How to teach growth hacking to a child

The first thing we need to do is establish a meaningful context.

Let’s say we’re selling lemonade to raise money so she can buy herself a pair of sneakers she really likes. I made this one up. But if you REALLY want to teach a kid, you’re going to have to listen to her and find out what SHE cares about. Then use that. Now we have a goal to work towards.

Before we can go further, we have to ask two primary questions. What are we selling? How are we selling it? This is basic innovation and marketing 101. We have to come up with a product (lemonade), and figure out how we want to position it (Who are we selling it to? Where? In what context? At what price?)

Once we answer all of those questions, and we have some experience building product (making the lemonade in the kitchen, maybe) and some experience selling it (on the streets, at a fair, etc), then we have to ask her- what would we have to do to sell a lot more lemonade a lot faster? What can we do to the lemonade itself that would make people want to buy more of it, or tell their friends about it, or buy it for their friends?

Maybe we could sell it in bottles rather than in cups, so that they could buy it for their friends. Maybe we could offer loyalty cards. Maybe we could add some interesting colouring- maybe we could make blue lemonade, and tell the local news about it.

All of that is essentially one long lesson in growth hacking: How do you use what you have (X) to get from where you are (A) to where you want to go (B), as a business or product or company?

Make sure that B is where SHE wants to go, not you. Otherwise she’s just going to get bored and annoyed. Teach a kid how to get what SHE wants, though, and you’ve taught her a lot more than just growth hacking.

Let me revisit that in simplified, listicle form:

1: Ask her what she wants.

2: Ask her what she thinks are the possible means to get what she wants. Don’t laugh or patronize. Help her run through the options quickly and let her see for herself why something will or will not work.

3: Figure out what you guys have that you can leverage, make, sell. Do that. Have lots of fun doing it.

4: Figure out how you could sell it. Repeat in the spirit of #2.

5: Map out the conceptual ideaspace (product- who wants it, why do they want it, what are its features, what is good about it) with her

6: ask her what she could change or adjust to accelerate her trajectory towards her goal

7: Boom, you’ve got yourself a little growth hacker!

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