Here’s a prediction for the year 2014 based on talking to over 1400 startup entrepreneurs in 2013.
2014 is going to be the every entrepreneur will start to focus on hiring a “customer acquisition” specialist. This could be someone who can be called a hustler, a growth hacker, a marketing developer or any other title.
What I have realized after looking at over 2800 applications at the Microsoft accelerator and interviewing over 300 entrepreneurs is that they have little idea about how to acquire customers that pay for their solution.
They can do the first 10 customers, but after that, it is a slog or a stall.
They dont have a way to scale their customer growth.
Many developers who stall in their careers will take up growth hacking courses and classes. The reason they will do well is because developers will make the best digital marketers in the next decade.
The #1, #2 and #3 questions I get from entrepreneurs, is trying to find a way to get paying customers.
The #1 question last 2 years was around funding.
That has dropped dramatically this year.
The years prior to 2011 I got most questions around hiring good quality engineers and finding and hiring good engineering talent for startups.
Maybe it is the maturity of the ecosystem, but this is the transition I am seeing.