Companies build *two* products. Culture is the product you build for your people.
The Culture Code deck has been a personal labor of love and a source of inspiration for millions. Updated for our current times.
Offered with love to the community I love.
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Would you recommend this product?
Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
I know this is not your traditional "product" per se. But, I have thought of company culture as a "product" for over a decade. Culture is the product you build for your people. This concept has changed my life, and changed the course of my company, HubSpot. The Culture Code deck has been a labor love with hundreds of hours invested. It has been one of the hardest products I've ever built -- but also the most gratifying. I share this recent update to the Culture Code deck in the hopes that it will be helpful to entrepreneurs looking to build a lasting, lovable culture. Every company culture is different, but there are patterns to what people are looking for from the companies they work for. The Culture Code deck identifies some of those patterns. Hope you enjoy it and it's helpful as you craft your own culture. Love, @dharmesh
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One of the things that fascinates me and that I admire most about the culture code is that it may seem like a just a deck...but in reality it's as much of a product as anything else you'll see on Product Hunt. The culture code was built through hundreds of hours or research and data. The culture code is iterated upon as things around it change. The culture code helps people solve a problem. The culture we've built at HubSpot is as strong as the product we've built alongside it. I hope this deck can help other companies do the same!
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@dylsell Thanks, Dyllan. Yes, we think about it very much like a product, built with customer feedback. We do surveys. We do betas of new versions. We're constantly iterating. There are a few things we've done well at HubSpot that has contributed to our modest success -- this is one of them.
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Rand Fishkin
Founder of SparkToro, prev Moz
Dharmesh - tons to love in here, just as there was in the first one. I'm really glad to see you updating it to keep up with the times and recognizing how work culture is shifting. Had a few questions, too! 1) In shifting mentality away from "perks," did you encounter hedonic treadmill issues, i.e. folks at Hubspot who felt entitled to perks/benefits and are angry to lose them? I definitely experienced that at my old gig, even on things as small as which expensive kombucha the company's fridges did/didn't store. 2) A lot of companies that focus on culture lean into an "employees first" mentality. I'm actually glad to see Hubspot focus on *customers* > employees, but I'm curious about your process there and whether that, too, was a shift, an intentional move, or something that's always been part of your & Brian's thinking? 3) Your culture and ideals align wonderfully with progressive and liberal political ideology (from a US perspective), but pretty poorly with a conservative ideology. Prioritizing things like your H.E.A.R.T. values, gender equality, racial diversity, inclusivity, etc. are things I love, but ones I also recognize many Trump fans despise. Where'd y'all land on having an implicitly (if not explicitly) progressive culture? And how do you tackle folks whose cultural values don't match yours/Hubspot's? 4) The only thing I missed and wish was included in the deck and philosophy were more of a connection between the culture you want to build, the world you're trying to help, and how it fits with creating a healthier/better society overall. For example, I LOVE that Hubspot's focus is on making many small businesses and agencies successful. We all know that a strong, diverse based of small-medium businesses in an economy (vs. a few big monopoly-take-all winners) creates better income equality, lowers political strife, improves health and longevity, creates more resiliency in crises, etc. Did you consider including the connection to the big picture/macroeconomic/society + world elements? Were those intentionally scrapped for some reason? Perhaps because of Hubspot's public company status/size/complexity? Thank you as always for pushing the corporate world forward on this stuff. I imagine it's much harder at the size Hubspot is now than it was 10-12 years ago, but it's just as valuable (and perhaps even more impactful) today. Mazel tov!
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@randfish Looking forward to reading the answers to your questions.
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@randfish Wow, thanks for the thoughtful response/questions. Here are some answers: 1) Yes, we did see a bit of that, with regards to loss of in-office perks. But, didn't really get to the point of anger. Also, I think if we had done this independent of the pandemic going on, it might have been different. The one good thing that has come from the global crisis is that we are better at focusing on the things that actually matter. 2) The customers > company > individual has been part of our ethos for many years (since early versions of the deck, 7+ years ago). But, I will confess -- we don't always live up to that standard, and don't always call each other out when we deviate. But, we *do* go back and take inventory of where we might have solved for the company over our customers, and go back and fix it. Not easy, but very healthy long-term. 3) HubSpot tries to be apolitical. But, our *values* do lean towards what some would call the "left" side of the spectrum. Having said that, we believe in inclusivity -- and that doesn't mean just people that think the way we do. So, regardless of who you support or voted for, you're welcome at HubSpot as long as you create value for our customers, treat others with kindness and respect and otherwise hold to our values. 4) I have considered more "macro" issues and connection to social causes, but have deliberately stayed away from that in the Culture Code deck. It's just too deep a topic to try and do it justice in a few slides. And also, I have a hard rule to keep the # of slides at 128 (so anytime I put new slides in, I take others out). I've found the work on HubSpot's culture (and the associated deck) to be some of the most gratifying. Though on days like today (like when the Culture Code deck winds up at #1 on Hacker News and drives a flurry of negative comments), I long for the simplicity of just writing in Python instead of PowerPoint. :) Cheers. Be well.
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Rand Fishkin
Founder of SparkToro, prev Moz
@dharmesh Thanks my friend! Appreciate the responses :-) So, realizing that maybe it doesn't fit in the formal "Culture Code" deck, I'm still curious about whether you and Brian (and the board/exec team) think about Hubspot's connection to the macro-world and the impact (beyond revenue/profits/growth) the company has there? Are there guiding principles you use to say "no" to decisions that might positively impact Hubspot's quarterly growth? Are those codified somewhere/somehow? Does that create tension with public market investors?
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Brian HalliganCeo HubSpot
The competitive landscape for talent is going through radical change right now. Companies used to compete for talent in their local area against local companies. For example, HubSpot competes for talent with Akamai, Wayfair, and other Boston-based companies of similar size. Now that remote work is becoming more mainstream, companies will need to compete for talent against ALL companies of similar size. This means you'll need to improve your culture's value proposition to compete more effectively on a national level. Just like you obsess over making your product uniquely valuable to your customers, you'll need to obsess over making your culture uniquely valuable to your employees.
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@bhalligan Thanks for that. I like the way remote work levels the playing field. You don't need to be paying sky-high rents to get exceptional people for your team. If I had one piece of advice to give our former selves when we started HubSpot -- it would be to be more intentional about culture.
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Gregory KarelitzHead of App Ecosystem Partnerships
As a HubSpot employee for 7+ years, it's heartwarming, encouraging, and motivating to see (and feel) how highly regarded Culture is to the business. It give us, as employees from all over the world with different backgrounds, a guide to follow. It holds us accountable to a high set of core values & standards that we hope to live and breathe everyday - for our customers, partners, and teammates.
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@gkarelitz Thanks, Greg! It's been great working with you over all these years and see your progression within HubSpot. I thought that having HubSpotters comment on Product Hunt would feel a little weird -- but it actually makes sense. The Culture Code deck is a *product* and you are one of the 4,000 customers!
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Tom ReavleyUX Researcher
Before I joined HubSpot two years ago, I read an earlier version of this deck. To be frank, I wasn't sure if it was for real, or just hype. I can now confirm that it is very much the real deal. HubSpotters believe in, and strive to uphold, the Culture Code. I can think of no better examples than the amazing support for employees and customers that HubSpot has provided since the pandemic, as well as their vocal support for Black Lives Matter and fostering a culture of anti-racism. The Culture Code is the product that HubSpot provides to its employees - it helps us all thrive and do right by others. I'm super proud to work at a place that lives up to its principles.
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Nate Medinamarketer
HubSpot gets culture right! To be honest, I was a bit skeptical of the high employee reviews before joining (Glassdoor, etc.), but couldn't have been more wrong. The people at HubSpot are the reasons why I love working here. I've learned a ton of lessons on building culture from my 2+ years at HubSpot. The culture code deck sums up the secret sauce. Great read for any entrepreneurs looking to form a tighter culture.
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@nate__medina Thanks, Nate. It's understandable that you were skeptical. We live in an increasingly skeptical world. Glad you gave us a shot and saw for yourself. :)
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Culture Code is DNA for the product and user experience. HubSpot is one of the rare companies to truly understand that. Many companies preach a lot about culture but their efforts end up with virtue signaling and no meaningful action. On the other side, HubSpot does what other companies just talk about.
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@g_dukic Thanks, credit goes to the HubSpot People Ops team. They are tirelessly working on making sure our culture "product" is delivering on the needs of our "customers" (employees).
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Adam MarkonSr. Software Engineer, @HubSpot
The 2015 version of this deck is pretty much the sole reason I applied to co-op at HubSpot back in the day. I can confidently say the new version is a big reason why I've stuck around. Awesome job on this new version Dharmesh. It's really challenging to craft something that stands the test of time in this way, and if it stands the test of time it's unusual that it maintains this scale of long-term impact on an organization. It shapes our employees, our customers, our business, and that's no small task. Can't wait for the 2025 iteration!
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@amarkon88 Thanks, Adam. Thrilled to hear that it inspired you to join. Loved your talk at EPIC this week, btw.
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James GilbertDirector, APAC
@amarkon88 Same, I joined in 2015 and a big reason was the Culture Code deck, it resonated deeply. Now having been here for 5+ years it's pretty amazing to see first hand how accurate it is and how effective it has been as a recruiting and alignment tool. By far HubSpots most important product.
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Whenever I have the chance to talk to college students about how to pick their first company, I always tell them to talk to current employees so they can sift through the noise and find companies that truly walk-the-walk. So many companies say their culture is great, but living and breathing that promise is a whole different ballgame. Why do I know how important that is? Because I am so privileged to work at a company that leads by that example. I'll never be able to settle for less at this point. The culture code is so feel good, but even better: it's not fluff. It's the essence of HubSpot. 3.5 years into my time here and I feel more energized every day. I hope other companies can learn from this deck, and I hope it teaches individuals to never settle in their pursuit for a company that not only makes them proud as an employee but as a person!
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Dharmesh Shah
Maker
Founder and CTO, HubSpot
@isabella_valentini Thanks, Isabella. We live in an understandably skeptical world. So, it's hard to know how things *really* are inside a company until you connect with people inside that company.
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