12 Growth Experts to Follow

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Growth hacking is one of those topics that remains awe-inspiring. There’s still a bit of elusiveness, but everyone wants to get in on it. After all, who doesn’t — whether holistically as a person, or when speaking of a business — want to grow ? And while there might be many definitions surrounding the buzzword, we like growth hacker Aaron Ginnas summation 😛 TAGEND

A growth hacker is someone whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology.”

This definition underlines how much entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike can learn from the depth of understanding is in possession of growth hackers. It’s their abilities to draw the linkages between how a company is performing and the actions needed to lead to healthy, rapid growth, that improve performance and defined a company up for success.

But who are these growth experts? Where are they, and how can marketers find their insights and learn how to apply them? And since the term’s become so popular, how do you cut through the noise to determine the most applicable expertise?

We’ve rounded up some of the top growth experts who have some of the best content and insights on growth hacking on the web. Following each of them will help you detect actionable strategies and best practices, so you might want to bookmark this page as a directory for future reference.

12 Growth Hacking Experts to Follow

1) Brian Balfour

Founder and CEO, Reforge


Source: Heavybit

You can count Brian Balfour as another growth expert who cut his teeth in the startup sector. In fact, he’s been known to quote the words of investor Paul Graham: “Startups= Growth.” But here’s where Balfour’s unique skillset and knowledge be coming back — not only was he the co-founder of startups like Viximo and Boundless Learning, both of which were acquired, but he also ran in venture capital( VC) as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

In other terms, he’s insured both sides of the coin: The startup, and the investor. That experience gave itself to his previous role as VP of growth at HubSpot, as well as his position back in the business driver’s seat as founder and CEO of Reforge, a creator of growth programs. Follow his insights on his blog, Coelevate, or on the Reforge blog.

2) Andrew Chen

Head of Rider Growth, Uber


Source: StartCon

Say what you will about Uber, but there’s one thing that most of us can agree on: It’s experienced unequivocal brand growth since its 2009 founding. But growth like that needs to be properly scaled, which is when you bring in an expert — like Andrew Chen.

Like Balfour, Chen has worked as both an entrepreneur-in-residence in the VC sector, and independently as what he calls an “entrepreneur-out-of-residence.” In both capacities, however, he focused on growing early-stage businesses, like Barkbox and Tinder, wearing the hats of both a business owner and an investor. The man loves growth — in fact, he even publicly identifies as the “plus one to” Zendesk’s own growth marketing expert, Brianne Kimmel.

Follow Chen’s insights on his website.

3) Sean Ellis

CEO, GrowthHackers


sean-ellis-text-1024x512-canva-min.png Source: Popcorn Metrics

It could be said that Sean Ellis was a growth hacker before that word became, well, a thing. In August 2008, he became the “interim growth executive” for Eventbrite — a role that defined the tone, it seems, for his career trajectory. Since then, he’s also served in interim growth roles with companies like Dropbox in their earliest stages. In other terms, he helped some of the most recognizable names in tech — say it with me — grow.

Formerly the founder and CEO of marketing software company Qualroo, Ellis now has the same title at, quite appropriately, GrowthHackers: A community of resources and experts that “helps squads unlock their companyas full growth potential .” He also shares tips on his blog, Startup Marketing, where he( and we) recommends getting started with this post on “The Startup Pyramid .

4) Nir Eyal

Best-Selling Author, Consultant, and Public Speaker


Nir_Eyal-2-1.jpg Source: Typeform

Nir Eyal’s LinkedIn profile is a visual feast for those who can’t get enough of narratives about those who have led emerging companies to profitability and acquisition. It was his experience of that kind with companies like Sunshine Business Development and AdNectar that gave to the expertise that went into his best-selling book, Hooked: How To Construct Habit-Forming Product, which answers the issues to — among others — “How do successful companies generate products people canat put down? “

Aside from the book, Eyal’s tips and insights can be found on his blog. And get this — if you really want to pick his brain, you are able to even schedule time to chat with Eyal via his website.

5) Noah Kagan

Chief Sumo, Sumo Group


Source: Sumo.com

Sometimes, we fulfill people who have done so much in such a short period of time that it forces us to ask, “How many lives have you had? “

That’s what we believe when we look at the experience leading up to Noah Kagan’s role as Chief Sumo with the Sumo Group, the maker of tools to help companies grow website traffic. From Facebook to Mint, Kagan has helped to launching and marketplace several products and services.

Kagan’s blog, OkDork, is what he calls a guidebook to “marketing, business musings, online communities and other things to kill time while you are at work.” But it’s also their home communities — he invites readers to participate, commentary, and exchange thoughts. And, OkDork now houses the podcast he launched in December 2016, “Noah Kagan Presents.”

6) Brianne Kimmel

Growth Marketing, Zendesk


Source: Twitter

Zendesk is one of those SaaS companies that simply keeps killing it, despite a constantly-evolving surrounding. And that’s a big element in successful growth — having the agility to adapt to a changing market.

Within the walls of Zendesk, the aforementioned Brianne Kimmel oversees the marketing and growth strategies to embolden the company’s conversion. It’s not exactly her first rodeo, either — before her role there, she also contributed to the growth of companies like Hotwire and HotelClub, which is now an Orbitz company. And while we have yet to find a personal blog to host her insights — but, cough, we’d love to see one — she does share her expertise and insights as an teacher with General Assembly.

7) Fareed Mosavat

Senior PM, Growth, Slack


Source: LinkedIn

It’s probably fair to count Fareed Mosavat as one of those marketers who mastered growth before it became a buzzword. Appearing at his work experience, it’s clear that he’s set foot in a number of big-name, early-stage tech companies and resulted the growth of major products. From RunKeeper to Instacart, Mosavat knows how to take data and use it to build something significant.

When he wrote about his decision to join Slack on his Medium publishing — which we highly recommend for thoughts and insights on growth — he credited the company’s deeply ingrained following principles “playfulness, empathy, diversity, and craftsmanship” with its “endless opportunity for meaningful growth and product work.” So he’s not all about data — he’s someone who also places equal important on a qualitative, cultural approach to growth.

8) Neil Patel

Co-founder, KISSmetrics and Hello Bar


Source: Pioneers.io

If you work in the digital marketing space in any capability, opportunities are, you’ve at least heard of Neil Patel. He is, for lack of a better word, a bit of a growth rockstar. According to his LinkedIn profile, it wasn’t long after graduating from CSU Fullerton that he founded KISSmetrics, which has become one of the leading, most recognizable analytics platforms.

Today, Patel continues to juggle various outlets as a growth expert. He founded Crazy Egg, which creates a website heat map for marketers to find which segments of a page get the most involvement. Then, there’s Quick Sprout, where he consults and leads an online “university” on growing website traffic — he also maintains a blog there, where he provides tips on conversion, marketing tech, and more.

As if that doesn’t maintain him busy enough, Patel also keeps his own website up and running, where he has yet another blog full of teachable moments, “from ‘aha’ to ‘oh sh [*] t’.” Plus, he’s got a podcast: “Marketing School .

9) Sujan Patel

Co-founder, Web Profits( among many others)


Source: Infusionsoft

Like everyone else on this list, we imagine that Sujan Patel is instead busy. In addition to his most recent role as the co-founder of growth marketing bureau Web Profits, he’s also the co-founder of Mailshake, as well as one of the minds behind LinkTexting.

On top of that, Patel is constantly sharing his ideas and perspectives with the public, both as a regular contributor to Forbes , and through his personal blog. If you’re looking for inspiration, we recommend checking out his roundup of growth marketing underdogs.

10) Eric Peters

Senior Growth Marketing Manager, HubSpot Academy

Many marketers are faced with the lofty chore of growing a brand or comprehensive strategy from scratch. They might be part of a newly-created marketing department, or building their own presence as an entrepreneur. And for many of them, the first step towards that growth is taking a free certification course in their HubSpot Academy Learning Center. Eric Peters is responsible for driving growth for HubSpot Academy’s free courses, which come with a suite of free marketing and sales tools to apply to what you’re learning in the HubSpot growth stack.

But he’s no stranger to this kind of growth marketing. Before HubSpot, he was tasked with measuring and optimizing how users flowed through the platform-as-a-service( PaaS) company he previously worked for. In other terms, it was his chore to figure out the monetization part of that user motion — from acquisition, to activation, to upgrades. In the tech realm, it’s a path with which many marketers are familiar, or eventually “re going to have to” master.

Peters often shares his insights with the public on the HubSpot Academy blog, and in videos like the one below.

11) Rebecca Rosenfelt

Product Manager, Airbnb

According to Crunchbase, Rebecca Rosenfelt arrived at Airbnb when it acquired her company, Inhabit Vacations. It was a brand that looked to provide travelers with genuinely local tastes, by connecting visitors to certain cities with the people who called it home. Today, Airbnb offers a similar service, by offering users curated experiences in a variety of cities.

It’s all part of Airbnb’s global growth strategy, and its efforts to cultivate a recognizable presence, including internationally, for not just home sharing, but also, a genuinely local experience anywhere in the world. It constructs sense that Rosenfelt was picked as the person to initiate and oversee that growth — not only did she have the travel sector experience, but she also has the business chops, from her early work in global consulting to her ownership of a real-estate-focused magazine.

And while we certainly think of Rosenfelt as an expert, it seems as though she might be a bit modest about it — as far as we can tell, she no longer has a Twitter presence or personal blog. However, she does share her insights through a number of speaking involvements, like this one for Traction Conf 😛 TAGEND

12) Alex Schultz

VP of Growth, Facebook


Source: Wired

At this point, we’d like to assume that the folks at Facebook know a thing or two about growth. In the span of 12 years, it’s run from a small, academic-only online plaything, to a publicly-traded, consistently growing media distribution platform. And since 2007, Alex Schultz has been the person or persons in charge of that growth.

But for all the years he’s been with the company, Schulz was no stranger to tech marketing before his tenure at Facebook. He previously managed affiliate marketing in the U.K. for eBay, and in 1996, he’s said to have launched a website, paperairplanes.co.uk, “to help everyone have more fun with newspaper airliners .” Take flight, indeed.

Get Growing

At first, growing something like this from scratch might look to be a daunting chore that’s successfully executed by merely a select few. But as these experts have shown, it can be done — and they’re more than willing to share their knowledge.

Plus, there’s a plethora of quality resources to help you master your growth, from blogs to HubSpot’s growth stack. As a next step, start to formulate a gradual scheme, with manageable actions and benchmarks. And fear not — as this list displays, there’s always person out there who will be willing to help.

Which growth experts would you add to the list? Let us know in specific comments .

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Read more: blog.hubspot.com

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