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About Gabriel Weinberg
Weinberg is the CEO & Founder of DuckDuckGo, the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs. Since 2008, Weinberg has grown DuckDuckGo from a self-funded operation out of his dusty basement into a business with over $25 million in revenue and 50 employees across multiple continents.
Weinberg is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded other Internet-related companies; he is also an active angel investor. He co-authored Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth (Penguin Portfolio, 2015) and co-wrote a forthcoming book on mental models, Super Thinking. He was also on General Electric's four-member Digital Advisory Board for 2015.
Weinberg holds a B.S. with honors from MIT in Physics and an M.S. from the MIT Technology and Policy Program. He has been profiled in The Washington Post and Fast Company, and is routinely quoted in leading print publications such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Weinberg is also a frequent TV commentator, appearing on CNN, CNBC, and CBS This Morning, among others. He resides with his wife and kids in Valley Forge, PA and is on twitter @yegg.
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Most startups don’t fail because they can’t build a product.
Most startups fail because they can’t get traction.
Startup advice tends to be a lot of platitudes repackaged with new buzzwords, but Traction is something else entirely.
As Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares learned from their own experiences, building a successful company is hard. For every startup that grows to the point where it can go public or be profitably acquired, hundreds of others sputter and die.
Smart entrepreneurs know that the key to success isn’t the originality of your offering, the brilliance of your team, or how much money you raise. It’s how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers (or, for a free service, users). That’s called traction, and it makes everything else easier—fund-raising, hiring, press, partnerships, acquisitions. Talk is cheap, but traction is hard evidence that you’re on the right path.
Traction will teach you the nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business. It draws on inter-views with more than forty successful founders, including Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (reddit), Paul English (Kayak), and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot). You’ll learn, for example, how to:
·Find and use offline ads and other channels your competitors probably aren’t using
·Get targeted media coverage that will help you reach more customers
·Boost the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by automating staggered sets of prompts and updates
·Improve your search engine rankings and advertising through online tools and research
Weinberg and Mares know that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; every startup faces unique challenges and will benefit from a blend of these nineteen traction channels. They offer a three-step framework (called Bullseye) to figure out which ones will work best for your business. But no matter how you apply them, the lessons and examples in Traction will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs.
"You can't really know anything if you just remember isolated facts. If the facts don't hang together on a latticework of theory, you don't have them in a usable form.
You've got to have models in your head."
- Charlie Munger, investor, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway
Or, you can just read Super Thinking, a fun, illustrated guide to every mental model you could possibly need. How can mental models help you? Well, here are just a few examples...
• If you've ever been overwhelmed by a to-do list that's grown too long, maybe you need the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help you prioritize.
• Use the 5 Whys model to better understand people's motivations or get to the root cause of a problem.
• Before concluding that your colleague who messes up your projects is out to sabotage you, consider Hanlon's Razor for an alternative explanation.
• Ever sat through a bad movie just because you paid a lot for the ticket? You might be falling prey to Sunk Cost Fallacy.
• Set up Forcing Functions, like standing meeting or deadlines, to help grease the wheels for changes you want to occur.
So, the next time you find yourself faced with a difficult decision or just trying to understand a complex situation, let Super Thinking upgrade your brain with mental models.