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The HubSpot Culture Code [slides] (hubspot.com)
98 points by dshah 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments





https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disrupted:_My_Misadventure_i...

> FBI documents accessed by journalists via a freedom of information request revealed that HubSpot attempted "multiple failed attempts to manipulate and extort people” with the intention of stopping the book's publication.

> HubSpot executives considered the book "a financial threat to HubSpot, its share price, and the company’s future potential."

I'm including this because this book was published in 2016. While I'm sure that HubSpot, its employees, and management may have learned some things about integrity and transparency since then, it's probably not enough to be writing this soap-boxy slide deck that announces that software built around their culture is going to solve their problems.

On the other hand, I do believe software can shape and guide a culture but only if the culture is also at the pilot seat behind that software. That's to say, as long as the implementors of said software are not interested in developing a certain culture. Your employees will inevitably decide what software gets used and what software gets circumvented, the byproduct of which becomes what people colloquially refer to as culture.

Culture comes from everywhere. When you recruit gay people, some of the values of gay people trickle into your company. When you recruit Black people, values of Black folks trickle in. When you recruit from universities those values trickle in. Each of those will shape your culture and those people are not monoliths either, they're mixes of many vibrant and dark experiences. The last part is key, recruiting is one aspect, but your company culture will continue to evolve and I see projects like this as software trying to drive culture (what the C-suite wants) instead of culture driving software that it maintains itself.


> While I'm sure that HubSpot, its employees, and management may have learned some things about integrity and transparency since then

I doubt it, from what I can tell they still think their main product (CRM) some special thing that is legitimately making the world a better place and try to get their employees to buy into that idea. I'm sure they have plenty of satisfied customers, but come on now. It's CRM.


I once interviewed for a online PDF document signing company. You probably know it's name. During the interview I was asked what my impression was of what they did. "Allow people to sign PDFs online" was my reply. "No, no, it's so much more" was the reply. That's when I realised it was just a cultish hype machine that I didn't really want anything to do it. This is what I want: 1. Go to work 2. Solve cool problems 3. Go home and enjoy the money I've earned. Companies (US in particular) really need to understand.

The anecdote I keep coming back to is how they said that people they fired had "graduated" truly a perverse occlusion of material reality.

Off topic: why is "Black" capitalized but "gay" is not? What's the rule here? I'm not a native English speaker, sorry!

Cultural groups are capitalized most of the time. It's like Native American or Latino. White is an exception because most white people think of themselves as Norwegian or whatever. Gay isn't capitalized most of the time because most gay people don't think of themselves as Gay.

Ah I get it now! So "Black" means "African American" basically, but "black" would be used for dark-skinned people worldwide.

As a foreigner, I find it fascinating how nuanced the seemingly simple English language can be!


It's not really the English language per se, but over-corrected American political correctness. For example, "African-American" is often used to describe any black person in America. But what if you're a native Ugandian who lives here but not yet a citizen? That term is useless. Had a good friend from school who came over from Nigeria to study here, and he hated the term because he neither identified with Americans blacks, nor did he want to.

The fact that we're now back at just Black is where we should have been all along.


I wouldn't pay too much attention to this particular issue, whatever is politically correct today will keep changing over time.

It's a very recent development in the language; one of the ripples that radiated out from the George Floyd protests.

The NY Times hosted a piece that explains the reasoning behind it: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/insider/capitalized-black...


"development in language"? That's a very kind phrasing for a trend for activist-journalists to further proclaim their woke-ness in their writing.

> It's a very recent development in the language

Minor quibble, but political opinion, not "language".


HubSpot? The company described as Office Space meets Scientology? The company that is famous for churning through new grads, the one with the fucked up culture an entire book was written about (Disrupted [1])? The one that FBI investigated because they manipulated and extorted people [2]? That HubSpot? Okay.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/books/review/disrupted-by...

[2] https://www.samueljscott.com/2018/12/19/hubspot-fbi-report


Old World--------------------| New World--------------------| Me-------------------------------

-----------------------------|-------------------------------|----------------------------------

Work to make a living | Work to make a difference | Nope [1]

Follow explicit instructions | Chart the course | Depends on the role [2]

Juggle work and life | Harmonize work and life | Sounds like: never stop working

Commute into work | Connect to work from anywhere | Sounds like: never stop working

Value amazing perks | Value amazing people | I like people, even unamazing ones

I think only someone who has lost their sense of distinction between their work and their life can write these out as ideals. I.e. A startup founder.

[1] I am not knocking making a difference, but that isn't the organizational imperative of any business. And it is a dangerous delusion to say it is.

[2] I learnt a lot following orders at different times

Edits: not sure I'm going to figure this tabulation out


There you go:

           Old World           |          New World            |                Me
  -----------------------------|-------------------------------|----------------------------------
  Work to make a living        | Work to make a difference     | Nope [1]
  Follow explicit instructions | Chart the course              | Depends on the role [2]
  Juggle work and life         | Harmonize work and life       | Sounds like: never stop working
  Commute into work            | Connect to work from anywhere | Sounds like: never stop working
  Value amazing perks          | Value amazing people          | I like people, even unamazing ones
[1] I am not knocking making a difference, but that isn't the organizational imperative of any business. And it is a dangerous delusion to say it is.

[2] I learnt a lot following orders at different times


Doesn't work on mobile, could you just make it a list?

It works if you use smaller fonts and rotate the thing into landscape mode.

Don't worry about tabulation, you got the content right.

The slide deck is a PR piece aimed at tricking people into giving more of their lives to corporate interests.


Ah, this is a useful abstraction I can point others to if they ever accuse me of being too cynical about some of these so-called values. Nothing wrong with promoting them but as a worker you have to be wise enough to read the fine-print and understand what's being signaled implicitly.

> Edits: not sure I'm going to figure this tabulation out

Just indenting the block by at least 2 spaces should do it.


Just recently I started working at the sixth place in my 9-year career(excluding side jobs), so I am somewhat cynical.

Here's the main problem with having a culture code:

It's often created and agreed upon by a clique of employees who've been working there for years - newcomers get a say inversely proportional to the number of employees they encountered on their first day.

The best culture I participated in was in a project where we were all contractors in a freshly formed team - working remotely at that, with no code of conduct aside from maybe "don't be an asshole" - enforced by our leader, who was by the way great at her job.

I'm still in touch with these people even though we were disbanded after six months and that was there years ago.


"We're super inclusive! We ooze inclusivity! We've never been non-inclusive ever, not even once!" This whole thing reminds me of a post I saw on reddit a few days ago:

My 4-year-old: "Daddy, I didn't go peepee anywhere in the house. I just want you to know that."


And most of time these declarations are true initially, but with staff rotation that erodes away eventually.

Also yeah - major red flag.

EDIT: Good culture doesn't require this kind of posturing.


pseudo-woke?

My old company's entire HR "manual":

Recognizing that we are all here voluntarily, please use your best judgement.


The product I'm most proud of having worked on. Hundreds of hours invested for over a decade.

Yes, it's a slide deck -- but think of it as a template.

Shared with the community with love.


Calling this love, especially given the documented history of your company, is gaslighting, please stop.

Thanks for saying this.

There's the idealized culture that companies put in cute little slide decks and share online.

There's also the actual culture inside these companies where, for example, the FBI opens an investigation into company executives for "multiple failed attempts to manipulate and extort people” to prevent them from reporting on its culture. [1]

I'd be more interested in a deck on the latter, frankly, or some insight from HubSpot leadership as to what's changed culturally since then.

[1] [PDF] https://www.samueljscott.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/hubs...


I guess I'm not the target, after about 15 slides my brain was ringing the "Nothing interesting in any of this" bell.

Also do you still have the same management who went in for extortion to cover up a book that told the truth...


Thank you for sharing this! Love the focus on culture and community that HubSpot has built

There's literally an entire book on how this is all bullshit

Anyone in SV or a startup should 100% read Disrupted. The book is hilarious and does indeed show the complete and utter divergence between what Hubspot leadership et al.”say” what their culture is and how the culture is actually experienced.

Worth noting the book is from 2016. Some times it takes a punch in the gut to make a change, but that change is possible. See: Uber after they replaced their CEO.

I have no idea how things look at HS now, but I can't imagine it's exactly as bad as it was four years ago.


Quite a big difference between the two examples, wouldn't you say?

The worst thing said about Hubspot in the book is that it's a cold-calling meat grinder for new college grads, and that company basically embodied all the ridiculous rah-rah stereotype of startup culture. That's what I remember at least.

Uber OTOH had a culture of sexism and sexual harrassment that the CEO failed to address, while also flouting taxi laws in several countries and losing unimaginable amounts of money chasing pipe dreams like self-driving cars.


My point wasn't that they are equal, but that a company can change a lot (for the better) over four years.

This deck seems to explicitly confirm that HubSpot has not meaningfully changed in the last four years.

Im HubSpot certified. They state that culture exists in all companies, but not all companies make a record of it.

Of course no one can stick to it all of the time, but it sets a baseline expectation.

I believe it is important in the age of Slack and Email at the dinner table with family that expectations of team members are set upfront.


What's it called?


> FBI documents accessed by journalists via a freedom of information request revealed that HubSpot attempted "multiple failed attempts to manipulate and extort people” with the intention of stopping the book's publication.

Ouch.


One of my favourite books. So fun. I read it at the same time than a few other coworkers and, sadly, we found ourselves in a very similar environment. From that point on we were just laughing around at every situation that resembled situations from this book.

Then we all left for our own health's sake.


Have worked in a company with open books:

Its actually nothing i want anymore; There are many reasons why people earn a certain amount of money but being involved in that process in a company wide group setting was horrible annoying and didn't make me feel any better.

And on my salary discussion, it was mentioned what extra perks i got from the company and that amounted to a certain amount which suddenly meant "Look we give you less money because we think it increases the social factor if we force you to be in our company on a day with everyone else to eat together etc. in a forced social setting, which was nice don't get me wrong, by you paying indirectly.

And thats the issue, either the company is paying for it, or you don't do it.

At the end of the day, you can easily find nice people you wana hang around with while you work in plenty of normal companies. Just make sure you find a good Team.

And yes all those things they do it for 2 reasons: 1. keeping employees 2. getting new employees. Being a little bit of edgy might just be cheaper than paying head hunters and if you can take unlimited good people but you just don't get them, every person going through your door because of all this hipness, is one person more earning money for you.


I worked at several companies claiming to be about change and mission and all that. To me new coating to the same corporate shit. Same injustices, same corporate frustration, but with different lingo. I recognized a lot of the things dan lyon wrote about hubspot in "Disrupted"

That's nice. Thanks for sharing it.

Expect loads of cynicism. I've found that talking about having Principles and Integrity in business and professional endeavors, usually results in being accused of "virtue signaling," which is ridiculous, as we are only talking about simple, basic, realistic human values; not some kind of Mother Theresa code.

That said, it is extremely easy to let a focus on "culture" turn into a toxic monoculture. It's always easier to exclude those that deviate from the norm, than it is to adapt to them.


It's not about accusing companies of "virtue signalling". It's about marketing and hypocrisy. All companies exist to make money, everyone is all about "making the world a better place" until they need to make money on their own. I worked in a lot of companies where all of us were family, all of us had to give that extra mile, all of us are inclusive, up until that big client from a big country comes and then you need to make sure you delete all references to things that the big country doesn't agree with or thinks should not exist.

Funny story also when someone told me to turn off my monitor because it's bad for the environment and we are a green company, then we take money and support as a client a company that literally cuts down rainforests, but hey...


> Expect loads of cynicism.

Well deserved, too. When somebody makes a point of saying something that doesn't need to be said - and makes a point of saying it over and over again as if it were profound - anybody who's been around for a little while gets really skeptical really fast. There's a famous Reed Hastings (of Netflix) quote along the lines of "do not tolerate brilliant jerks". Naive people love to share that quote - and it's undoubted that they have somebody in mind who they'd prefer not to tolerate when they share it - but there's literally not one single human being who's ever lived who has said the opposite. Why does it need to be said, then? Because he (and the repeaters of the quote) needs justification for not tolerating people who's face he doesn't like, no matter what performance numbers they can produce in their defense. This slide deck includes a good quote from Grace Hopper: one measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - but anybody who puts together 100 slides about "culture" bases everything on "gut feel" and ignores actual data.


I agree the cynicism is deserved. People make excuses for brilliant jerks all the time though. Some even make them role models. Think of Steve Jobs for example.

> [...] as we are only talking about simple, basic, realistic human values; not some kind of Mother Theresa code.

The problem I've found in having these conversations is that, for some people, the moment you disagree with their "simple, basic, realistic human values", things turn toxic. Ie. it's not really a discussion, it's "these are my values and you either agree with them or you're a terrible person".

For example, I saw a comment thread on this board about Black Lives Matter. It had devolved to the point where one commenter said something like, "BLM means that you either believe that black lives literally matter or you do not.", which, obviously, is not true.


[flagged]


BLM is a grassroots movement. The BLM Global Network Foundation is an organization with a website. Few people in the BLM movement pay any attention to the BLM Global Network Foundation.

Funny enough, while i have worked in a company like HubSpot and we did those excersizes and stuff, we were just a normal company.

In my current company, all those culture things are also communicated, they are just not a blog post on the internet and they do not feel like a cult :)


Thanks for the warning. I hear you.

My direct experience is that there will be some that will be cynical -- that's OK.

A big lesson for me personally is that working on culture as a "product" is very useful. Collect customer feedback. Identify bugs. Categorize some things as "works as designed". Be transparent with your customers. And, of course, iterate, iterate, iterate.


> Collect customer feedback. Identify bugs. Categorize some things as "works as designed". Be transparent with your customers.

Sounds like "doing business" to me. I have a professional relationship with the company I'm working for and that's it. Don't need to add some "feel good" fluff which is just hidden marketing after all.


I always give the same feedback for this type of bs. Actions speak louder than words. If you have to tell people how great a company's culture is it clearly isn't.

Most people have been around the valley long enough to learn exactly what these values mean when it comes down to it. People are wise not to be drawn in too much to cultural platitudes of a company.

> “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”


Good point, a lot of cynicism is earned. I think that it is absolutely vital for culture to be modeled from the top.

Also, owners and corporate stakeholders are often so married to their work, that they have a difficult time understanding folks that aren't (like most of their employees). That means you can hear things like "I sleep in my office every weeknight, so I expect you to, as well."

Part of modeling culture is to understand others, and that's where most people fall down.

But I also think that cynical employees often grow into cynical, toxic managers, and that's where a lot of damage is done.

For myself, I have followed a path of personal growth, for my entire adult life, and I brought that with me to work. It helps me to feel decent about myself, my peers, and the world, in general (and I can still be a cynic, but one with a significant vein of love and tolerance).


Dharmesh, many in this thread have criticized HubSpot's culture because of your company's handling of Dan Lyons and his book.

I obtained the FBI's redacted report following its investigation into your company. The full PDF is available here: https://www.samueljscott.com/2018/12/19/hubspot-fbi-report/

HubSpot has always stated that the company believes in transparency. But HubSpot has never directly and specifically addressed the serious, material allegations in Lyons' book and has never disclosed exactly what the mentioned executives — among others — may have done regarding his book.

So, I ask you:

Will HubSpot grant me, for my column for The Drum, a one-hour interview with you, Brian Halligan, and the chair of your board of directors? Completely recorded and on the record and with nothing off-limits.


There are lots of different cultures and culture codes tend to emphasize the notion of "having a single culture".

I am from New York and spend most of my time in Colombia. My English speaking New York personality and Spanish speaking Colombian personality have diverged quite significantly.

I am a lot more indirect in Spanish. I'll rarely say "no" in Spanish for example. I'll always try to rephrase it as "yes, but we could also..." or "maybe we could...".

The "we seek the truth and face facts" mentality works well for some cultures and not as great for others.

I question the idea that a company should have a single culture. Might be better to aim to be a place where folks from a variety of cultures can collaborate.


IMO "culture" when used by companies in this sense synthetic, fake. It's an invention. It's not meant to incorporate the cultures of employees: it's designed to help hire people who match their set of rules. They definitely want a single "culture".

Love the product, but this deck... jeez. It's like all this companies that claim that you're in the family and then this family ask you to leave. I've seen too much places with "culture" when in reality it's a toxic as hell.

Reminds me of this reddit post about stack overflow: https://i.redd.it/per2eihv0jn31.png.

"Hi, welcome to Stack Overflow! Please take time to read the rules before posting so that you don't make such a big fool of yourself next time. We're a friendly bunch here so it's ok that you're an inferior human being and clearly don't know what you're doing, but just be sure not to post here again and that would be great. Thanks!"


It's not a family, it's a workplace.

If the company pretends otherwise it's better not to work there.


I agree with you on that front.

In earlier versions of the deck, we actually explicitly called out that we are NOT a family. We are a team with a common goal. You don't get to choose your family, but you do get to choose your team.

h/t to Netflix for that original "team not a family".


Why did you remove that call-out?

Candidly, this year, because of the pandemic, we've come closer together as a group. Not quite a family -- but closer. Also, I needed to make room in the deck to articulate our position on diversity and inclusion.

>articulate our position on diversity and inclusion

I wonder what that position could be! Must be some revolutionarily fresh take on diversity™ and inclusion™ that no other tech company had espoused before.

This is satire, right?


I know of at least one customer that you're going to loose as a result of this tone deaf PR, and based on your responses in this thread am hoping that you loose a lot more.

> we've come closer together as a group

Why are you confident that this feeling is shared by your employees?


Well, I don't know. Families can be quite toxic, too.

[flagged]


You're getting downvoted but this is exactly on point.

Places that emphasize culture usually do so to compensate for their other failings.

As an older dev I don't really care about culture, but instead prioritize boundaries, compensation, and tech maturity.

Keep your ping pong table, give me a 9-5.


For the record, I started my career at HubSpot and found it to be a genuinely very well ran place. It actually spoiled me a bit, I had no idea most places have bad PMs or don’t give engineers autonomy.

Great to hear from you Zack. Thanks for chiming in and sharing your positive experience. Hope all is well.

Dan Lyons roasted them in his LinuxCon 2017 talk [1].

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gn5kwQaMFQ


I stopped at "unlimited vacations ..."

why not have "unlimited salaries" too -- one just writes themselves a check to what one thinks he deserves


Company "culture" always makes me a little skeptical, particularly when they're used for hiring decisions. I can't help but think it is just another way to discriminate against folks - I mean if you're saying some one isn't a culture fit what are you really saying about them?

I get it if you're telegraphing that you just don't think they'll fit with you team, but having seen a lot of culture interviews in practice, they seem to be more socially acceptable code for "they're not gender conforming in profession, preference or practice", "they're not white", or what have you.


> I can't help but think it is just another way to discriminate against folks

I've had company owners admit this to me in private.


Disclaimer: my wife is a HubSpot employee.

I can vouch for what the deck mentions. They conduct the business with love and care for the people in the company as well as the customers.

The company puts a lot of care and dedication to make the people grow. They conduct themselves with care and appreciation for each other.

I feel a bit jealous of how much this company values employees, I wish all companies were like this one. For what I see, this deck is not thin air. I see how it is fulfilled everyday in my wife, and I am personally grateful for this.


Software companies that claim they "Work to make a Difference" strike me as cultish and are an immediate turn off.

I work for a living, I volunteer and work in my community to make a difference.


Silly question: Why don't we work to make a difference?

We spend, generally, at least 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week at work. If that time is spent making a difference, it really ups the odds that something actually gets done.


Working to make a difference is definitely good.

However, you are not making a difference by working at Hubspot. It’s just a corporate job, and management telling you otherwise is only serving them.

Edit: removed a pointless anecdote


Because these are for profit companies. What is actually happening when a company says they want to work to make a difference is that they want to harvest your enthusiasm for improving the world to make them more profit, or create free marketing for them.

When choices come down to make a difference or make a profit companies choose profit. If they truly wanted to make a difference, they would be nonprofits.


Because companies survive by making a profit, and will always revert to the mean.

The money you make at work can make a huge difference in other people’s lives. By spending it on causes you care about you are working to make a difference without having to buy-in that your random CRUD app brings joy to the word and ends suffering.


You won't be the only to raise eyebrows at such messaging coming from HubSpot, see "My year in startup hell": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11369632

All other things being equal, isn't it better to work for a company that does something you think helps the world as opposed to one that you think is harmful or even merely neutral?

Yes, but the companies most vocal about how they are good for the world are so often doing so out of need to compensate for reality.

Things won't be equal though. Evil corps' pay and benefits are usually way better, simply because that's how they attract otherwise hesitant people in the first place.

But did you try "harmonizing work and life" like the deck says?

No such thing. Just a catch phrase man.

That’s the joke. Platitudes like “harmonize work and life” just puts the responsibility on the employee to repair their personal life after its damaged by corporate mismanagement.

That was a sarcastic remark.

“The medium is the message” comes to mind here. I find decks mind-numbing, especially those heavy on graphic design and visual flair. I’ll take full sentences in connected paragraphs, thank you.

I want to work at a company. I have a family. Let me work the job you want, pay me, and then let me go home. Im not your family. And most these places with "culture" are letting you know they are just bigots.

Who is this for? Are they using it to attract interns / new grads?

First and foremost, it's for the ~4,000 people that work at HubSpot and who actually create the culture and live it day-to-day.

Second, it's for those that want to better understand HubSpot and how we work. It may be because they're considering joining the company. Or becoming a customer. Or becoming a partner.

Third, it's for the community of entrepreneurs that are building businesses. My hope is that it can be a useful example of how one company (that has done reasonably well) thought about culture -- and articulated it.


If your unarticulated fourth goal was to increase sales of this book:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disrupted:_My_Misadventure_i...

You've achieved it.


Ex-HubSpotter here. Two observations:

1. The deck is a good recruiting tool. Once you're past the start-up phase and are a scale-up this matters a lot.

2. Cynicism of such decks is understandable because it is just words and culture often reflects the founders' values. As such we were lucky that Dharmesh and Brian are among the highest integrity folks I've worked with who solve for the company always and never for themselves.

The value of the deck for other companies may be encouraging a thoughtful discussion about what kind of culture they want and providing an opportunity to critically evaluate leadership who tacitly set the day-to-day culture.


Can you imagine having to sit through 128 slides of this.

Wow, they sure put the "Cult" in Culture.

this slide deck has 5,573,996 views. that seems like a lot for a posting that's only 2 months old.

Disclosure: I worked at HubSpot for two years and my first startup was aqcui-hired by them in 2013. Dharmesh Shah is also an investor in my current startup.

tl;dr - Like any job, HubSpot was both a good and bad experience for me. Disrupted is 25% accurate, 65% embellished garbage, and 10% Dan's ego. The Culture Code is at its core aspirational marketing collateral, but it's more true than not true.

So, funnily enough, I started around the same time as Dan Lyons and was also smuggled in through the back door by the founders. I read Disrupted and agree with parts of it, but also disagree with many other parts of it. My takeaway is that Dan had a huge ego and went in there knowing he'd write a negative, satirical book about his experience. Why the founders let a fox into the hen house is another discussion.

Also, I haven't read this latest version of the Culture Code, but I have read previous versions and know the gist.

My job at HubSpot was to actively try to "disrupt the company from within." The entire team for the first year was myself and one other person. We built a "startup" inside the company to mimic what an outside startup would do to try to kill HubSpot. We started with a Wordpress plugin called Leadin and it pretty much worked. With our plugin, Wordpress, and Mailchimp's (new at the time) marketing automation, you could replace all of HubSpot's two lowest plans for $80/month vs. $800/month. We also leveraged a touchless/freemium sales model, which was diametrically opposed to HubSpot's inside sales model at the time. That meant, we could underprice them by an order of magnitude with working unit economics (aka we didn't have to pay the CAC of a sales person.)

As you can imagine when you're trying to destroy a company from the inside, you develop a healthy dose of skepticism for "the other side." I would even say that I had a near identical mindset to Dan Lyons that first year, thinking, "this is a cult" and "how does no one realizes how great all the stuff we're working on is while most of their stuff is crappy?"

About a year in, I almost quit. But I really believed in what we were building and didn't want to give up on it just yet. So instead of writing every one off as stupid, I decided to get to actually know the rest of the company. And guess what? They were all genuinely good people who were just trying to do their jobs well to grow the company and help customers. Really, the problem was me and my pessimistic attitude. Once I took the time to actually build relationships, people started to want to work with our team more. We got more resources. There was an excitement about what we were working on by people who wanted to help it grow. It took some educational effort, but eventually the rest of the company started to understand product-led growth.

My time there ended on both a high point where our product was launched on the stage at the company conference as HubSpot's new freemium marketing offering, but I was also severely burnt out from the internal politics I had to deal with to get there. I quit about two years to go work on my own company where I actually had real ownership.

I think they've since learned how to help the "founder types" wrap up their personalities into their projects (which they don't actually own...) succeed more internally. There are choices I could have made differently that would have helped me succeed better too.

But if I had to do it all over again, I would. I learned a ridiculous amount about how to actually run a company and made some good friends along the way.

Like all companies, HubSpot has its flaws and makes trade-offs. But I can without a doubt say that it's genuinely a thoughtful company run by compassionate people who care about their employees and customers.

Dharmesh Shah is also one of the highest-quality human beings I've had the privilege to get to know over the years. I'm positive he's reading every single comment in this thread, taking it to heart and is earnestly mulling it over.


Can confirm. :) I've been glued to this discussion thread all morning.

Resisting the temptation to respond to many of the messages, because I don't want to come off as defensive.

Thanks for chiming in. Have many good memories of your time at HubSpot.


Creepy corporate newspeak.

Couldn't have said it better - your worlds are exactly what I was thinking.

Make a difference! Save the world! Do work that matters! Yay!

Oh wait... it’s just some shitty CRM SaaS. I almost took it seriously.

I pity those non-manager and non-engineer HubSpot employees who had to suffer through this presentation, because at least managers and engineers tend to be compensated generously.


Having worked there in an entry-level customer-facing position, it is very much a company that looks great from the top half because you're standing on the backs of the bottom half. Also it paid so far under the market on salaries for that role that even cashing out on options _years_ later didn't make up the difference.



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