Secret Sauce Conference: we smashed it (again). Here what I learned as a co-founder

When we met the first time aiming to put together Secret Sauce Conference, I had the feeling it was a very good idea. And challenging. And crazy. But if someone had told me about the results we achieved in just 7 months, well, I wouldn’t have believed it.

On Tuesday, we put together the last chapter of Secret Sauce Conference supporting Vincent’s growth hacking talk, while working on our next event, probably the end of June. And it was amazing: more than 800 tickets sold, 400 showing up at WeWork Moorgate, such a massive crowd.


How everything started
We founded Secret Sauce Conference in August 2015 to create a no-bullshit conference, for entrepreneurs, startup people gathering speakers willing to share valuable but also practical experience, in an industry, where everyone is dreaming of changing the world (but it’s extremely hard to do it)
Which mistakes should be avoided? What can you do to acquire your first users? How can you achieve a seed round? Those were just some questions we tried to reply with our first one-day event at Google Campus.
The response was massive: more than 600 tickets sold, a full house on the both floors at Google Campus during the day and at the after-party.

Here you can find what we were aiming to achieve with our fist conference.
Here some spontaneous responses by the tech community

Then, we put together the #2, the #3. And after 7 months, I’m happy to share with you what I learned being a co-founder together with Vincent, Silvia, Jordan, Gioia, Laura and Eva.

What I learned
1) Content is king
Easy-peasy setting up a conference giving suggestions to entrepreneurs in order to grow their business. Isn’t it? Well, not really. I’ve been to tons of conferences, where the only thing I remember was what I had for lunch. And not because the food was amazing, just because the event was full of bullshit, speakers were more keen to sell their products rather than really sharing their insights and people didn’t care about talking or networking.
I think the core business of conferences is speakers + topics, so you need to work on a winning combination.
If you’re working in a startup, it’s very important, as normally startup teams & founders don’t want to waste time on something they’re not sure it will be worth.
Also, startups are much more interested in having practical examples rather than tons of theoretical experience or very big names: if I’m launching a digital product my main goal is reaching my potential customers, increase the registrations and activate them (branding campaigns, what are them??).

2) Create a fun experience!
Vincent is a character and it wasn’t really difficult making Secret Sauce as funniest as possible. We wanted to create an experience for people to learn, but who said that learning or attending conferences  is boring?
As a lot of startup environments in the tech city are playful and fun, we also wanted to be fun. We got the chef hats, provided the wristbands, and some other cool stuff. We put on a lot of enthusiasm, making Secret Sauce very relaxed and enjoyable.
We didn’t want people going out thinking it was a boring one.
Positive and fun experience are more likely to be remembered, did you know it?


3) You don’t need to hire a PR agency: understand your audience and reach out
To make it successful, we put into practice a lot of tips and growth hacks Vincent is sharing during his talks. So, don’t write press releases, tell your story. Use social media to reach to people directly.
Ask people to invite their friends over. Make it sound like a party rather than a conference.
Make it exclusive, people will love having the chance of attending an exclusive event designed to reply to their particular questions. Understand your audience and share what people are looking for.
If you’re working well on the first two points, well, the word of mouth will do the rest.


I think that’s it, if you want to join our team for the next Secret Sauce, let us know!
And clear your calendar for our next event in London in June. Secret Sauce is coming!

Events for startups in London&Dublin: growth hack to success!

Are you interested in Growth Hacking? If you don’t really know what it is but you’re working as marketeer for a startup you should reply yes. Growth Hacking is the way Marketing is implemented at startups: forget about brand identity, vision and mission, this stuff doesn’t work anymore. Well, it works on paper, then you need to have things done, quickly and effectively.
When you’re talking about growth hacking, you’re talking about tools, ideas and approaches combined with creativity and analytic skills to get results, achieve goals and scaling.
There are a lot of examples where adopting growth hacking strategies has proven to be successful. Think of Dropbox’s referral strategy or do you know why Airbnb has grown like crazy? This is a great video about it.

growth-hacking-events-london-dublinSo, if you’re looking to be the next successful one, you need to learn. Then think, do, be creative and check your performance.
There are two amazing Growth Hacking events you can’t miss if you’re looking to improve your skills.
The first one is in London at Google Campus, on Wednesday 23rd, and it’s the Secret Sauce Conference, a one-day conference for people looking to learn growth hacking techniques on getting investment, making sales, becoming a great public speaker, and all things related to run an early-stage startup.
It’s sold out at the moment, but you can follow the conference on Twitter using #getyoursauce hashtag. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing (as I’m part of the organising team lol)
ps: we also did a lot of growth hacking to organise the event check it out here!

The second one is Growth Hacking Talks and it’s in Dublin on the day after, September 24th.
It’s more a conference rather than a workshop, where a bunch of people from Uber, Intercom and Google will talk about several growth hacking strategies. I would be really interested in: How Building a Community Can Help Drive Growth and How I Smashed Our Indiegogo Goal in 2 Days. Sounds really promising!
You can buy your ticket here or tweet me here for a chance to win your ticket and attend this conference for free. 😉



Quanto ne sapete di Growth Hacking? Se in questo momento avete una faccia perplessa e sguardo perso nel vuoto vi invito a leggere questo mio articolo, dove appunto spiego che quando si parla di Growth Hacking si parla di strumenti, idee ed approcci combinati con creatività e capacità di analisi per accelerare la vostra idea ed ottenere risultati e raggiungere obiettivi.
Ci sono un sacco di esempi di startup che hanno usato strategie di growth hacking di successo. Ad esempio la referral strategy di Dropbox oppure le strategie di crescita di AirBnb (qui un video molto interessante sull’argomento).
Ma torniamo a noi, in questo post vi vorrei parlare di un paio di eventi molto interessanti sull’argomento.

Ankur Nagpal-Facebook-developer-growthhackingIl primo è a Londra al Google Campus questo mercoledì 23 settembre: Secret Sauce Conference.
Nel corso della giornata ci saranno tutta una serie di workshop su strategie growth hacking da mettere in pratica per ottenere investimenti, vendere, diventare un public speaker e tutto quello che circonda il mondo delle early-stage startup.
Purtroppo è sold out, ma potete seguire la conferenza su Twitter con l’hashtag #getyoursauce. Sono sicura sarà fantastica (anche perché sono nel team che l’organizza :D)

La seconda conferenza è Growth Hacking Talks a Dublino il giorno dopo, 24 settembre.
Si tratta di una conferenza piu che un workshop, dove una serie di speaker, da Uber a Intercom e Google, parleranno di strategie di growth hacking. Ho già l’acquolina per:  How Building a Community Can Help Drive Growth & How I Smashed Our Indiegogo Goal in 2 Days. Super!
Potete ancora acquistare il vostro biglietto qui oppure twittare per partecipare al contest e vincere un biglietto gratuito per la conferenza di Dublino 😉


Chi è il Growth Hacker

Siete quasi in clima di vacanza, quindi, vi avviso: cercherò di essere poco tecnica, anche se non sarà facile.

Qui a Londra, nel mondo startup, si parla e si cercano solo growth hacker. Secondo me è la parola del 2015. Quindi, se non volete essere considerati dei markettari noiosi e fuffologi, continuate a leggere.
Come diventare un growth hacker? Dovete imparare i trucchi del mestiere e basare le vostre strategie al fine di scalare e far crescere il progetto.

Qualche giorno fa ho sentito un podcast in cui Graham Hunter spiegava quali fossero i consigli per assumere un consulente di growth per la vostra startup. Graham è stato un consulente di marketing per diverse startup ed agenzie ed ora è Head Instructor of Growth a Tradecraft (USA), un’accademia per sviluppare competenze e diventare consulenti di successo per startup.

growth-hacking-guide-mindset-framework-and-tools-Quindi, chi è un growth hacker?
È una figura professionale che incrocia le skills di un marketing, uno strategist, un project manager, con un approccio basato “sul fare” ed un’attitudine rivolta alla crescita del progetto.
Quando si parla di marketing, a volte è difficile definire l’obiettivo di riferimento. Oppure si prendono in considerazione tutta una serie di elementi, come il branding, la promozione, la customer experience. Pochi professionisti di marketing hanno esperienze di customer acquisitions, soprattutto con prodotti & servizi online.
Sean Ellis è il primo a parlare di growth hacking come di startup marketing, dove la crescita diventa l’obiettivo principale, declinato in acquisition & retention con un set di risorse (e budget) limitato.

Quali sono le skills che dovrebbe avere un growth hacker? Graham suggerisce che dovrebbero: “Non dover seguire degli schemi imposti da qualcun altro, essere un generalista, basare i propri ragionamenti sui numeri e saper fare un po’ di tutto“. Quindi, se qualcuno vi ha detto che per crescere professionalmente dovete focalizzarsi e specializzarvi solo su alcuni tool..beh, sapete che non c’è solo questa strada.

Che domande dovrebbe farvi un growth hacker? È lui lo specialista, quindi preparatevi a rispondere ad una serie di domande specifiche, sui vostri clienti, l’audience, la vostra strategia di customer acquisitions o la retention rate. Come capire se si tratta della persona giusta per voi? Graham vi suggerisce di chiedergli: “Come farai crescere il mio business“? e penso sia un punto molto importante.
Ho avuto molte discussioni con persone alla ricerca di growth hacker con esperienze di startup scaling. Perchè? Se non hai fatto parte di Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox or Slack è difficile fornire esempi concreti. Quindi, focalizzatevi sulle competenze e l’approccio della persona, ascoltate i suggerimenti e consiglio finale: non chiedete di quanto hanno fatto crescere i follower del profilo twitter, perché non vi serve un growth hacker in questo caso e non sara’ la sua strategia principale per il vostro business.


Ascoltate il podcast di Graham Hunter qui.
Se volete saperne piu’ di Growth Hacking cliccate qui


Avete delle domande? Fatemi sapere cosa ne pensate nei commenti! 

What you shouldn’t ask a growth hacker

What’s a growth hacker? Here in London it’s the moment of the growth hackers. It’s the word of 2015. Are you looking to scale your project? You need a growth hacker, at least with 2 years of experience scaling other projects, who knows the winning tricks.
But which are the winning tricks?

A couple of days ago I listened to a really interesting podcast where Graham Hunter has been asked a lot of questions about hiring a growth consultant. Graham has been a marketing consultant at several agencies and he’s now Head Instructor of Growth at Tradecraft (USA) where they train smart people to succeed in traction roles at high-growth companies.

growth-hacking-guide-mindset-framework-and-tools-So, what’s a growth hacker? He’s a digital marketing person with a to-do-approach and a growth-mindset. Marketing is broad and sometimes marketing people working at corporates knows everything about branding and nothing related to customer acquisitions. So, that’s why startups are now looking for growth hackers: they have limited resources so they need to grow, acquire new users and retain them.

Which are growth hacker’s skills? Graham says they should: “Take a not prescriptive approach, being a generalist, have a data-driven approach and knowing a fair amount of everything“. So, if someone told you that, in order to take a step further you should focus and specialise on specific topics, you know it’s bullshit.

What should a growth hacker ask you? He’s the specialist, so, be prepared to reply to a lot of specific questions, mainly about your audience, your user acquisitions strategy or your retention rate. In order to hire the best growth consultant, Graham suggests you to ask: “How do you grow my business“? and I think this is a great point.
I had several discussions with people asking which is my experience scaling businesses. Can I ask you why? If you’ve not been part of the early team at Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox or Slack is hard giving outstanding examples. So, why are you asking? Focus on people’s skills and mindsets, listen to experiences and suggestions, and a final tip: asking about scaling twitter followers is not the most important thing a growth hacker can do for your business.

If you want to listen to Graham Hunter’s podcast click here.
If you want to learn more about Growth Hacking click here

Startup tips: how to build a successful marketing strategy in 5 steps

bE Careful: this is a technical post. Well, not really technical, but a bit.

Online marketing strategies are really important and you can’t really do much without setting a basic, simple, straight forward strategy.
“Why do I need a strategy?” you would ask me, I guess. At least it’s something people are asking me sometimes. Or they tell me: “Na, you don’t need to work on a strategy, just post on social media”. What are you going to post if you don’t know what you want to reach out?
It seems strategies changing everytime, but the truth is that you need goals & strategies, even if you’re a startup and you just know you should open a twitter account and increase your follower base.
For example, this is a goal=> increase your follower base. Is it a good one? Well, not really sure. That’s why you need to think about your goals before building a strategy

online-marketing-strategy-startup-1) So, the first thing is to have a clear goal in mind. To reach a good one, just think what does success mean to your project/company. Do you want to create am engaging community? Or improve conversions? Or drive sales? Just pick one and be focused. I know that success means a lot of different things, but priorities are really important, especially if you’ve just launched your app/website/project/whatver

2) Then: learn about your audience. What do they like? How could you motivate them? It’s really difficult communicate with them without knowing them.
People click if they’re interested, if they like the way/what you’re talking about and they’re feeling comfortable.
You need to create content and you don’t want to waste time & efforts for things you’re not sure could be appreciated, aren’t you?
Just the last tip: work with different segments, your audience don’t need to be the same across all channels.

3) Customer journey: it’s important also if you’re not selling.  Why?
‘Cause you can enlarge the range of information you have about your audience: how do they find you? Do they research first on a mobile device?

4) Link your goals to KPIs: which are the KPIs you’d need to measure your customer interactions? KPIs are really key and they’re different for every channel. Mapping them all could help you understand your business goals.

5) Define the activities you should implement to reach KPIs and don’t forget to create reports to understand if you’re going in the right direction! 😉