I tried sharing some news on Facebook today, and I got blocked from posting in other groups. I had figured that I needed a better growth engine instead of over-sharing on Facebook, so I spent the morning planning the new growth engine.

Growth Hacking

I term what I do in building organic growth to be growth-hacking. Hacking because it is not marketing. What marketing is, is to abide by rules and deliver a consistent and above-average message on centralizad platforms such as Instagram. In this case, you must provide great content that starts out benefiting the platform because your content makes the platform more valuable. And if it just happens that your content promotes either yourself or your product, then you get to keep the perks out of it. This is why Vine was never allowed to be shared on Facebook. The proliferation of Vine would eat the lunch of Instagram stories.

What growth hacking is, and what marketing is not, is to be clever and gray. If I figured out a way to bypass spam filters, then I would spam because that is growth-hacking. I am not going to reveal my next effort in growth-hacking because it might harm my efforts. So that's a story for another time. I will be sure to share if it fails. I do enjoy sharing my feats of failures.

In-person training

Lunch was spent with our new Indonesian colleague who had come over to the Singapore office for training. My company has more Indonesians than Singaporeans now, and that is a good thing. Because the market to be in is Indonesia.

The earlier of the afternoon was spent training her in our software stack and providing high-level guidance on the expectations of her.

I think I have made our remote team work for my needs. I still prefer on-premise hires, but truth be told. If I were an employee, I would prefer to work remotely too. It is a pragmatic move.

Writing

After training and in between whatever tasks I am on, I spend my time writing. I prefer to write because words are explicit, permanent, and not negotiable. Unlike speech, which is mired in tone, facial expressions, and all sorts of nuances that more often or not lead to more trouble than it deserves. But honestly, I started writing down task specifications a lot more because people always forget something when told. This way, there is a checklist, there are clear instructions to refer to, and there is a commenting feature for further clarifications. It works!

And write, I did. I wrote and provided further clarification on the next high priority task, which are channel subscriptions for SharedHere.

From a product manager's point of view, people come to SharedHere for the content. The platform is irrelevant. But users do not owe us a living. They want to be told when new content is posted. With subscription notifications, I will add a clear call-to-action to every page -- for the user to subscribe to a channel offering a theme of the content. Upon subscription, I no longer have to post on some centralized social media platform, hoping that I will not be banned just so that SharedHere can have recurring views from users who know of SharedHere. Our email notifications will automate and do the work for us. And my growth-hacking efforts can focus on the one-time conversion of a user into a subscriber on SharedHere.

My synchronous brain in an asynchronous world

It was a particularly hectic day. It is to be expected, given that SharedHere is not fucking huge yet. I expect to be continually bothered until we make a breakthrough in the form of a growth engine that leads to some hockey stick growth. Then, my next tribulation will on monetization.

Historically, the rate of success of my products is around 50:50. By success, I mean having a product make more money than the amount I put in. I am still seeking for that sticky ass product that could occupy me till I retire.

SharedHere is a hard product, but the premise seems exceptionally sound. A curated and uncensorable platform for people to discuss, consume, and sharing content in an internet full of paywalls and centralized giants. If I pull this off, then I think I can die knowing that I am a good product manager.