Diary of a Growth Freak

About Dick

Hi, I’m Dick Talens.

Hopefully you didn’t stumble here by accident instead of my fitness blog because of the whole “growth” thing.

If not, then welcome! More than anything, I like helping people. This is where I’ll be writing stuff on growth in an effort to do just that.

I’ll give you a bit of a timeline of my experiences and where I cut my chops on growth and other skills. Less to brag and more to show you what domains I can help you with (e.g. organic/paid acquisition, retention, Facebook ads) and more where you’d probably get better advice from your Uber driver (design, ops, scaling).

How I Got Started

Growth Hacking

I’ve been “growth hacking” for as long as I can remember–i.e. being a 7 year old and figuring out the best terrain to level up my Final Fantasy 2 party.

While a freshman at Wharton/UPenn (circa 2004), I scraped the entire Wharton alumni database with python and used it to help my friends send out their resumes for summer internships (as it turns out, bankers don’t take as kindly to cold emailing).

My First Foray into Facebook Ads (2008)

My college roommate and I had always been fascinated by online to offline acquisition, and Facebook had just launched their self-service ad platform.

We were just about to graduate when we had a whacky idea–to start a cupcake bakery (out of our dorm room) named Cupmakes and scale it entirely using Facebook acquisition. (That was totally the reason. And not that we were just two bros who wanted to bake).

The image below shows you the price of Facebook ads back then–100x cheaper than today.

Because of the unit economics on Facebook acquisition, it went gangbusters. Within a month, we had to move into a pizza kitchen. Shortly after, Needless to say, business was good, we opened a second location in downtown Philadelphia, and I was hooked on acquisition.

Immediately after college, I worked at comScore where I got my first glimpse of the power of ads, and co-authoring the first whitepaper on retargeting and its efficacy.