TikTok and a lot of…nothing

What does a Trump rally, TikTok users and startup tactics have in common?

They are here and now – and there’s not necessarily a grand plan for how to move on from here.

When I saw that apparently a viral TikTok prank of securing tickets for Trumps rally in Tulsa and then (of course) not showing up and leaving the hall half empty, I was reminded of a similar way that many young startups operate;

They hack their way forward. Growth hacking is just one of the terms.

While growth hacking – or just hacking – can be a real powerful tool and bring you forward here and now, it very often is not useful on the longer term. The results generated can easily prove unsustainable.

A quick example:

A couple of years ago on a hot summer afternoon in Copenhagen, I watched a young startup giving out free cold beers to anyone who would download their app (which had nothing to do with beer).

A super efficient growth hack that coupled their need for extra downloads to serve some metric goal with the bypasser’s need for a cold beer on a very hot day.

But also very, very short term. What’s the chance anyone of those who got a beer ended using the app? Close to zero.

Same with the TikTok happening. Super efficient and (to some) fun even. But what’s the impact going forward? Probably close to zero.


Because now that it has been done, the Trump campaign will have learned what can happen and will most likely adjust for it going forward. If anything there is a risk that the campaign going into the crucial months has been made more robust from this and thus – potentially – more effective.

In this respect the TikTok thing can end up being counter productive in the end. Just as those cold beers on a hot summer afternoon in Copenhagen.

So what’s my point in all this?

My point is to make sure you have a plan. A pretty thought through plan where you at least understand what the things you’re doing short term contribute to the overall goal and how to make adjustments to the plan based on how individual initiatives play out.

It is very seldom that those just jumping from one very short term thing to the next end up with the victors spoils.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

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