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Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares


Gabriel Weinberg is the founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn’t track you with over three billion searches last year. Previously he was the cofounder and CEO of Opobox, which was sold for $10 million. 

The Host’s Perspective:

First, a couple of definitions from the book.

A startup is a company designed to grow fast. It doesn’t necessarily have to be newly founded, be a tech company or have venture funding.

Traction is growth, more specifically quantitative evidence of growth.

In writing “Traction” the authors interviewed more than forty successful startup founders and researched countless more, and discovered that startups get traction through 19 different marketing and sales channels, or “traction channels.” Examples of traction channels include content marketing, SEO, publicity, paid advertising, email marketing, public speaking and so on.

Since every traction channel can be measured, you don’t need all 19 channels – just the ones that work based on testing.

What’s fascinating is that there were two broad themes through their research.

First, most founders tend to use only those channels they are familiar with or what their competition or industry seems to be using.

Second, it’s really difficult to predict which traction channels will work well for you. (Which is why you need to test.) But there’s a dirty little secret about this book that was purportedly written for startups –  established companies can use it as well.

This is really a book for companies that want to grow quickly.

 Listen to the Interview:


Show Notes:

“Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

“The Challenger Customer” by Pat Spenner (Marketing Book Podcast interview)

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

“The Four Steps to the Epiphany” by Steve Blank

“Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

Philosophy of Human Misjudgment Speech by Charles Monger

“Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

“The Advantage” by Patrick M. Lencioni

Book Website (

Gabriel’s Twitter (@yegg)

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