Why Every Startup Needs a Growth Engineer

Published 3rd Dec 2020 by Caitlin McCartney
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Most start-up teams and founders have heard of ‘growth hacking’, a term popularised by Silicon Valley thought leaders like Andrew Chen, a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (also the author of a new book that we are super excited about: The Cold Start Problem). 

At its core, growth hacking is about creating a growth system around your product with a novel set of solutions. It’s about finding pathways to growth by turning your user base into a channel to attract more users, thereby creating network effects.

Some might call this marketing by engineers, or engineering by marketers, and it has proved to be very impactful.

A growth engineer will help you communicate the core value of your product.

Growth teams are often touted as the ‘secret sauce’ in the recipe for startup success and are an essential department in some of the world’s recognisable start-ups turned hugely influential companies. Growth teams are especially effective for B2B and consumer companies, and depending on the solutions you are trying to generate, your team can include marketers, designers, product managers and engineers.

The field of ‘growth engineering’ is a systematic and technical approach to problem solving. The role of a growth engineer is to brainstorm ideas, experiment with metrics and data, improve user experience and drive conversions.

Simply put, a growth engineer will help you communicate the core value of your product and will build pathways for as many people as possible to experience that value.

At Particular Audience, we are very excited to announce the arrival of Jackson Edmonds as our Growth Engineer. Jackson’s background as an early-stage VC and as a CTO for social investing app Insyde make him uniquely skilled to lead the growth strategy of our B2C offering Similar Inc. Asked about his new role, Jackson said,

"With good core principles and the right people at the helm, you can make a product that people love to use. If you can add in the element of virality to grow the user base, you can create powerful network effects."

In his approach to programming, Jackson considers himself ‘old school’. “In fact, I learned VBA from an old library book from the 90s! Frameworks can be great for prototyping, but I like to build from scratch wherever possible, especially when building products."

Speaking on his time as a VC, Jackson shared his insights about his key indicators for growth potential. “I was industry agnostic, but for B2C offerings, I specifically looked for products with potential for the creation of network effects, and Founders who understood how important these were – it’s telling that companies like Slack, Atlassian, Canva and Zoom have built in network effects. B2B products by their nature don’t need to be as viral as B2C, but the best ones do have potential for viral growth.”

Talking about his first week at Particular Audience, Jackson said “I’m excited to be working with a team who are really passionate about improving e-commerce experiences for both retailers and customers. After closely analysing the Similar product, the amount of potential I can see is astounding. In an unbelievably short time, the team has built out a product to more than rival its competitors. I'm keen to see Similar grow into something exceptional!”

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