How to Become an Experienced Growth Marketer When No One Will Hire You

Here is a guide on how to get experience as a growth marketer without having a job.

Students in my General Assembly digital marketing class constantly ask me one question about getting a job in growth marketing or digital marketing.

For a while, I didn’t know how to answer it.  This question is the main reason most of them don’t break into a career in digital marketing or growth hacking. The question:

How to get experience as a digital marketer when no one will hire you?

Not having experience is the main reason they think they are unable to start a career in growth marketing. These are smart people asking this question. The digital marketing class at General Assembly is usually filled with young professionals looking to get a digital marketing gig, experienced professionals looking to make a career change or veteran marketers from the print world wanting relevant skills to become more marketable.

It’s possible to get experience without having a job title of growth marketer or digital marketer because that’s how I started.

I have broken down my answer into two parts below. The answer involves rolling up your sleeves and relentlessly pursuing this career path by targeting early stage companies or getting experience on your own. Here are the steps I would take if I were starting today.

STEP 1: READ
Read. Read every book or blog you can find about growth hacking, technical marketing or digital marketing.

So what to read . . .

STEP 2: TEST
Get any experience you can growing companies by applying what you’ve been reading. If you don’t have a growth/marketing job — offer to work for free. If they won’t hire you then launch a side project on the cheap with WordPress, Shopify or even just a social account. The key is testing the different growth ideas you’re reading about. Test driving traffic and then converting that traffic.

Then once you have learned a few interesting things find companies that could benefit from this new found knowledge. Reach out to these companies and demonstrate the experience you have and pitch how they could apply it to their business. Seriously, this strategy works — Neil Patel has made his best hires from cold pitches like this.

Okay, so how to get experience applying what you learned from reading . . .

  • Look for growth jobs on Angellist, Growthhackers.com/jobs and Linkedin.
  • Launch a side project and try to grow it. Embrace your failures. Some half-baked ideas:
  • Witty Shirts on TeeSpring
  • A travel blog on WordPress
  • An affiliate site that sells Nerd Mugs
  • An Instagram account for foodies

What to test:

  • Running email capture tools like Sumo
  • Setting up Google Analytics
  • Setting up Facebook lookalike audiences
  • A/B testing landings pages with Unbounce
  • Optimizing for search with 3rd party tools like Yoast and SEMrush
  • Building digital tools to generate users or leads
  • Creating a content strategy based on Buzzsumo’s results

Thanks to Youtube, Google and Podcasts you can learn as much as you want for free. Then you can actually test these ideas for as little as it cost to buy a web domain. You can do it. I credit this self-taught approach to everything I know in digital marketing.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide to making a marketing plan in 2017.

This was originally posted on Growthhit.

My Four Years in New York City

I hate it when people in NYC talk about how they couldn’t live anywhere else. Warning: this post is one of those.

Why is New York City so hard to leave?

The streets are gross. Rent is too damn high. And you have to wear a puffer jacket in April.

Three strikes right there.

Plus, it’s a humbling place to be.  Humility is a good thing, but to a point.  I’m a married 30-something and my wife and I have good jobs.

But we live in a 358 square foot apartment in the West Village. No dishwasher. No washer/dryer. And we’re in a 4-year war against cockroaches and mice.

Our place is so small and outdated that when our families come to visit, they take a look around and ask us if we need money. Not the best feeling for a husband. Sigh.

Maybe it’s the energy of the city?

As an Oklahoma kid from the burbs, NYC is the ultimate playground.  The restaurants. The bars. The shows. The people watching.  And it’s happening all around you.

I’ve stumbled upon a Nike-sponsored basketball tournament at Rucker Park with Kevin Durant playing. We saw Amy Schemer and Judd Apatow pop into the Comedy Cellar for an impromptu show.  For me, those last two things are my heaven.

KD warming up at Rucker …. It’s about to go down

A photo posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

But let’s be real, we don’t take advantage of the city every weekend.  More often than not we’re hitting our local spots (shout out to The Grey Dog and Tartine) and then retiring to our home with a bottle of wine and Game of Thrones.

Is it the people?

I think this is it.  I’ve created post-college relationships with some fascinating people.  New York City is filled with so many inspiring individuals who (wholeheartedly) follow their passions.  It’s energizing and contagious.  It’s those relationships that lead to the most exciting opportunities.

But these people don’t just exist in NYC. They’re everywhere. You just have to be willing to connect with others wherever you go. I’ve realized I was lazy about expanding my network before I moved here. I didn’t branch out from my immediate friend group.

Is it the NYC dream? (Spoiler: the NYC dream is a lie.)

First off, everything I thought of NYC growing up turned out to be a lie.  Carrie Bradshaw could never afford her $25 million West Village townhouse as a fashion writer. Jerry should never have left his door unlocked for a neighbor like Kramer to pop in. And the coffee shops never have local musicians playing Smelly Cat – just long bathroom lines and overpriced gluten-free scones.

Kick’n it at Jerry’s. #seinfeldapartment #hulu #KyleWasGeorge #ThesePretzelsAreMakingMeThirsty

A photo posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

Second, winter last way too long in NYC.  You basically live in your warmest wool coat for 6 months.  That beautiful fall foliage you see in the movies is true but for three weeks, maybe five weeks. Lies. Lots of lies.

A tough trek to breakfast today #GreyDog #stormjonas

A video posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

Growing up, I didn’t really dream of living in NYC.  I didn’t dream of living anywhere.  As an average white kid from middle America, I assumed I would play in the NBA for a few years, travel around the country and settle down in a place like Dallas.  That dream came to a quick end when I realized that the NBA scouts looked beyond the OKC Catholic League for potential draft picks.

I didn’t visit NYC until my senior year of college.  I came up here to visit my sister and I was blown away.  I had never been in a city with so much happening.  I was hooked. (Maybe a little drunk.) But I wanted to live here.

I love the energy and the attitude of the city.  It’s the reality of the city that gives it character and gives it soul.  It’s the attitude that was lacking from the shopping centers I was used to in the 73120 zip code.  (No offense to the Chilis, Best Buy and Big Lots.)

I didn’t make it here after of college.  I took the long route by going through Dallas with a few stops at KPMG and a small investment bank.  My opportunity came along after I cold-called a NYC-startup that was hiring in Dallas.  I jumped on the opportunity because they said if I did well then I would get to move to the headquarters in Manhattan. I was in.

The transition from finance to a small startup wasn’t pretty.  But in January of 2012, they asked me to move to NYC in 6 months.  Game on!  That same month I met a girl.  And after our fourth date, I asked her to quit her job and move to NYC with me.  Little did I know that having your best friend in NYC is what makes the NYC moments so sweet.

Alright, about these NYC moments.  Here are a few of my that come to mind:

A One Way Ticket
There is something terrifyingly energizing about buying a one way tick to NYC.  It’s like saying, “Crap, I guess we’re doing this.”  Then you find yourself in the taxi line with 171 pounds of luggage and a stupid smile on your face. (I was in my late 20s but felt like it was my first day of college.)

Well here we go. 171 pounds of luggage. $150 in baggage fees. And crashing with @kaydeebird and @rhbennett1

A photo posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

The Apartment Hunt
I moved to NYC first. My girlfriend (now wife) was a month after me.  Our budget was $2k a month and we wanted a one bedroom apartment in Chelsea. After looking at 7 apartments, we realized we had to raise our budget to even get a studio in the city.  Every apartment had its “catch.”  Great location. Great price. But it’s a 5th floor walkup with a window facing a wall.

After seeing about 30 apartments, we finally found “the one” (translation: we were desperate and it was livable). Fortunately, we were the first two people to walk in, with several others close behind who had checks in hand. We had to make our decision within 7 minutes of seeing the place.   It was tiny, but right in the middle of the West Village and it had a window that didn’t face a brick wall. (#win) It would be our home for the next 4 years.

The Week of Sandy
We had been in NYC for just 5 days when hurricane Sandy hit.  We had no power in our apartment for 7 days and only cold water.  We would walk to Time Square (they still had power) and work from the Marriott Lobby Bar and then walk home to a pitch black West Village.  Luckily, our local bar would open at night, well lit by hundreds of candles.  Police officers would drive by every 5 minutes so the streets had light. It was a little scary but comforting to see how everyone in the neighborhood was helping each other out.

Our Refugee Camp.

A photo posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

A Roommate. A Proposal. A Wedding
I proposed to my wife in this city.  We got married in this city. See the photo below – isn’t it pretty? What our wedding photo doesn’t tell you is that it was 95 degrees on that day in early September and I was sweating so bad I couldn’t keep my eyes open to look at my beautiful bride. But we had a blast!

The Perfect Day #hufflovin #100degreeIdos

A photo posted by Jim Huffman (@jimwhuffman) on

Living through the “NYC Struggle”
Now let’s be real.  My NYC struggle is a joke.  No dishwasher.  No washer/dryer. A painful (and disgusting) subway system.  These are first-world problems. But hey, it’s all relative.  These were our problems.  Not having a dishwasher means I had to hand wash every stupid dish, bowl, pan, fork and spoon. Why? It wasn’t to make my wife happy.  It’s because if I didn’t I would wake up to a squad of cockroaches chill’n on our skillet.  This would be immediately followed by my wife screaming, a cockroach blood bath, 17 Bounty sheets, 2 toilet flushes and a 911 call to our cleaning lady, Jackie.  Ah, thank God for Jackie. That’s my NYC struggle. And it was real.

Jonas in Central Park
The day after Storm Jonas might be my favorite NYC memory of all because I’d never seen Central Park so electric.  Snow ball fights. Kids sledding down the stairs at Bethesda fountain.  And strangers handing out hot chocolate (and not knowing if it was spiked or not).  It was like NYC was one big elementary school that was let our for a snow day.  Below is a video of Kyle sledding, Not pictured: me breaking the snow disc with my ass on the next run. That was fun.

Date Night in the Village
The West Village in September is so special.  On Friday evenings, we would walk up West 4th to Tartine and pass the local the cellist playing on the street corner, and a local painter, Kaz, sketching the stunning townhomes on Perry street. It’s one of those moments in time the city is bursting with so much cuteness and charm.

West village

Yep, it’s the moments.

NYC is so unpredictable. It’s a place where you can turn one corner and get flashed by a homeless person and then turn the next and physically bump into the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen.  (My wife, of course.) You go from “Good f*?!*# god” to “Good god!!!”.

I am not a New Yorker.  I only made it 4 years here. Maybe that counts as a NYC bachelor’s degree or something.  This is just a small stop along the way.  But it feels deeper than that.  I grew up here.  I married my best friend here.

So as I turn the lights off on my little studio apartment one last time I am not happy to leave.  I am sad.  Your 30s are some formative years. But no one warns you about them.  I heard about high school.  I heard about college.  But what about 10 years after that?

We worked so hard to get here and now we’re choosing to leave.  It feels like we’re leaving too early – like it’s 11:57pm at a house party and they’ve just dimmed the lights and started playing Prince. We can’t leave now!

I guess if you don’t measure life in time but moments then you might like NYC.  Love it or hate it, Manhattan forces you to have these memorable moments.

And I’m happy to have the ones I do.  Especially when those moments, good and bad, were with my best friend.

But I’ll continue to hate those dumb posts about not being able to live anywhere else.

My Digital Marketing Presentation at TechStars

My Techstars Presentation on Digital Marketing and Growing Startups.

This past month I did a presentation at Techstars NYC on growth marketing for their 2016 Internet of Things batch.

As a growth mentor, I was asked to tailor my talk to B2B businesses to match most of the startups in their IOT startup batch.  It was a blast and we got to talk about marketing for drones, 3D printers and electric car chargers.  Instead of letting this deck collect dust, I thought I would share it.  Here is what to expect:

We went through everything from how to run your growth process and the fundamentals of growth hacking to best practices for SEO (search engine optimization) and Facebook retargeting ads. Also, I laid out how to set up your technical marketing infrastructure.

I am starting to work with a few of the startups and look forward sharing their success stories.  See the full deck below:

How Noah Kagan Changed Our Growth Model

A look at Noah Kagan’s growth model and how we put it into practice.

The other day I was cruising through my RSS feed (#Feedly) when I got sucked into the following TechCrunch Headline:

You’re Still Modeling Growth Incorrectly

And I was sure I would be able to disprove it

I do marketing for a living — I got this.

As I started to read, the first few paragraphs, I realized that this was pretty good and I was wrong, very wrong.  This method is exactly how a startup should model out their growth strategy.

The article was written by Noah Kagan and the guy knows a thing of two about growing startups  — just read it for yourself here. Or check out his bio.

At Mint.com, Noah was tasked with getting the first 100,000 users. Lots of people would approach this task with the model seen below.

You know this model.

The one where you pull a number out of the sky, multiple that number by a growth rate and, boom, you hit 100,000 users. The problem is the growth rate. You don’t just pick a rate.  No, you have to pick what you work on — your inputs. Noah references’s Andrew Chen’s article about this common forecasting mistake.

Instead of modeling off of a growth rate you should model off of your inputs and your goals. Mint’s goal was 100,000 users so he found enough inputs to get to hit his goal. check out his growth model below that involves converting traffic into users from press, google ads, his network and more:

Noah Kagan's Growth Model

That’s when I created our own traffic model based on Noah’s framework. Since we’re dealing we reoccurring traffic and existing users we added some variations.

First, we have a “baseline” of traffic from our existing practices — basically our average monthly traffic if we do business as usual. Second, we added what I’m calling traffic “drivers”. Drivers are the things that we can control to grow traffic: increase email sends, ad spend by platform, new partnerships, etc. Email send frequency is a powerful one because we’re building up a significant email list. By doubling our email sends we can double our email traffic. (Well, assuming we’re not abusing this channel.)

Also, we’ve determined our acquisition costs on Facebook, Pinterest & AdWords so we know how to turn the knob on the paid channels if necessary.

Here is a basic template with the traffic drivers. (I tossed in some dummy data for this example.)

Noah Kagan Growth Model Example

This model has drivers you control to help you back into your traffic goals. This model increases the email campaigns by 4x, has two partnerships and increases the total paid traffic spend from $0 to $800. As a result, you hit over 500,000 sessions with a 42% monthly grow rate.

Yes, you could stick with the model driven by growth rates – they look pretty as charts.  However, this model is driven by you.  That means that you have complete control over your traffic so it’s not a guessing game. It’s a bottoms up growth roadmap that helps you hit those lofty growth projections.

We should probably buy Noah a beer (or some tacos) for this model.

What Trending in Marketing on 6.23.2016

My Favorite Articles of the Week 

How to Launch a Product the right way.

One powerful Social Media Tool for Twitter.

A 40 point checklist for content marketing.

Below are the articles that got my attention this week. Cheers!

Launch Plan by Foundr

LAUNCH
How ‘Foundr’ Pulled Off a Successful Product Launch, A Step by Step Guide

eCOMMERCE
13 eCommerce Conversion Optimization Case Studies that are Game Changers

GROWTH HACKER
Indispensable Growth Frameworks from A Facebook, Twitter and Wealthfront Alum

CONTENT MARKETING
The Ultimate 40-Point Checklist for a Smarter Content Marketing Strategy 

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Arguably, The Most Powerful Social Media Tool on Twitter

The Top Marketing Articles of the Week 5.19.2016

My Favorite Articles of the Week 

The ultimate guide to Instagram.

300 free tools to grow your startup.

And some business advice from a Navy Seal.

Below are the articles that got my attention this week and one of my favorite commencement speeches. (It is graduation week after all.)  Enjoy!

STARTUPS
The Ultimate list of 300 Free Tools for Startups

SOCIAL MEDIA
How to Grow Your Instargam Following With These 7 Guides

SEO
The SEO Handbook with 17 Essential Tips You MUST Follow

GROWTH
37 Proven Methods To Increase Blog Traffic And Boost Engagement

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
A Navy Seal Has Some Business (and Life) Advice for You

4.11.2016 My 5 Favorite Marketing Articles of the Week

Case studies. New social media tools. Industry best practices.

Here’s a roundup of the best articles, growth advice, and podcasts that I’ve found to be helpful this week.

Enjoy!

GROWTH
20 Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers

SEO
How I Drove 34,000 SEO Visits in 60 Days (For Free)

STARTUPS
How to Decrease the Odds That Your Startup Fails

GROWTH
Growing a Site from 0 to 10k Visitors a Month

eCOMMERCE
13 eCommerce Case Studies that’ll Make You Rethink Your Site

NYC
Want to Attend more Startup Events in NYC? Use this.

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Have You Tested Your Headlines Shareability? This Tool Will Help.

Here is My Presentation on Growth Hacking in Toronto

The “Growth Hacking Your Marketing Plan” presentation from the 2015 Realtime Marketing conference in Toronto.

I did a presentation at this social media conference in Toronto last year called the ‘Realtime Marketing Lab‘ conference.  The topic was “Growth Hacking Your Marketing Plan” and this presentation covers how to build growth and scale into your digital marketing initiatives.  I finally got around to putting the slides online.  Here you go.

Here is a breakdown of each slide:

How to Growth Hack Your Marketing Plan

  1. How to Growth HACK Your Marketing Plan Jim Huffman VP of Marketing TheTake
  2. @JimWHuffman
  3. Acquired for$500M
  4. @JimWHuffman
  5. $24B Valuation
  6. @JimWHuffman
  7. $10B Valuation
  8. What is a Growth Hacker? Sean Ellis (Dropbox) came up with the phrase “Growth Hacker” in 2010 when he was trying to hire his replacement. Because a the Marketing candidates weren’t working out. “A Growth Hacker is a person whose true north star is Growth. ” – Sean Ellis
  9. Wait, So What Does that Mean? “After product-market fit and an efficient conversion process, find scalable, repeatable and sustainable ways to grow the business.” – Sean Ellis
  10. Product Data / Analytics Marketing Growth Hacking What Goes into Growth Hacking?
  11. GH = Distribution Built into Product LINKEDIN Add Your Address Book and Build Your Network. GILT Invite a Friend and Get $25 When They Buy.
  12. Growth Hacking Summary 1. North Star = Growth 2. Find scalable, repeatable and sustainable ways to grow 3. Use Product, Data & Marketing 4. Distribution Built into Product
  13. STOP How do you know you’re ready to GROW?
  14. You Need to Answer Three Questions
  15. 1. Do You Have Product Market Fit? How do you measure Product Market Fit? 1. 40% of Users would be “Very Disappointed” if your product disappeared. 2. NPS Score How would you feel if you could no longer use [product]? (A) Very disappointed (B) Somewhat disappointed (C) Not disappointed (it isn’t really that useful) (D) N/A – I no longer use [product] (Survey.io) DISCLAIMER: False positives could emerge from surveys. Make sure your engagement & retention data supports your results.
  16. How Do You Maintain PMF? CASE STUDY Talk to users and understand their problem. And do it every single day. We call our experience the “Happiness Initiative” and we measure it daily.
  17. 2. Are You Optimized for Growth? CONVERSION: Can you convert a user? RETENTION: Can you keep a user?
  18. How We Messed Up Conversion and Then Fixed It CASE STUDY < 1% Sign-Ups
  19. We Leveraged Our ‘Magic Moment’ CASE STUDY • Users coming through SEO (70% of traffic) are trying to Solve a Problem, • Identify when you solve a user’s problem = “Magic Moment” • RESOURCE: Alex Schultz, Head of Growth – See your friends • Demonstrate why they should sign up Over 4% Sign-Ups
  20. We Bring them Back with Email CASE STUDY • Editorial team dedicated to keeping you users engaged through high quality content.
  21. 3. Is Growth a Priority? Then you better track it every single day. Facebook’s #1 Metric: How Many More Users (as a percentage) Were Added Per Day?
  22. Summary 1. Product Market Fit 2. Conversion & Retention 3. Everyone’s Focused on Growth
  23. GO Congrats, you’re ready for growth.
  24. Lets Get in the Growth Mindset 1. Your Goal is to Expedite the Speed of Your Feedback Loop. 2. A/B Testing & Analytics are the Language of Growth. 3. Over 80% of your Growth ideas will FAIL. (And that’s okay.)
  25. GROWTH HACK: Plan of Attack STEP 1: Identify Growth Ideas to Test STEP 2: Test for Scalable & Repeatable Ideas STEP 3: Measure & Model Your Growth STEP 4: Repeat
  26. How to Come Up with Growth Ideas? It starts with thinking about your Customers. 1. What does the customer or the market want? 2. Who are my customers / users? 3. Where do I find my customers / users? 4. What language do my customers / users speak? STEP 1
  27. Here are 19 Traction Channels 1. Viral Marketing 2. PR 3. Unconventional PR 4. SEM 5. Social & Display Ads 6. Offline Ads 7. SEO 8. Content Marketing 9. Email Marketing 10. Engineering as Marketing 11. Targeting Blogs 12. Existing Platforms 13. Business Development 14. Affiliate Programs 15. Trade Shows 16. Community Building 17. Sales 18. Offline Events 19. Speaking Engagements STEP 1
  28. Get Inspiration from Market Research 1. Study a Brand or Competitor 2. Research their Traffic Drivers 3. Analyze their channels that have traction 4. See where they’re putting their creative energy STEP 1
  29. What to Consider When Testing? • Biggest Impact • Free vs. Paid • Fastest Feedback Loop • What A/B tests are you the most excited about? • What segments are you targeting? And most Importantly . . Are these Ideas are Repeatable & Scalable? STEP 2
  30. How to Measure Your Growth? • Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity. • Pick One Thing: Traffic, Sign-Ups, Engagement/Retention, Whatever. • Automate Your Reporting. STEP 3
  31. How to Model Your Growth? • Model Growth Based on Your Growth Channels • Use Your Inputs to drive growth. Do NOT use growth rates STEP 3
  32. Repeat.
  33. Case Studies Growth Hacking Inspiration
  34. Google Images + Timing = Traffic CASE STUDY Capturing Users Through Organic SEO Screenshots taken in an incognito window • Be the first website to submit images & pages for movie & TV show products • Search = over 70% of Traffic
  35. Coach.Me: How They Found 70k Users CASE STUDY • GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER: How are people talking about your product? • QUORA: Where are they talking about your product?
  36. Hitlist: Engineering as Marketing CASE STUDY Chrome extension went viral on product hunt & featured in the Chrome Web Store
  37. Mint: Growth through Content • Challenge: Personal finance (not viral) and requesting personal data • Product Wasn’t Viral but their Personal Finance Blog Was viral. • 1.5 Million Users in 2 Years, Sold for $170 Million CASE STUDY
  38. SumoMe: Just Get in the Door CASE STUDY • Promote Free Products (ahead of Paid) • Frictionless Sign-Up: No Credit Card Required
  39. Evernote: Find a New Growth Channel CASE STUDY • App Store = New Distribution Channel • “We really killed ourselves in the first couple of years to always be in all of the app store launches on day one.” • 19,000 New Sign-Ups / Day
  40. My Favorite Resources 1. How to Start a Startup: Alex Schultz, Growth at Facebook (Video) 2. Lean Startup Marketing (Book) 3. The Viral Startup (Book) 4. Traction (Book) 5. The Viral Loop (Book) 6. Growth Engines (Book) 7. Hooked (Book) 8. The Ultimate Sales Machine (Book) 9. What Great Brands Do (Book) 10.First Round Capital Review (Blog) 11.GrowthHackers.com (Forum) 12.Startup Grind (Podcast) 13.The Growth Show (Podcast) 14.Paul Graham’s Essays (Blog) 15.Neil Patel (Blog) BONUS: jimwhuffman.com (Blog)
  41. Let’s Talk Jim Huffman VP of Marketing Twitter: @jimwhuffman

 

18 Startup Resources That Have Changed How I Approach Growth

The 18 startup resources that have a shaped how I approach growing a company.

I’ve been trying to read more books this year and I’m doing alright if we count audiobooks. (And we are.) I’ve leveraged recommendations from podcasts or favorite blogs to get the best startup or marketing reads. Here are 18 badass books, videos, blogs or podcast about growing a startup that have probably saved me. In no particular order . . .

(1) How to Start a Startup: Alex Schultz, Growth at Facebook (Video)
What I liked: The entire ‘How to Start a Startup’ series was awesome and this talk was my favorite. Hearing how ‘Zuck’ was relentless about his focus on growth was inspiring. And his overall analysis of how they leveraged a user’s ‘magic moment‘ to retain them for the long term.

(2) Lean Startup Marketing by Sean Ellis (Book)
What I liked: Sean Ellis lead growth at Dropbox and this book is essentially a marketer’s guide to growing a startup. It’s so rich with knowledge and tips you’ll find yourself taking note after note.

(3) The Viral Startup by Andrew Chen (Book)
What I liked: Andrew is now the head of growth at Uber and if you are a stats or numbers person then you’ll love his approach to growth. This is his blog in book form but it’s absolutely worth the read.

(4) Traction by Gabriel Weinberg (Book)
What I liked: They breakdown the 19 traction channels for finding users/customers and have strong case studies. I took those 19 channels and built them into our growth model. It’s great for getting inspiration for growth ideas.

(5) Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg (Book)
What I liked: It dissects the history of viral growth across the most revolutionary startups. Consider it your growth history lesson.

(6) Growth Engines by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown (Book)
What I liked: Growth case studies on top of growth case studies. Great for coming up with growth ideas for your own projects.

(7) Hooked by Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover (Book)
What I liked: It’s a playbook for how Product Hunt build their retention engine. If you’re building a community then it’s a must read.

(8) The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes (Book)
What I liked: Horrible title. Awesome book. Honestly, this might be my favorite. I have never dog-eared so many pages in a book. Just read it.

(9) What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn (Book)
What I liked: If you’re at all focused on branding then read this. Denise has you analyze your brand from 7 verticals. It’s somewhat straight forward but a necessary read when it comes to branding.

(10) First Round Capital Review (Blog)
What I liked: This might be the best VC blog out there. Every post is long form and it’s insights from their existing portfolio companies. They cover everything from growth and sales to product design and hiring. It’s like getting your startup MBA in blog form.

(11) GrowthHackers.com (Forum)
What I liked: The AMA’s and case studies are second to none in the growth industry. Plus it’s run by the guy who invented growth hacking.

(12) Startup Grind (Podcast)
What I liked: Great storytelling from entrepreneurs in San Fran, NYC, London and all over. Nice listen for the daily commute.

(13) The Growth Show (Podcast)
What I liked: Short quick hits with industry leaders about specific examples of growth. Do it.

(14) Paul Graham’s Essays (Blog)
What I liked: The Y Combinator founder wrote a series of essays that are a must read for anyone getting into startups. He tackles everything from how to come up with an idea to why growth is the #1 thing that matters.

(15) Neil Patel (Blog)
What I liked: Warning: you’re about to get lots of emails. But the guy knows his stuff and offers lots of thoughtful tips and, dare I say, hacks.

(16) The Pmarca Blog eBook by Marc Andreessen (eBook)
What I liked: When Marc Andressen speaks you listen. I think he night be the smartest person on this list – need to get everyone’s SAT scores to confirm that. He is extremely good at explaining hard concepts in the startup world.

(17) The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (Book)
What I liked: The entire damn book, the rap references and the brutally honest truths about growing a company. I have read this one twice.

(18) Feld Thoughts (Blog)
What I liked: Brad Feld is an entrepreneur turned VC that’s also written some awesome books about startups. His blog is a nice snapshot of what’s happening in the current startup space from his founder-friendly perspective.