I never thought I would leave my native country but I had to. I was studying 3rd year of Journalism in the ULA, but I felt I was just losing my time. Circumstances made me find myself in an unknown country, without money and without a job, nor expertise, about 2 months and 2 weeks ago.
On August 23rd, I arrived at a place I didn’t like because the people in that house were sloppy and dirty, they didn’t clean their dishes and there was a dog who had no respect for other’s stuff. He literally chewed my backpack. This is the first time I moved in Bogotá, and although I only stayed for around 10 days in that house I learnt a lot there.
There I learned my first lesson on growth hacking: first impressions do matter so if you don’t fancy something at the beginning, you’re not going to fancy it later on. This will happen with any user interaction as well. This means that you need to learn to adapt any product or circumstance and you need to accept that sometimes things are just not going to work and then you’ll need to move on and change. Don’t try to push something in which you don’t even believe in, and whenever this happens try to embrace change as fast as possible.
This can be applied both to products or circumstances with people themselves. If users like your product once they have their first impression of it, they’re surely going to be more engaged towards it. If you’re not sure whether you’re doing it right or not on those first interactions between product and user, you should try something as simple as asking. Ask away until you’ve gathered enough data to take the next decision.
«Remember, at the end of the day, communication is a growth hack. Communicate accurately at the right time, with the right message at the right guy is a way to increase revenue, retention and referral.» — Des Traynor
Within those first 10 days, I applied to a company called Teleperformance and because of my English level they signed me up for their most difficult campaign: Copa Airlines. So I had less than a week in my new country and I’d already found an incredible job! The emotion didn’t last for long because I didn’t pass the second screening (polygraph test) and I was out of the candidates for good. I couldn’t even apply for anything else in that same company. But this didn’t stop me.
I moved for the second time on September 1st, 2016. My new house was awesome. It was on this beautiful Complex where I had the most incredible bed and a lot of beautiful people around me. Here’s a picture from there:
Here’s where I learned my second lesson on growth hacking: failure is just a way to measure success. Failure is just the success that you’re starting to build. Whenever any strategy or plan doesn’t go as expected, you’re getting an incredible insight on what doesn’t work and if you’re smart enough you’re going to be able to figure out what will work. It’s okay to try something new and it’s okay if that new idea doesn’t work. All you need to do now is to learn from that failure, apply a new strategy and move on.
«Whereas marketing was once brand-based, with growth hacking it becomes metric and ROI driven.» — Ryan Holiday
Around those days I applied online to be a writer in some design company and they called me back. I went on with the interview, I made a test, and then I was offered the job! As I told you at the beginning of the paragraph I was going to be a writer, right? Since they liked my profile so much, now I’m supposed to lead a complete project and make it to fruition, as well as to market their principal project and keep it on track.
On that first day, my new boss told me about Growth Hacking and that I should start reading about it. That same day I downloaded “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday from Amazon and started to learn more!
I entered an incredible team who taught me how to reach other people through different media and also how to offer and sell a product to those people. I learnt about Product Market Fit, I started to learn all the important bits of it: like Clickthrough rate (CTR), Open Rate, Click-to-open-rate (CTOR), etc.
I started to apply Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) technologies and many other hacks I found by myself. I was able to find emails, names and all information needed to perform my work without much hassle. Not everybody liked this but, hey, it’s publicly accessible information!
I started to adapt to my new place and also used some other real-life hacks. I started to walk around to take pictures. I went to sleep at 8pm, something I’d never done before, and started to wake up at 4.30 am! I made all my food in the morning and learn to be quick about it. In capitol’s like Bogotá you need to learn to manage your time correctly and if you move faster than the usual crowd, you save time. So, the quicker you go, the more time you save.
Everything was awesome except for the distance to get from home to work and back. My work was 1.30 to 2-hours away on a bus. So I was spending between 3 to 4 hours a day just to get to work and back home. I stayed in that place only for a month and started to look for a new place near my work.
On October 3rd it was the third time I moved. I had already learnt so many life-hacks regarding time, resources and people here in Bogotá that I felt I knew it all. This time I thought I had found a nice place but although they said and offered a lot, the reality was something else entirely. I was rushed to move because I wanted to be near my work as soon as possible.
Here’s where I learned my third lesson on growth hacking: if you adapt well enough, even something that doesn’t work at all can work for sometimes until you find a better solution. Growth hacking is all about measuring and using the insight which that data gives you to empower, change and improve user-product interactions.
Sometime’s there’s a hack you’re applying which you already know won’t yield many results over time, but you can take advantage of it for some small time-frame, until you find a better solution and adapt to it. This is what any A/B test is, essentially, and although you may know that ‘A’ is not going to work anymore, you work with it, you measure it, you have insights on it and you learn more about what’s wrong with ‘A’ so you try a different approach whenever you swap over to ‘B’. As Ryan Holiday points out:
«The best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback.»
I had to adapt a lot in this third place I was living in, but I only stayed there for 20 days. On October 25th, I moved for the fourth time within the 2 months I have been living here in Bogotá.
This fourth place was a blessing. It was near my job, with everything I needed and in a 7th floor. I have an incredible view, I’m near all routes of transportation and I’m also able to get to work on time even if I’m late. I hope not to move anytime soon.
I continue to learn and to improve each day. There’s always a new title or some new interesting insight which you still haven’t figured out. Growth hacking is all about consciously measuring and improving based on data. Growth hacking is all about understanding the needs of the users of a product and adapting the product for such needs on the fly.
So, what now?
In today’s world, we need to start taking more insights from all publicly available information sources, we need to learn how that information empowers us and how to use such information wisely in order to drive growth and profit towards the roof.
All the lessons I learnt from moving and having to adapt fast to different places and scenarios gave me incredible insights on how to enhance my relationships and the way I achieve my desired goals. And, isn’t this basically what any user-product interaction is? A relationship in which the user is looking to achieve any desired goal by the means of the product.
Once we learn to enhance, adapt and growth our ideas and techniques according to the data and the previous input we’ve gotten, and also taking into account current user-product interaction, we’re going to be able to skyrocket any product. Achieving Product Market Fit is going to be like taking a walk around the park.
«Whatever your current state is, it can be better.»— Ryan Holiday
All you need to do is: be careful on first impressions, learn from failures and adapt based on previous data. Always keep on adapting and enhancing your techniques until you find something that does work. Once you’ve found something that works then you continue to learn from that data, you continue to adapt and enhance until growth is unavoidable. Eventually, there’s a point where growth is just unstoppable and you’re going to be a just like captain, sailing a ship that’s carried on by the wind. Ahoy, Sailor!