Why Growth Hacking Works for “Them” and Won’t Work for You

Yuri Drogan
5 min readApr 25, 2022

Is there a Magic Pill?

This quixotic quest keeps everyone chasing an elusive unique solution which would immediately deliver results on par with historic case studies everyone loves talking about. We seek inspiration in the legendary Growth Hacks that “out-hacked” all others. We revisit the stories of Silicon Valley giants time and time again: Hotmail, YouTube, Airbnb. We marvel how quickly and easily Hotmail acquired 12 million new users just by adding one signature to its outgoing emails: “P.S. I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.” We admire Airbnb for a stellar track record in exponential growth.

By the looks of it, someone came up with one clever hypothesis, implemented the idea right away and voila… A miracle! Everything changed for the better all at once. In retrospect, it looks so obvious and straightforward we begin to think that if they can do it, anyone can do it. C’mon, you must have at least considered that logic. Honestly, it is an appealing idea for anyone who wants change.

What is survivorship bias?

Few people realize or want to admit that such impressive results are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There is a logical fallacy called survivorship bias. It’s when one successful case study convinces others that they too will succeed in the same way. The fact is we have no idea what the cost of success is for these iconic companies. There are no backstage passes to their process. They do not reveal how many misses it took to get a hit, how many hypotheses were rejected, how many ideas failed before the hacking finally occurred. Behind their newsworthy results are untold company resources and tremendous behind-the-scenes work of teams of experts we may never know about.

Let’s imagine an iceberg as an inverted funnel.

This pyramid demonstrates that for each breakthrough result, you must test many (very many) hypotheses while racing against the clock. Realistically, most companies run hypothesis testing at random or on an ad hoc basis at best. Something gets tested, but the results are not always properly measured or evaluated. Too many ideas get discussed and forgotten. Seriously, how many hypotheses do you test per week? One or two? Expecting exponential growth at this rate is… Let’s face it. It is just not going to happen. Growth Hacking requires a systemic approach! You can’t launch successful Growth Hacking on a whim within a few hours. You must invest sufficient resources in the gradual development of four key areas: team, tools, processes, and goals.

How does Growth Hacking really work?

First, it is not the sole responsibility of one person in charge of brilliant ideas. In fact, “it takes a village.” In large businesses, growth hacking is a streamlined team process of continuous experimentation. In other words, they test many hypotheses very quickly.

Unicorns with vast corporate resources and efficient structures are best suited for this. Smaller companies tend to lack resources and/or organization for Growth Hacking.

However, Growth Scrum is an effective tool that makes Growth Hacking methodology accessible for any type of business with proven results. When implemented correctly, it delivers sustainable business growth. Here is what you company needs to make your wildest business dreams come true with Growth Scrum:

1. Hypothesis tools

Growth Hacking is all about breaking big ideas and tasks into smaller ones to expedite experimentation, process mistakes quickly, get quality insights, and grow exponentially. The AAARRR funnel is a key tool for this. We will explore it next time. Remember, each hypothesis can change only one stage of the funnel. Other Growth Hacking tools help generate hypotheses for different funnel stages.

2. Team

If/when you succeed in generating multiple hypotheses, your best ideas can linger in backlog mode indefinitely. You need people to run continuous experimentation. This is where a dedicated Growth Team comes in to define key competencies and reset your mindset. It’s not about coming up with new features or ads. This is about conducting multiple experiments quickly.

3. Processes

If/when you assemble a great team and they start testing cool hypotheses, the chances of eventually running into chaos are high. Why? Experimentation relies on streamlined processes. This is where you learn how to run Growth Meetings effectively and prioritize hypotheses, how and when to report findings of experiments, how to stress-proof the team so that it can continuously test as many hypotheses as possible without burnout.

4. Goal / Big Picture

It is possible to get distracted by short-term changes and lose sight of the company’s larger business goals. How to maintain your vision so the team can positively impact both the clients and the market? Is there anything besides money that can motivate a team? These are the Big Picture questions.

Based on our experience, Growth Hacking is suitable for:

- any online business trying to hack its current funnel metrics

- any startup trying to create a sustainable customer acquisition funnel regardless of the development status of any product or service

- any offline POS and HoReCa venues trying to increase customer traffic and improve service quality

- HR and recruitment teams trying to test company values, increase the number of applicants, and improve the quality of their applications.

This is how Growth Hacking really works.

Our approach is based on successful case studies from hundreds of Growth Teams which delivered significant results.

If you ever wanted your company to be the next business unicorn, here is your chance. Growth Scrum helps drive exponential growth. To make the impossible possible you can assemble your Growth Team and train it in rapid continuous hypothesis testing. By streamlining the process, Growth Scrum makes Growth Hacking a reality.

See more https://vision.bz/

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Yuri Drogan
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Author of the Growth Scrum practice. Serial IT entrepreneur, business angel, launched several incubators and acceleration programs.