Archives for October 2017

October 26, 2017 - No Comments!

What are the most important books for startup founders to read?

“The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones. Laugh at them, tread on them, and let them lead you to something better.” - by Enid Blyton

If you’re running a startup, you should check out some super insightful books from successful people inside the startup world.

With these books you can optimize the way you run your startup and have some great experiment ideas in order to test them when the time comes.

The last 5 years were the most difficult years of my life.

I tried to overcome everyday difficulties with meditation, it helped me a lot when I was doing it during midnights.

Meditation opened my mind and I started seeing potential in thing I couldn’t before. That’s when I realized that I must help my teammates reach beyond their limit, and start making magic.

Therefore, I started reading a bunch of books about growth marketing, startups etc. and sharing my experiences with the rest of the team in our daily meetings.

The result?

After a while, the team got as inspired and motivated as I was. So we were capable of executing a lot of creative ideas that we had in mind.

I’m proud to be a part of this team, so here is the must-have reading list to keep everyone motivated, these are 10 books/e-books paid and free for you.

  1. The Innovator's Dilemma PAID - by Clayton Christensen - provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success
  2. The Obstacle Is the Way PAID - by Ryan Holiday - the book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience
  3. Extreme Programming Explained PAID - by Kent Beck - organizes and presents five years’ worth of experiences, growth, and change revolving around XP
  4. Let the Cash Flow: A Guide Full Of Growth Tactics For Your eCommerce Store FREE - by Viral Loops and ContactPigeon - you will get a deeper understanding of what can make or break your eCommerce store. In addition to that, it presents you tools and how you can utilize them to take your store one step ahead of the competition.
  5. The $100 Startup PAID - by Chris Guillebeau - shares ideas for living life in a non-conventional way. He has never felt trapped in a career office job, has been his own boss in a number of entrepreneurial ventures and enjoys spending his free time in what he personally finds to be a fulfilling way.
  6. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future PAID - by Peter Thiel - a Legendary entrepreneur and Investor shows how to build a great business and a better future.
  7. Four Thousand Days: My Journey From Prison To Business Success PAID - by Duane Jackson - after being arrested in the US in possession of 6,500 ecstasy tablets he served time in prison on both sides of the Atlantic.On his release he started a business with the help of the Prince's Trust. A business that he grew and sold four thousand days after his release from prison, making him a millionaire many times over.
  8. The Power of Broke PAID - by Daymond john - John has been practicing the power of broke ever since he started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens. With a $40 budget, Daymond had to strategize out-of-the-box ways to promote his products.
  9. The Hard Thing About Hard Things PAID - by Ben Horowitz - cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
  10. Will it fly? PAID - by Thomas K. McKnight - introduces the first intuitive, practical tool for assessing and refining new business ideas. Fast, confidential, and reliable, it addresses 44 key elements of success, distilling experience from more than 200 business launches.

That’s all from me 🙂

October 20, 2017 - No Comments!

Would Someone Spend $18,000 to Win Your Contest? Jet Made it Happen.

Listen, I’m pretty competitive.

Whether it's a game of football or who can finish a beer first, I’m in it to win it.

But even my competitive streak has never driven me to invest $18,000 toward winning a contest. I mean, that’s how much a brand-spanking-new 2017 Honda Civic 🚗. would run me.

So needless to say, when news of a man who shelled out this much cash for a chance at winning a referral marketing contest crossed my desk, I was intrigued to say the least. eric martin

Who am I kidding 😲 ? I questioned his overall sanity.

And I wondered what in the heck this company had offered to inspire him to spend the equivalent of two years of uni tuition.

The short version is this: Before its launch, (a startup wanting to compete with ran a growth hacking contest.

The result?

Besides the fact that some guy invested $18k securing a win, gained a quite the number of “insiders,” which most certainly contributed to their later multi-billion-dollar acquisition.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s dig into this brilliant referral marketing campaign, then you tell me...

Could you copy this model and inspire that kind of investment from your referral marketing participants to grow your business—or perhaps come even just a little close?

It may not be as difficult as it seems.’s Recipe for Referral Marketing Success

1. Give the people what they want. knew that the only way to ensure a strong launch was to build some online buzz; and what better way to do it than to hold a contest?

But this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill giveaway offering free product, swag or a cash prize, decided to tempt participants with something more valuable—shares of their business. giveaway

And they weren't just giving away a share or two... they were giving away 190,000 shares spread across 10 winners.

Yowza! 😱

Here’s the breakdown:

At the end of the contest, the winner earned 100,000 shares of stock (no, that wasn’t a typo. I said 100,000 shares).

Participants in places 2 through 10 received 10,000 shares each.

Your actionable tip:

Ok, so you might not have 190,000 shares of your stock you want to part with. But the takeaway here is that you must give participants something of value.

Logically, people are going to put more effort into your contest if you are offering something they actually want.

A free t-shirt is nice, but not many people are going to invest much time or energy for a chance to win a shirt to add to their probably-already-overflowing drawer of tees.

So don’t just copy your competitors. Think outside the box (📦 🕺) and offer something that hasn’t been done before.

2. Show participants their progress along the way.

What did contenders have to do to add these shares to their portfolios?

Simple. Get people to sign up as a Insider.

At sign up, each contest participant received a unique sign-up link so that could attribute referrals. Participants shared these links with friends and promoted’s insider program on social media using their unique links.

Jet sign up page

People hoping for a win didn’t have to guess as to how they were doing. There is a reason stadiums have a scoreboard, after all.

In this same vein, provided regular email updates to content participants showcasing their place on the leaderboard.

A virtual leaderboard—a sure way to motivate the competitor in all of us—tracked those with the most referrals, specifically, the top 10. giveaway

By feeding their referrers a steady diet of data, empowered those racing for the top spots, keeping the contest alive day after day.

Your actionable tip:

Follow’s lead and give your participants information on how well (or not well) they are doing.

Your ultimate goal is to get as many leads as possible.

By reporting your referral program competitors’ progress, you encourage those going after the prize to ramp up their efforts, in turn ramping up your lead list.

3. Get the word out far and wide.

When launched their referral program, they managed to obtain some serious media attention, which worked out to their advantage.

The man who ended up winning those shares learned about the program when in a Bloomberg Businessweek article.

Were this program not featured there, he might have never discovered it. And would have been down the 8,000 referrals he generated. 😬

By getting the word out, managed to catch the attention of their contest winner—father of two, Eric Martin works as a product specialist…or I should say, worked. He also ran for Congress in 2012, but his run ended in a disappointing 5th place finish Republican primary.

Martin heard about the contest and entered it late in the game, starting in January despite the fact that the contest had been going on since November.

jet eric martin

In the case of Eric Martin, it wasn’t slow and steady wins the race. It was, instead, pretty much the opposite of the Tortoise in the Hare.

In just three weeks, he signed up 8,000 people by investing 18K between Facebook advertising and marketing the promotion on and, giving him the #1 spot on’s leaderboard.

Your actionable tip:

Posting your program on your website and social media channels and hoping for organic traffic isn’t going to be enough. Pay to play with boosted social posts and traditional media to spread the message and get the attention of a larger crowd.

You can’t just depend on an “Eric Martin” finding out about your promotion accidentally.

So how did make out in the end? And what about Eric Martin?

At the end of the day, the referral program model worked out pretty sweet for

Yes, they gave away 100,000 shares 💰, but they ended up getting what they wanted – a strong customer base.

Before they even launched, had amassed quite the collection of customers — 350,000 to be exact, thanks in large part to their referral program.

The company had some hiccups—they had to give up on charging a $50 membership fee three months after launching, for one—but it looks like it worked out pretty well for them. Their big payday came when bought them for $3.3 billion in early 2016.

Oh, and as for Eric Martin...while he’s keeping mum as to exactly how much this deal netted him, experts say it somewhere between $10 and $20 million. 🤑

He’s suddenly seeming very wise indeed…

And in case you were wondering, Eric Martin himself is still at it. He won 50,000 shares of investing start-up Nvstr in May of 2017.

So, do you want to create a campaign similar to Jet? We've got you covered.

This template is inspired by People can join your competition, just by putting in their info. Then, the more friends they invite, the higher they climb up the leaderboard.

It's that simple! viral loops

In case you’re interested to build a giveaway like, we have your back! Save yourself some time.

Cheers 😉