Kindred Disciplines: Growth Equity and Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is now a mainstream term in tech circles, particularly those that are consumer-focused. Growth hacking definitions abound, but generally emphasize a data driven, creative and flexibly opportunistic approach to customer acquisition. Many would argue that growth hacking is simply a new term for an old concept – marketing. While the functions, tools and skills require for growth hacking may be essentially the same as “marketing”, the psychology and mission of growth hacking feel totally different to me. When I hear “marketing”, I think soft, fuzzy, ambiguous, and cost center. When I hear “growth hacking”, I think maniacal focus on growth, scrappy, data driven, tech/tool savvy, and creativity bordering on irreverence. The difference in psychology isn’t an indictment of traditional marketers; most of the marketers I know have a growth hacking mentality. But in the broader context of what it takes to be successful in a growth stage businesses, the difference in psychology and mission matter.

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