Growth Reading List

I've read a lot and always kept the most useful pieces aside - and I still refer to it. I compiled here these resources that helped me.

All this content is available for free on the Internet. A huge shout out to all the content creators and experts within the industry who wrote these beautiful pieces!

Syllabus

  1. Introduction
  2. Frameworks and Metrics
  3. Acquisition & Marketing
  4. Design, Engagement and Retention
  5. Models strategy
  6. Sales
  7. Journeys
  8. Ressources

1. Introduction

Classics ☝️

The 3 first articles were written in 2012. They're the first layer.

Startup = Growth

Growth

A Recipe for Growth: Adding Layers to the Cake

Growth is Not a Hack - First Round Insiders - Medium

Growth Hacking: 10 Key Concepts You Need to Remember

What?

Of course - the definitions evolved a lot since 2012. These 2 articles and this feed from Quora are amongst the most clear ressources on the subject.

Traction vs Growth

What is "Growth Hacking" really? - Josh Elman - Medium

Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing

2. Frameworks & Metrics

The growth process is a metric process. To establish clear metrics in a company, we need two things : 1/ data 2/ framework. Data can't be used properly if there's no framework to analyze it. Achieving growth means before anything else having proper metrics.

In this part, I'm highlighting ressources helping to design a growth framework. One of the most popular one is the "AARRR - Startup metrics for Pirates" framework - but depending of the characteristics of your product (B2C, B2C, Marketplace, Saas, Evergreen, Freemium, etc.), you'll need to adapt and iterate.

Growth processes & strategy

Here's What a Real Growth Strategy Looks Like - Road Tested by Facebook and Remind

Startup Metrics for Pirates

4.1.7 Dave McClure - Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR! - I

10 Important Points About Growth by Brian Balfour

The Never Ending Road To Product Market Fit

The Growth Experiment Management System that Tripled Our Testing Velocity

Analytics

The Startup Founder's Guide to Analytics - ThinkGrowth.org

How You Battle the "Data Wheel of Death" in Growth

How to Avoid Being Deceived By Data

Metrics

What is a North Star Metric? - Growth Hackers

Don't Let Your North Star Metric Deceive You

I'm Sorry, But Those Are Vanity Metrics

The critical metrics for each stage of your SaaS business (Guest post by Lars Lofgren of KISSmetrics)

What factors influence DAU/MAU? Nature versus nurture

Tools

How to create a profitable Freemium startup (spreadsheet model included!)

Startup Growth Calculator

3. Acquisition & Marketing

Basics

10 Marketing Lessons for Early-Stage Tech Startups - Both Sides of the Table

How To Create A Useful Value Proposition w/ Examples

The Growth Marketing Process: How to Shake Your Growth Hack Addiction

petithacks - small hacks, faster growth

Workflows - Growth Room - Medium

Viral loops

There's only a few ways to scale user growth, and here's the list

What's your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption

The One Growth Metric that Moves Acquisition, Monetization, and Virality

SEO

SEO: The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization from Moz

The Role of SEO in Growth

Content

The magical science of storytelling | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholm

Emotional Targeting 101: How to Leverage the Power of Emotion to Grow Conversions

Emails

Really Good Emails - The Best Email Designs in the Universe (that came into my inbox)

Good Copy * Email copy from great companies

Referral

Best Referral Programs

4. Design, Engagement and Retention

Design rules the use of your product - it has to make your product both pleasant and easy to use. Simpler is better and that relates instantly to growth process.

Growth happens mainly within your product - the design of your user experience is another reflection of the design of your growth strategy. Whatever your growth focus is (Referral, SEO, etc.) - your UI should support it.

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

Desing Longterm UX - UX Planet

6 Customer Journey Mapping Examples: How UX Pros Do It

Retention

Douglas Atkin - Global Head of Community @ Airbnb - CMX Summit 2014

How to conduct Aha-moment (aka Magic moment) analysis without knowledge of statistics or data...

a16z Podcast: The Basics of Growth - Engagement & Retention

Why Retention Is The Silent Killer

Great examples

Mailbox UX: How Mailbox Builds User Love | Notes

Bye, Google Maps. - Zachary Hamed

How design thinking transformed Airbnb from failing startup to billion-dollar business

How Medium Took Calculated Design Risks-And Won

5. Models strategy

Growth happens with a vision in a competitive environnement (or at least soon-to-be, be prepared!).

The 5 Types of Network Effects and How to Hack Them

The Broken Business of Ecommerce and Why Your Startup Won't Be The Next Casper

A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting Competitive Analysis

In the following parts, the ressources are coming from Ben Thompson's blog, Stratechery. These are the 3 topics covered by his newsletter that I find highly related to any growth process design.

Aggregators

Aggregation Theory describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators) come to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. Aggregation Theory should serve as a guidebook for aspiring platform companies, a warning for industries predicated on controlling distribution, and a primer for regulators addressing the inevitable antitrust concerns

Aggregation Theory

Defining Aggregators

Monopolies

The fundamental impact of the Internet is to make distribution itself a cheap commodity — or in the case of digital content, completely free. [...]Power comes not from production, not from distribution, but from controlling consumption: all markets will be demand-driven; the extent to which they already are is a function of how digitized they have become.

Manifestos and Monopolies

Goodbye Gatekeepers

Businesses future

Dollar Shave Club and The Disruption of Everything

Everything as a Service

6. Sales

My experience within the Saas B2B world showed me how Sales could rapidly become a harsh topic. Pricing change is the norm the first year and keeping a strategy for more than 6 months require force. Here are the ressources I needed to keep a mind straight.

Sales strategy

Sequoia - Winning your First Customer

Sequoia - Focus On Your Value Proposition

The Power of Stories and Structure - Sales Hacker

Don't Sell a Product, Sell a Whole New Way of Thinking

Benchmarks

Welcome to The Era of The Sales Stack

I analyzed 147 cold sales emails and 93.9% were shitty as hell

What's a Good Email Open Rate & Click Rate? [Benchmark Data]

Pricing

The Price Is Right: And for Early-Stage SaaS Companies, It Needs to Be

How To Price and Sell Your Startup's Product

Picking a pricing strategy for your product - Inside Intercom

Sequoia - Pricing Your Product

7. Journeys

There's something wonderful in this industry - people love to share their journeys. Here are the ones that I found the most interesting!

Successes

Why Instagram Worked - Backchannel - Medium

The 7 Ways Dropbox Hacked Growth to Become a $4 Billion Company

The Secret Behind Pinterest's Growth Was Marketing, Not Engineering, Says CEO Ben Silbermann

How we generated $712,076.64 in revenue with two people in a little over two years

Moz's Accidental Journey to $40m - The Startup - Medium

From 1 to 100K users in 48 hours 🚀 - Jean-Sébastien Wallez - Medium

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's Early Days: Go Hard or Go Home

Chamath Palihapitiya - how we put Facebook on the path to 1 billion users

Chasing Facebook's Next Billion Users

Failures

How I Burned 10 Million Dollars So You Don't Have To.

From 0 to 1,000,000 to ? - Adrien Roose - Medium

7 Lessons From 100+ Failed Startups - ThinkGrowth.org

8. Ressources

How to stay up-to-date?

Newsletters

Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Farnam Street

Blogs

CXL - Conversion Optimization Blog. All Things Data-Driven Marketing.

Reforge | Own Your Outcome

Brian Balfour | Growth and Customer Acquisition Strategy

Essays on tech, growth, and startups

MailChimp ❤ Agencies - Medium

Welcome to The Family

UX Design Collective

YouTube channels

Startupfood

Communities

Product Hunt

Complete guides

Startup School

Digital Psychology

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