Arthur Rimbaud was a bad, bad bastard. He was the absolute epitome of what it is to be, and not to be, a human being. He’s a long time dead, though, so I’ll never have to worry about bumping into him or adding the French libertine to my list of peers who’ve, quite frankly, turned out to be nightmare humans to be around. And believe me, there’s been a few.
But boy what a great poet, and what a legacy. The ménage à trois that Rimbaud so sadly acted out as the gooseberry was to ultimately destroy not just the brittle, hypersensitive nerves of a great young artist, but also the marriage between Paul Verlaine and Mathilde: the former’s long suffering wife. Verlaine, being the influence — the individual that shaped and mannered Rimbaud and his protégé’s genius for literature.
Growth hacking was a relatively new concept to me back in 2014. If truth be told, it was something that I just fell into whilst working at the Glasgow based start-up, KILTR and I’d begun to get really great results. My CEO was on the hunt for more sign-ups to the media platform for that all important milestone of 100k registered users. So gating content with live streams and broadcasts — transient, live content being always a winner from past experience — was the easiest and most enjoyable way of driving the company towards that goal.
With limited resources, I had to find a way to deliver top quality broadcasts and, on this particular project — working in collaboration with Untitled Projects, the theatre production team that were putting together a live-streamed installation around the lives of Rimbaud and Verlaine— I was able boost the platform’s members by thousands with Slope.
Simply by embedding the stream on our platform — with an enterprise grade live stream account — and co-ordinating with the administrators of the Arthur Rimbaud Facebook group, run by Random House publishing (170k likes) were able to organically boost sign-ups by over 2000. We had no advertising budget.
By placing quality, live cultural content in groups and pages was centre to the growth hack along with our Twitter account alerting our own community to the start and end of the event. The very essence of growth hacking: No budget? Fine. No tech support to disseminate an email to the community? No problem (they were working to a deadline in this instance with a client). Use the tools you’ve got and get on with the job to the best of your ability. In this case — an award winning theatre installation where the hyperlink of your hack ends up appearing in previews, reviews and announcements of the content in the main stream media.
It really was that easy, and the team involved had a great time making it happen, and everyone went home happy with the results. And of course, I had to accept an award on behalf of the team which was a real highlight of my career. I would love to do it all again.