The Culture of Hacking and Its Fascination With Problem Solving
The term hacking has always been associated with the cloak and dagger world espionage with the image being conjured with an individual sat at a computer trying to unlawfully gain access into an enemies files without them noticing.
However, in the early 2000s The term life hack was coined in 2004 during the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego, California by technology journalist Danny O'Brien to describe the "embarrassing" scripts and shortcuts productive IT professionals use to get their work done.
The term once again morphed into Growth Hacking in 2010 by Sean Ellis who coined the term "growth hacker" in 2010. In the blog post, he defined a growth hacker as "a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinised by its potential impact on scalable growth." The Franchise owner Chen introduced the term to a wider audience in a blog post titled, "Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing" in which he defined the term and used the short term vacation rental platform Airbnb's integration of Craigslist as an example.
We have now entered a stage where businesses are actively looking for individuals to join their team to ‘hack’ growth for example on Indeed at the time of writing there are 107 jobs posted in the last month under the term Growth Hacker.
What is the impact of growth hacking on your business and are the quick fixes helping or hindering your brand?
Firstly Growth hacking as Sean Elis originally meant it was extremely specialised. Sean was one of the first to utilise automation within the marketing systems for the companies he worked with, these were tweaked every day based on his understanding on analytics, this at the time wasn’t an automated service by Google*. Sean was not interested in anything but growth every decision he made was regarding the growth of his client's business.
Most small businesses aren’t able to create the same Growth Hacking results that Sean Ellis did because they also have to focus on other aspects of the business. The owners could be one of the 107 advertisers on Indeed to recruit their own, however at an average salary of £35,649 this is a big amount to pay when just starting out.
It's also important to consider when to recruit a growth hacker. Before considering it you need to make sure you have the best product-market fit. Is your product or service as good as it could be? Do you have a product or service that is needed?
If your business isn’t gaining traction then it is worth looking at why. Using simple business analysis tools breaking all aspects of your business down and benchmarking this against competitors is a great way to do this.
*The basic form of google analytics wasn’t that intuitive and wasn’t upgraded to the more common form that marketers use until 2012.
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