you any good if someone else comes along and unseats you.” Fourth, whereas pioneers tend to get stuck in their early offerings, settlers can observe market changes and shifting consumer tastes and adjust accordingly. In a study of the U.S. automobile industry over nearly a century, pioneers had lower survival rates because they struggled to establish legitimacy, developed routines that didn’t fit the market, and became obsolete as consumer needs clarified. Settlers also have the luxury of waiting for the market to be ready. When Warby Parker launched, e-commerce companies had been thriving for more than a decade, though other companies had tried selling glasses online with little success. “There’s no way it would have worked before,” Neil Blumenthal tells me. “We had to wait for Amazon, Zappos, and Blue Nile to get people comfortable buying products they typically wouldn’t order online.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
Patrick Vlaskovits, who was part of the initial conversation that the term “growth hacker” came out of, put it well: “The more innovative your product is, the more likely you will have to find new and novel ways to get at your customers.”12 For example: 1. You can create the aura of exclusivity with an invite-only feature (as Mailbox did). 2. You can create hundreds of fake profiles to make your service look more popular and active than it actually is—nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (as reddit did in its early days). 3. You can target a single service or platform and cater to it exclusively—essentially piggybacking off or even stealing someone else’s growth (as PayPal did with eBay). 4. You can launch for just a small group of people, own that market, and then move from host to host until your product spreads like a virus (which is what Facebook did by starting in colleges—first at Harvard—before taking on the rest of the population). 5. You can host cool events and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did). 6. You can absolutely dominate the App Store because your product provides totally new features that everyone is dying for (which is what Instagram did—twenty-five thousand downloads on its first day—and later Snapchat). 7. You can bring on influential advisors and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money (as About.me and Trippy did—a move that many start-ups have emulated). 8. You can set up a special sub-domain on your e-commerce site where a percentage of every purchase users make goes to a charity of their choice (which is what Amazon did with Smile.Amazon.com this year to great success, proving that even a successful company can find little growth hacks). 9. You can try to name a Planned Parenthood clinic after your client or pay D-list celebrities to say offensive things about themselves to get all sorts of publicity that promotes your book (OK, those stunts were mine).
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
you must remove the walls between your sales and marketing organization and product development.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
and monetizing their customers. These insights yield unique customer acquisition strategies that highlight this new approach to thinking about growth.  
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Customer lifetime value and customer acquisition cost drive your growth, and you’ll run experiments to try to capture more loyal users for less, tweaking how you charge, when you charge, and what you charge for.
Alistair Croll (Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean (O'Reilly)))
Growth is not just a concern of sales and marketing, but of product, engineering and support too. It is this organization-wide commitment to growth that ultimately sets these companies apart.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Simplifying the product offering doesn’t mean that you are taking away the customer’s choice; rather it sends the message that you know the customers so well that you are delivering the exact solution they are looking for.
Nathan Furr (Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation: The lean startup book to help entrepreneurs launch a high-growth business)
Tweet” and “Like” buttons isn’t word of mouth. Rather, word of mouth comes from content, thoughtfulness, solved problems, and ease of use—in short, the whole experience of a product or service.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Extraordinary value creation cannot occur without growth, and entrepreneurial growth post start-up has numerous challenges which can be an order of magnitude more difficult than simply starting a venture.
Anonymous
In the past underwhelming products could survive and thrive merely on distribution alone. A bad product, backed by a large television campaign and retail distribution, could find growth and profits for the company, regardless of quality. This is no longer the case. Today, mediocre products can still be launched in this way, but their longevity and returns quickly crash as word of mouth spreads and demand dries up faster than ever before.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
go viral. We just happened to combine our skills,
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
While this seems relatively straightforward, finding a good leading indicator, and experimenting to determine how it affects the future of the company, is hard work. It’s also how many of today’s break-out entrepreneurs drove their growth.
Alistair Croll (Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean (O'Reilly)))
We’ve learned it’s much better to ship it now and fix it later, once you can see how people are using it, than it is to let it linger in development forever. Just ship it.” 
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Growth came from product innovations, unique acquisition channels that their competition hadn’t considered, and rigorous optimization driven by analytics and a deep understanding of their customers.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Startup productivity is not about cranking out more widgets or features. It is about aligning our efforts with a business and product that are working to create value and drive growth. In other words, successful pivots put us on a path toward growing a sustainable business.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
Growth hacking is not anti-marketing, it is the evolution of marketing, it is pro-growth.
Sean Ellis (Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today’s Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth)
Some companies like Airbnb and Instragram spend a long time trying new iterations until they achieve what growth hackers call Product Market Fit (PMF); others find it right away. The end goal is the same, however, and it’s to have the product and its customers in perfect sync with each other. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch publicly with what we think is our final, perfected product.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
The movie marketing paradigm says throw an expensive premiere and hope that translates into ticket sales come opening weekend. A growth hacker says, “Hey, it’s the twenty-first century, and we can be a lot more technical about how we acquire and capture new customers.” The start-up world is full of companies taking clever hacks to drive their first set of customers into their sales funnel. The necessity of that jolt—needing to get it any way they can—has made start-ups very creative.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
Uber, a car service start-up founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, has been giving out free rides during Austin’s SXSW conference for several years. During a single week, thousands of potential Uber customers—tech-obsessed, high-income young adults who cannot find a cab—are motivated to try out this service. One year Uber offered free rides. Another year, it offered BBQ delivery. Instead of spending millions on advertising or countless resources trying to reach these potential users in their respective cities, Uber just waited for the one week a year when they were all in one place and did something special. And Uber did this because a few years earlier they’d watched Twitter take SXSW by storm with a similar collaboration with the conference. This is thinking like a growth hacker—it’s how you get the most bang for your buck and how you get it from the right people.
Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)
If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now? Numbers alone won’t tell you the answer; instead you must think critically about the qualitative characteristics of your business.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
Sustainable growth is characterized by one simple rule: New customers come from the actions of past customers.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
The growth is all coming from an engine of growth that is working—running efficiently to bring in new customers—not from improvements driven by product development.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
1. Make incremental advances Grand visions inflated the bubble, so they should not be indulged. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward. 2. Stay lean and flexible All companies must be “lean,” which is code for “unplanned.” You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation. 3. Improve on the competition Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors. 4. Focus on product, not sales If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)