A Fireside Chat with Hubspot: All about Company Culture

Tech in Motion Boston hosted a Fireside Chat with HubSpot this winter at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, MA, featuring VP of Engineering Eric Richard and VP of Product Brad Coffey. Moderating the conversation was Stephanie Viccari, a Rails Developer at MeYouHealth, which was awarded “The Best Startup to Work For” in 2014 by the Boston Globe.

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The evening began with an hour of networking and food provided by Boston’s popular food truck, The Chicken and Rice Guys, before the Fireside Chat took off. Stephanie started the discussion by asking our panelists about the beginning of their time at Hubspot and how they got involved in the recently IPO’d company.

Networking HourBrad told the audience about how he got his start at HubSpot as an intern, and how the company was founded out of MIT – where he earned his MBA. CEO Brian Halligan met the CTO, Dharmesh Shah, there. Brian had a “playbook” at the time, which helped companies he had previously worked with. When it came to HubSpot, he found it wasn’t working, so he took a step back to reevaluate. They came up with the idea of an “all-in-one software solution” that could bring their ideas together and resonate well with the customers. This idea flourished and has led HubSpot to where it is today.

The discussion then flowed into the topic of company culture and what its like to work at Hubspot.

“The key part of HubSpot was that it wasn’t about just a company when it first started, it was about how we wanted to create a culture,” Eric explained. “So we created the ‘culture code’ which asks the question ‘How do you think about culture as a company?’”

“You want to make sure that the teams and individuals have autonomy so they are making mistakes and thriving.” Brad added. “You want to empower the engineers to do work. You’re there to serve the people who make the magic.”

This topic sparked a great discussion between Brad and Eric, who both agreed that if you make sure the people who work for you are empowered, you will have a successful company.

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“Although we do spend a lot of time making sure our people are empowered, we also structure the ‘guard rails,'” said Eric. “We do something called a ‘Science Fair’ once every month which is a way for everyone at the company to show their products and projects off. Everyone get a few minutes in front of the room to present their work.”

The Fireside Chat

This conversation continued into some of the difficulties entrepreneurs can run into when starting and running a company. The Hubspot team made the point that it is hard creating the design and consistency you need as the building blocks and foundation to a new company. Eric and Brad then transitioned into the product teams and hiring process of engineers at HubSpot.

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“Cultural fit is the most important thing to our product teams. On the engineering side of things, we make sure the hiring process is fast and makes the candidate feel they are getting a customized experience throughout the interview.”

Stephanie opened up the room to questions after wrapping up the moderated discussion. The room immediately filled with raised hands as the audience was clearly intrigued and curious to hear more. Even after an extended Q&A, Eric, Brad and Stephanie continued answering questions and networking past the conclusion of the event. To be a part of the conversation, join the Boston Tech in Motion chapter here.