The dark side of growth hacking

Two weeks ago, I participated in Tech-festival. Here we are at the opening session with Taylor Ryan talking growth hacking.

Now, I really like the themes the festival are trying to address. Zebras instead of Unicorns. Humans before users. Tech needs to change and it’s nice to feel that the community is becoming increasingly aware of the influence it wields over modern day society.

The theme was further underlined by great talks by Jean-Francois Groff, contributor to the creation of www, Chris Messina – inventor of #, Payal Arora – digital anthropologist and author of “the next billion users”. We even ended up with a Tech Pledge: Committing to a better future for all.

Taylor Ryan
This brings me back to the first session we attended hosted by Talent Garden Rainmaking with Taylor Ryan. It was a 2-hour tour-de-force into how you can use growth hacking to game the system.

Showcasing various cases Ryan gave away the recipe to use AI-generated content as a mean to accelerate your content marketing efforts.

The goal being to rank higher on Google, a lot of effort was spent on showcasing which tools to use to circumvent Googles E-A-T algorithm (which as I understand is Googles attempt to heighten the quality of stuff being produced online).

The ethical and moral stance Ryan took in regard to gaming the system and using tricks to autogenerate everything from blog posts to videos on YouTube can be summed up to: “Well, everybody else is doing it…”.

Contrast to Techfestival
As the days of Techfestival went by the session became more and more in contrast to what the rest of Techfestival was about. Making change. Taking responsibility.

So, here is the problem. You can’t be half-value driven. It’s an either / or thing. You must go all the way.

So, I’m left with the question of why this session was part of Techfestival? And whether Talent Garden Rainmaking as a main contributor to the Danish tech scene is truly committed to be an agent of change?

Or is it just another case of good old fashion “business as usual”-thinking while utilizing Techfestival as a nice marketing opportunity?

By the way the session was really entertaining. Ryan is a brilliant and entertaining performer and he definitely knows his stuff. I guess there is a light (being creative and guerilla-ish) and a dark side (being exploitive and terrorist-ish) of growth hacking.

This session gave a stellar introduction to the dark side of the force, sorry, growth hacking, that I was previously unaware of. As a result, I got to reflect on which way my company and I will choose. And how easy it is to be seduced and go down the wrong path, as you try to iterate your way to success.

May the force be with you!