So you weren’t at the Growth Hacking Conference London 2014? That’s ok, it was one of the first of its kind but you can still experience it as if you were there. I will take you through this awesome day and provide you with all the links and tips that we had the chance to learn (as well as some backstage information from how growth hackers party). Ready? It all started at 6am…
At 6am the alarm went off. I took a quick shower, got changed and grabbed my bag to rush off to Rotterdam Airport. Between all the vacationers I tried to grab a bite to eat, so that by around 7am I was on the half empty London City flight with all of the men in suits. After an hour of a loud rattling flight we arrived at the same time that we left in London city Airport. Finally a time difference that is actually in our favour 😉
From London City, it was just a few stops with the DLR to the hotel. I dropoed off my bag and my colleague, Chris, was already waiting on me. Chris had of course managed to arrange a hotel that was around the corner of the theater so there we are as the first on the steps of the Troxy Theatre at 8:30am. The closed theatre has a surreal feeling to it. One by one the other (potential) growth hackers join the long line.
Once the overpowering doorman (who I wouldn’t be surprised to find guarding a London nightclub) opened the Troxy Theater doors, the Growth Hackers quickly slipped inside. Being the Dutch people we are, we grabbed the free pen and notepad before heading inside. Whilst enjoying breakfast and something to drink we waited quietly in the lounge for the opening session. Here we ended up talking to some Viking Growth Hackers.
Finally it was time. The opening session was about to begin and everyone quickly hurried into the hall to get the best seat to see his or her hero in action. Here he is: the Growth Hacker of Growth Hackers, was it not for this man we would never have been here. Even more, without him we probably would never have heard of the term Growth Hacking and we would probably still be convinced that SEM and SEA were the only ways to grow. With a loud applause and standing ovation Sean Ellis entered the room. Sean gave an inspiring speech concerning Growth Hacking’s Product Market fit and laid out the agenda of the day which was divided up into short keynote speeches. He reminded us of the importance of testing everything we do and that when you test you need to prioritise your ideas first before testing to stay focused on what’s important.
The day was filled with inspirational stories from a multitude of Growth Hackers. Yes… the number of female Growth Hackers was striking! Only as speakers though… in the audience there were mainly men. I noticed by myself that with each session I became evermore motivated and more inspired.
We learnt about “hustling” from Zack Onisko, Chief Growth Officier at Creative Market. He gave us 20 awesome non-scaleable ways to hustle your way to scalable growth.
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Founder of SEOMoz, talked to us about how SEO was changing and what this meant for the future of SEO tactics.
Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, naturally talked about conversion optimization. He showed us how you could best measure your CO and take a systematic approach.
Especially the session from Neil Patel was original. It was more like a Dragon’s Den episode than anything else with people out of the audience pitching his/her startup and Neil on the spot gave out growth hacking tips based on them. “Ah…you mean Google Shopping…” (only growth hackers who were there will get this 😉 ).
In the end we had more than 20 sessions in one day, and we learnt so much and we’ve became so motivated through it.
With the end of the conference we quickly headed to the stage, rather than going to the closing drink straight away, we headed over to our heroes in order to get the chance to ask some questions. Nervously, we stood there, eye to eye with Sean, Neil and Peep! Ok, this was our moment; we’re going for it. Chris was on the tail of Neil. In the end we finally succeeded in achieving our one metric that matters for the day: to personally speak with five keynote speakers.
After a quick bite to eat at a random street food court somewhere in London, we were off to the official Growth Hacking drink. A real Growth Hacker of course would not actually have time to eat. At the drink, we literally had a beer together with Sean and Peep, the heroes themselves. Sean, Neil and Peep, mingled with us ordinary, mortal Growth Hackers! It felt a bit like Elvis The King himself after a show just quietly joining the crowd for a chat.
After the official drink there was of course an even more official after party for the real die hard Growth Hackers! These select few, included the one and only growthhackers.com moderators, kept going to more and more shifty pubs. Then one moment to the next, we found ourselves heading to the apartment from some client out London….something big was going to happen… something real big. A rumour went around that one of the guys is about to be Twitter verified. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you heard correctly, TWITTER VERIFIED! This we would not miss for the world. No, for this we would gladly give up our only night out in The City!
After a few hours of waiting there was still no news from the twitter HQ… so we decided we might as well head into the city. Sadly, it was nearly closing time and as a “non mixed group” we were denied entry from the rest of the pubs. In the end we decided, admittedly disillusioned, that we might as well take the double decker bus to the hotel. Sadly, we missed the last normal route and we were forced to take the overly long night route…Two hours later numb and tired we entered our hotels and rolled directly into bed.
It was a heavy day but well worth it. Luckily the next day I had a day to recover on the London City tour double decker together with my growth hacker colleague, Chris… In the rain of course, but hey, that’s London ;-). The best Growth Hacker trick probably comes from the city of London itself. Every tourist ends up buying an Oyster Card for their public transport. Following this they load credit on. Of course you always end up with left over credit, normally you exchange this for cash after your last ride on the subway. You can do this at all subway stations except, surprise surprise, the end station of London City Airport. Smart guys these Londoners. In this way they wheedle that extra amount of credit off of the tourist’s Oyster card. From a Growth Hacking perspective, is this good in the long term? I’m curious what the “churn” is from this rule…
At night at the airport I say goodbye to Chris. He is flying to Amsterdam. Exactly at the moment I stood up to board I see all the flights cancelled. There is a slight panic in the queue for the information desk. Shell women in suits need to stay overnight without a toothbrush. Fathers in suits slowly sneak into the line, every man for himself. Luckily, I could change my flight to one to Amsterdam and I am reunited with Chris. From Schiphol I took a nighttime taxi to Rotterdam Airport to pick up my car. Foot on the gas I drove from Rotterdam Airport home through a dark and empty Rotterdam. I then went straight into my bed, to dream about the future as a Growth Hacker.
It was two fantastic days, all’s well that ends well 😉
We will definitely be there again in 2015… see you there?