It's quite difficult to question all this when you're someone desperate for traffic. Worryingly, we're seeing other industries like the gaming industry also applying these ideas. Fortunately, there are others out there who are writing about alternatives to "growth hacking" (ironically hosted at Medium). Perhaps we could serve the community better by offering and researching alternatives.
The root problem I guess is that growth brings more clout/bargaining power to the table when it comes to VC money I think. There is an incentive to produce growth by whatever means necessary.
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