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Secret Sauce Conference: we smashed it (again). Here what I learned as a co-founder

What’s Secret Sauce Conference

When we met the first time aiming to put together Secret Sauce Conference, I had the feeling it was a very good idea. And challenging. And crazy. But if someone had told me about the results we achieved in just 7 months, well, I wouldn’t have believed it.

On Tuesday, we put together the last chapter of Secret Sauce Conference supporting Vincent’s growth hacking talk, while working on our next event, probably at the end of June. And it was amazing: more than 800 tickets sold, 400 showing up at WeWork Moorgate, such a massive crowd.

But this is just the successful part of the story: the craziest is about sharing how everything’s born.


How everything started

We founded Secret Sauce Conference in August 2015 to create a no-bullshit conference, for entrepreneurs and startup people. The idea was to gathering speakers willing to share valuable but also practical experience, in an industry, where everyone is dreaming of changing the world (but it’s extremely hard to do it).
Which mistakes should be avoided? What can you do to acquire your first users? How can you achieve a seed round? Those were just some questions we tried to reply with our first one-day event at Google Campus.
The response was massive: more than 600 tickets sold, a full house on the both floors at Google Campus during the day and at the after-party.

Here you can find what we were aiming to achieve with our fist conference.
Here some spontaneous responses by the tech community

Then, we put together the #2, the #3. And after 7 months, I’m happy to share with you what I learned being a co-founder together with Vincent, Silvia, Jordan, Gioia, Laura and Eva.

What I learned running Secret Sauce Conference

1) Content is king
Easy-peasy setting up a conference giving suggestions to entrepreneurs in order to grow their business. Isn’t it? Well, not really. I’ve been to tons of conferences, where the only thing I remember was what I had for lunch. And not because the food was amazing, just because the event was full of bullshit, speakers were more keen to sell their products rather than really sharing their insights and people didn’t care about talking or networking.
I think the core business of conferences is speakers + topics, so you need to work on a winning combination.
If you’re working in a startup, it’s very important, as normally startup teams & founders don’t want to waste time on something they’re not sure it will be worth.
Also, startups are much more interested in having practical examples rather than tons of theoretical experience or very big names: if I’m launching a digital product my main goal is reaching my potential customers, increase the registrations and activate them (branding campaigns, what are them??).

2) Create a fun experience!
Vincent is a character and it wasn’t really difficult making Secret Sauce as funniest as possible. We wanted to create an experience for people to learn, but who said that learning or attending conferences  is boring?
As a lot of startup environments in the tech city are playful and fun, we also wanted to be fun. We got the chef hats, provided the wristbands, and some other cool stuff. We put on a lot of enthusiasm, making Secret Sauce very relaxed and enjoyable.
We didn’t want people going out thinking it was a boring one.
Positive and fun experience are more likely to be remembered, did you know it?


3) You don’t need to hire a PR agency: understand your audience and reach out
To make it successful, we put into practice a lot of tips and growth hacks Vincent is sharing during his talks. So, don’t write press releases, tell your story. Use social media to reach to people directly.
Ask people to invite their friends over. Make it sound like a party rather than a conference.
Make it exclusive, people will love having the chance of attending an exclusive event designed to reply to their particular questions. Understand your audience and share what people are looking for.
If you’re working well on the first two points, well, the word of mouth will do the rest.


I think that’s it, if you want to join our team for the next Secret Sauce Conference, let us know!
And clear your calendar for our next event in London in June 2016. Secret Sauce is coming!

Growth Hacking

Events for startups in London&Dublin: growth hack to success!


Events for startups in London&Dublin: growth hack to success!

Are you interested in Growth Hacking? If you don’t really know what it is but you’re working as a marketeer for a startup you should reply yes.

Growth Hacking is the way Marketing is implemented at startups: forget about brand identity, vision and mission, this stuff doesn’t work anymore. Well, it works on paper, then you need to have things done, quickly and effectively.

When you’re talking about growth hacking, you’re talking about tools, ideas and approaches combined with creativity and analytic skills to get results, achieve goals and scaling.
There are a lot of examples where adopting growth hacking strategies has proven to be successful. Think of Dropbox’s referral strategy or do you know why Airbnb has grown like crazy? This is a great video about it.

growth-hacking-events-london-dublinSo, if you’re looking to be the next successful one, you need to learn. Then think, do, be creative and check your performance.
There are two amazing Growth Hacking events you can’t miss if you’re looking to improve your skills.
The first one is in London at Google Campus, on Wednesday 23rd, and it’s the Secret Sauce Conference, a one-day conference for people looking to learn growth hacking techniques on getting investment, making sales, becoming a great public speaker, and all things related to run an early-stage startup.
It’s sold out at the moment, but you can follow the conference on Twitter using #getyoursauce hashtag. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing (as I’m part of the organising team lol)
ps: we also did a lot of growth hacking to organise the event check it out here!

The second one is Growth Hacking Talks and it’s in Dublin on the day after, September 24th.
It’s more a conference rather than a workshop, where a bunch of people from Uber, Intercom and Google will talk about several growth hacking strategies. I would be really interested in: How Building a Community Can Help Drive Growth and How I Smashed Our Indiegogo Goal in 2 Days. Sounds really promising!
You can buy your ticket here or tweet me here for a chance to win your ticket and attend this conference for free. 😉


Ankur Nagpal-Facebook-developer-growthhacking***


Growth Hacking

Online tools for startups: Charlie, I love you!


Do you know Charlie?

Hello everyone! Nope, I won’t talk about my boyfriend. Remember? Here I promised I wouldn’t write about cheesy stuff.

Charlie is my new super-amazing virtual personal assistant.
If you work with startups, you know that time and organisation are two super important factors.
Charlie is great, so, if you do, like me, have problems remembering names and you’d love saving hours and avoid researching the people you have to meet with you..well, you should give it a try!

So, first of all, you need to be skilled and use Calendar, as Charlie imports its data. Then you can sign up here (VIP access) and sync your calendar. And you’re done! You’ll start receiving reminders for your daily meetings and insights of the people you’re going to meet, saving you tons of time and silly questions. ‘Cause you’ll know what does matter to ask and what it doesn’t.

Also, you won’t only receive really important researches but also really hilarious emails, like this one:


Or really sad ones (but quite effective CRM campaigns though), like:


So, are you ready to hire your first virtual personal assistant?
If you have an iPhone, you can use the app, if not…help me & chase them to release an Android version! 😀



Growth Hacking

What you shouldn’t ask a growth hacker


What’s a growth hacker?

What’s a growth hacker? Here in London it’s the moment of growth hackers. It’s the word of 2015. Are you looking to scale your project? You need a growth hacker, at least with 2 years of experience scaling other projects, who knows the winning tricks. Are those really secret tricks? And which are the winning ones?
Am I a growth hacker too, then?

A couple of days ago I listened to a really interesting podcast where Graham Hunter has been asked a lot of questions about hiring a growth consultant and what to ask a growth hacker. Graham has been a marketing consultant for several agencies and he’s now Head Instructor of Growth at Tradecraft (USA) where they train smart people to succeed in traction roles at high-growth companies.

ask a growth hacker growth consultant what's a growth hackerSo, what’s a growth hacker? He’s a digital marketing person with a to-do-approach and a growth-mindset. Marketing is broad and sometimes marketing people working at corporates knows everything about branding and nothing related to customer acquisitions. So, that’s why startups are now looking for growth hackers: they have limited resources so they need to grow, acquire new users and retain them.

Which are growth hacker’s skills? Graham says they should: “Take a not prescriptive approach, being a generalist, have a data-driven approach and knowing a fair amount of everything“. So, if someone told you that, in order to take a step further you should focus and specialise on specific topics, you know it’s bullshit.

What should a growth hacker ask you? He’s the specialist, so, be prepared to reply to a lot of specific questions, mainly about your audience, your user acquisitions strategy or your retention rate. In order to hire the best growth consultant, Graham suggests you to ask: “How do you grow my business“? and I think this is a great point.
I had several discussions with people asking which is my experience scaling businesses. Can I ask you why? If you’ve not been part of the early team at Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox or Slack is hard giving outstanding examples. So, why are you asking? Focus on people’s skills and mindsets, listen to experiences and suggestions, and a final tip: asking about scaling twitter followers is not the most important thing a growth hacker can do for your business.

If you want to listen to Graham Hunter’s podcast click here.
If you want to learn more about Growth Hacking click here