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How do I learn to be a growth hacker? Work for one of these guys :)


After writing my recent article on Growth Hackers, I’ve been asked by quite a few folks on how to learn the discipline. The best answer is, learn from someone who’s already good at it – if you’re technical and creative, it’s well worth the time.

I would encourage everyone to also read Andy Johns’s Quora answers on What is Facebook’s User Growth team responsible for and what have they launched? and
What are some decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach 500 million users?
– it lays out a lot of the key activities used in a well-run growth team.

The list below includes some of these folks I know personally, some just by reputation- but collectively they’ve grown products up to millions, 10s of millions, and in some cases, 100M+ users. Typically they use quantitatively-oriented techniques centered on virality across different channels such as iOS, Facebook, email, etc. There’s lots of iteration, A/B testing, and experimentation involved. There’s also really great growth hackers centered around SEO, SEM/ad arb, and other techniques, but for the most part I’m just listing out the folks around quant-based virality. The important thing about virality is, it’s free :) So it’s an important skill for startups.

Missing from this list are many unsung heroes over at Zynga, Dropbox, Branchout, Viddy/Socialcam, lots of ex-Paypal/Slide people, etc., etc. Also, all of these guys typically have co-founders or entire growth teams around them that are experts, even if I don’t know them by name.

If others in the community would like to make suggestions, tweet me at @andrewchen or just reply in the comments.

Name Background Twitter
Noah Kagan AppSumo, Mint, Facebook noahkagan
David King Blip.me, ex-Lil Green Patch deekay
Mike Greenfield Circle of Moms, ex LinkedIn mike_greenfield
Ivan Kirigin Dropbox, ex-Facebook ikirigin
Michael Birch ex-Bebo, BirthdayAlarm mickbirch
Blake Commegere ex-Causes/Many games commagere
Ivko Maksimovic ex-Chainn/Compare People ivko
Dave Zohrob ex-Hot or Not, MegaTasty dzohrob
Jia Shen ex-RockYou metatek
James Currier ex-Tickle jamescurrier
Stan Chudnovsky ex-Tickle stan_chudnovsky
Siqi Chen ex-Zynga blader
Ed Baker Facebook esbaker
Alex Schultz Facebook alexschultz
Joe Greenstein Flixster joseph77b
Yee Lee Google yeeguy
Josh Elman Greylock, ex-Twitter joshelman
Jamie Quint Lookcraft, ex-Swipely jamiequint
Elliot Shmukler LinkedIn eshmu
Aatif Awan LinkedIn aatif_awan
Andy Johns Quora, Twitter, Facebook ibringtraffic
Robert Cezar Matei Quora, ex-Zynga rmatei
Nabeel Hyatt Spark, ex-Zynga nabeel
Paul McKellar SV Angel, ex-Square pm
Greg Tseng Tagged gregtseng
Othman Laraki Twitter othman
Akash Garg Twitter, ex-Hi5 akashgarg
Jonathan Katzman Yahoo, ex-Xoopit jkatzman
Gustaf Alstromer Voxer gustaf
Jon Tien Zynga jontien

UPDATE: My friend Dan Martell’s new company, Clarity, provides a way to access experts like this via phone and email. Here’s the directory of folks with expertise on growth.

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