How we got from engineering to marketing
The world of engineering and product creation is incredibly different than the world of growth and marketing. Here’s why…
In engineering everything needs to be systematic and precise
No emotions. Just technology.
So when I finally figured out that only building products isn’t good enough —you also need people to use those products— I started exploring the world of marketing and user acquisition.
But what I saw, shocked me…
I saw an enormous universe with millions of tactics… all hanging together without any sort of “glue” to make sense of it
So much information!
So many tactics… without any sense of strategy or structure, anywhere to be found!
An engineer’s nightmare. Completely overwhelming.
But that led to one conclusion: I figure out early that I could never learn and understand all of that…
I needed a 80/20, minimalist “less is more” approach to marketing & growth
I wanted to learn the “big picture” first, and then choose the tactics that make sense.
So I was looking for a framework or overview that would allow me to cut through the confusion and noise… and that I could understand
Because I had a background in startups, I didn’t know about “internet marketing” and product launches and all the marketing gurus (Lucky me!)
Instead, I found “growth hackers”like Andrew Chen, Brian Balfour and Sean Ellis
They did tech startups, and fundamentally had systems that made sense to me. Something I could understand. Plus… they were building the biggest companies in the world!!
They were clearly in a different league:
– Andrew Chen was “head of growth” at UBER
– Brian Balfour at Hubspot
– Sean Ellis grew Dropbox, Eventbrite, and many others…
So I became a student of growth. I said:
“if I’m gonna learn marketing… might as well learn from them”
But not everything that applies to Uber or Airbnb applies to us. What works for a billion-dollar behemoth, doesn’t work for a scrappy entrepreneur working from a single-bedroom apartment.
So the question became: “how can I take their ideas, and make it simpler?”
How can I apply their ideas… and apply them to a “normal” business like mine?
What I ended up with was this enormously simplified system for startup growth marketing, that I’ve been using ever since.
It’s not focused on the hyper-growth phase of tech startups, but rather what comes before that: turning an idea into P/M-fit, and gaining strong traction.
From zero to $5k or $50k per month… rather than building the next billion-dollar unicorn.
It gives me clarity, focus and confidence… because I can fully understand how each part works and interacts with the other parts. And it works for everyone—whether it’s SaaS, mobile apps or an upstart fashion brand…
There’s no magic there.
Back when I created that, I didn’t think much of it. I created it for myself, like a bunch of personal memos.
I assumed other marketers probably used a similar approach…
But they didn’t!
So whenever I would talk to people about marketing, they’d be super surprised about my approach, and my conclusions.
At the time, I was working at a co-working space, and every week, they organised a “skill share” where a member would present something valuable to the community over lunch
I didn’t have any other deep expertise that’s interesting to others—so I presented this “startup growth framework”
Guess what…? —The room fully booked, and people were hanging on my lips
I was really surprised. People were taking notes as if their life depended on it
At the end a girl came up and asked if I had more info.
I didn’t, but I agreed to write a weekly, step-by-step “note” about it, that I emailed out to her and a handful of other people
Every week, more people wanted to get those notes.
That was like the “MVP” where my email course was born…
and where Growthcasts got started!!
Now we’ve got thousands on our mailing lists, and there’s a course, there’s a consulting team, etc. etc.
All of that, a little unexpectedly… It’s funny how things can blow up!
So far, it’s been an absolute blast to teach growth marketing. Of course I’m not a professional teacher, but what I’m saying is resonating with people. They dig it. It’s refreshingly simple, and it makes sense.
People feel like they understand what’s going on. Like the clouds and confusion are disappearing… and you can see clearly again.
With a simple framework, you’ll always know what to do. It gives you confidence.
And it’s funny if you think about the humble beginnings…
I thought—in all honesty—that I’d just gotten lucky with the projects I worked on.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t help a company raise $25M every day! Those results are extra-ordinary!!
And if it hadn’t been for those 40 people packed in a small aircon’d room in Bali… I would have been convinced it’s just my own quirky “way of doing things”.
If it hadn’t been for a TON of people (too many to mention) that helped me along the way, and said “Hey, this thing you’re saying really makes sense…”
…then I’d probably never gotten here!
So I’m grateful for all of you. It’s great to have you around.
It’s amazing to be able to offer a free email course, a premium flagship course (Growthcasts Elite), and all these free resources on our blog.
It’s been a crazy ride… and a surprising one, too!
If you want to learn more…
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