Maybe you have thought ‘what is Movement and what is Growth Hacking?’ Or maybe you already knew one of the two and thought “What the f*ck have these two subjects got to do with each other?’ Or maybe you didn’t and you just clicked because you liked the headline. Whatever the case, I’m going to try to give you a fulfilling answer and/or story.
First a small introduction of Movement and Growth Hacking. Movement is a practise founded by Ido Portal. I have always been an active person and when I first laid my eyes on Ido I was amazed to say the least. The way he moved and talked about Movement was positively overwhelming. After watching 10 minutes of a documentary about him, I decided I want to practise movement. To be honest, it is not explainable in words, you have to experience it or at least watch it, so check it out:
Pretty sick right?!
Then there is this very mysterious and cool-sounding term ‘Growth Hacking’. But what is it? It is a process of rapid experimentation across multiple marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. I know that is a mouth full. When I started my traineeship at The Talent Institute I thought the same. But the real focus is on the mindset of a Growth Hacker because that’s where the real can be found. That is the ability to be comfortable with being uncertain. To say ‘I don’t know but I’m going to find out.’ I hear you thinking: ‘Is that all?’ Yes, that’s all, boring isn’t it? Well, it is a matter of personal taste.
And now for the fun part, what do these terms have similar? Let’s find out.
Within the movement facility at Crazy Monkey Movement in Amsterdam, we follow the rules of John Cage. They are student and teacher rules that are the foundation for having a free creative spirit. Let’s zoom in on one of these rules. Number 6 on the list says:
“Nothing is a mistake, there is no win and no fail, there’s only make.”
Sounds pretty powerful, doesn’t it?!
This rule is also applied within the mindset of a growth hacker. Of course companies want fast growth with limited money, time and resources, but if you only think about winning or failing, there will be no make. And the beauty of the mind of a Growth Hacker is that it thinks about making and trying. It is like walking in a dark room and finding your way to the exit. You use your arms and legs to get feedback about how you want to go out. But the most important part is that you just walk. Because if you don’t walk, you stand still and you definitely won’t find the exit.
The saying; ‘Life is a marathon and not a sprint’ is an old and cliché quote, but unfortunately, it’s very much true. When I started my traineeship in becoming a Growth Hacker there was a lot of focus on the mindset and not so much on finding the ultimate hack just like Airbnb and Netflix did. This is because being able to find some golden way to exponentially grow your company takes a lot of experience and knowledge. And some luck. But I frequently thought to myself ‘No not me, I will find the magic trick faster than anyone else’. Yeah right…
There is, of course, my ego involved that wanted to prove that I could be such a hacker. But the truth is that the long, hard route is much more compelling.
This was also the case with Movement. With some exercise material, I demanded of myself that I could get it faster than anyone. You can guess it already, but I have some slight ego issues… But through both the traineeship and Movement I saw this desire of myself and I noticed that it was unnecessary. Even better, another way presented itself, which was to start loving the process. With the failing and not being able to present outrageously good results within weeks, I am gaining gratitude for the little developments that I make. Small steps towards a bigger goal. And the longer the path, the more fruitful it is going to be. That’s what I hope at least or else I have no clue what I’m doing.
Are you still with me? I hope so. Because this is a topic I found really interesting. I’m going to explain to you why. That is because learning and wanting to learn is a very big part of Movement and Growth Hacking. I already said before where the gold is of a Growth Hacker: ‘I don’t know but I’m going to find out.’ There is so much value in wanting to learn because it’s giving you the ability to gain a certain talent which is very overlooked: perseverance. In this ted talk, you hear Angela Lee talk about motivation and that this is one of the biggest success factors you can have. It is a very interesting story, which for me is deeply connected with the desire of wanting to learn.
When I find certain topics interesting, I want to absorb every information like a sponge. I think most of you have that too. But when you apply that mindset on much more than things that you like or find interesting, it all becomes so much more fun. You don’t give a fuck about peripheral issues, but you only care about wanting to learn, wanting to improve or wanting to be better in a good way.
There is one disadvantage about learning, where does it stop? We can all agree that we live in a time where we are absorbing information like a stop piston. So when do you stop or better, how can you distinguish the information that is good for you from all the crap that is out there? I don’t have the answer. For me, this is a major struggle as well. There are books, blogs, podcasts, video’s or emails that all have said something about this topic that know far more than me.
But my experience has taught me to fold information into projects. So for example; I’m training for a muscle-up or looking how to install Google Tag Manager. What sources provide me with tangible and high-quality information? Mostly it’s the things you don’t want to hear, that there are no quick fixes and that it is a long journey to get there. Then when I conducted my research I’m going to stick to that and test it for a while without looking for more information.
#4 Research Glasses
Besides the desire of wanting to learn there is the question ‘how do I learn?’ I think this question really demands of you to look inward. What I mean by that is that you frequently ask yourself why you do the things that you do. For most of us out there the simple answer would be “just because”. But if you’re willing to dig a little deeper there is a lot to find out.
Within the movement practice, there is a lot of emphasis on wearing research glasses. It is called that way because you are actually researching your own movements from top to bottom, outwards and inwards. It means that you have to be in this kind of awareness-zone to see why you do what you do. To be a researcher of your own body and mind.
The same perception is applied in the work ethic of a Growth Hacker. Based on data you are constantly trying ways to make a company grow. For me personally, evaluation and validating experiments are a big factor in making this happen. Why did this happen? How did it happen? What do I have to do differently? What are the factors that influenced the outcome? All of these questions are inherent on growth on a company and personal based level. Since I started both journeys, I started questioning myself. A lot. And it is one of the best methods I’ve found to grow.
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” — Eugene Ionesco
Last but not least: cooperation! Even though I am an individual, I strongly believe in working with others to reach your full potential. In my first week at the Talent Institute we were not exposed to any form of growth hacking, on the contrary. We did team-building exercises like building a spaghetti tower, draw each other, telling sensitive personal experiences and organised a dinner with the group. The reason why is because in your working field, you can’t do it alone and it shouldn’t be. We learned that this is a fast-changing business and having a community to rely on is one of the key pillar stones to keep on growing.
When I started working at my firm, I quickly noticed how important it is to cooperate with others. Most of the time you all serve the same company goal, but with own expertise and working fields. But in order to perform, achieve targets and grow as a division, you have to help each other. And if I don’t find the answer with my colleagues, I always have the Growth community to fall back on.
Within the movement, this community or tribe feeling is very rooted within the practice. In every class, you almost always work with a partner. Why? To analyse, observe, help others and yourself. You can look at a partner and think; how does this body work? Where does this body focus it itself on? Where are the accents? Where is the quality? Where not? How does my body work?
It gives you analytical skills which you can apply on your own movement patterns. So the formula of observing, absorbing and helping, is a force within a movement that for me is essential. And the better you cooperate, the better you eventually move. And what I mean by better is that you always suck, but you learn to suck a little bit less. What a motto to have!
Well, this was it, I hope that it brought you something. Or not. That is your thing. And of course I’m closing with some way-too-soon-wisdom-that-i-shouldn’t‑say-because‑i’m‑28.
Do you want to be uncomfortable with being comfortable or do you want to be uncomfortable with being uncomfortable?