A few days ago I posted the following on HubSpot's internal wiki. I'm reposting it here for three reasons: (a) to share a few of the reasons I love working at HubSpot, (b) to add a bit to the excellent conversation Umair started and (c) to point out some of the things I think a growing company needs to do to be successful today.
Umair Haque, one of my favorite bloggers, has a great post this weekend about Leaders and Builders . I highly recommend it to all HubSpotters, and wanted to share some of the things it got me thinking about:
At HubSpot we talk a lot about changing the way companies do marketing -- and we're in the process doing exactly that.
As we grow, I think we should also realize and focus on the fact that we're helping to change the way companies are built.
Think about the difference between HubSpot and companies that were built in the 20th Century. The GM's, Microsofts & P&Gs of the world are factories. They're rigid command and control hierarchies that don't encourage experimenting or innovating. HubSpot and other companies that are now changing the world (Google, Acmen Fund, Etsy, Amazon) are fields. Instead of enforcing a rigid hierarchy, we cultivate great people and empower them to do innovative, world-class work.
Why is the field better than the factory? Umair Haque's article and blog archive spells that out. But here's what I think: Fields are more efficient for the shareholders, more rewarding for employees and better for the world.
Some examples of how we're a field:
- Tremendous transparency. This wiki is wide open and it contains tons of real discussion, data and documentation. As a result, anybody in the company is able to participate in any conversation they choose.
- A flat organization. Everybody at HubSpot does stuff. Very few people just manage. Look at the engineering team and the marketing teams -- engineering is all engineers, regardless of experience; marketing is all inbound marketing managers, regardless of experience. That's awesome.
- Agile Methodology. It's an example of the transparency and enables flatness. It also empowers us as individuals by giving us the chance to pick and define our own projects.
- Data-driven culture. In god we trust, all others bring data. This kind of culture reduces political crap by 110%.
- Access to data across the organization. Anybody can collect any piece of HubSpot data they want. This data is our Twitter API. By opening up and publishing it internally, it enables individuals to do all sorts of creative stuff that benefits the company, but that nobody would have expected.
- We're building a cathedral. We're focused on building something that lasts and has a positive impact, not hitting some revenue threshold, then trying to flip the company.
All this is great, but it hasn't happened by accident, and it will be increasingly difficult to maintain. As we grow we need to be very focused on building a different kind of company.
Specifically, I think we need to focus on:
- Flatness. As we build out teams we need to work to retain flatness.
- Avoiding fiefdoms and turf battles. Instead we need to focus on getting shit done.
- Education & Training. We need to empower people with learning; sounds like training is AWESOME for new employees. How can we build the skills of existing employees?
- Open data. We need to give people within the company more access to company data.
- Staying focused on the Cathedral. Each group is focused like a laser on our monthly numbers. But we need to make sure we pick up our heads and look around on a regular basis.
- Hiring more rockstars. (All levels of experience.)
What do you guys think?
PS, if this kind of environment excites you, you should work at HubSpot.