It Turns Out I’m Not A Growth Hacker After All…

I’m a Growth Rookie

It turns out I’m not a Growth Hacker after all…I’m a Growth Rookie.

Before I begin, please know that I’m the last person to want to insert a new buzzword into the startup eco-system (Ninja’s, Guru’s and Wizards rejoice). Every once and a while however, you read an article that has a truly meaningful impact and you just can’t help but look at things in a different way. Today it was this one here by Patrick Vlaskovits.

In a post titled, “You’re a Growth Rookie, not a Growth Hacker” Patrick breaks down what it really means to call yourself a Growth Hacker — a meaning that I’ve been on the search for since I put together my first ever post here on Medium, and later on Techvibes. Turns out I may have been looking at things wrong the entire time…who knew?

While people are quick to adopt the title of Growth Hacker — on their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter bio’s, and resume’s — very few actually stop and take the time to think about what that title means. Those who label themselves “Developers” or “Designers” often have the portfolios to back that claim up. A collection of real world examples and hard evidence.

Growth Hackers on the other hand? Maybe not so much.

As Patrick states in his article, Growth Hacking is a term that can only be applied ex post facto, that’s after the fact. In short, it’s quantifiable results that ultimately determine whether you’re a Growth Hacker or not. Regardless of what you say or do, if you haven’t delivered exponential growth on a large scale then you’re not a Growth Hacker (yet).

Why? Because you haven’t actually “hacked” anything (yet).

So what are you then? A Growth Rookie…a term I actually prefer. At the end of the day, it just means that I have something to prove, something greater to strive for. While I might not have the results or track record to call myself a Growth Hacker, I have an entirely blank slate in front of me in order to figure out what it’s going to elevate me to that “hacker” level status.

I’ve been told plenty of times (by plenty of companies) that I don’t have the experience required to land a role as a Growth Hacker. The truth is, most other people don’t either, despite years of practice. What I truly don’t have at this point in my career is a desire to fit a square peg into a round hole — to use what’s worked before as a template for future success.

As someone who is just breaking into the industry, everything is new for a Growth Rookie. Quite frankly, that’s their biggest advantage. Instead of spending time trying to implement something that’s worked in the past, a Growth Rookie is constantly innovating, experimenting, and testing new things to come up with the best answer to the problems they face.

It’s that type of unconstrained thinking that gives rise to limitless potential.

So before you post another job looking for a “Growth Hacker” or before you add another line to your resume claiming to be one, think about what that really means. In my opinion, it’s a title that’s earned, not chosen.

Aaron Upright is a digital marketing professional and a recent graduate of the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business. Currently, Aaron is looking to get involved with a growing online startup and learn more in the areas of product and growth marketing.