Dharmesh Shah

Founder & CTO at HubSpot. Marketing community maniac at inbound.org.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 23, 2016
Thank Dharmesh Shah on Twitter

Discussion

M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
Hi, I'm Dharmesh Shah, founder/CTO of HubSpot. I love startups, inbound marketing and building software. I hate unkindness, alarm clocks and phone calls. I have two passion projects at HubSpot. The first is a slide deck that I've spent hundreds of hours on called the HubSpot Culture Code deck (http://CultureDeck.com) . The other is http://inbound.org?ref=producthunt -- an online community for marketers to connect, learn and grow. I've also angel invested in 64 startups, most through AngelList (in which I'm an investor -- how "meta"). Ask Me Anything -- I type really fast.

Oh, and by the way, are you looking to hire an awesome marketer? I've created a special 60% discount code off the regular $250/post price just for Product Hunters. Use promo code "phrocks"
or click this link: https://inbound.org/job/create?c...

It's a great way expose your company to the 150,000 strong inbound.org community which consists mostly of marketers and makers. No pressure though -- inbound.org is not meant to be a profit-generating venture. Just looking to connect some dots.

UPDATE: Thanks for all the questions! Hope some of the answers were useful. I'm going to sign-off (and get back to writing some code).
Rand Fishkin
@randfish · Wizard of Moz
Hi Dharmesh!

My question is hard. Really hard. Suddenly, tomorrow, you're made the Head of Product & Engineering at Moz (not an actual role, but it's a hypothetical so I get to play fast and loose). Knowing what you know today about Moz's history and products, what would you change?
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@randfish That's a really, really hard question. I'll give you the short version now, and perhaps a longer version over a glass of wine (we're overdue):

The hardest thing about product strategy and figuring out the right balance between building what you think (or are convinced) should exist vs. what people want. You can't skew too far one way or the other.

Things I would do:

1. Make an inventory of the "stuff" (products/features) that you currently have, and come up with a way to measure the value they're generating. First-order approximation is revenue divided by usage/adoption.

2. Figure out what you can kill. Seriously. The mistake that many teams make is thinking that the software they've developed is "sunk cost" and that if it's generating *any* value, that's net positive. It's not. All products/features have an ongoing cost to them. Not just maintaining the software, but the complexity cost of making decisions around the feature, explaining to people what it is, why it's important, etc. Usually, the "long tail cost" of a feature is much higher than the initial development cost.

3. If you haven't done one already, do a customer NPS survey and try to dig into what it is your customers love about Moz -- and what they'd like you to do. Even better, ask the question I ask most customers I meet in person when I'm out speaking: "When I go back to my team, what's the one thing you'd love for me to ask them to do for you?" (That assumes, of course, that I can tell my team what to do, which is not true at all). But, the data is valuable. :)

That's it for now. Might be back to you later...
Rand Fishkin
@randfish · Wizard of Moz
@dharmesh Thanks - not just good advice for Moz, but near-universally applicable advice. Very thoughtful of you to be so inclusive :-)
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@randfish If I didn't know better, I'd almost think that was a dig. But I do, and so I don't.
Carlos Eduardo
@carlosvivaldi
Hi Darmesh, If you were to add another letter to HEART — which would it be and why?
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@carlosvivaldi The OCD part of me is going to want to come up with a revised acronym, but I'm going to resist doing that. The word I really want to get in there is Empathetic. Fun fact: I've actually lobbied internally to replace "Effective" in HEART with "Empathetic". And, replace "Remarkable" with "Resourceful". Have not won that internal debate (yet). I'm going to make another attempt at it soon.
Neal Kaiser
@nealkaiser · CEO of Upshot Commerce
Time management question here! Being an introvert, how do you manage getting enough quiet time w/ a demanding schedule and being surrounded by type-As (I'm assuming).
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@nealkaiser The question I have about demanding schedules is: "Who's doing the demanding?" Chances are, those that influence your schedule want to solve for "output" (not input). So, if you had a candid conversation with them about how you can add the most value (which is likely *not* being in extrovert-tailored situations), they'd listen.

For me personally: I have long-ago (15+ years) decided that I'm going to focus on my strengths and not try to fill-in my weaknesses. It's worked out OK for me. It's amazing what the world will let you "get away with" if you simply try it.
Jonny Miller
@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Thanks for doing this @dharmesh! I've heard @randfish claim that he steals all of his best ideas from you... looking back over the years, which ideas or achievements are you most proud of (and why?)
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
Hi Jonny! Thanks for stopping by.

@jonnym1ller @randfish First off, I'd say that Rand is too kind and humble, but there is no such thing, so will it stand. Over the many years that I've known him, Rand and I have given each other advice roughly equally. And, I don't think I've ever given him a great idea, other than the one I shared at a Search Love conference which was to monitor ProgrammableWeb for new APIs to generate ideas for neat tools to build.

In terms of the second part: The thing that I'm most proud of is have attracted a bunch of smart people and aligned them towards a cause of making marketing (and now sales) more empathetic and human-friendly. We're not the only ones to be working on that, but we started early and were relatively maniacal about it.
Barry Nyhan
@imbarrynyhan
Hey Dharmesh! What's the most common characteristic shared amongst the most successful people you know?
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@imbarrynyhan First, my definition of success: "Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant." So based on that, I'd say that the #1 most common trait amongst the successful is humility.
Kelly Kuhn-Wallace
@kkdub · Exec Coach & Market:Product:Growth
(Third question - skip if needed.) I am surprised to see inbound.org named as one of your "passion projects." While the dialogue there is moderately active, it does not seem like a lot of attention has been paid to developing it into a particularly differentiated experience. What is your vision for inbound.org? How do you envision your passion for it coming to life? **excited to read the answer to this one**
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@kkdub Turns out, I have a 1,000+ word blog post in draft-mode that answers this question. But, here's the gist:

The dream for inbound.org is to be one of the best resources out there for marketers to learn, grow and connect. Now, that sounds super abstract and platitudinal, so let's dig in:

1. Be the best place for new marketers to break into the industry.

2. Provide a way for marketers to verifiably demonstrate their skills/expertise.

3. Create a place for organizations to hire great inbound marketers. In a "positive karmic loop" kind of way, what makes a great inbound marketer is someone that is empathetic and generous (put value in before extracting value out).

4. Build the world's biggest and richest graph of marketers, the tools they use, the projects they've worked on, the companies they've worked for, and the skills they've accumulated. Seriously.
Kelly Kuhn-Wallace
@kkdub · Exec Coach & Market:Product:Growth
@dharmesh Love it. All of it. Perhaps inbound.org might also be a place for new marketers to seek mentors?
Daniel Graziano
@digigraziano
Really like your last idea @kkdub. Although I'm a little more biased to having a mentor outside your direct industry; that's a particularly strong attraction point for young marketers finding their feet. Considering @dharmesh has pitched Inbound above as a hub for young marketers to evolve within, moving towards a mentor model is an interesting challenge. I've tried it before - the logistics, reliability and commitment of people (mentors and mentees) can be a nightmare.
Kelly Kuhn-Wallace
@kkdub · Exec Coach & Market:Product:Growth
@digigraziano Ideally we all have multiple mentors. :) The challenges you mention are real. Overcoming them seems possible and well worth doing. The benefits of mentoring (for both parties) are well-documented. And I believe (no data) that young marketers who have mentors are more likely to be mentors in the future. And that current mentors in marketing will gain the confidence to serve as mentors for young professionals in other fields. @dharmesh
Kelly Kuhn-Wallace
@kkdub · Exec Coach & Market:Product:Growth
@digigraziano (I'm not capable of thoughts in singles. Apologies.) Another approach might be to partner up those of us who have not published with more seasoned marketers to work on research or articles together. Think of that like a highly targeted mentorship opportunity with a defined outcome that more concretely benefits inbound.org in the near-term. @dharmesh
🌟 
Emily Hodgins
@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What's the best piece of advice you'd offer to new founders just starting out?
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@ems_hodge Be careful with general advice. Understand that most advice is an extrapolation from few (often one) data point.
Daniel Graziano
@digigraziano
Love this @dharmesh. We can rely and form decisions far too quickly from data. Every industry, every target audience is different. 'Growth' and 'Retention' tips are great to build on, but repurposing them exactly as they are depicted is often a trip down the wrong road.
Edwin Espinosa
@edwinespinosa09 · Angularjobs
1) What are the key things Hubspot looks for in hiring talent, both from a skills and intangibles perspective?
2) Pre-IPO how did this differ?

//I have heard that startups tend to do better hiring good cultural fits but once late stage it's best to hire for diversity (skills, character, intangibles) to continue innovation and growth. Thanks Dharmesh, you're awesome :)
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@edwinespinosa09 In our early years, we hired people that were exceptionally smart and Got Sh*t Done. Most of us didn't look like great hires "on paper". As we've scaled, we've found a clearer pattern to what kinds of people work well at HubSpot -- and they're usually humble and transparent. See http://CultureCode.com for more details on how we think about people.
Vishal Kuchanur
@vishal_kuchanur · Associate at Goldman Sachs
Given a choice to quit the Internet world, what profession would you choose and why?
M
Dharmesh Shah
@dharmesh · Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@vishal_kuchanur If I had the talent, I'd become a musician. But, I don't. So, what I will likely end up doing is becoming a professor. I have always loved teaching, and it fits my "do things that have impact and scale" mantra.
Jess
@jessdykstra · Coordinator, Northeastern University
@dharmesh @vishal_kuchanur Hi Dharmesh! I've worked as staff in higher ed for 7 years, primarily in faculty-facing roles. I mention this to say faculty LOVE what they do. Having worked in some capacity with several hundred professors from a wide range of disciplines (mostly business and healthcare but also arts & sciences and IT), I've found professors to be some of the most joyful and fulfilled people around. Bonus! Teaching keeps you youthful.