Growth, distribution and the hacker in each one of us

The purpose of growth is a direct consequence of our ever-present vision of progress. Sure, we may be happy now, but what comes next? Will the company’s next project be bigger? Will it get us an award? When should I get my raise? Or apply for a new job at a bigger place? It’s capitalism at its prime.

Alas, growth is not infinite, because there’s always a limited market. Even more drastic is the increasing intensity at which things accelerate and how that affects the stability and longevity of the tools we use or the products we consume, for instance. Regarding this, The Next Web has a great piece about what in the startup world has come to be known as “growth hacking”. Here’s a highlight:

In response to channel instability and channel saturation, growth hackers quickly test and scale to be the first mover in a new channel and to rethink established channels to create new opportunities. A core element of growth hacking is testing new distribution paradigms. The “hacker” element of “growth hacker” refers to the ability of an individual to solve growth-related problems, not coding ability (see Design for Hackers). A growth hacker looks for opportunity creatively and is not satisfied with what is known to work for growth today.

Here’s the fun part: this is not just about startups. Or rather, not just about companies, because we live in a time where the start-up of you increasingly determines an individual’s success. That being said, I find it fascinating that the study of growth has come to this increasingly structured approach, where we guess less and optimize more based on what we already know, following up with meaningful iteration. Again, this applies not just for companies but also for each one of us.

Almost a year ago I started writing this blog, where my ideas were consistently based on one belief: there’s more in common between companies and people than we’re led to believe. Not just because business should be more human (not a new concept, even if in 2012 it’s still more preached than practiced), but also because the new reality for the distribution of work opportunities (affected by global and local economic issues at its core) demands more from us than the tactics of yesterday, a diploma or a nice I'll-do-whatever-you-want-smile.

Be your own growth hacker.