Zhenyi Tan And a Dinosaur

Marketing Is Hard

I know nothing about marketing.

Actually, I do know a bit about marketing. Based on my very limited knowledge, marketing is hard. But engineers are supposedly good at solving hard problems, right? Programming and design are both hard, and I’m not terrible at them.

So for many years, I’ve been trying to “solve” marketing. Maybe there’s an algorithm or something that I can implement, and I just haven’t figured it out.


Recently, I read a blog post by Yongfook about how he got his first 25 users. He didn’t talk about abstract things like “build the hype” or “define your campaign goals,” he just listed out the things he tried:

  • I launched big new features on ProductHunt 3 times - until people grew sick of me
  • I wrote about bootstrapping on my blog and built 8 other products before this one
  • I tweeted about my startup constantly and sometimes those tweets went viral
  • I implemented a referral credit system that had zero effect
  • I started an affiliate programme that has had some small effect
  • I built a shopify version of my product which was a failure, and shut it down

…and that's just the stuff I can remember right now.

So, is marketing literally metaphorically throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks?