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.