On Tuesday, October 28, 2003, a Harvard sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg wrote a program called “Facemash” where people could rate each other based on attractiveness.
Within its first 4 hours online, Facemash had attracted 450 visitors. It was only for Harvard students.
Today, Facemash is called Facebook, and the President uses it and your grandmother uses it. And as of the second quarter of 2016, it had 1.71 billion monthly active users.
So how did Facebook go from a “Hot or Not” wannabe to one of the most popular products in the world?
They growth hacked the fuck out of it, that’s how.
And they’re not alone.
Instagram, Airbnb, Uber, Whatsapp, Dropbox, Buzzfeed – companies that seem to come out of nowhere and become bajillion-dollar businesses that make VCs get all tingly and scream “Shut up and take my money!!” all use growth hacking strategies to blow up and get really big, really fast.
And the good news is, you can growth hack the fuck out of things too. And the 15 people on the list below can help you. Check them out on Twitter or on their blogs.
Entrepreneur, author and angel investor Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010. He also founded growthhackers.com, an online community where startup founders, marketers, product managers, designers and other folks can share ideas about growth topics like finding product/market fit, user acquisition, getting press and publicity and more.
Sean on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeanEllis
Epic Blog Post: Find A Growth Hacker For Your Startup
Andrew Chen publishes a newsletter and has written over 650 essays on tech, growth, product design and a ton of related topics. He’s been featured in publications including the New York Times, Wired, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune. He currently works at Uber.
Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewchen
Epic Blog Post: Growth Hacker Is The New VP Marketing
Andy doesn’t like being referred to as a growth hacker, but he definitely has serious growth chops. As a former Product Manager of Growth at Facebook, Twitter, Quora and current Director of Growth and Revenue at Wealthfront, he’s been in the trenches building some of the highest growth companies in the world.
Andy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ibringtraffic
Brian Balfour is the founder of Reforge and the former VP Growth at inbound marketing SaaS company Hubspot. He’s co-founded several companies and also writes essays about growth and user acquisition on his blog, Coelevate.
Brian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bbalfour
Epic Blog Post: How To Become A Customer Acquisition Expert
Emily Ritter is the Director of Marketing at data analytics startup Mode Analytics (Which, by the way, offers awesome tutorials like this one on how to use SQL to become a data analysis wizard and win the universe). She previously worked for Square and Tesla Motors, and specializes in using data to get marketing insights.
Emily on Twitter: https://twitter.com/emilyarden
Epic Blog Post: What Rom-Coms Can Teach Us About User Engagement Strategies
Neil Patel is the founder of Quicksprout and a New York Times best selling author. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the White House and has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Techcrunch and The Next Web. He’s known for his expertise with content marketing and blogging, often publishing in-depth guides on a variety of topics like SEO, blogging, social media marketing and growth hacking.
Neil on Twitter: https://twitter.com/neilpatel
Epic Blog Post: Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed To Be Popular
Grace Garey is the co-founder of nonprofit startup Watsi, the first nonprofit to get accepted into startup accelerator Y Combinator. Originally interested in helping people in developing countries get access to basic necessities like medicine and health care, she joined micro-finance startup Kiva, and realized that technology could help solve some of the problems she was passionate about. She co-founded Watsi, where she’s helped grow and scale the company and help thousands of people along the way.
Grace on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gracegarey
Grace In The Huffington Post: Watsi Cofounder Grace Garey: The Journey from Y Combinator to 500 Patients Funded
Noah Kagan has helped grow companies like Facebook, Mint and Appsumo, and runs the excellent blog OkDork, where he gives away tons of free tutorials, case studies and cheat sheets on attracting users and subscribers. He lives in Austin, TX and loves Tacos.
Noah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noahkagan
Epic Blog Post: How to Grow a Blog to 100,000 Visitors in Less than a Year
Shruti Lele is Growth Marketing Manager at Fipboard. She previously worked at mobile video advertising platform Personagraph and knows a ton about advertising and analytics for mobile apps and app marketing in general.
Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shrutilele
Sylvia Ng is VP Growth and Analytics at photography community website 500px. She’s also worked at Google, OANDA and Ebay. She blogs about growth marketing and specializes in analytics topics.
Sylvia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sylvng
Epic Blog Post: Growth Engineer Job Description Cheatsheet
Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Nichole Elizabeth is the founder of Authentic Curation, and specializes in customer success for SaaS companies. She’s helped grow online communities including Inbound.org, Product Hunt and Growthhackers.com and is a master at SEO and social media marketing, among other topics. Plus, she’s super active on Twitter, so feel free to say hi!
Nichole on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikkielizdemere
Epic Blog Post: How to Use Data to Unlock Your Next Promotion
Ryan is a former Director of Marketing for American Apparel. His Book, Trust Me, I’m Lying was a shocking behind-the-scenes look into how today’s media/blogosphere operates and became a debut bestseller. He’s appeared in numerous publications including Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times and Ad Age. He also writes for the New York Observer. He also wrote Growth Hacker Marketing, one of the first books on growth hacking.
Ryan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RyanHoliday
Epic Presentation: Trading Up The Chain: How To Make National News In 3 Easy Steps
Hana Abaza is VP Marketing at content marketing startup Uberflip. She also hosts the #Fliptheswitch marketing podcast, and has been featured on the Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Marketing Profs and other publications. She writes (and Tweets!) about content marketing, sales, conversion, customer retention and other good stuff.
Hana on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HanaAbaza
Alyssa Galella is Director at Moxie Communications Group. She describes herself as a “Tech startup PR lady”, and Moxie has worked with startups like Dollar Shave Club, Casper, Vroom, Dog Vacay, Tradesy and more, helping them craft their stories and get media coverage, traction and users.
Alyssa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/woodlandalyssa
So there you have it, 15 growth experts who can serve you as your extended internet “Growth Hacking Mastermind” group. Follow them, learn from them and maybe even @ hello them on Twitter if you find their stuff helpful.
Who are some of your favorite growth experts, and why? Let me know in the comments!