Traction – Weinberg and Mares – Book

Traction – How any startup can achieve explosive customer growth

Overall: 9/10

I orginally purchased this book in July 2016 and I’ve returned to it throughout the year to re-read sections and twice to re-read it fully. Contains a simple approach that forces developers like me that typically prefer development to sales to
a) Realise the importance of distribution
b) Apply an engineering approach to achieve that.

Book Notes:

Traction = Quantitive evidence of customer demand.


  1. Targeting Blogs
  2. Publicity
  3. Unconventional PR
  4. Search Engine Marketing
  5. Social and Display Ads
  6. Offline Ads
  7. Search Engine Optimiziation
  8. Content Marketing
  9. Email Marketing
  10. Engineering as Marketing
  11. Viral Marketing
  12. Business Development – Partnerships
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliaite Programs
  15. Existing Platforms – Facebook, app marketplaces
  16. Trade Shows
  17. Offline Events
  18. Speaking Engagements
  19. Community Building
  • Chapter 2 – Distribution
    • “Almost every failed startup has a product,
      What failed startups don’t have enough of is customers”
    • Traction and Product are equally important, spend 50% on each
    • 1st set a traction goal
      • Make something people want
      • Market it
      • Scale
    • Intially you are NOT trying to capture all the water
      You only need to send enough through to find if it works or where the leaks are.
    • Find bright spots within customer base
  • Chapter 3 BullsEye
    • “It is very likely that one traction channel is optimal”
    • Bullseye – Force to consider all options (find underexploited), then focus on one.
  • How much will it cost to acquire a customer
  • How many customers available through this channel
  • Are they the customers we want now?

Middle Ring – For each construct a cheap test.

“When testing, you are NOT trying to get a lof of customers. You are simply trying to determine if it’s a channel that could move the needle for your startup.”

Chapter 4 – Traction Testing

  • Middle Ring – Goal is to find promising channel
  • Inner Ring
    • Optimization
    • Uncovering strategies within the channel
  • “Over time all marketing strategies result in shitty click through rates” – Andrew Chen

Chapter 5 – Critical Path

  • Traction trumps everything – Define your critical path
  • This may involve stepping stone goals – to develop product or form partnership.
  • This should also dicate product, Do we need SSL/security/SSO for current customers?
  • Lay out your milestones
  • Stay on the critical path.

See also:

2023 May – Additional Notes Update


  • SPIN – Structuring Sales Conversations – Break ice, clarify, uncover then benefits
  • Situation Questions – How many employees? Company Structure?
  • Problem Question – Are you happy with your current solution?
  • Implication – How does that impact your teams productivity? – Make problem seem larger
  • Need Payoff – How would Pulse help? – Focus on solution and benefits it would bring.

BANTP – Budget, Authority, Need, Timing, Process

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