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Feb 7, 2017

Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot. Hubspot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Brian has co-authored two books, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. Listen as Brian walks us through the transitions of being a VP for sales, going back to business school, working at a VC firm, then growing his own business which is now on a market cap of $2 Billion. Discover how culture played a significant role in scaling up his business and why Brian and his partner, Dharmesh Shah, were the perfect team to build HubSpot together. 

Time Stamped Show Notes: 

  • 00:33 – Introducing Brian 
  • 01:11 – Brian has been working on Hubspot since 2005 
  • 01:17 – Hubspot’s market cap is somewhere around $2 Billion 
  • 03:53 – Brian has never been married but has a 12-year old son 
  • 04:22 – He was a VP of sales at Groove Networks 
  • 05:10 – Brian’s transitions 
  • 05:12 – Brian started with a company called PTC 
  • 05:22 – He was there for 10 years and he left 5000 people 
  • 05:42 – Brian learned to hire and scale at PTC 
  • 05:49 – He joined and grew Groove Networks which was later sold to Microsoft 
  • 06:09 – He went to business school and spent a year in a VC firm 
  • 06:37 – In 2005, Brian was 15 years into his career, but still went to school full-time 
  • 07:23 – Brian gained 3 things from his “procrastination period” 
  • 09:41 – Brian is a huge fan of the EO Network 
  • 10:32 – Brian and his partner, Dharmesh, met in business school 
  • 10:41 – HubSpot was the product of two “Ah-Ha” moments for Brian and Dharmesh 
  • 12:18 – Brian never thought he’d start a company 
  • 13:06 – He had 3 choices: go for VP position in sales, be a CEO for some crap company, or start HubSpot 
  • 14:12 – Brian didn’t have any reservations in having a partner 
  • 14:31 – Dharmesh was the smartest in their class 
  • 14:39 – His weaknesses lined up well with Brian’s strengths 
  • 14:46 – Brian thought they were a perfect match 
  • 15:17 – HubSpot’s struggles 
  • 15:57 – Both Brian and the company have evolved a lot 
  • 16:24 – He prefers to scale up because Brian loves to impact people 
  • 17:15 – Early on, the issue of scaling or keeping small had been a discussion 
  • 17:39 – The conscious decision they made was to get venture capital to scale up 
  • 18:47 – They hired a COO to help Brian with his duties 
  • 19:16 – Brian is having fun working in HubSpot 
  • 19:31 – Brian talks about: Public or Private?  
  • 21:10 – Brian shares a story regarding HubSpot’s culture 
  • 21:55 – “Culture is how people make decisions when you’re not in the room” 
  • 22:10 – Brian surveyed their employees on why they would recommend HubSpot to their friends 
  • 22:29 – The result of the survey was that their employees loved the culture 
  • 23:31 – HubSpot’s credo has been the magnet for the types of employees they want to hire 
  • 24:32 – “We created a place where we like to work” 
  • 25:06 – HubSpot’s hiring process 
  • 25:19 – They focus on skills 
  • 25:20 – Interviews vary depending on the position 
  • 26:10 – Potential employees weed themselves out if they see they are not a fit for the company’s culture 
  • 26:50 – Brian’s vacation policy and story 
  • 27:35 – People are now working all the time 
  • 27:45 – HubSpot stopped tracking vacations and is just trusting employees 
  • 29:07 – The worst hire Brian ever had 
  • 29:31 – The person criticized the company in all aspects including the logo 
  • 29:50 – They took the criticisms for what they were 
  • 30:47 – Quantifying culture 
  • 31:38 – You need to create a great culture 
  • 32:05 – HubSpot surveys their employees once every quarter and measures their level of happiness 
  • 32:20 – Recruiting costs have gone down because of the referrals they’re getting  

3 Key Points: 

  1. Partner up with people who complement your weaknesses and work together. 
  2. Creating a culture in your workplace where people want to work needs to be a priority.
  3. "Culture is how people make decisions when you’re not in the room."

Resources Mentioned: