I’ve read a lot of content about growth these last few years and I would have loved to stumble upon a list that gather the must reads. In fact, there are so many great articles and videos out there that it can be quite misleading. People who start often ask me about what they should read. Although, there is no specific framework, here is my most relevant answer: Whether you are trying to learn more about startups or to sharpen your growth hacking skills, you should definitely check the following resources.
BLOGS & ESSAYS
Coelevate.com: If you are trying to dive into user acquisition and growth, you should definitely read most of the essays Brian Balfour wrote. Here are some that I have really enjoyed:
- How To Become A Customer Acquisition Expert (T-Shape).
- Traction vs Growth.
- The First Step To Building A Growth Machine (The Growth Process).
- 10 Important Points about Growth by Brian Balfour (Written by Myself on Hackisition).
Paul Graham’s Blog: Y Combinator’s co-Founder, Paul Graham is one of the best minds talking about startups. He has been writting regularly on his personal blog for the last ten years. If you are building an early-stage company, follow him on Twitter and read this two essays below.
Harvard Business Review (Growth Strategy): The journalists at HBR are doing a great job by bringing great experts together and by publishing fantastic pieces of content on a weekly basis. I usually look at the topic regarding the growth strategy but feel free to browse their entire platform. Some pieces you should not miss:
NETWORKS WHERE YOU CAN REALLY LEARN/ASK SOMETHING ABOUT GROWTH
Quora: Some of the best growth hackers do not always have time to write blog posts; however, taking a few minutes to answer a specific question is fine. I browse Quora several times a week and I can’t tell enough people how much valuable information there is. If you are looking for great insights from people who worked in the growth team at Facebook, Pinterest, Uber or even Airbnb, this network should be your number one place to go.
Growth Hackers: A HackerNews-like where people can submit and upvote the best articles about growth and marketing. I usually get more information browsing Quora but if you could add another string to your bow, this one is really useful. You can sometimes find real golden nuggets by browsing the trending feed two or three times a week. I also love the section with all the growth studies.
TheFamily: This investment company (where I work) is hosting the world biggest Growth Hacking Meetup. We had the opportunity to invite great speakers to share their knowledge and their story about their company’s growth. Take a look at our Growth Hacking playlist to browse the talks.
Growth Hacker TV: This is where all started for me. I have worked with their team for two years interviewing the best growth hackers (people like Brian Balfour, Sean Ellis, Gagan Biyani or Elliot Shmukler). It may be time-consuming to watch every interview so here are a few ones you definitely should not miss.
- Episode 26 with Gagan Biyani. (Founder Growth Hacker Conference)
- Episode 38 with Ben Yoskovitz. (Author Lean Analytics)
- Episode 40 with Elliot Shmukler. (Former Growth Lead at Linkedin)
- Episode 49 with Brian Balfour. (Trinity Ventures)
- Episode 50 with James Currier. (Co-Founder Iron Pearl)
- Episode 51 with Dan Martell. (Founder Clarity.fm)
- Episode 73 with Lincoln Murphy. (Founder Sixteen Ventures)
- Episode 84 with Micha Kaufman. (Founder Fiverr)
- Episode 94 with Dick Talens. (Chief Growth Officer Fitocracy)
- Episode 100 with Nir Eyal. (Author Hooked)
- Episode 128 with Dereck Sivers. (Founder CD Baby)
- Episode 155 with Steli Efti. (CEO Close.io)
If you haven’t read this book yet, stop what you are doing now and pick it up. Alistair and Benjamin will teach you based on 10 years of experience all you should know about analytics. You will learn how to choose and optimize the One Metric That Matters for your business. As well as a complete overview of each business model: E-Commerce, SaaS, Free Mobile App, Media Site, User-Generated Content and Two-Sided Marketplaces. Lean Analytics is among the Top 3 books I would recommend every entrepreneur to read in this digital economy.
From Impossible to Inevitable is among the best books I have read about growth. Wondering why? Building and managing a sales team is hard and this book is all about the important concepts to make it work. In my opinion, both of the authors did an excellent work gathering all the main elements of the right approach to nail a niche, create an efficient salesforce and predictable revenue. Needless to say, if you are working in B2B (especially in SaaS), you should definitely take a look at it.
To go further: One of the most efficient ways for B2B companies to grow is through a salesforce. Nonetheless, scaling your sales department is a hard endeavour. Read this Medium article (Vertical SaaS Sales done right — from 0 to 2500 customers) where Rachel Vanier explains how Xavier Zeitoun, CEO of ZenChef (a SaaS marketing platform for restaurants), succeeded to optimize the whole process to go from 0 to 2,500 customer.