Growth Hacking November Newsletter

This is our growth hacking November newsletter which we have copied in full below. Its our second newsletter! If you like it, please subscribe to my growth hacking email newsletter in the form below.

Growth Hacking November Newsletter

Growth hacking is a mentality rather than a toolset. Of course I have my favourite tools that I use, but I prefer to think of it as state of mind. Its the fusion of product + distribution.

There was a very revealing article this week in The Verge on the impending failure of Everpix, a photo startup. They had the best product, best algorithms, best team and the best investors. Heck, the founders had previously invented software which got bought by Apple! This software would become a key part of OSX and iTunes. The Everpix had raised $1.8m in venture capital funding and decided to focus solely on the product. They had stellar numbers but ignored GROWTH. Renowned growth hacker Andrew Chen had a great post-mortem analysis on why they failed.

Also, I would like to invite you to a new course that may be of interest, Making Effective Prototypes, on 27 November, 6-9 PM at General Assembly. This is most suited for entrepreneurs and non-technical people to get acquainted with, and fully benefit from, prototyping and wireframing.

Hacking Design

One of the biggest problems we faced at Native Tongue as a startup was design. We didn’t have any in-house designers. We had some freelance designers through connections and from recruiting on Deviant Art that designed our language game apps.

Everyone will tell you that the ideal team is hacker + hustler + hipster. The hipster is the designer. For many startups, particularly where there are two technical founders, usually one of the missing elements is design. We got by as we had freelancers we could use but it did slow us down by not having a designer. When we started the consulting business and started to get more projects coming in, we needed more design resources. We hired a designer, but we also did another critical thing – we started using 99designs. We had already used 99designs for crowdsourcing our logo and website, so we were familiar with using it. In addition, my business partner had used it numerous times in the past.

Hacking Design

We decided to use a combination of our designers plus 99designs platform to get more designs concepts and help us move faster. On 99designs, I have access to thousands of designers. When I put out a brief I can have anywhere between 30 – 50 designers that contribute to the design brief. We combine this with our design thinking and capabilities, UX, development and we achieve great results.

In short, we have hacked the design process

I wrote an article about this for Tech In Asia on how startups can boost their productivity by using crowdsourced design. This article was also syndicated on Yahoo Philippines and Yahoo Singapore. You can also watch my Youtube video where I describe it in more detail. I filmed it while on holiday so I hope you enjoy the change of scenery in the background!

As you can see, the hacking mindset can be applied to other parts of your business – not just distribution. Its about doing things in non-conventional ways to get it done faster and more effectively. We have a lot of experience using 99designs and we often manage briefs for our clients for mobile app design. If you are interested, please drop me a line and I can show you some of the designs we have done.

New Prototyping Course

Course on Making Prototypes 27 November General Assemby

Much like growth hacking, I believe that prototyping is also a mindset. There are lots of tools out there – but knowing how to use them is what makes you effective. You can use any tool if you understand how to prototype and know what you are doing.

I’m teaching a new course at General Assembly where I cover prototyping, wireframing, user stories. It will also be hands-on as I will demonstrate some of my favourite tools that I use. I’d love for you to come along and to share it with anyone that you think might be interested. Its for 3 hours and its normally $70 AUD. Use the discount code GA_fam for a 20% discount to get the course for $56. You can enrol here. If you any questions about the course, just hit reply.

Matthew Ho
Native Tongue

p.s. I’ll be online for the next few hours to answer your questions. Just reply below!

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If you would like to subscribe to my Growth Hacking Newsletter, please sign up using the form below.

My first growth hacking email newsletter

I just sent out the following email. I’ve copied and pasted it in its entirety. The decision to use a plain text email was based on making it more readable and to appear more personalised. I’ve seen other startups such as Bufferapp and Photzy do this. When readers see a HTML email, they can put their guard up as it looks like a marketing email. I didn’t want it to appear like that. I wanted to make it very personal and in my natural voice.

I’ve been talking to Brett Fox about this a lot, and he decided to use plain text emails for Photzy with great effect. He also writes in a very personalised style and is one of my favourite copywriters (and growth hackers).




Welcome to the first edition of my growth hacking and online marketing newsletter. Some of you have attended my class at General Assembly. Whilst others have expressed an interest in this topic and would like to know more.

I believe we are living in a new era where companies can grow very quickly using cost effective online channels and unconventional means. Online marketing and growth hacking present a wealth of opportunities to be exploited. Companies such as Paypal and Reddit seeded growth and faked traction. Startups like airbnb were able to leverage channels and platforms that were untapped to grow exponentially.

It works, and then it doesn’t. Over time these channels become less price efficient and less effective as other people discover them. Andrew Chen described it best in the law of shitty clickthroughs. Any gap of opportunity will close suddenly so its important to be one of the first to tap into them.

I also wanted to introduce you to my latest video – a growth hacking discussion on Google Hangout. Its a followup to my growth hacking class. I talk about the following topics: 1) how I hacked my linkedin profile to generate sales enquiries. 2) product tours 3) reverse engineer marketing. I will hold these online talks once a week on Sunday afternoons. If you are interested in attending my live hangout online or have questions you’d like me to answer, please reply to this email.

Lastly, I want to leave you with one thought which is remarketing. A lot of people think about marketing to new customers, but you should also consider remarketing to existing customers and prospective customers. There was a brilliant article I read recently by Neil Patel on “How you can use remarketing to close a business deal“. Its an interesting, simple yet clever way to re-market to your customers using tracking techniques, advertising and some old fashioned method – phone calls!

I hope you enjoy the weekend and get some well earned rest.

Matthew Ho
Native Tongue Apps

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Growth Hacking Video – Hacking your linkedin profile, reverse engineer marketing and more

This is a followup video to the General Assembly course I was teaching on “Growth hacking & online experiments“. I had a lot of fun making some videos on growth hacking for the course. So I thought I’d extend it to a followup 30min google hangout video for my students.

These are the 3 topics we discussed today:
1. Hacking your linkedin profile
2. % of users that interact with product tours
3. Reverse engineer marketing – Using WhatRunsWheremixrank.comSEMrush. This was the article I came across recently which inspired today’s chat.

Making online videos is something I really enjoy doing. This is the 6th video I’ve created for this my YouTube Channel. I’ve also done them in the past for basketball, MMA and online marketing.

If you have any feedback, please leave it in the comments 🙂

I’m out like the old Yahoo logo,
Matt Ho