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Hack To Start
Episode 148

Sean Ellis

Author of Hacking Growth. Coined the term "growth hacking".

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Sean Ellis is the CEO of GrowthHackers.com and the co-author of the new book Hacking Growth. Sean began his career in tech back in 1995 after he invested all his money in a friend’s company. There he helped the young startup overcome lots of challenges related to growth and monetization. This experience led him to realize the potential for growth that could be unlocked through cross-discipline collaboration. Sean then took on more growth roles at startups like LogMeIn, Dropbox, Eventbrite and more - ultimately coining the term ‘Growth Hacker’ - and pioneering a new discipline and skillset. Sean went on start his own company, Qualaroo, which had customers like Uber, Starbucks, Spotify and more. It also grew to millions of dollars in monthly recurring revenue before being acquired. Sean also started GrowthHackers.com the online community for growth minded people. Through these experiences, he and Morgan Brown - another veteran marketer - teamed up to write Hacking Growth, a book that could serve as a detailed ‘How-To’ guide for the next generation of startups looking to acquire customers and grow. Sean joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, what it was like growing Uproar, LogMeIn, Dropbox and more, what it was like launching his own startup, why and how he built GrowthHackers.com, why he and Morgan wanted to write ‘Hacking Growth’, some of the biggest mistakes he sees startups making when it comes to growth, and much more!

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Sean got into startups
  • Learn more about what it was like developing the growth methodology
  • Learn more about what the most common mistakes Sean sees startup making when it comes to growth
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Sean Ellis is the CEO of GrowthHackers.com and the co-author of the new book Hacking Growth.

Sean began his career in tech back in 1995 after he invested all his money in a friend’s company. There he helped the young startup overcome lots of challenges related to growth and monetization.

This experience led him to realize the potential for growth that could be unlocked through cross-discipline collaboration.

Sean then took on more growth roles at startups like LogMeIn, Dropbox, Eventbrite and more - ultimately coining the term ‘Growth Hacker’ - and pioneering a new discipline and skillset.

Sean went on start his own company, Qualaroo, which had customers like Uber, Starbucks, Spotify and more. It also grew to millions of dollars in monthly recurring revenue before being acquired.

Sean also started GrowthHackers.com the online community for growth minded people. Through these experiences, he and Morgan Brown - another veteran marketer - teamed up to write Hacking Growth, a book that could serve as a detailed ‘How-To’ guide for the next generation of startups looking to acquire customers and grow.

Sean joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, what it was like growing Uproar, LogMeIn, Dropbox and more, what it was like launching his own startup, why and how he built GrowthHackers.com, why he and Morgan wanted to write ‘Hacking Growth’, some of the biggest mistakes he sees startups making when it comes to growth, and much more!


Some Of The Questions We Ask

2:18
Where are you from and what did you study?

2:42
Where did your passion for education and technology come from?

3:50
I know you share your story in the book, but can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your career in growth with Uproar, LogMeIn and then Dropbox? Especially in regards to what it was like building products/startups then?

7:30
You’ve spent a big part of your career as a growth consultant, continuing to work with some top startups like Eventbrite, Lookout and more. What motivated you to launch your own company Qualaroo (and what did it do)?

9:20
Some of your customers included Uber, Spotify, Starbucks and more. How did you approach acquiring big name customers like these?

11:00
What were some of the biggest challenges in running your own company and driving growth for it vs. growing someone’s startup?

13:11
So following the acquisition of Qualaroo, you launched GrowthHackers.com as the online community for Growth Hackers worldwide. How did you approach growing and building this community? And what are some of the coolest things to come out of it?

16:05
You’ve just recently released your own book, written alongside Morgan Brown, called Hacking Growth. What motivated you both to write this book? Why a book?

18:00
What’s the type of mindset or skillset that you need to be a successful ‘growth hacker’? How did you develop these necessary skills for yourself?

20:42
Based on your experience - and the research from writing the book - what are some of the most common mistakes that you see in regards to “growth” - whether within startups or larger companies?

26:20
What’s about growth has changed the most over the past 8 or so years since you first coined the term ‘Growth Hacking’?

27:11
What’s are some of the most recent apps you’ve downloaded or used?

29:30
So people should definitely go out and grab a copy of Hacking Growth and dive right in, but do you have any recommendations on some great content that you’ve come across lately?

30:20
Do you have any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Sean Ellis on Twitter
Sean Ellis on the web
GrowthHackers on Twitter
GrowthHackers on the web
Hacking Growth on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Ring
Amazon Echo

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