Ten Things I Learned Researching Ten of the World’s Fastest Growing Startups

What high-flying companies know about growth that no one else does.

When we launched GrowthHackers.com back in late September we had a notion of doing “growth teardowns” of the fastest growing startups. We wanted to answer the question that everyone on the outside of these rocketships wanted to know the answer to: “How did they grow so fast?” So we set to work doing deep research dives on companies like Uber, Snapchat, Yelp, LinkedIn, HubSpot, Evernote and more.

By scouring the Web for interviews, videos, past profiles and more, we pulled insight from dozens of sources for each case study. Based on our research we were able to piece together what made these companies so successful—and in the process reverse engineer their growth engine. While we certainly didn’t get everything 100% right, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback that the case studies were some of the most detailed accounts of these companies’ growth engines ever created.

So now, with ten growth studies under my belt, I want to share ten things I’ve learned from these incredibly successful companies, to hopefully inspire you and shape your thinking when it comes to startup growth.

If you want to read all ten case studies, we’ve decided to release them as an ebook, (amazon associates link) If you’d like to read all ten you can do so by downloading it there.

Lesson 1: Growth is Nothing Without the Product

You’ve heard plenty about product/market fit, and for good reason. While each of the ten companies we profiled have unique growth engines—they all have one thing in common: a ‘must-have’ product experience that creates loyal and happy customers who form the base of their success and the fuel for their growth.

While some, like LinkedIn, needed to grow to critical mass to become a ‘must-have’ and others started out that way (like Evernote), each company fills a critical gap that previously existed for their users.

Marc Andreessen has been quoted as saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) companies fail for two main reasons—trying to grow when they shouldn’t, or being too timid when they should. Product is the foundation of growth. Without it sustainable growth is impossible.

Lesson 2: Growth is Never ‘Done’

All of these companies have a relentless focus on growth. It’s not just something they pay lip service to. They put headcount, resources and effort into growth. LinkedIn may be the most prolific of the bunch. With more than a decade focused on continual growth, they’ve inspired me to realize that growth is never, ever done.

Ten years in and LinkedIn is still innovating on their growth engine. They have their share of misses, but the passion to find the next growth lever, and the next, and the next, is inspiring.

Lesson 3: Growth is not marketing. Marketing is not growth.

One of the big takeaways with all of these companies is that none of them had a traditional marketing playbook. You won’t read about how they were masters of paid search or email marketing. Sure, many of them eventually added those competencies, but they weren’t what unlocked transformative and sustainable growth.

Instead you’ll see that these companies had specific playbooks to drive growth—many that included marketing—but more often relied on the product for their biggest growth opportunities.

These levers, like making the white Square card reader stand in stark contrast to black iPhones, or Evernote redesigning the entire product to meet a new appstore launch, are outside the realm of traditional marketers. The marketing teams don’t have this kind of leverage in companies.

It takes real growth teams across engineering, product, and yes, marketing, to design the growth programs that really move the needle. Contrast this approach to the massive paid ad budgets of companies like Groupon, which were ultimately unsustainable.

Lesson 4: Doing what everyone else is doing is the wrong strategy.

None of these breakout companies did it the same way that the incumbents grew in their vertical or type of business. They all picked their own path, often leaving people wondering what they were thinking. HubSpot charged for upfront onboarding, which people thought was a mistake. Turns out it’s a huge piece of their massive retention success.

Yelp stayed away from paying for reviews and wooing food critics, instead focusing 100% on the community above all else. In a landscape where Citysearch and other behemoths catered to businesses and paid for reviews, this seemed almost foolish at the time.

Lesson 5: Don’t try to boil the ocean.

In Startups Always Have a Chasm to Cross, Andy Rachleff, co-founder of Wealthfront, highlights the critical importance of being laser-focused on a niche early to achieve growth. All of the companies I studied did this in one way or another. Whether it was Snapchat with college and high school kids, Square with small businesses, or Belly with retail SMBs in the city of Chicago, they all realized that putting more wood behind fewer arrows would result in greater success over time.

Lesson 6: Growth hacks have nothing to do with short-term tactics.

The term growth hacking is in the hype cycle whitewash, as journos and others have misappropriated its meaning and assigned it to nearly every known digital marketing tactic. But while people still obsess over AirBnB and Craigslist, each of these companies found a unique insight or ‘hack’ to help grow their business. These aren’t hacks like RapGenius’s dumb link spam, these are really unique and thoughtful insights that lead to lasting growth.

Their unique way of looking at things is what let them find their growth engines without investing tons of money into traditional marketing. HubSpot was one of the first to realize that building free tools could create massive inbound demand—far and above traditional social and content strategies.

Uber and Belly both designed growth strategies which localized network effects to help solve marketplace liquidity challenges early on to grow. LinkedIn’s double viral loop is the thing of growth legend.

Lesson 7: Do things that don’t scale, build things that do.

Paul Graham’s advice to startups is to “do things that don’t scale” to get initial traction. This means things like concierging new customers, and taking the time out to visit and talk with users, etc. In each of these companies’ cases they followed that advice in one way or another.

Evernote realized that appstore launches were huge momentum points for the company and worked feverishly around platform announcements to be ready with new features so they’d be featured on stage or in the appstore at every launch. Certainly not scalable, certainly very powerful for distribution.

At the same time these companies built systems and processes that could scale. For instance Uber has a city roll out playbook that they use to launch a new city. And we’re not talking just the PR plan to announce Uber in a new metro. Uber has planning and early seeding teams on both the driver and consumer side. They developed a playbook that works in their test markets early on and use those best practices to create a repeatable way to successfully launch new cities.

Lesson 8: There are analytics and then there are insights.

Lots of people track analytics. Plenty of dashboards, plenty of vanity metrics. Avinash Kaushik calls it ‘data puking.’ Lots of numbers, little insight. All of these successful companies uncovered real insights that drove growth.

Upworthy put the science into virality with their now-famous 25 headline exercise and relentless testing focus. Almost all of these companies have a similar approach analytics. They don’t just report on numbers, they find growth opportunities from the insights within the numbers and apply them to grow the business.

Lesson 9: Combining multiple growth engines can lead to faster growth.

Companies like GitHub have shown that combining more than one growth engine together creates outsized results. GitHub is a social network, a marketplace for code, a publishing platform and oh-by-the-way addresses a major workflow pain point.

It has an asset—all the code—a network, and more. These things all work together to drive massive adoption and growth.

Now GitHub is part of many developers’ workflows. It’s simply part of the stack, making its business incredibly defensible. Yelp has the community—a network—and an asset—the reviews. LinkedIn, similar story. Multiple engines can drive growth forward.

Lesson 10: There are no silver bullets.

None of these companies have a single silver bullet. They didn’t just explode into millions of users and downloads. Even the products that we think of as “magical” use meticulous growth strategies to drive adoption and growth.

While in retrospect it seems like word of mouth carried them, a deeper look under the hood reveals that they were all engineered to grow in one way or another. Growth is never left to chance.

Companies may catch lightning in a bottle, but it’s often always because they were prepared and working hard to align themselves to do so. Trying to find that silver bullet is fruitless and can be exceptionally costly.

Lesson 11: Growth is a team sport.

A bonus one! The best companies are growth organizations at their core. It’s in their DNA. From the top to the bottom everyone makes growth the imperative. There is no lone growth hacker—everyone at the best growth companies knows they have a role to play in driving growth. Whether it’s legal creating contracts that are easy to execute more quickly, or engineering optimizing the code base for search optimization, everyone makes growth a priority.

In the best growth organizations, sales and marketing aren’t firewalled from product, and engineering doesn’t consider marketing efforts spam. All of these teams work together to unlock growth and tap into these massive opportunities.

After reading so much on these companies trying to narrow down to just a handful of core principles is incredibly challenging; but these insights are what stood out to me in the course of reviewing everything we created for this new ebook.

Startup Growth Engines: How Today’s Fastest Growing Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth (amazon associates link) is more than 160 pages filled with the research, quotes, and insights packed into each case study. I hope it becomes a valuable part of your library—especially as a growth leader or entrepreneur looking for breakthrough growth.

Next Story — 26+ Growth and Startup Marketers You Can (and Should) Follow on Snapchat
Currently Reading - 26+ Growth and Startup Marketers You Can (and Should) Follow on Snapchat

26+ Growth and Startup Marketers You Can (and Should) Follow on Snapchat

Snapchat is having it’s breakout moment. The service just reported 7 billion video views per day, and launched The Wall Street Journal of all publishers as it’s latest content partner in Discover. Brands are flocking to it, and Snapcodes, the service’s way of making it easy for users to friend one another are appearing everywhere — including Times Square. Anecdotally, the service is adding an older audience, and it’s appeal is broadening beyond its student/millennial base.

If you were using Twitter c. 2008, the story will sound familiar.

Intriguing new social network gains traction in valuable niche. Users of the service love it, but most people are confused by what it is and how to use it. It’s ridiculed as a toy and devoid of value — 140 characters, really?! they say. In a few year’s time, the service is mainstream and well on it’s way to becoming a fixture in media, world events and publishing.

As more people jump on the platform, Snapchat stories are evolving from voyeurism of the mundane (or bizarre), to an engaging new way to connect with people. Gary Vaynerchuk, who invested in Snapchat, is bullish on why the time is now for Snapchat.

If you’re jumping on Snapchat for the first time, it is tough to find people worth following.

There is no such thing as a suggested user list or user search. So, if you’re in to startups, growth and marketing, I’ve assembled a list of people on the service that you might want to follow to get started. (**I’ve kept updating below as I find more people.**)

MAJOR 🔑: Search by username and add them to get their stories.

Ross Simmonds: coolestcool A Canadian marketer who knows digital media inside and out, Simmonds is on top of the latest marketing trends and how to use them to get results. His SlideShare’s on social marketing have topped a combined 1 million views.

Gary Vaynerchuk: garyvee The OG social media hustler, Gary is all-in on Snapchat as he sees it as an emerging channel poised to take over the marketing mix. If you like Gary’s style, you get lots more, behind the scenes.

Tiffany Zhong: tzhong Former Product Hunt team turned VC, Tiffany is one of the many Silicon Valley folks popping up more and more on the service.

Morgan Brown: morganb180 Yours truly sharing growth marketing tips and behind the scenes of our growth and marketing teams at Inman, helping others understand how growth works online.

Talia Wolf: taliagw The conversion optimization expert who writes conversioner.com is currently snapping her way through Israel.

Justin Kan: justinkan Y-Combinator partner and founder of Justin.TV and Twitch, ride along with Kan as he does product demos on the fly, unboxings, and tours of the YC offices.

Everette Taylor: everettetaylor The growth marketer currently consulting at Microsoft with the massive social following always brings it on Snapchat and is the one who got me hooked.

Noah Kagan: noahkagan Employee #30 at Facebook, former head of marketing at Mint and founder of AppSumo and SumoMe, Noah is the king of growth marketing.

Joanna Stern: joannastern Tech reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, she’s likely responsible for the flood of new and slightly less confused older SnapChat users, after her massive profile and how-to ran on WSJ.com this week.

Scott Stratten: unmarketing Funny because he’s unapologetically honest about the sad state that most marketing and business finds itself in. Best selling author and keynote speaker on all things marketing.

If you find this list helpful, please hit the recommend button to help more people find smart marketing folks on Snapchat.

Peter Sellis: d1sgruntl3d Peter works at Snapchat and is former COO of HelloSociety, an influencer marketing service that started in the Science Incubator in Santa Monica.

Aaron Zakowski: aaronzakowski The Facebook ads savant from Israel, Zakowski spends his time on Snapchat taking you around his office and hometown and shares growth insights around his specialty: Facebook ads.

Shayla Price: shaylaprice01 A content marketer from Florida who writes about #SaaS and #ecommerce topics. Her articles have appeared on KISSMetrics, ConversionXL and more.

Dave Morin: davemorin Founder of Path, the social network, and former Facebook product lead, Dave knows a thing or two about building successful companies.

Brit Morin: brit morin Dave’s wife, Britt is founder of Brit + Co, a women’s lifestyle site, conference and more.

Dylan LaCom: deelaan The original developer on the GrowthHackers.com team, Dylan is still actively working on product development for the site and team.

Tony Adam: tonyadam Tony is the founder of Visible Factors, a digital agency that helps companies with growth. He’s a former MySpace guy and awesome at SEO.

Henry: talktohenryj is a fast-rising enterprise software salesman who shares his daily #SalesSnaps — bite sized doses of sales wisdom.

And here are a few more interesting marketers worth checking out on Snapchat. I am just starting to find out who’s who, so if you’re a marketer and should be on this list, hit me up on Snapchat and I’ll add you here.


And of course, what Snapchat list would be complete without:

DJ Khaled: djkhaled So not a growth marketer by day, but certainly is a marketing genius. He’s a creative force on Snapchat, and sets much of the culture and inside speak of the platform, with his catchphrases “Major Key” and “They don’t want us to…”

Next Story — What Does This Guy Know About Virality That No One Else Does?
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What Does This Guy Know About Virality That No One Else Does?

How did Neetzan Zimmerman single-handedly drive 17 million unique visitors for Gawker in a month? 

Neetzan Zimmerman, the man single-handedly responsible for 17 million unique visitors in a single month (!) at Gawker, and before that, founder of The Daily What, is fascinating to me. I wanted to find out who, what and how he does it. Here’s what I learned.

Neetzan Zimmerman, Image: Quora

In the summer of 2008, Neetzan Zimmerman started The Daily What—a Tumblr meant to serve as, in Zimmerman’s words, “a compendium of the most ‘newsworthy’ items of the day, as determined by the Internet.” [4] He explains, “I became increasingly intrigued by what I like to call ‘the Internet as Value Barometer’— deciding not only what there was to know, but what was worth knowing.” [4]

To find content for The Daily What, Zimmerman reverse engineered that concept—the Internet as Value Barometer—eventually developing a formula for anticipating which stories are set to become viral. This system, which we’ll dissect in just a bit, proved to be incredibly reliable.

Both Edith Zimmerman (unrelated), founding editor of The Hairpin, and A.J. Daulerio, editor of Gawker, were surprised to learn that a single person was responsible for The Daily What’s content. As Edith Zimmerman explains, “I figured it was a system of people that were writing this blog because it was so good and so relentless. It just never stopped.” [1]

In just two years, Zimmerman was able to build up a sizeable readership for The Daily What, and in 2010 he sold the site to Ben Huh’s Cheezburger Network for “a comfortable five figures.” [1]

Editor of the Internet @ Gawker

“To acknowledge this trend of internet-strip mining,” Gawker’s A.J. Daulerio explained in 2012, “we hired Neetzan Zimmerman to essentially ‘cover’ The Internet for Gawker.” [4] According to Daulerio:

“His coverage isn’t done conventionally, nor is he gravitating to posts he particularly likes: he’s tracking what the Internet’s hive mind will react to by his own system, which is to me more of a sabermetrician’s approach to viral content.” [4]

This move turned out to have been a very smart one for Gawker. Using the system he developed for culling the web’s best content for The Daily What, Zimmerman quickly surpassed the site’s other contributors in both volume—on average, Zimmerman contributes around 15 posts per day—and traffic—in November 2013, Zimmerman’s posts attracted 17.3 million unique visitors.

To put that second number into perspective, in November 2013 around 20 other people were writing for Gawker in addition to Zimmerman, and the site as a whole attracted just under 25 million, meaning that in the month of November, Zimmerman himself was responsible for more traffic than all the other writers at Gawker combined. [1]

Zimmerman’s traffic at Gawker compared to other writers. Image: Capital New York.

And the month of November wasn’t an anomaly. In fact, those numbers are the reason Zimmerman was hired at Gawker in the first place. His presence ensured such a reliable amount of traffic that the site’s other writers had the freedom to cover quirkier, off-the-beaten-path, niche-specific subjects.

This theme was echoed in the memo sent by current editor John Cook upon Zimmerman’s announcement that he was leaving Gawker:

“Neetzan has been tireless, obsessive, and successful beyond measure in his search for stories that people will share and click on and read and rack up precious, life-giving uniques. He has produced some amazing stories of his own, and more importantly made it possible for the rest of you to produce the excellent work you’ve done. And most importantly, he’s done it, in his way, in a manner that aligns with this site’s values. Neetzan is a true believer in Gawker’s editorial mission, and I know that he’s been proud to play a role in subsidizing our ability to do the big stories we’ve accomplished during his time here.” [5]

Despite talk in December of 2013 that Gawker was planning to give Zimmerman his own “corner” [1], Zimmerman announced in early January that he was moving on to the non-competing social network startup Whisper, where he will work “to boost the visibility and promote the sharing of content generated by Whisper’s user base.” Cook continues, emphasizing Zimmerman’s unparalleled ability:

“Anyway, we’re fucked, start traffic-whoring. BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS: Neetzan will be a loss, but one of the reasons, beyond his talent, that he’s been the guy pulling in the big numbers here is that he has been the guy tasked with pulling in the big numbers here.” [5]

The fact that one man was behind those big numbers is remarkable, yet the question remains—what makes Neetzan Zimmerman so viral?

A Relentless Routine

Every morning around 7:30, Zimmerman begins his day by checking the iPad 2 on his bedside. After scanning Twitter for any big news that might have broken the night before, he moves on to his RSS readers, where he quickly assesses the 700 or so posts that have accumulated while he slept. [1]

For each story, he considers the subject and major themes, as well as the social media response. He explains, “Within 15 seconds, I know whether an item is going to work. It’s a biological algorithm. I’ve put myself into the system—I’ve sort of become the system—so that when I see something I’m instantly thinking of how well it’s going to do.” [2]

In fact, the process must happen quickly, because Zimmerman follows something like 1,000 sites—each of which he’s systematically determined as likely to post viral content. [2] This list, however, is always under evaluation to ensure that content remains interesting and relevant, as new sources are frequently added and dead sources are often deleted. [4]

A Deep Understanding of Emotion

Despite his relentless work ethic and systematic approach to content, Zimmerman doesn’t like to be called a machine. [2] In fact, in considering which stories people are most likely to care about, one factor that plays a critical role is their emotional impact.

He explains, “For me to be plugged into this stuff is like being plugged into the foundation of man. This is the stuff that people really care about, not the stuff that they’re pretending to care about at cocktail parties.” [2]

As Zimmerman explains it, his goal is to take online culture—which he likens to a jungle—“and make it accessible to people coming in from outside.” [3] In a way that computers simply can’t (yet), Zimmerman uses the intuitive understanding he’s cultivated over the past several years to consistently recognize which stories people are going to care about.

He explains, “Anything that captures the imagination of a large enough crowd clearly deserves attention, and I don’t judge.” [3] This willingness to sublimate his own interests and tastes in order to tap into the larger web of human emotion has been critical to Zimmerman’s ability to uncover content primed for virality—it’s not that he’s good at making stories go viral; rather, he’s great at recognizing which stories people are going to want to share and reshare.

A Methodical Approach to Online Trends

But how did he get that way? In part, Zimmerman credits intuition, but that’s not the whole story. In fact, his approach is a very systematic and methodical one. He explains, “I’m following the big story arcs online, like in a soap opera … Like within a trend of cats, different cats will have moments where they’re popular: Grumpy Cat is not popular now, but maybe it’s Lil Bub.”

Paying attention to these big story arcs allows him to keep a running list of which ideas and themes are currently trendy and which one’s aren’t. He explains, “It might be that right now, people don’t care about stories about cats that much, and instead, sloths are more popular. So I’ll have a rule—cats are out, sloths are in, focus on sloths because that’s going to be your meal ticket.” [2]

In 2014, Gawker published “This is How You Make Something Go Viral: An Impractical Guide.” Penned by Zimmerman, the five-step guide details his approach to finding content for The Daily What.

We’ve already covered Step One: Background, which involves the concept of “The Internet as a Value Barometer.” In this step, Zimmerman started by asking himself whether what gets shared is what matters, or, to put it another way, whether the wisdom of the crowd can be used to determine what warrants attention and what can be willfully ignored.

In order to properly answer that question, Zimmerman came up with a structured approach to finding the internet’s MVC (or Most Valuable Content).

This led to Step Two: Experimentation. In this phase, Zimmerman separated the “listeners” from the “storytellers”—or the websites from which the most popular stories were actually coming (Fark, Reddit, Digg, Slashdot, MetaFilter, b3ta, and Oh No They Didn’t) and the websites that were picking up and sharing those stories (Boing Boing, Gawker Media, BuzzFeed, Neatorama, Laughing Squid, and Urlesque).

Zimmerman points out that this was 2008, so these sites might no longer fit neatly into the categories he originally placed them in. Still, this exercise helped him to determine where the MVC was coming from and also to observe how it was passed from one site to another in, as Zimmerman terms it, “an effort to pinpoint the exact moment at which it could be defined as having ‘gone viral.’” [4]

An RSS reader allowed him to organize these sites based on site type and order of influence, which, as he explains, offered “a streamlined, bottom-up view of content progression: From the lower tiers to the top, where the viral magic happens.” [4]

This system helped him to recognize the critical stage in which content went “from radar blip to full-scale red alert,” resulting in some of The Daily What’s most popular content—including Sad Keanu, Nyan Cat, Double Dream Hands, and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” [4]

Because of the nature of the internet, Step Three: Maintenance is imperative. At least once a week, Zimmerman reexamines his sites, adding in any newcomers and making sure established sources are still posting relevant content. He explains, “My rule is simple: If a site hasn’t produced at least one item of value during the week, it drops down a tier. If it bottoms out and still hasn’t proven useful, it’s gone.” [4]

Zimmerman explains that by the time you’ve reached Step Four: Predictability:

“You should be well on your way to gaining a firm grasp on the inner workings of the Internet. So much so, that you don’t even need to wait for content to be deemed valuable by a top tier site in order to know it will eventually end up with that designation.” [4]

This is likely what he means when he talks about intuition. The knowledge acquired in moving through the first three steps allows one to become sufficiently “plugged in,” as Zimmerman puts it, recognizing virality even without understanding it. [2] It’s pattern recognition combined with learned probabilities based on an item’s attributes.

This leads to Step Five: Results. Zimmerman claims the answer to his original question—whether stories that don’t get shared don’t matter—is no. Unpopular content can of course have merit. Nevertheless, Zimmerman claims that “if the purpose of the Internet is to engender exchange, then anything not being shared must therefore, in this context, be worthless.” [4]

Zimmerman also makes it clear that attempting to understand why some things become viral and others don’t isn’t worth the time. He explains, “Being able to determine what will be discussed next is, therefore, far more valuable. Advancing the conversation will always be looked upon more favorably than trying, and likely failing, to start it.” [4]

This principle is, by and large, the key to Zimmerman’s success. He isn’t attempting to start the conversation. Rather, he’s helping to further it by using his understanding of what motivates people to find the content that’s primed for virality and then helping to bring it to the surface.

Join the discussion on GrowthHackers.com.

Next Story — Será que a Bel Pesce aprendeu mesmo a lição?
Currently Reading - Será que a Bel Pesce aprendeu mesmo a lição?

Será que a Bel Pesce aprendeu mesmo a lição?

Nos últimos dias a menina do vale aprendeu muito sobre a vida e sobre os negócios, a mesma disse isso há pouco em seu Facebook.


Mas será que ela aprendeu a seguinte lição?

Não construa uma imagem insólita sem embasamento, o tempo é implacável e a verdade hora ou outra vem à tona

Quando decidi escrever e buscar ser uma referência sobre empreendedorismo, conversei com um amigo e ele foi duro comigo — agradeço — dizendo que eu não deveria falar de algo que eu nunca tive grandes êxitos. Por questões de autoridade, eu não deveria querer ser uma referência, antes de ser uma, mesmo tendo uma faculdade de administração e um MBA em gestão estratégica de empresas, alguns negócios testados, tendo passado e contribuído em mais de 250 empresas, eu não tinha um respaldo para solidificar minha fala. Foi ali que eu mudei o discurso de “faça isso”, para “eu tento fazer isso.” E isso não garante nada, falar de empreendedorismo e inovação sem ter nada (ainda) grandioso para mostrar a respeito é frágil demais.

E aqui entra o marketing.

Bel Pesce fez seu nome por ter estudado no MIT, trabalhado no Google e Microsoft e ter ajudado a construir uma empresa, a Lemon no Vale do Silício. Brilhante né?! Seria, se o trabalho no Google e na Microsoft não fossem um estágio de 3 meses de verão, se ela fosse co-founder da empresa citada ou alguma coisa mais efetiva por lá.

Eu conheço muita gente nessa vida, meu DataEu é bem sofisticado, gente de todo canto, de diversas áreas, rico, pobre, gente que passou por variadas situações e tem muita divergência de opinião e visão de mundo. Tem gente que trabalha (trabalha mesmo) no Google, pra Amazon, startups brasileiras incríveis, empreendedores que são reis no Vale do Silício, que estudam ou estudaram no MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Erasmus de Rotterdam (considerada a melhor escola de empreendedorismo do mundo), gente que representa o governo francês na União Européia, diretor de multinacional, vice-presidente de multinacional, milionário, multimilionário — infelizmente não conheço nenhum bilionário -, etc. O que quero dizer com isso?

Conheço no mínimo umas 50 pessoas 10 vezes mais importante e com história que realmente vale a pena ser explorada, mas não são, ou por opção, ou por falta de oportunidade.

Quando eu conheci a Bel Pesce, eu realmente fiquei empolgada para ouvir o que ela tinha para falar. Eu amo gente foda, gente que fez coisas que nunca fiz, que consegue cativar e ser reconhecida, enfim, eu gosto de gente brilhante.

Li o livro dela, achei bacana, bem escrito, nada glorioso, primoroso ou fora de série, mas atende bem a proposta. Comecei a ver os vídeos, a segui-la no twitter, a acompanhar no Periscope e foi ali, bem no meio daquela vontade de consumir um mundo o qual não tive a oportunidade de conhecer, que tive uma frustração bem grande.

O conhecimento que ela passava era tão profundo quanto um discurso da Dilma, mais raso que o nível que chegou a Cantareira. Algo como: “Essa empresa é top, é show, o que eles fazem é muito 10!”, “Empreender só depende de você”, “vá atrás dos seus sonhos”, “faça meta do dia”, sobre o negócio dela: “um negócio disruptivo, inovador, disuptamente novo”. Foi ali que fui atrás para entender quem era e porque ela tinha se tornado quem era. Essa conta não fechava. Deixei pra lá, não sou obrigada a consumir o que não quero e quem quiser que consuma. Ponto final!

Segui a vida… até que no início desse ano fiz um post questionando os “empreendedores motivacionais”, porque de repente eles se multiplicaram na internet. Eu não aguentava mais meta do dia, frases motivacionais, usei a expressão “essa geração Bel Pesce é legal mas a gente precisa mais no nosso dia a dia”. A crítica não era a ela, mas ao modelo replicado exaustivamente por diversas outras pessoas que se inspiraram nela.


Foi uma muvuca só. Aparentemente as pessoas tinham muito para falar sobre isso.

Conheci muita gente incrível por causa disso, inclusive uma das pessoas que me ajudaram a estruturar o atual projeto que estou trabalhando. Até brinquei que se desse certo, eu faria um post “Como a Bel Pesce me ajudou a ganhar meus primeiros milhões”.

Eu fui chamada de invejosa, diversas vezes, e coisa pior. Vieram dizer que a conheciam, que ela é um doce, e que era muito feio falar publicamente de uma pessoa. — ? Mesmo essa pessoa sendo uma pessoa pública?! Ué?! — O Murilo Gun, outra pessoa questionável, me chamou de “Bruna alguma coisa” em seu podcast e assim por diante.

Foi nesse momento que percebi que a Menina do Vale tinha virado, graças a ela mesma e sua constante autopromoção, um mito. E como todo famoso fruto da internet, de suas legiões incontáveis de fanáticos seguidores, é praticamente impossível questionar sem que os fãs da pessoa venham argumentar que você esteja criticando porque está com inveja. \_(o.O)

Recomendo a leitura do texto do Rob Gordon sobre isso.

Vi no Facebook de uma Amigo

A Bel vende e sempre vendeu o produto que ela construiu chamado “Bel Pesce”, todas as suas empresas são para fomentar esse mesmo produto. E ela faz isso de forma magistral.

Há mérito nesse imbróglio todo, nunca foi isso a ser questionado, o ponto que muita gente sempre levantou e que nos próximos meses ainda vão levantar é como uma pessoa pode se vender como suprassumo do empreendedorismo e inovação se o grande feito dela seja apenas e justamente ter feito sucesso por ensinar outras pessoas a empreenderem, e só.

É o mesmo que eu vender cursos caríssimos para ensinar outras pessoas a ficarem ricas, contando que fiquei rica, ensinando outras pessoas a ficarem rica e esse ciclo não tem fim.

E vou além, por que cargas d’água a gente escolhe líderes médios que tentam vender ilusões, fazem desserviço ao empreendedorismo dizendo que são e acontecem e que empreender só depende de você, cobrando e cobrando caro por cursos, palestras, chaveiro, hamburguer e passeio no Peru?

Enquanto a maioria dos empreendedores brasileiros abrem hamburgueria com R$15 mil reais num trailer com o dinheiro que passaram os últimos 65 anos juntando.

Se o problema for falta de referência, posso fazer uma lista de dezenas de pessoas realmente interessantes de serem admiradas por empreender honestamente e inovar disruptamente (existem grandes projetos no Brasil inteiro, principalmente no Norte e Nordeste).

Agora, não sei se a Bel aprendeu essa lição. Mas aprendemos, todos juntos, que estudar no MIT e estagiar no Google não ensina a abrir hamburgueria através de financiamento coletivo.

Hamburgueria ‘Zebeléo’ não vai ter mais financiamento coletivo, anuncia Bel Pesce

Obs.: Um dia ainda quero ter a oportunidade de me redimir da inveja que sinto, até lá, vou continuar questionando processos, ações e pessoas que estejam em desacordo com as minhas crenças, valores e princípios.

Obs².: Fiquem tranquilos que me policio diariamente para ser melhor que minhas próprias críticas.

Obs³.: Ofensas serão deletadas.

Next Story — The Shocking Reason Millennials are Binging on Songs about Binging on Drugs
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The Shocking Reason Millennials are Binging on Songs about Binging on Drugs


If you, like me, enjoy listening to other white women sing songs about how depressing it is to be a white woman, then you’ve probably noticed how many right now are about a female protagonist doing a ton of drugs. Not for fun, per se, but because her life sucks so much and drugs are the only way she can cope.

Let me tune you into this very depressing mixtape:

Lana Del Rey — High on the Beach

In “High by the Beach” Lana Del Rey wants to get high by the beach because she can’t stand being sober around a boyfriend she knows doesn’t love her while dealing with the nihilistic dread of existence:

Loving you is hard, being here is harder
You take the wheel
I don’t wanna do this anymore, it’s so surreal
I can’t survive if this is all that’s real
All I wanna do is get high by the beach
Get high by the beach, get high
All I wanna do is get by by the beach
Get by baby, baby, bye bye
The truth is I never bought into your bullshit
When you would pay tribute to me cause I know that
All I wanted to do was get high by the beach
Get high baby, baby, bye bye
Sia — Chandelier

Sia’s “Chandelier” admits openly that she’s binge-drinking because she can’t handle how much it hurts being conscious:

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
Phantogram — You Don’t Get Me High Anymore

In “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” the singer is complaining that her repeated efforts to obliterate her feelings with drugs have left her with such a high tolerance, she can’t get high anymore.

Cut it up, cut it up, yeah
Everybody’s on something here
My godsend chemical best friend
Skeleton whispering in my ear
Walk with me to the end
Stare with me into the abyss
Do you feel like letting go?
I wonder how far down it is
Nothing is fun
Not like before
You don’t get me high anymore
Used to take one
Now it’s takes four
You don’t get me high anymore
Tove Lo — Habits

And, oh my, in “Habits,” Tove Lo describes not just one addiction, but an apparent check list:

I get home, I got the munchies
Binge on all my Twinkies
Throw up in the tub, then I go to sleep
And I drank up all my money
Days kind of lonely
You’re gone and I got to stay high
All the time to keep you off my mind, ooh ooh
High all the time to keep you off my mind, ooh ooh
Spend my days locked in a haze
Trying to forget you babe, I fall back down
Gotta stay high all my life to forget I’m missing you
Pick up daddies at the playground
How I spend my day time
Loosen up the frown, make them feel alive
I make it fast and greasy
I know my way too easy
Staying in my play pretend
Where the fun ain’t got no end
Oh, can’t go home alone again
Need someone to numb the pain
Oh, staying in my play pretend
Where the fun ain’t got no end
Oh oh can’t go home alone again
Need someone to numb the pain

And of course, Lily Allen just comes out and say it in “Everyone’s At It:”

I’m not trying to say that I’m smelling of roses
But when will we tire of putting shit up our noses
I don’t like staying up, staying up past the sunlight
It’s meant to be fun and this just doesn’t feel right
Why can’t we all, all just be honest
Admit to ourselves that everyone’s on it
From grown politicians to young adolescents
Prescribing themselves anti-depressants
Now how can we start to tackle the problem
If you don’t put your hands up and admit that you’re on them
The kids are in danger, they’re all getting habits
From what I can see everyone’s at it

So where are we to take this? While I’m sure depressed people have been abusing drugs since time immemorial, what I think is interesting about this trend is what women are saying openly about their drug use. There is no literary allusion to Alice in Wonderland. There’s no fun symbolism wrapped around this pain.

These lyrics demonstrate extreme self-awareness. They say quite articulately that women are using drugs as a coping mechanism so that they might numb or blot out completely the pain of everyday life.

That’s some take for pop music.

I’m not passing moral judgment on addicts here. I generally reject personal accountability explanations for the pandemic of addiction since I think, ironically enough, the sobering personal accountability narrative is why so many middle-class women are turning to drugs.


Well, here’s my thinking. Little girls of my generation were born post-liberation. That means that girls my age were told that they would enjoy sexual freedom and get to make their own choices with their bodies. Once offered this choice, society up and absolved itself of accountability. Women, we’re now fully accountable for everything that ever happens to us and whatever messes we find ourselves in.

While there may be no one around to help, there will always be someone available after bad shit happens to audit our biographies and ask:

“Well, why didn’t you say ‘no’ then?”

“Why didn’t you know the bad shit would happen?”

“You should have known better that bad shit always happens.”

It’s enough to — hey! — drive someone to drugs.

“[M]ost Substance-addicted people,” wrote DFW in Infinite Jest, “are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking.”

I know he’s right. I hate myself most of the time. And as one of those people with hyperfast brains, oh, I can come up with about twenty reasons to hate myself per minute. And I’ll admit it: the quickest way to end that noise is to go on a drug vacation.

But why do women like me hate themselves so much?

I’ve thought about this hard. I have come to the conclusion that the reason so many women are this unhappy at this scale is because they’ve been raised to police their own thoughts for the thoughtcrime of victimhood and blame themselves for systemic fuckery. Nevermind that the fuckery is real, women’s adolescent curriculum is to learn how to hate yourself for everything you are and everything you’ll never be.

Because women are hated.

There’s no escaping how much society hates women.

And instead of being told this, you’re told you have to be hyper-responsible, hyper-vigalent, hyper-sensitive all the fucking time. No one actually gives a shit about your best interest. No one gives a shit about you at all. Men won’t take responsibility for themselves, so now that’s your job, too.

Deal with it.

And meanwhile, hey, you have to pretend like none of this patriarchy bothers you because, hey, now we can fuck on the first date, yay!

We get to fuck without even knowing the guy’s last name!


No one ever asks women what they want. They feed us bullshit like Sex and the City and tell us it’s feminist. Instead, we get books like Hanna Rosin’s End of Men where she takes a single study based on a few dozen college students and snowballs from it a ridiculous theory that actually women don’t want love anyway because — get this — it gets in the way of their careers.


Right, so presently we’ve got a sexual culture where women’s desires for love and intimacy are continually shat on by a society that hates women, that renounces anything feminine, including love and intimacy, and instead promises us hermetic sexual encounters from the comfort of our own phone as if that’s anywhere close to how we as little girls really hoped sex would work when we grew up.

And just how men’s perpetual boyhood turns out to be absurdly profitable, women’s consequent depression is also hugely profitable!


I don’t think women’s depression is all attributable to the rise of manbabies and jobs being so ridiculously demanding that no one has time to love. But I do think they’re pretty significant in the grand scheme of things.

A lot of these songs are hitting on one theme: women are ostensibly offered tons of choices but none they desire. Most of these songs are about women having given up on getting what they want and trying to cope with what they get by binge-drinking and blacking out.

Tove Lo in “Habits” is so besides herself with so much daily pain that she’s taken up fucking sad men in the park because it takes her mind off of what she actually wants. When she’s done with that, she binges on junk food and throws it up because nothing is filling how empty she feels.

People spent a lot of time exploding the moral panic of middle-class housewives taking to stims so that they could cope with the isolation of their existence. But no one really cared about how they felt, then, either.

People wrote songs about that, too:

Turns out, now? Society is so fucking cracked, millennials dance to literal cries for help.

This adds a whole new layer of weirdness to this guano cake.

Putting this level of self-awareness into a pop song is to say to the world, “Look how much searing agony I face just living in this fucked up mess I’m being offered but haha no one gives a shit about me because I’m white, college-educated and 25.”

Because no one ever gives a shit about young women’s pain.

The drugs help her manage what no one else gives a shit about.

And it’s so apparent to us that no one will give a shit, we’ve decided we’re just going to dance to it.

No one gives a shit about women’s pain until it lands her in rehab where millionaires can mine her insurance for $30,000 worth of “compassionate care.”

If she’s lucky enough to have any.

Then, I guess, then people care about young women’s problems.

At that point, someone gives a shit.

Until then, I guess we’ll just keep churning out dance hits about finding a vein that still takes.

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