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"Growth hackers" and other odd job titles


I hadn’t heard the term growth hacker until a couple of months ago and now everyone is using it. Where did that come from? What does it even mean? Why does everyone need to give themselves a pompous sounding job title these days?

I get very grumpy about job titles. We’re a limited company in the UK so I use “Managing Director” most often as my official job title as that describes my function in the business. If someone phones up and wants to talk about the business - rather than our product - then I’m the Director they probably want to speak to, and company Director is a legal role/function. I hear people use CEO, despite being a one person business, and then the whole “Founder” thing, which kind of makes sense as a descriptor, “I started this”.

What do you all call yourselves?

Rachel Andrew (Managing Director, Founder, web developer, purchaser of paperclips, coffee maker …)


I think it is emphasizing that you can use quantitative/technical skills (such as A/B testing, analytics etc) to grow the customer base for a product. Traditional marketers can’t seem to handle anything more technical than a 2x2 matrix. ;0)

I usually just call myself “Director”.


BTW job title inflation has a long tradition. e.g. the guy who comes to fix your dishwasher is now an “engineer”. No doubt there is a text somewhere in ancient greek complaining about it…


I also get quite grumpy. Growth hacker sounds like the doctor you really don’t want to see.

I go with “Founder” on my descriptions when people ask, but I leave any title off things like email footers to make it less of a thing.


My thoughts exactly! I think it’s nutty the “President and CEO” folks that are a company of one or just a few.

And I worked with a Growth Hacker last year. His explanation is they focus on growing a product. Taking it viral. It’s mostly aimed at VC backed companies that want to grow big and fast and have the resources to do just that.


When dealing with taxes and government BS, they insist that I use “President”, because that was the title assigned when I incorporated the company.

For more casual stuff, I use “Founder”, because that’s the least pompous thing I could think of. “Director” isn’t really used in the states.

But now that you mentioned this “purchaser of paperclips” thing …


From Sean Ellis, the man that coined the phrase: http://www.startup-marketing.com/authentic-growth-hacks/


Hah, “growth hacker”. It does completely describe how they are in the business: short term oriented and out of touch what actually matters.


@JaapRood Yes and no. I agree that the term is douchy and it is often related to the get-big-fast-and-flip crowd. However, there is lots in the techniques often put under the growth hacking umbrella that can be really valuable for a bootstrapper as well. Andy mentioned a/b testing and analytics, other examples are building some virality into the product itself (think the old hotmail footer or the “get 2gb free space for each referred friend” thing by Dropbox). The “hacks” can be annoying and short-sighted but I wouldn’t say they intrinsically have to be.