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Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers Hardcover – August 25, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 257 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a must-have, essential book if you want to be good at growth." - Aaron Ginn, Growth at StumbleUpon

"Traction is an absolute must. The Bullseye Framework Gabe and Justin layout is probably the greatest tool in my catalog over the past year. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started, Traction offers a framework that creates efficiency, clarity, and focus. With startups as crazy as they are, I strongly encourage you to take the time to make your life a little easier. Traction is equal to and should be read alongside The Lean Startup." - Adam Kearney, Founder & CEO, Saunter

"Traction is a critical guide for entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their businesses."  - Patrick Vlaskovits, bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur

"I've read quite a few books about startups over the years, and apparently this was the only one worth keeping." - Chris Stucchio, Data Scientist

"Traction belongs on every startup founder’s bookshelf. I’m buying copies for the CEOs of my current Angel Investments." - Kevin Dewalt, Angel Investor

"Anyone--founders, managers, and executives--trying to break through to new customers can use this smart, ambitious book." Eric Ries, bestselling author of The Lean Startup

“Here is the inside scoop, the latest, most specific tactics from the red-hot center of the internet marketing universe. From someone who has done it. Twice.” Seth Godin, bestselling author of Linchpin

“The entrepreneurs who walk out of our offices with term sheets walk into them with Traction. It's a pragmatic guide to solving the entrepreneur's number one challenge.” Fred Wilson, cofounder of Union Square Ventures

“The question every founder asks after shipping is always: how do I get traction? This book actually answers it.” Alexis Ohanian, cofounder & Executive Chairman of reddit

"A common question I get is:  'How do I know if my business is getting traction, or how do I get traction for my business, or how do I get users?' Traction answers all of these questions and more.” James Altucher, bestselling author of Choose Yourself

About the Author

Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you with over a billion searches in 2013. He is also an angel investor in early stage startups. Weinberg has been featured on CBS, FOX, the Guardian, the Washington Post and many more. Previously he was the Co-founder & CEO of Opobox, which was sold to United Online in 2006. Weinberg holds B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT. He is based on Valley Forge, PA with his wife and two boys.

Justin Mares is the former Director of Revenue at Exceptional, a software company that Rackspace acquired for 8 figures in 2013. He has previously founded two startups (one acquired, one bust) and runs a growth meetup in San Francisco. You can find his writing on marketing and personal-development on his blog, justinmares.com.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: S-curves Publishing; First edition (August 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976339609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976339601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas D. Kehoe on September 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was outlining a book proposal when I found "Traction." My proposal first explained that product development gets easier, faster, and cheaper every year, so startups no longer fail because they can't build their product. Instead, startups fail when they hit the marketing wall.

According to The Economist (2014 Sep 13), "marketers say they have seen more change in the past two years than in the previous 50."

According to the Harvard Business Review (2014 July-August, p. 56) "In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition....we can't think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly."

It can seem like marketing is getting harder each year, but actually in some ways it's getting easier and cheaper, e.g., Facebook's targeted ads. What's needed is a guide to how marketing is changing.

Unlike the zillions of e-books about Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, etc., my book would cover and compare all marketing channels. Unlike the e-books, my book would include case studies of real companies. Unlike the marketing textbooks, my book would focus on tech startups, not on dog treat bakeries and corner grocery stores. Unlike the books that say you'll get rich if you follow their formula, my book would say that marketing is changing rapidly now, and the marketing plan that worked even a few years ago won't work now. I proposed teaching entrepreneurs instead to make small-scale experiments, see what works and what doesn't, and continuously evolve their marketing.

I scrapped my book proposal because "Traction" is that book.

There are some things I would add (and perhaps Weinberg and Mares will in a second edition).
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Format: Kindle Edition
Traction is one of those books that makes you wonder, “Why didn’t anyone write this before?” Gabriel and Justin have done a marvelous job outlining a strategy for solving the #1 challenge facing EVERY new business today: how to get traction – what Naval Ravikant (AngelList) defines as “quantitative evidence of demand”.

The book begins by explaining why getting early customers is so critical for startups today and outlining a high-level strategy for doing it. They recommend considering a lot of different options, systematically testing them, and then focusing like hell on the 1 or two that are working.

The meat of the book – and the reason it belongs on your bookshelf – is the 19 chapters dedicated to each one of the traction channels:

Viral Marketing
PR
Unconventional PR
SEM
Social & Display Ads
Offline Ads
SEO
Content Marketing
Email Marketing
Engineering as Marketing
Targeting Blogs
Business Development
Sales
Affiliate Programs
Existing Platforms
Trade Shows
Offline Events
Speaking Engagements
Community Building
A marketing resource for startup Founders

This is a book that could have only been written by startup founders for startup founders. As founders, we never have the luxury of becoming an expert in any marketing strategy. But we have to know enough about all of them to get started and fill our teams with experts.

There are hundreds (e.g. Content Marketing) or thousands (e.g. Sales) of books on each of these strategies – more than any Founder ever needs to absorb. But I’ve never encountered a resources that gives a comprehensive overview of each of them.
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Format: Hardcover
In a world where startup advice tends to be a lot of the same garbage repackaged in fancy new clothes, this book is something different. It focuses on the part of the startup process where most companies go wrong -- getting customers.

A concise, actionable framework from some of the most successful founders in the world. Don't miss it.
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Format: Hardcover
Traction. Ah, just the sound of the word alone makes my spine tingle. Traction, it seems, can forgive all sins. With enough of it, investors will commit even if you haven’t figured out your team or how you will make money. So why is it that so many founders sit on their hands and just hope that their product takes off?

Ignorance. Most founders don’t know how to get traction for their startups and so they blindly double down on building a great product. They don’t know what investors mean when asked for a “Go-to-Market” plan so they skip that slide.

“Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have are enough customers.”

Ignorance for how to build traction is not an excuse, and Justin and Gabriel have created a definitive guide to stepping you through the 19 channels that every entrepreneur has access to today.

I don’t care if you are a food cart or the next Instagram, you will learn valuable techniques for building your business if you buy this book.

After reading this book and implementing their “Bullseye Framework”, you will absolutely be able to create a killer Go-to-Market slide for any investor. The Bullseye Framework solves the fundamental problem that:

“Some traction channels will move the needle early on, but will fail to work later […] What moves the needle changes dramatically.”

This framework will guide you to quickly figure out which 1 of the 19 channels you should focus on first. It will also help you shift gears when that one no longer serves you any more. The worst thing you can do with traction is forget to shift into 5th gear while merging onto the freeway.

It is about time that someone create this definitive guide.
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