By @SimonCocking review of Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, available from Amazon here.

The definitive playbook by the pioneers of Growth Hacking, one of the hottest business methodologies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

It seems hard to believe today, but there was a time when Airbnb was the best-kept secret of travel hackers and couch surfers, Pinterest was a niche web site frequented only by bakers and crafters, LinkedIn was an exclusive network for C-suite executives and top-level recruiters, Facebook was MySpace’s sorry step-brother, and Uber was a scrappy upstart that didn’t stand a chance against the Goliath that was  New York City Yellow Cabs. 

So how did these companies grow from these humble beginnings into the powerhouses they are today? Contrary to popular belief, they didn’t explode to massive worldwide popularity simply by building  a great product then crossing their fingers and hoping it would catch on. There was a studied, carefully implemented methodology behind these companies’ extraordinary rise. That methodology is called Growth Hacking, and it’s practitioners include not just today’s hottest start-ups, but also companies like IBM, Walmart, and Microsoft as well as the millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, managers and executives who make up the community of GrowthHackers.com.

Hacking growth with Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown. Growth hacking insights from the masters

This is a great book. Ok that’s my slight bias out of the way, now an objective look at it. Firstly Sean and Morgan have been doing what they do for a while. Writing a book, drawing on their experiences is a logical and good idea. Over the last few years there has been a lot of hype and myth building about what growth hacking is and isn’t. Some have touted it as the ability to get your product to ‘go viral’ and bring home massive growth in very short periods of time. Ellis and Brown do a good job of deconstructing the things you need to do to actually achieve growth. They are very clear about pointing out that it is never just one tweak or hack that will bring you stellar success.

They go through some great examples where one test brought insights that led them to run another test, which then brought more incremental benefits. Bit by bit, one insight helps to build on another one, and so you gradually begin to build real, significant gains.

“Always remember there are no silver bullets in growth hacking” page 179

In many ways this book is an inspiration to those who keep working away, looking at the data, monitoring what they are doing, and conducting quick, reasoned tests, based on logical ideas. Testing with no point of reference is pointless, as you have no means of effectively evaluating if what you are doing is working or not. The authors have achieved success, based on detailed examination of what they have tried, and they have, to use the jargon ‘eaten their own dog food’ and evaluated when their own websites and projects have not grown as well as might have been expected. For us at Irish Tech News, sometimes it can feel like we are more appreciated overseas than we are with some of the vested interests in Ireland. We know this is the life of a challenger, and the ideas promoted in this book have kept us company over the last three years as we have witnessed our own steady growth too. There is no such thing as an overnight success, even in the world of growth hacking, but this is a great book to have by your side as you attempt to grow your business.


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