The term “growth hacking” has been around for a while now.
And for some of today's top companies, this approach to business development was their secret to success.
Growth hacking masterminds like Brian Balfour, Andrew Chen, and Sean Ellis know how to sow the seeds for exponential growth, catapulting a small startup into a multimillion dollar enterprise.
For entrepreneurs, their insights can be incredibly valuable.
A recent article from Hubspot's blog provides a full list of the top growth hackers whose blogs and Twitter accounts are worth checking out.
Here's what you should know about three world-class growth hackers, and why smart marketers should follow them and keep an eye on what they have to say.
1) Brian Balfour
Founder and CEO, Reforge
You can count Brian Balfour as another growth expert who cut his teeth in the startup sector. In fact, he's been known to quote the words of investor Paul Graham: “Startups = Growth.” But here's where Balfour's unique skillset and knowledge comes in — not only was he the co-founder of startups like Viximo and Boundless Learning, both of which were acquired, but he also worked in venture capital (VC) as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
In other words, he's seen both sides of the coin: The startup, and the investor. That experience lent itself to his previous role as VP of growth at HubSpot, as well as his position back in the business driver's seat as founder and CEO of Reforge, a creator of growth programs. Follow his insights on his blog, Coelevate, or on the Reforge blog.
2) Andrew Chen
Head of Rider Growth, Uber
Say what you will about Uber, but there's one thing that most of us can agree on: It's experienced unequivocal brand growth since its 2009 founding. But growth like that needs to be properly scaled, which is when you bring in an expert — like Andrew Chen.
Like Balfour, Chen has worked as both an entrepreneur-in-residence in the VC sector, and independently as what he calls an “entrepreneur-out-of-residence.” In both capacities, however, he focused on growing early-stage businesses, like Barkbox and Tinder, wearing the hats of both a business owner and an investor. The man loves growth — in fact, he even publicly identifies as the “plus one to” Zendesk's own growth marketing expert, Brianne Kimmel.
Follow Chen's insights on his website.
3) Sean Ellis
It could be said that Sean Ellis was a growth hacker before that term became, well, a thing. In August 2008, he became the “interim growth executive” for Eventbrite — a role that set the tone, it seems, for his career trajectory. Since then, he's also served in interim growth roles with companies like Dropbox in their earliest stages. In other words, he helped some of the most recognizable names in tech — say it with me — grow.
Formerly the founder and CEO of marketing software company Qualroo, Ellis now has the same title at, quite appropriately, GrowthHackers: A community of resources and experts that “helps teams unlock their company’s full growth potential.” He also shares tips on his blog, Startup Marketing, where he (and we) recommends getting started with this post on “The Startup Pyramid.”
These three guys are titans in the world of growth hacking, but they're just the tip of the iceberg. You can find nine more growth hackers to follow over at HubSpot.