List Hacking and Growth Hacking

This is a story about how I accidentally growth hacked an entire startup ecosystem by doing something different. I call it “list hacking.”

I’ve never shared this story online before (or wrote about it) until now. It was first shared with the cool peeps at BAMF 🙂

Josh Fechter
Facebook Group: Badass Marketers & Founders (BAMF)

So here it goes.

A while back, I started a tech blog (some startup essays and experiments). Then I was like “this is useless” I only have like 50 sign ups.

Around the same time. I was poor, jobless, and in need of money.

So I applied for a job at Australia’s largest tech event (run by Freelancer).

Business Meeting

I sat down in a meeting.

In that meeting, the chief growth hacker was picking my brain about how I’d hack growth.

I was like … are you interviewing me for a position at the event, or for Freelancer? This feels a little like brain rape to me …

They asked me to put together a plan for them, and then after I’d find out if I was successful or not.

Then, I went home. Did some brainstorming and came up with this idea.

But … I was like if this works, why would I want to give it away to someone who may or may not hire me?

I kept it to myself.

And, it kicked ass.

So what did I do?

“List Hacking” (not sure if this is a term or not, but that’s what I call it).

Each week I wrote about 25 startups in one list. Then, I’d post it to Startup Facebook Groups by city: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide etc.

I ended up writing about over 200 startups in the space of around 3 months. (You can check it out here)

When I posted it to the group, I’d leave my contact details there with a message something like this …

“I just wrote about <list name>
If you’d like to be featured in the next article, send me an email to luke(at)ghacklabs(dot)com and I’ll happily add you in next time.”


Do startups want free PR?

Hell Yeah!!!

So, every time I did that, within 1-2 days, I’d have enough people come to me to write the next article.

Here’s where it gets interesting …

When I emailed people to let them know that they had been featured in the article.

I added a P.S. message (like Hotmail)


Hey Name,
I just wrote about you here. Here’s the link and I hope you like it.
P.S. I’d really appreciate it if you signed up to my once a week startup essays and experiments.



– A 70-80% conversion rate.
– Within a space of 3 months, most people in the “whole” Australian startup ecosystem knew who I was = personal branding … valuable.
– Knowing the knowledge of what’s going on nationwide and meeting so many founders (phone calls, emails, FB chat, beer etc) allowed me to see synergy with what people were doing and hook them up with intros for partnerships etc.



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