Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret? Customer Acquisition Strategies

In an event yesterday at Harvard with Harvard alum Paul Graham, I asked him a question: “Paul, what are some of the interesting, successful customer acquisition strategies that you have seen being used by your startups, or startups generally?”

His response: Can I not answer that question?

This leads me to a thing I have been thinking about for the last two years. India has the same ideas and quality of entrepreneurs as the Valley (or at least enough who can match their Valley peers), but somehow the same idea coming out of India, from a company led by a higher quality Indian entrepreneur doesn’t go anywhere, whereas its counterpart in the Valley just suddenly takes off! What! Why?

I think the answer to the question is related to the answer to the question I asked PG: customer acquisition. His response – avoiding the question – made me even more determined to find out what this was all about. So I’ve compiled a list of resources that I believe can help an entrepreneur anywhere in the world at least start thinking about this:

1) Basic User Acquisition Strategies, courtesy Launchrock

2) Quora post re: key strategies to acquire 100k users with a $0 marketing budget

3) 8 Startup Founders Reveal their # 1 User Acquisition Target, courtesy TreeHouse blog

4) Kissmetrics’ Ultimate Guide to Customer Acquisition

5) 5 Practical Tips from Dharmesh Shah on Customer Acquisition

6) Andrew Chen’s 10 obvious strategies to ruthlessly acquire users

7) A broad overview of startup marketing tactics

8) A slightly older post, but still useful post on getting users for your startup

9) 21 Actionable Growth Hacking Tactics, by Yongfook

and last, but def not least:

10) Growth Hacker TV! (Over a 100 episodes of founders sharing growth hackings secrets – the only link which might require login/signup/ subscription fees.

In subsequent posts, I am going to start analyzing these in more detail, and developing a framework/ checklist for non-SV startups to get user traction, quickly.

Photo courtesy: everystevejobsvideo.com

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