Book Review | 3 Reasons You Should Pick Up A Copy Of Do the KIND Thing

gift-from-kindsnacksLast month, our team received a very thoughtful gift from KINDSnacks. In addition to the many delicious (and healthy!) goodies, the box also included a few copies of KINDSnacks’ CEO Daniel Lubetzky’s new book, Do the KIND Thing. I read Lubetzky’s book, and I’m here to tell you why you should, too.

It will teach you that you don’t always have to compromise.

Early in the book, Lubetzky introduces the idea of thinking with “AND.” You can have a snack that tastes good AND is good for you, which is one of the fundamental values of KINDSnacks. But you can also apply it to your daily life. You can be successful professionally AND show empathy and kindness to those around you.

“You don’t have to accept the way things are. All you need to do is ask: Why does it have to be that way? When your default thinking is “AND” instead of “or,” you start to break down the roadblocks that prevent you from getting more out of life.”

There is a sort of grace that is associated with compromise. But every once in awhile, why can’t you have it all? Why can’t you have this AND that?

It could be your roadmap to building a lasting company culture.

Core values can be different for every business, and they may even evolve over time. At thinkspace, our team recently spent some time revamping our own core values to make sure they represent the culture we are cultivating every day. But the ten tenets outlined in Do the KIND Thing can be a great jumping off point, a source of inspiration or a guideline for creating a culture that encourages success as well as kindness and generosity.

You can see it in action.

Speaking from experience, when you’re an undergraduate pursing a degree in creative writing, your mantra may well be, “Show, don’t tell.” For Lubetzky, this is when his story shines brightest.

There is value in sweeping visionary statements and lofty ideals. But in a book that encourages the reader to do the KIND thing, it is so encouraging—and meaningful—to see that kindness in action. In the Acknowledgements section, Lubetzky thanks Djavo, the friendly superintendent who helped him move boxes twenty-one years ago. After finishing his book, Lubetzky ran into Djavo at a dinner, where Djavo was a server. Admittedly, he hadn’t thought of Djavo in years, but their chance meeting prompted this acknowledgement:

“I want to thank all those people, including the ones I have not seen in two decades, as well as the security guard that opened the door and the friendly stranger that share a smile this morning, for the unrecognized warmth they bring to our world every day…”

KINDSnacks is on a mission to prove that companies can be financially successful as well as—well, kind. And this book can show you how it’s possible.

What do you like most about working at thinkspace?

team

It’s easy to get so caught up in the grind that you forget to stop and thank the people around you. In the spirit of Gratitude (our newest company core value), we chose to share the following story.

thinkspace participates in a weekly TINYpulse exercise. TINYpulse provides insights into company culture, prompting anonymous responses to insightful survey questions. Last week, Tiny Pulse asked our staff, “What do you like most about working here?” The response was overwhelmingly about our amazing members! Thank you to our members for making such a huge impact on the thinkspace team! Need proof? Read our team’s responses to the question below & give in to the warm and fuzzies!

 

tinypulse

“Our members. We have some of the most amazing members.”

“The people! All the smartypants I get to work with everyday.”

“I enjoy seeing direct correlations between company success and my hard work. Its motivating to see clearly how my work moves the dial for the company.”

“I really enjoy interacting and assisting the members. We have such a great group of people in the community, I look forward to participating and helping to plan all-member activities and events. They make it fun to come into work.”

” I like the opportunities I get. Whether that be opportunities to better myself as an individual and grow as a leader or better myself professionally and as a team member. I get to meet so many amazing people everyday that constantly keep me on my toes, learning and asking questions. The insightful and incredible stories I get to hear will be experiences I never forget. I am inspired working here. Even if I get stressed out about many things I know I am supported and can take the time to refresh myself.”

The thing that I like most about working here is that I get to pour everything into this company. It’s the culmination of everything I know and everything I am. The experience that I can create for employees and customers can make a big impact in their lives. I would be very hard pressed to find something else out there that could provide that.

“Our members! How lucky are we to work with such creative, brilliant and humble people each and every day!?”

Meet Our New Community Host, Gabe!

Gabe HerbertHelp us in welcoming our new community host Gabe Herbert! Get to know Gabe a little better. He is pretty new to the Fremont area, so please suggest some great places for him to explore!

What do you do and where can we find out more?
Professionally, I’m a web developer, primarily using WordPress. I also have a lot of IT experience.

What is your favorite beer/wine/cider spot in seattle?
Über, with it’s dozens of taps and hundreds of beers

What is the best place for a bite?
I’m trying to kick the “fast food sushi” habit- Toyoda Sushi in Lake City is one of my favorites. Bizarro is delicious and fun for Italian. And I’ve got to throw in Plum Bistro.

What are your hobbies?
I’ve studied martial arts for years and am just getting into Capoeira. Yoga is an essential foundation for my physical practices. I’m also a bassist, currently looking for a new project. It might go without saying that I’m a big computer geek. Someday I want to build robotic fountains.

“Can I have one of everything?” | New Tech Eastside, April 14

nte-katie-and-brett“Live from Kirkland… It’s Tuesday Night!”

Sit down and let me tell you a tale of a place like no other. Where the beer flows like high speed internet, where the wine flows like beer, and where no two business cards are the same. Sounds like a dream right? Wrong. This is New Tech Eastside and it is very, very real.

“I put on lipstick.”

The night kicked off on quirky note, as Katie Walvatne acknowledged that she didn’t resemble the photo on the big screen, and joined Brett Greene on stage as a Peter Chee impersonator. To get things started, Brett and “Peter” introduced the interactive portion of the evening: Community shout-outs! Following pleas to beta test, review, and join teams of techies, three startup weekends were advertised. If you are interested in building a product geared toward B2B sales, health innovation systems, or Latino markets, visit http://startupweekend.org to learn more about how you can participate!

“I’m from Texas, I always carry a pocket knife, and I won a state-wide coloring contest in the 1st grade.”

Kicking off the presentation portion of the night, Brandy Rhodes from NTE sponsor 9Mile Labs introduced her company as one that “invests in people with smart, innovative tech ideas” before turning the floor over to iMovR.

“Nobody should be sentenced to the chair!”

Ron Wiener from iMovR made a compelling argument, advocating the value and the usability of his treadmill desks. In his words, iMovR is “in the business of office fitness.” Ron says that getting people out of their seats is what drives his company. For those of you that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Like Ron said, “Jimmy Kimmel can do it… Even Peter Chee can do it!”

“This is getting dangerous…”

With an arm like Babe Ruth, the aim of Annie Oakley, and the stage presence of the Three Stooges, Frontier demonstrated a mean curveball t-shirt toss to reward correct answers to trivia questions about Seattle. Coming in hot behind this energetic interlude was Trent, the man behind the mouse(flow).

nte-trent-mouseflow“We’re cutting edge, NSA-style!”

Trent Scott launched Mouseflow in 2009. His aim? To revolutionize the way people view website analytics data using heat maps and real-time playbacks of visitor activity on websites. Aggregating that data onto a sexy dashboard, Mouseflow takes cyber-stalking to a whole new level by making it easy for a company to analyze the behavior of actual visitors on their website. Mouseflow provides companies with the data they need to optimize how they organize and present their information virtually. Since its launch, Mouseflow has spread over nine countries and provides service to companies like Pepsi, Frontier Airlines, and the Weather Channel.

“Lose the chimp, send in blue!”

Papa Smurf made a cameo appearance to represent SendinBlue, a NTE sponsor. Offering an alternative to companies like MailChimp, SendinBlue facilitates the efficient sending of newsletters. Papa Smurf gave Sailesh from Mobisante a warm New Tech welcome.

nte-sailesh-mobisante“I’m going to volunteer my body for science now.”

Giving a real-time demonstration on stage, Sailesh Chutani with Mobisante validated the gadget that has earned him several awards, and worldwide press. Traditional ultrasound machines conservatively cost $35,000, weigh as much as a chubby rhinoceros, and are about as portable as a grand piano. Mobisante has created the first-ever mobile diagnostic ultrasound machine, offering users clear and accessible ultrasound imaging on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Because of this technology, ultrasound imaging is now made available to previously underserved populations, including climbers on Mt. Everest, soldiers in active duty, and organizations that provide healthcare in remote areas of the world. The basic unit costs less than $5,000, weighs less than 12 ounces, and its counterpart app is so easy, a caveman could do it.

“New Tech Eastside Rocks… er… dot rocks.”

Wake up on the WrongSide of the bed because you’re sick and tired of being just another dot-com? Maybe it’s time you try RightSide, the company that brings you access to an encyclopedia of unique domain names such as “.rocks” or “.ninja.” Shawn from RightSide introduced the last presenter of the evening, GoDaddy.*

“I have no idea, I’m just a developer.”

What do you get when you mix heavy slides of coding language, intricate descriptions of platform updates, and a captive audience of techies? I have no idea. I’m not a developer. What I do know is that GoDaddy is in the business of individuality. GoDaddy has a cult following as the go-to website for landing the perfect domain name to provide you with the unique online presence you crave. For example, my domain name might be chantel@overmyhead.sorrygodaddy. See how that works?

“I took off my lipstick…”

Arriving fashionably late to the stage, Peter Chee (the real one) joined Brett on stage to thank the presenters for the evening and give the attendees a proper send off. Cheers to another night of entertaining presentations, techies turned stand-up comics, and near-miss merchandise tosses! Until next time, Eastside!

*I now see the irony of this lineup.

How to Deliver a Compelling Pitch for Angel Investment

Rachel Azaroff

Rachel Azaroff of Alliance of Angels

Last night Rachel Azaroff of Alliance of Angels stopped by our Seattle space to help some of our members prepare for successful angel investing pitches. She pointed out it’s a different animal pitching to an angel investor vs. pitching to a venture capitalist, so it’s important to be prepared. Angel investors aren’t professional investors representing a fund; these are people writing checks right out of their personal bank accounts, so the format can be radically different. Here’s what you need to know.

Prepare, Prepare and Prepare Some More

It’s important to know whom you are pitching to. Research your particular angels. You need to know what stage these angels are investing at and what type of investments they make. For example, Alliance of Angels generally invests in early stage startups, and tends to invest in life sciences, consumer goods, IT and clean tech.

10 Minutes or Less, Guaranteed!

thinkspace members working in groups on their elevator pitches

thinkspace members working in groups on their elevator pitches

Angel investors tend to have ten minute or less pitch sessions, and believe me, they go by faster than you think. Alliance of Angels advises:

Be clear about your value, be compelling and back up your plan with numbers.

You want to find the sweet spot where you can thoroughly explain your idea, but without going into too much detail and running out of time to make the sale. Investors aren’t going to write you a check today, so Rachel recommends that you focus on getting their attention with the goal of scheduling a follow up meeting.

The Anatomy of a Pitch Deck 

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.18.33 PM

Problem

Always begin your pitch by describing the problem your idea solves. You want to make sure to define the problem, identify who feels the pain, and illustrate the size and severity of the pain. Rachel says:

Focus on making the pain tangible.

Once you clearly outline the pain point, deliver your value proposition. This is one of the most important slides in your deck, so it may be necessary to use multiple slides in order to fully explain the features and benefits that solve the problem.

Market Size

Ultimately, it’s important to dive into the specifics of your initial target demographic, but you also want to make sure you paint a clear picture of your potential by highlighting the total addressable market. Be realistic, but also sell it. Back up your numbers with third party facts and figures.

Customers

Explain who your customer is. If you can, be specific. For example, in a B2B scenario, you might use logos from the companies you plan to sell to. If you have any existing customers, make sure to highlight them as well. The potential pipeline is also an important part of your customer base. Display customer growth in a realistic and precise way.

Go-To Market Strategy 

This is another key part of your pitch. Angel investors want to see exactly how you plan to get users or customers, so it’s important to be clear and strategic with your go-to market plan. If you can, outline the sales cycle and key decision makers–the more specific in this area, the better.

Rachel also suggests outlining any key partnerships. This doesn’t apply to most, but if your business hinges on relationships, be sure to include them in your go to market plan. Show any traction you’ve already made.

Business Model

Startups tend to let the business model “fall out” of the company, meaning the money making part will just naturally work itself out. Remember, angel investors are writing you a check from their personal account; they want to see you are interested in not only returning, but growing their investment. Clearly state how you plan to make money.

Don’t ignore your competition. Address your competitors head-on. Leverage the competition by showing how your product will solve more problems and ultimately be profitable.

Management

You want to give the investors confidence that you and your team know what you are doing, so highlight your key players. Be sure to outline their experience and why they are in their position. If they have prior exits or startup experience, Rachel recommends including that information in your pitch.

Financials

Rachel says this is one of the harder slides, because finances can be convoluted. Stick to three main financial points: revenue and profit, annual projects and key operating drivers. When it comes to the financials slide, ask yourself this question:

 How many questions does it answer vs. how many questions does it create?

Practice Makes a Perfect Pitch

As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. That holds true for an angel investing pitch. Rachel says one of the biggest issues angel investors see in pitching is the presenter not being confident with the presentation. She recommends presenting your pitch to various crowd sizes and in many different spaces. The more variables you are prepared for, the better your pitch will be.

 Want to learn more?

Be sure to catch our next event on startup funding at Lunch & Learn: Techstars. You have two opportunities to attend: Friday, April 10th at thinkspace Seattle and Tuesday, April 14th at thinkspace Redmond. Find more information and register for these events at thinkspace connected.

Techstars is the gold standard for startup accelerators. At the core is our massive interconnected network of over 3,000 successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and corporate partners helping the most promising startups do more faster. With 13 programs worldwide, the mentorship-driven accelerator program funds the best companies in the most entrepreneurial communities. Since 2006, over 70% of the 500 companies from almost 40 Techstars programs have prospered, representing approximately $2 billion in market capitalization. Techstars is currently accepting applications for their program in Seattle until April 30th and this is your opportunity to meet with Jaren Schwartz, Program Manager for Techstars and learn more about how Techstars can help provide funding for your startup.

“What’s a coworking?”: Thoughts from a panelist at StepNW’s Spotlight on Startups for the Eastside

chantel-bailey-stepnw-thinkspace“…Is this thing on?”

At StepNW’s event in Bellevue on Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel in the company of fellow coworking representatives from Orange Studios, extraSlice, and Impact Hub. Picture a room full of entrepreneurs, executives looking to find their perfect startup match, community representatives, creatives, and resident experts on Seattle’s startup culture. The space was loud, the mics were soft, and the handshakes were good and firm. The venue was buzzing with disorganized, high energy, caffeinated humans…much like a startup!

“Is it really all it’s cracked up to be?”

One question posed to the panel challenged the value of being plugged into coworking space. Specifically:

“Why should an entrepreneur consider coworking space?”

To answer this question, I referred back to a study executed by the Kauffman Foundation that quantified the two most important resources entrepreneurs need to be successful. This study showed that the most impactful catalysts to success in a startup can be boiled down to building relationships with other entrepreneurs, and building relationships with support organizations, such as Angel investors, mentors, and service providers. Opportunity for building these connections naturally multiplies by physically plugging into a coworking community. Moreover, by being involved in a coworking space, there is an instant connection to people (like me!) whose mission is directly dictated by these two key needs. In building the fabric of support around entrepreneurs, I seek to connect people with the resources that will help them to solve their biggest pain points.

“Where does it hurt?”

The previous topic begs the question:

“What are the biggest pain points of an entrepreneur?”

Dan Kihanya from Impact Hub says that the three most common concerns he sees are difficulties finding talent, connections, and funding. With coworking spaces popping up all over the Seattle area, I expect to see these anxieties alleviated.

In response to the first pain point: Hiring talent. Who wants to be stuck with a social loafing coworker who has a bad habit of stealing your yogurt out of the fridge? Not I! That’s why companies like thinkspace offer recruiting services—to weed out the yogurt-eating, money-embezzling, resume-exaggerating applicants and provide companies with the (actual) top talent Seattle has to offer.

Moving on to pain point number two: Connections. There are only so many times you can view someone’s LinkedIn profile before things get awkward. This is why thinkspace, Impact Hub, and Orange Studios are all involved in organizing networking events that provide ample opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs face-to-face and make meaningful connections with experts in a variety of fields.

As for pain point number 3: Funding. As much as money trouble is a fun party topic, it isn’t always as easy to solve this problem as game of tic-tac-toe against your six-year-old nephew. History has shown that participation in coworking space leads to an increased probability of meeting co-founders, angel investors, and partner companies. This translates to: Cha-CHING!*

“I’m only here for the food…”

As our panel came to a close, the locals appeared restless… and hungry! Reminding me that in the world of entrepreneurs, there’s no time to buy groceries. Offering opportunities to be social, studious, and inquisitive, StepNW did the community a great service by providing education and networking opportunities to the greater Eastside community. Cheers to another night of connections, ravaged buffet tables, and illegible nametags!

*Cha-CHING: Increased opportunity for growth and revenue

Welcome to the Team Kim & Nikki!

 

Untitled-1

This spring has been an exciting time for the thinkspace team, and we are delighted to introduce our most recent additions: Nikki Barron, Marketing Manager and Kim Pua, Member Coordinator. Here is your chance to get to know them a little better!

 

Favorite weekday lunch spot?

KIM: Sip Thai Bistro. Everything I’ve had there has been delicious. Try the Chiang Mai Noodles (curry noodle soup with artistic flair) or something off of their seasonal menu. They have a large selection of loose leaf teas, too!

NIKKI: For a quick lunch, I really enjoy Blue C Sushi. If I have time, I love Cafe Turko. Get the rainbow hummus—I promise you won’t regret it!

 

 

Best book you’ve read this year?

KIM: I really enjoyed Tuesdays With Morrie. It was a very touching story that made me (and still does) reflect on what, and who, in life is important.

NIKKI: I recently finished The Hard Thing About Hard Things. I also have a startup that I’m working on, and it had great advice.

 

What do you love most about living in the Pacific Northwest?

KIM: The many outdoor activities that are easily accessible, the greenness, having the ocean on one side of our state and the desert on the other. Bordering Canada’s not bad either!

NIKKI: The PNW is one of the most vibrant places I’ve ever been. The amount of variety and individuality is beautiful

 

  • Connect with Kim on Linkedin and be sure to stop by the front desk and say hello!
  • Connect with Nikki on Linkedin. Want to have a marketing brainstorm session? Email Nikki@thinkspace.com to set up a 15 minute coffee appointment. 

Is irrational fear running your life?

birdsThe following story might sound like an April Fool’s joke, but I assure you – it’s not.

About a month ago, my husband (who works nights) woke me up around 3am to let me know he had accidentally let a bird into our condo.  He needed me to wake up and help him: 1) find it, and 2) get it out of the condo.  Half-asleep, I stumbled out of bed, ran down the hall, grabbed a large blanket and hid under it in the kitchen.  A major part of me doesn’t want to admit that I started to cry.  And why did I have this reaction?

Well, what you need to know about me is I have a fear of birds.  And not just a small fear of birds, but an insanely irrational fear of birds.  I think they are going to attack me.  I haven’t been afraid of birds my entire life, but there was an “incident” about five years ago (which is another story) that has caused me to fear all birds.

My husband eventually found the small tiny finch (it didn’t have the talons I imagined it did) and released it back outside of our residence.  With no help from me.

In the light of day the next morning, I was able to see how ridiculous my response was.  Crying in the kitchen?  My fear of birds is out of control.

But it got me wondering – what other areas in my life does irrational fear dictate my actions?

–  Irrational fear causes irrational behavior.
–  A large percentage of people avoid situations when they might possibly face their fear.
–  A small percentage of people say they aren’t daily affected by their fear.
–  Out of every two people, one person has a reaction to fear – like sweaty palms, panic attacks, or nausea.

Michael Steven Anthony Graziano, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, says: “Fear is so deep, so irrational, so immediate, that I can neither doubt it or examine it.”  

Besides birds, two other ways fear runs my life:
1) I fear what other people think of me.
2) I fear that doing one wrong thing at work will cause me to lose my job.

A friend of mine says that “Fear always lies…unless it’s a grizzly bear running at you…then run!”
It’s a funny saying, but he has a point.  Fear lies.

The lie: Birds are going to attack me.
The truth: Only one bird has attacked me in 34 years.  And the chances of that happening again are slim.

The lie:  If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.
The truth:  It’s okay to be yourself and let people in.

The lie: If I make one mistake in my job, I’ll get fired.
The truth: It will take more than one small mistake to get fired.

What fears are running your life?  And what is the truth behind the fear?
Unmasking the truth helps undermine the lie that fear tells.

 

My Mental Time Travel Trip Landed Me in Austin

As an entrepreneur it’s important to be forward thinking. One of my main goals was to do mental time travel for the future of thinkspace. That’s hard to do when you’re constantly working inside the business, knee deep in day-to-day activities, and can’t see the forest for the trees.

Get out and travel

Nothing opens up your eyes like travel. Going to a new city, meeting new people, experiencing a different environment, food, music, allows you to see things from a different perspective. You start to see new opportunities that you never knew existed. SXSW is the ultimate cross section between tech, music, and entertainment. There are so many things to taste, touch, feel and ultimately learn.

Mind map your company

thinkspace-mindmapWhile down at SXSW we created a mind map of the company. In the mind map were all the pieces of what the business looks like today. It was great to have a visual representation of the company so when attending one of the thousand different sessions you’re able to take and apply new ideas to specific areas of the company. It’s also a good way to visualize where you are going.

Don’t keep doing the same things over and over

Repeat Last Years HarvestOne of my favorite slides came from a presentation by Jeremy Gutsche on Trends for 2015 and a proven path to unstoppable ideas. The slide read, “We repeat whatever led to last year’s harvest.” A lot of times it’s easy to get caught up on doing the same things over and over. We try to create a formula–I personally don’t think that’s the way to get extraordinary results. It seems a bit counterintuitive, but if you want to increase your success you have to double your failure rate. Jeremy also spoke about “3 Traps of a Farmer”: 1) Complacent. 2) Repetitive. 3) Protective. Where as the “3 Hunter Instincts” are: 1) Insatiable. 2) Curious. 3) Willing to Destroy. After thinking about it for a while, there were a couple things that we do in the business today that I was “willing to destroy” and stop doing, despite the fact that one of them will impact future revenue.

Convergence and Divergence

One thing that I really started to see from the SXSW trip was that there are patterns of opportunity right in front of us. Convergence is one thing that I was seeing throughout the entire trip. There’s opportunity for combining two areas that you normally would not see together. That alone is innovation and your competition probably is completely unaware of it. Another area is divergence, where it would be counter culture to do something that your competition would definitely not do. These two things can be major areas of differentiation.

For me, the SXSW trip was invaluable to gain a different perspective. For every leader and visionary, I’ll leave you with this last quote:

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky

I would love to hear from others who have found insight by attending SXSW, or just traveled to gain a different perspective.

 

How Do I Get Started Growth Hacking My Startup?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a General Assembly Seattle presentation on growth hacking tech startups by growth hacking pioneer Nik Badminton. Nik is a self-described “recovering management consultant, ad man” author, futurist and the current Regional Director at Freelancer, the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace. Freelancer was founded in 2004 and is now worth over 1.8 billion dollars and has over 13.6 million users, attributing most of their success to growth hack marketing.

So what is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is a marketing technique predominantly used by technology startups, which uses creativity and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure quickly. It focuses on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing. Examples of growth hacking are viral marketing campaigns, social-driven campaigns and using innovative tools in interesting ways to get results quickly and for little or no money. Think Twitter, Facebook and Airbnb. These companies all used inexpensive, creative ways to gain traction and growth for their startups.

Growth hacking isn’t just marketing; it affects multiple parts of companies, often driving new product lines, or sometimes removing them. It puts marketing and production in one room, working together to create growth.

Growth hacking isn’t just marketing; it puts marketing and production in one room, working together to create growth.  ← Tweet this Twitter_logo_blue

 

Let’s talk about some growth hacking success stories.

hotmail-logoIn 1996, Hotmail launched the first free email program on the Internet. When growth was slow, Hotmail invested in all traditional marketing avenues and saw very little growth. They found that most new sign-ups on the site actually came from user referrals. Hotmail hacked their growth by adding a simple line at the end of every email sent:

 P.S. I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.

One year later, Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft and had 12 million users (17% of internet users at that time).

airbnb-logo

Airbnb is the perfect example of what is called a software growth hack. They actually reverse-engineered their site to automatically send all Airbnb listings to craigslist without actually hacking into craigslist’s API. Craiglist intentionally does not have a public API. The users Airbnb wanted were already online, they just had to get their attention. They were able to grow their rooms and renters by tapping into the user base of craigslist by creating specialty software within Airbnb’s platform. Previously to this, Airbnb had experienced limited growth. This is an example of how a growth hack actually affected the product Airbnb was offering to its users. Eventually, craigslist was able to remove this service from Airbnb, but it had already done its job by bringing millions of new users to the platform.

freelancer-logo

Freelancer really loves to capture new users by energizing their community. A great example of this is the contest they offered in which they challenged users to expose the Freelancer logo in the craziest ways, with a $25,000 cash prize going to the winner! The winner was an entire city in Bangladesh that printed a 2,000 square foot banner that was marched through the city by 300 people into the stadium where they were offering to teach women how to use Freelancer to generate income. The video went viral, drawing millions of new users to the site!

So how do I get started growth hacking my startup?

Nik’s recommendation? Stop. Stop and think. Strategy is the most important part of growth hacking. He says:

Jumping ahead without a well-thought-through and structured strategy will mean less results.

It’s important to set up framework. Nik suggested starting with GO SAM.

GOAL
OBJECTIVES
STRATEGIES
ACTION
MEASURE

While you are strategizing, Nik recommends asking yourself, “Does this matter?”

Does it offer users utility and value? Does it drive revenue? If it doesn’t, scrap it. ← Tweet this Twitter_logo_blue

 

You’ve set your goals and objectives. The strategies have been hammered out and you’ve rolled out your growth hack. Now what? It’s time to track what you’ve done. Growth hackers are obsessed with tracking every activity. Your analytics are going show you what worked and what didn’t. Where you need to focus and what needs to be let go. Analytics will help you repeat your successes and avoid repeating your failures. Your analysis will help you more accurately predict the future outcomes of projects.

You know a little about what growth hacking is, who has yielded success with growth hacking and how to get started. Now get out there and start strategizing how to growth hack your tech startup!

Want to learn more?