Traction: The Book

A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Most startups end in failure. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don't have is traction -- real customer growth.

This book introduces startup founders and employees to the "Bullseye Framework," a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth.

Traction is a guide to getting customers, written for startup founders, marketers, and those interested in how today's startups grow and get traction. This book shows you how the founders of several of the biggest companies and organizations in the world like Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak.com) and Alex Pachikov (Evernote) have built and grown their startups. We interviewed over forty successful founders and researched countless more growth stories to pull out the repeatable tactics and strategies they used to get traction.

"Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don't have a good distribution strategy." -- Mark Andreessen, venture capitalist

Too often, startups spend months (or years) building a product only to struggle with traction once they launch. This struggle has startups trying random tactics - some ads, a blog post or two - in an unstructured way that leads to failure. Traction shows readers how to systematically approach marketing, and covers how successful businesses have grown through each of the following channels:

  • Viral Marketing
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Unconventional PR
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social and Display Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as Marketing
  • Target Market Blogs
  • Business Development (BD)
  • Sales
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Existing Platforms
  • Trade Shows
  • Offline Events
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Community Building

This book draws on interviews we conducted with the following individuals:

Jimmy Wales, Co-founder of Wikipedia
Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of reddit
Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup
Sam Yagan, Co-founder of OkCupid and CEO of Match.com
Jason Cohen, Founder of WP Engine
Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round Capital
Rand Fishkin, Founder of SEOmoz
Noah Kagan, Founder of AppSumo
Jason Kincaid, Blogger at TechCrunch
Alex Pachikov, Co-founder of Evernote
Ryan Holiday, Exec at American Apparel
Andrew Warner, Founder of Mixergy
Garry Tan, Partner at Y Combinator

and many more.


Your Instructor


Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg
Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg

Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you with over a billion searches in 2013. He is also an angel investor in early stage startups. Weinberg has been featured on CBS, FOX, the Guardian, the Washington Post and many more. Previously he was the Co-founder & CEO of Opobox, which was sold to United Online in 2006. Weinberg holds B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT. He is based on Valley Forge, PA with his wife and two boys.

Justin Mares is the former Director of Revenue at Exceptional, a software company that Rackspace acquired for 8 figures in 2013. He has previously founded two startups (one acquired, one bust) and runs a growth meetup in San Francisco. You can find his writing on marketing and personal-development on his blog, justinmares.com.


Class Curriculum


  Prologue
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions


How long do I have access to the book?
You have lifetime access to the book after purchase. The discussion section might close in a few months - but if it does, all current discussion will be archived for future use.
What if I am unhappy with the book?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

See What Other People Say:

"This is a must-have, essential book if you want to be good at growth."

- Aaron Ginn, Growth at StumbleUpon

"Traction is an absolute must. The Bullseye Framework Gabe and Justin layout is probably the greatest tool in my catalog over the past year. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started, Traction offers a framework that creates efficiency, clarity, and focus. With startups as crazy as they are, I strongly encourage you to take the time to make your life a little easier. Traction is equal to and should be read alongside The Lean Startup."

- Adam Kearney, Founder & CEO, Saunter

"Traction is a critical guide for entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their businesses."

- Patrick Vlaskovits, bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur

"I've read quite a few books about startups over the years, and apparently this was the only one worth keeping."

- Chris Stucchio, Data Scientist

"Traction belongs on every startup founder’s bookshelf. I’m buying copies for the CEOs of my current Angel Investments."

- Kevin Dewalt, Angel Investor

Get started now!