Growth Hacking …Nirvana? …Lazy Marketing?…or Misplaced Capital for the Mobile Web?

Growth Hacking sounds cool. Sean Ellis (who has an amazing marketing track record) is now building a community around the idea of it.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations/Bonds sounded cool in 2007 and 2008 as well.

Nobody will ever go to jail for either.

I have been running Stocktwits, and invested in about 90 startups since 2005. I also have seen some big exits, but until this year I never heard the term growth hacking. All of a sudden, that’s what it seems to take to win.

Chamath – who witnessed and helped Facebook growth says he has cracked the code. Baloney.

I am sure (snicker) no banker at Goldman has ever said those words to win deals.

Web and app investing is starting to sound like Mortgage banking in 2008. If you sprinkle in the right growth hacks, you can jack up the users, and corner a lot of capital.

Color me skeptical, more of the mood we are in to embrace the term.

Just another reason I will be even more careful in 2014.


  1. William Mougayar says:

    Good to see you curbing your enthusiasm on that fancy word. I’ve written a lot about growth hacking this year and am more in the “neutral” camp. Growth hacking is a good mentality to have, but it is not the cure all and be all to everything.

    You can hack your growth (temporarily), but you can’t hack your success. Growth hacking is really part of marketing.

    • i like that as a ‘mentality’ …copy, distribution, timing, consistency, product product product…the basics. growth hacks will be a cap table nightmare in 2014 for many vc’s and angels that get trapped.

  2. discostupid says:

    In the past year, I’ve seen the following described as “growth hacking”: in-product messaging, coupons, referral programs, group discounts, Facebook contests, street teams, email marketing, web banners, SEO linking (RapGenius)…

    In short, it’s a word that means nothing. Except “marketing that’s not TV or OOH advertising.”

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