I remember seeing an interview a while back with Orson Welles, where he talks about configuring the lighting on set for a movie. Having worked for years in the theatre, where he was used to designing and setting up the lighting, he assumed that the same would be true for movie production. Working on this assumption, he starts looking at how he wants the lighting set up for the movie to get the effect he wanted.
“I began asking for things which, in my ignorance, were impossible to do. … It just seemed to me that anything you can look at in a frame you ought to be able to do these things.”
He knew what he wanted to achieve and he let that permeate everything he did. The traditional approach would be to consult with a (say) lighting technician, find out what’s possible, and work with them. Or to simply let them deal with it entirely.
In organisations we might work on our part of the business and focus head-down on our remit. What about growth and business development? We could always let marketing deal with that. But not if you’re a ‘Growth Hacker’.
The Growth Hacking mindset
Orson Welles’ talent for innovation in this instance was (as he described) born out of his ignorance – he didn’t know the limits, so he asked for whatever he could imagine. In startups and small businesses, marketing might be something that you look at later, once the product is up and running and you’ve got validation. Why? Cost, time, necessity. In an ideal world, you might be able to afford all of the required business functions to get up and running, but in reality sometimes you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. For many startups, this means working on your part of the business (be it technical, design, customer service, etc.) and thinking about growth and business development.
The upside of this is that the growth of the business is incumbent on everybody, not just sales and marketing, and everyone can bring their unique perspective, creativity, and ingenuity to make the business grow. Don’t just let someone else worry about how the business is going to grow – use your technical knowledge, the data you see, the experiences you have with customers and the product, the people you speak with in your network – use what you have to help make decisions that grow the business.
So, do you have the growth hacking mindset? Are you curious about why people use your product or service? Do you see things and have perspectives that you think would grow the business? Do you have the data to back that up? And as a manager, how can you use your experiences and data to help the business grow?
We’d love to hear your views on growth hacking – please share your comments, questions and experiences in the comments below.