How to #lifehack like Hiten Shah- Part 2

If you stumbled on this post without reading Part 1- go back and check it out. Part 2 continues to capture Hiten’s rapid fire wisdom during his visit to Tradecraft. This post is a continuation of hacks for an effective life as well as some tips for growth marketers in finding effective channels

contributed by @wingydingy

Focus on the context first

Living in an incredibly complex world requires us to constantly make decisions each day. These decisions can range along the spectrum from minor ones like what to order for lunch to major decisions like which marketing channels to budget tens of thousand of dollars to. In an ideal world, one would make every decision optimally with the luxury of time and unlimited data. So what do you do if you don’t have perfect information symmetry or time to contemplate? Lie down and not make a decision at all?

Hiten’s solution to this dilemma is to focus on understanding one thing first — the context. His advice is to understand the context of people or situations and use that information to lead to an accurate and rapid decision. Many times, the details don’t matter much but in understanding how the different major pieces fit together, one can make better decisions with less mental work. For example, when Hiten is pitched with a new mobile app, he goes “tap happy” and clicks on all the different buttons to get a full context of how the mobile app works before diving deeper into specifics.

In reality, we are usually not given all the information nor much time to digest it all; thinking otherwise can be costly. Hence, developing a more accurate intuition by using the time that you do have to focus on understanding the context to guide your decision is key, not just to a successful career but also to a fuller life!

contributed by @kimberlyhagner

The unknown unknown is not worth thinking about

We asked Hiten if founders should worry about the unknown unknowns, or the things we don’t know we don’t know. According to Hiten, spending anytime thinking through the things we don’t know we don’t know is a waste of time and not helpful when starting a new company. This viewpoint is very welcome for anyone stepping foot into the world of startups (essentially a world of unknowns) as either a founder or a practitioner. Focusing on the unknowns can throw anyone into a tailspin. The most optimal option when faced with a daunting challenge is to focus on educating oneself to solve the most immediate problems that present themselves. In other words, control what you can and don’t spend time worrying about what you cannot. By thinking about too many unimportant things at once like all the unknowns, you are already distracted from the more important tasks and that puts you at a disadvantage.

Throughout the Q&A, the theme of “thinking in ways to set yourself up for success” became more apparent. This is not the same as positive thinking or excessive optimism. Non-wasteful thinking or perhaps thinking smart is more apt to accomplishing things and getting stuff done. Hiten believes in focusing on the concrete problem at hand and doing what you can do to improve it. It doesn’t matter if it is the first time solving the problem- as a founder or practitioner at startups, there are bound to be more first times than not. After a decade of being an entrepreneur, he still encounters new challenges. You have the choice to think in ways that give you a better chance at making good decisions and having success.

contributed by @jameskaron

Finding the most effective marketing channels

Although this doesn’t quite fit into the context of lifehacks, it did emerge during our Q&A as the audience had a significantly large percentage of growth marketers.

One of the greatest challenges and most important deliverables of a Growth Marketer is to determine which marketing channels will be most effective in generating growth for their company “and” how to both sustain and maximize their company’s effectiveness within those channels. Hiten’s subscription to do so is simple:

1st: Brainstorm where your target audiences are currently located as well as how they search for and find your company. For example, maybe they find you on Instagram, by reading specific blogs, by searching for the type of products your company provides by conducting a Google search. Or maybe most customers are referred by friends or through customized notifications on their cell phones. There are several possibilities. This presents a challenge to find the most effective channels, but “fortunately at the same time,” provides an opportunity to find or to even create a new channel that no one else is using. It would be ideal to find channels that would be difficult for your competitors to implement and ideal to get on these channels early!

2nd: Determine the most effective means to connect with your prospective customers within those channels.

3rd: Make sure that these channels will remain around for a significant period of time ensuring your company generates significant growth from their utilization.

4th: Cross-promote within your channel if possible. For example, two companies with many followers on Instagram could cross-promote each other’s Instagram profiles provided they are not direct competitors. Perhaps they offer complimentary services or simply offer non-competing products that followers from both groups may enjoy.

Hiten mentioned that it is most effective to utilize “both paid and free channels” at the same time, not just one. When you start seeing affiliate marketers signing on and your industry’s product everywhere (like another new exotic fruit drink for example), it’s time to re-evaluate and determine if you need to find new channels.

Where to find Hiten

If you enjoyed reading Hiten’s life hacks and sage marketing advise, be sure to follow him on Twitter @hnshah and read his blog at

Thanks to my fellow growth marketing rockstars at Tradecraft, James Karon @jameskaron, Kimberly Hagner @kimberlyhagner & Wing Poon @wingydingy for helping co-create this post.