The overarching goal of an employee should be to create lasting value for company that lives beyond their last day employment. This perspective and attitude of selflessness is forgotten among most startup folks, from founders to engineers. They work for themselves and it is understandable.
The pace of a typical startup working environment is beyond what most people can handle and the focus on speed above all else typically leaves a mess in its wake. Tomorrow is uncertain and not guaranteed; the goal is survival.
As a startup grows up, these once rational habits turn into bad habits. Product development processes at a very early stage company don’t past mustard as a startup scales beyond a handful people. To break these habits of working in a silo and for yourself, I developed saying for my growth team at StumbleUpon: “Think about Steve.”
Who is Steve? He isn’t someone you know or might ever know, but he will know the product you work on very intimately. He may join your team or come along way after you are gone. This is Steve.
The most common request for help I receive is where can a company find a growth hacker to hire. Leaving aside the rampant confusion on what is and is not a growth hacker, here are some tips on how you can find and hire a growth hacker.
First, we need a reality check. Since growth is a developing field, only a handful of people are credible and respected in the space. There are a lot of young (by experience) growth hackers looking to learn and put some wins under their belt. I am not commenting on their qualifications or skills but the obvious fact of inexperience. Most experienced growth experts are in higher demand than software engineers.
How much should you ask from visitors to convert?
In every product team, there is a debate on how much information and effort visitors should take in order to convert. A part of this debate is based on the question whether or not a visitor should be able to try a product before they register for it. The answer lies in a visitor’s refer.
There are two main types of experiences visitors encounter in a product, explore mode or a walled-garden. Explore mode allows visitors to use or view a product’s content. A walled-garden requires a visitor to signup or login before experiencing the product.
Visitors fall into two broad categories of traffic types, direct and indirect. Direct channels are branded based visitors. These visitors have some sense of the product and are interested in finding out more. Indirect visitors are arriving to the product via another user and are interested in utilizing the output of the core value proposition, such as a user generated photo or an article.
Email is one of the most underrated and underutilized distribution channels. Many have speculated whether or not email is dead. A new trend in paid growth channels are showing signs that email is making a comeback. Most paid channels are valued based on a click or an impression, but Google and Twitter are experimenting with email collection as an advertisement over the traditional click-based interaction model.
This past May Twitter introduced a new advertising option called the Lead Generation Card. The Twitter card contains a one-click action that passes your email to an advertiser. This is move for advertisers appears to be contradictory to the rest of Twitter’s platform. Twitter is infamously known for not giving access to a user’s email in their OAuth permission while other popular OAuth’s allow access.
Google is also testing a new search ad that allows advertisers to promote subscribing/lead generation over a click. If you are logged into your Google account, your gmail address is auto-filled in.
Both of these new advertising channels are powerful and create new opportunities to find arbitrage. The user effort compared traditional click-focused ads is the same, but receiving a prospects email is far more valuable than a visit. By eliminating one step in the lead gen funnel, the number of emails captured will increase; however, be careful.
Lead generation is not always about the quantity of leads. If there is too much noise in your leads, qualifying the leads may become uneconomical. This will lower lifetime value and increase costs for conversion. Always take the funnel from the top to the very, very bottom.
Keep an eye out on how these paid channels are being utilized in the coming. Receiving an email at the moment of interest over a click changes how you evaluate an advertising channel’s value.
For three years, I have been a loyal customer of Virgin America. Every time I need to book a flight, my search starts and ends at viriginamerica.com. The flight experience is amazing and the flight attendants are enjoyably attentive to their passengers, but there is one thing about Virgin America that is frustrating: the first step to book a flight on virginamerica.com.
Discover the web today at StumbleUpon.com.
Usage is more important than design.
Usage is more important than architecture.
Usage is more important than marketing.
Usage is the only thing that matters.
Company culture is the most undervalued strategy but significant dependency for success in developing a growth centric company. Technical talent and strategic focus are important to the success but skills and strategy can only take a company so far. A company must culturally reward growth.
When I meet with companies for growth advice, I like to ask the following questions and listen to what a company says and doesn’t say.
As Facebook continues its expansion to be the largest internet service of all time, Facebook maybe losing the battle to Google in one of its core drivers of user growth, open standard for authentication or “OAuth”. From July 2012 to March 2013, Facebook Connect appears to be losing ground to Google Connect at an alarming rate due to losing user trust and preventing “spamming” a user’s Facebook friends.
When writing my TechCrunch series on growth hacking, I was very fortunate enough to chat with one of the legends on growth, Greg Tseng. Greg is the founder of Tagged, a social network for meeting new people. He has advised or worked at HomeRun, Flixster, Hi5, and LinkedIn. He has led numerous apps to over a million users.
Here is what Greg had to say about growth hacking.