Growth Hacking Stories

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Growth Hacking Stories


2 min read

This is a space for recording some of the stories that I have found interesting.


As a data scientist, I was fascinated by the creative, experimental approach Airbnb used in the early days to rapidly expand into new international markets.

The conventional wisdom in tech is to focus relentlessly on scalable, automated growth tactics. But Airbnb's leadership recognized that sometimes the most effective paths to growth aren't the most elegant ones.

When Airbnb was trying to boost usage in France, they ran an A/B test - randomly selecting some markets to target with Facebook ads, while sending 2-3 person teams into the other markets to connect with potential hosts in-person.

The results were striking:

  • The on-the-ground, "unscalable" approach had a 5X lower cost-per-acquisition than the digital-only strategy.

  • And those physically "kickstarted" markets continued to grow 2X faster on their own afterwards.

As the company found, "sometimes it's beneficial to do things that don't scale, because an un-scaleable tactic might be more scaleable than initially thought."

This is a powerful lesson for data scientists and growth hackers - don't be afraid to experiment with approaches that may not seem immediately scalable. The payoff could be huge.

The key is being rigorous about tracking the metrics and costs, and remaining open-minded. What seems "unscalable" today could unlock exponential growth tomorrow.

So the next time you're trying to rapidly expand your user base or community, don't overlook the power of good old-fashioned, on-the-ground hustle. The data may surprise you