growth codex

Tenth Issue

Growth // Codex Newsletter

A Weekly Digest Dedicated To Helping You

Produce // Promote // Profit Better // Smarter

Welcome back Rogue, this issue is dedicated to those who are wrapping up their 2020 with the mantra, no risk, no reward 

Easy choices – hard life

Hard choices – easy life 

A few months before the pandemic started, we began saying adios to our clients, back then (2019 feels so long ago doesn’t it?) we were a Growth Hacking agency, and while there were plenty of fun times, there were lots of signs that it was time to pivot.

Here’s where you can learn through our mistakes and next steps 

Instead of relying on a hunch, we tested our ideas with some data

We learned quickly that being an agency, while lucrative in some areas, was very taxing in others – with our hearts not fully in it, we kind of started to let opportunities slip, our performance remained impressive for our clients – but…

Ehh, how long can you really keep the magic alive if you’re bored?

As a friend, Kate yelled at me, “shit or get off the pot”, and off the pot we went, we learned that 

  • 54% of our business came from marketing agencies, PR agencies, & publishers
  • 36% of our business came from executives & founders
  • 7% from misc ancillary one-off projects

What would you do if you noticed that over half of your business came from people hiring you, to better communicate with their target audience?

Especially when 3/4 of the work required going back over product development, product design, corporate culture and processes all before we got to tacking best growth marketing, advertising, and branding practices?

The writing was on the whiteboard and we could either pivot, or keep telling ourselves we could make it work (pride and facts hardly agree)

Written out like this, many would agree “yeah, definitely time to change things up” but in real life? In practice? We kept finding businesses suffering and going through unnecessary drama and being stuck because even when the data shows them it’s not working, they’ll cherry pick other things to match their opinion

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Data-driven decisions are important, many will swear they make their moves based on data, but why then, do more people not succeed?

Why do we have such an abundance of managers and not enough doers, builders or creators // creatives?

For many companies we came across, data was rarely their guiding north, and with no surprise really, I mean… look at us, as a people –  it’s why the phrase “common sense isn’t so common” exists, we can hardly collectively come to a consensus on pretty much anything.

So let’s face reality for a minute, the biggest obstacles to better decisions, and creating data-based businesses aren’t technical; they’re cultural

If you missed, or simply would like to reference the other issues

Here’s what our process looked like, and how we’ve been helping those in our tribe apply it to their ambitions to improve how we


Pro Tip: If you’re about improving your quality of life, which also translates to your career and business – copy and paste this into your notes app and explore how you build your support systems 

My Support Systems

What are my

  • Appraisal systems
  • Informational systems
  • Instrumental systems
  • Emotional systems

So you remember how a few issues we said, how you do anything, is how you do everything? (even if you don’t remember let’s pretend ya did)

As we set on our pivot, we also met someone who was in the middle of his very own pivot, Frank was venturing into the restaurant business for the first time. 

So, how does someone who’s coming from the construction industry, succeed, let alone run a successful restaurant in a pandemic?

Data-driven culture starts at the top

We’ve gotta give Frank props here, he believed in us, and took the leap with us, beginners mind would be where we started to get the fastest traction.

Restaurant owners he knew laughed, sneered, and bet on how long it would take to fail, frankly, how this played out was a delicious fcuk you to them

Just like we gathered data to realize who we were serving the most and best, Frank set out to scout what the people wanted. Not what he loved to eat, not what his mother made, not what his restauranteurs told him to make – what the people wanted

Notice what you notice (what you measure matters

Fast forward a few months and Sassy Bird was slinging chicken like nobody’s business and along the way, kept the same spirit it started with, beginners mind – which meant measuring numbers that mattered. 

Just like we realized that instead of working ourselves crazy building platforms for businesses wasn’t the right long term strategy, Sassy learned that measuring what people loved the most was the chicken they made

So they simplified the menu, now they ask “how do you want your chicken?” Slimming down the menu gave way to testing out a new menu item per quarter – much to his customers delight 

Get Experts, Let em Rock 

Micro Managing is for losers, plain and simple. When Frank began fighting the urge to follow the advice of his peers which was full of do everything yourself because good help is hard to find – we challenged him to document his process, what he loved and what he hated

The areas he sucked at, or hated, we immediately found someone who was way better then him at it – we briefed them on the goals and what metrics mattered the most, and stepped back. 

Like I said, gotta give him props, he took a risk, and today, he enjoys a 30% boost in sales on his slowest days

Which takes us to the second and fun part of this issue, communicate your ideas effectively and improve how you and I


Pro Tip:

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart”

Book: The Light In The Heart // Author: Roy T. Bennett

What’s the last billboard you remember? Commercial you just had to hit rewind on?

Much to dismay of may advertisers, consumers are tuning out ads more than ever, as we speak roughly 25.8 percent of internet users were blocking advertising on their devices

And that’s before we dig into the number of us who flat out ignore may ads (by the way, how annoying is it to go on a website and have that ad box on the bottom with the smallest X ever with the pop up ad)

And with good reason, because it’s 2020 and here we are… still having folks rely on tactics like this 

And this 

Which is why we tend to respond like this

As this issue hits your inbox, we’ve now surpassed 2000 subscribers!

Celebration GIF by Booksmart

If you’re like us, you often have the problem where you can make magic happen for someone else easier than you can for yourself – so as we set out to find more creative misfit kids at heart like you and I, there has been a lot of tackling things I normally wouldn’t love to

Cold emailing is one area I’m challenging myself with 

ryan reynolds want GIF

Meet any native New Yorker and we’re hardwired to ignore anyone with a flyer, a clipboard, pretty much just the slightest hint of someone about to ask me for a minute of my time fires off a “nah, I’m good” face 

cut it out GIF by Desus & Mero

So far, we’ve seen amazing traction from 

  • Twitter
  • Subscribers sharing with their colleagues and friends
  • Reddit 
  • Colleagues sharing these issues with their subscribers  

This in part is why we scaled back a ton on Instagram, the audience while fun, doesn’t contribute much to what our mission is (random but relevant, a lot like we’re doing with our email list, we’ve been cleaning // purging our Instagram of ghost followers, it helps how the algorithm treats your page)

So here’s a bit of how we added 417 new members to our growing tribe, improved our open rates to 39-55% open rate, all while hating cold outreach

Special note, we can’t stress this part enough, SCRUB your email lists – high bounce rates kill how your email gets received, we’ve made it a priority to only send to verified email addresses – even with those who subscribe on our site

Emails are like advertising 

Which email would you open?

Beat imposter syndrome this week


“How 2 kids started an airline in Miami”

The first one would go on to receive an open rate of just 11%

The second, 47%

We pulled out the part we found the most fun of our issue, and made it the “headline” 


They are not just “buy now” buttons

We keep testing what works and would be pleasant to you as a reader, we don’t expect to always hit home runs, but your feedback helps improve this

When we noticed folks missing key parts of their issue, or asked how they could share it outside of email, we added this 👇

Don’t be afraid to write long copy

We deliver this Codex in the same length via email, as you see it on the site, while we get everyone won’t sit here and read it in its entirety via email, the number of folks who have started to look forward to this value packed email, putting a smile on a fellow creatives smile is pretty hard to ignore – btw, thank you so damn much to you, we know you aren’t going to share any old thing with your people, again, we truly love and thank you for your ongoing support

Good targeting and list cleaning

As we started off, we had kind of forgotten one of the no no’s of email – while looking at the number of subscribers back when we started 2 months ago seemed nice, the open rates were abysmal, the bounce rates whack, and some folks even told us we were landing in their spam folder – which is beyond whack, it’s like shouting into the abyss

Now, for this weeks segment on improving how we 


Pro Tip:

“Cuentas claras, amistades largas.” (Translated: “Clear accounts lead to long friendships”)

Spanish Proverb

When I tweeted this a year ago, there was an obvious pushback

As someone who earned their stripes in real estate (I’ll share in an upcoming issue how a tour bus, a hand model, and salsa music helped us get on tv with a long running reality show) it’s an industry that I can never truly walk away from

Pandemic or not, commercial real estate is due for a correction, it’s inevitable – buyer A gets cash at a cheap interest rate, adds some value, sells to the next buyer who gets cash at an even cheaper interest rate and on and on we go

Residential, single family falls first when recessions loom and so on

So imagine our pleasant surprise when we learned about Jamil, former comedian turned Real Estate wholesale genius

If you’ve ever heard of wholesaling, you’ve probably seen the “work from your couch” instagram // fb ads that promise you the moon and stars while upselling you some overpriced spreadsheets (between us, I’m probably going to release the exact process that these “gurus” typically charge $2k for free to our members in a month or two) love wink flirting jeff goldblum GIF

If you haven’t, wholesaling is where you get a property under contract for say $100,000 – you then get a cash buyer who you sign that agreement over to and they pay you $110,000 – $10 racks as we say back home isn’t too shabby for leveraging your social, selling, and mediating skills

The problem is that what started innocently as those “cash for ugly houses” shtick has morphed with (some) wholesalers running amok with shady practices, these bad apples have soured the bunch to the point where many in the real estate industry refuse to work with them – this is what happens when the bar of entry is low (one of the most popular google searches by homeowners and renters is “Do I have to work with a real estate agent?”)

Some have tried to rebrand themselves in an effort to survive, with titles like “portfolio manager” or “investor”

Jamil has taken everything shrewd and clunky wholesalers get wrong and focuses on helping his people through follow me step by step navigation (kinda like we do here) through a process he calls micro flipping

Why we got excited and began doing more research was that his students were showing results faster, without shady tricks and he focused on cutting out the fluff and bs

For example, here’s how he’s approached helping some folks get their feet wet for free

You and I can leverage that to go and create some real and new value with customers, PROFITS

Stay tuned, we’re about to put his theory, his practice, and his brand promise to the test this month, Sean Gray, resident Sales and Networking Rogue is getting hands on with this theory and practice.

If we make some money – you’ll see how we did it, if we don’t well then we can have a good laugh about it next month

Now go on, much work to do, much progress to be made my friend 

Till next week, here’s to escaping average 🤟

Hold Up Wait A Minute GIF by ABC Network

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