Dharmesh Shah

Administrator Author Speaker AMA

Founder and CTO at HubSpot

Boston, MA, United States

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  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Ask Inbound: Do you think marketers need to be technical? If so, what technical skills do marketers need?

    To succeed in marketing, I think you have to either:

    a) Be technical and communicate really well with computers.


    b) Be creative and connect really well with carbon-based life forms.

    Of course, if you have a good mix of both, even better.

    As a tech person myself, I've always thought that technical skills were more rare -- but over the years, I've tempered that thinking. As it turns out, finding really strong creative people is really hard. 

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Will Marketing Technologists Kill Martech?

    An interesting take.

    I hadn't actually thought about the need that marketing technologists will have for increasing "order" (and thereby exerting more control).

    There are, as always, tradeoffs. Although I like the idea of an integrated platform (and not just because that what my company sells), I also like the idea of experimentation and trying new things.

    I think the savvy marketing technologists will find a good balance. Introduce some discipline and decrease complexity -- but remain open to new ideas and innovations.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Why Venture Capitalists Are Betting on Marketing Tech Over Ad Tech

    Interesting to see the WSJ writing about MarTech.  And though I'm biased, I agree with the premise: recurring revenue trumps non-recurring revenue.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Migrating from HubSpot to Marketo -- How We Did It in Just Three Weeks

    @kamilrextin Thanks for taking the time to write this detailed post.

    Would welcome a follow-up post in a few months with a candid assessment of the differences.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Insights from 100 SaaS Companies: Why It's Time to Rethink Your Packaging Strategy

    @patrickcoombe Amazon folks are geniuses. What's even higher ROI than their boxes is their Amazon Prime packing tape. 

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Insights from 100 SaaS Companies: Why It's Time to Rethink Your Packaging Strategy

    Startups often spend too little time thinking about pricing/packaging. Often, it can really move the needle on growth.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @jordiinbound Totally valid point. I've been meaning to work on a "show me more" feature. On the list, but there are a few things ahead of it.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @MichaelHartzell Sorry if you didn't find the cartoon funny. Most of the cartoons are "insider" jokes for marketing and sales people, and they can be a little dark sometimes.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @trevornicholls1 Sorry about that. 

    Slack support is in early, private beta, but here's the secret to getting access to the beta preview.

    Just message: request slack beta to GrowthBot.  (it'll give you the link to install).  

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @MassimoCw Funny you should say that, it's one of the features I'm working on right now.

    I'm going to start with something simple: Give users the ability to subscribe to daily or weekly traffic stats.  Next up will be looking for big changes in analytics data.

    Here's the idea I just presented to the HubSpot management team on Tuesday (this comes directly from an internal presentation):

    Hi Dharmesh. Heads-up that your organic traffic is down 27% this week compared to the average over past 6 months.  

    I checked all your pages, seems that the page http://hubspot.com/pricing accounts for 92% of the drop in visits. Could be the “hubspot pricing” search keyword.

    Noticed that [email protected] made a change to that page on Sun July 3rd.

    Would you like me to add this as a to-do item on your list?


  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

     Agreed. Bots are only as good as the services/data they have access to.

    And I think the use cases for sales people are interesting.

    1. show me accounting firms in Boston

    2. Add the second one as a prospect

    3. Add company hubspot.com as a lead

    4. Attach note this is just a test, don't actually contact them.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @EdLeake I'm working on variations of some of these.

    1. How is my visit to contact conversion rate?

    2. how is organic traffic trending last 6 months?

    3. Which page is getting the most organic traffic?

    4. What keywords does that page rank for?

    But, you've given me food for thought. 

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @userhue I think you hit the nail on the head. Google is great for many things and GrowthBot isn't going to be better than Google for many queries, nor is it trying to be.

    Here's where I think it is (or can be) better:

    1. When accessing software systems requiring an account.  

    2. Queries fulfilled through "vertical", industry-specific APIs and datasets. 

    3. When asking the system to actually *do* something (example: create draft medium post "Why Chatbots Are Awesome")

    Turns out, there are a fair number of these use cases. Enough to make what I hope will be a useful bot.

    I'm building it for myself, and I'm already finding it useful. But I'm biased -- and weird. :)

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Now that marketers have a chatbot, what do you want to ask it to do?

    @MaryGreenCNY Indeed, that's a tough one -- but very difficult to implement, because I don't know of a central source for that data. What makes GrowthBot work is the availability of APIs to third-party systems (like HubSpot, Google Analytics, etc.) that have data of interest. 

    I wish there was a source for marketing statistics data.  

    Do you know of one?

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What does the inbound.org community think of Dan Lyons 'Disrupted'?

    HubSpot's official response is here:


    We're not going to comment further on the book or Dan.  Just going to focus on working hard to serve our customers and community.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Which comes first for startups, the marketing or the sales?

    Short answer: Marketing comes before sales.

    Reasoning:  Marketing is not just about getting traffic or generating leads.  It's about what the product is, what the pricing/packaging is going to be, what the story is going to be, etc. So, you may not have a "marketer" on board, but as a startup, you are likely going to be doing marketing well before you are going to do sales.  Ideally, you're doing marketing as you're building the product.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26B in cash, makes big move into enterprise social media

    Disclosure: I'm long on $LNKD in stock (see "Why I Loaded Up On LinkedIn Shares" from Feb 5th 2016)

    Now, my thoughts:

    1. I think this is a good move by Microsoft.  LinkedIn has a unique asset -- the largest professional graph/network.

    2. As I've noted earlier, Jeff Weiner is an exceptional leader.  One of the best in tech.  I think he and Satya will get along well -- they are both have a thoughtful style about them.

    3. Microsoft has their Dynamics product, which could be made better in the long-term with this acquisition.

    4. Office365 and LinkedIn could integrate nicely.

    5. Not sure if it'll happen, but I'm secretly hoping that after this deal, LinkedIn will become more of a platform with an open API (which fits Microsoft's new culture). One of the things I've disliked about LinkedIn is how they've been really protective of the API.

    In my opinion, this is deal makes much more sense to me than Microsoft acquiring Salesforce.com (not to say that still couldn't happen).

    And, from a marketing perspective, it'll be interesting to see where the two companies will take LinkedIn's marketing offerings.  My hope is that with the resources of Microsoft behind it, LinkedIn will dramatically improve their sponsored content product -- I think they have some amazing potential there.  

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Ask Dharmesh About The HubSpot Culture Code

    @JamesMacLean88 HubSpot has offices in Cambridge, MA, Portsmouth, NH, Dublin, Sydney, Singapore -- and soon Tokyo.  But, no presence in Canada -- yet.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What does Marketo’s acquisition by private equity for $1.79B mean for the industry?

    Disclosure: I'm one of the founders of HubSpot, which also has a marketing software platform.

    First off, congrats to the Marketo team. This a great outcome for Marketo shareholders. The valuation is almost 2X that of the Oracle/Eloqua deal not that long ago.

    My quick take: Since this is a private equity transaction (and not a strategic acquisition), my guess is that not a lot will change for Marketo customers in the short term. There's no large platform migration/integration that needs to happen.

    Will be interesting to see what Vista's strategy is. Is this the first step in a roll-up of marketing tech companies? Or, a broader play in the SaaS market overall? Clearly, they see an opportunity for growth.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What does Marketo’s acquisition by private equity for $1.79B mean for the industry?

    @brightwhite Indeed, the marketing software industry is still in its early stages.  Most estimates still suggest that there is less than 10% adoption of marketing software platforms even when you add up the customer share of all the major providers (HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc.).

    In terms of the purchase price of Marketo, it has less to do with the number of customers and more to do with their revenue, growth rate and unit economics.  

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on How did Inbound get its initial traction?

    The community has indeed grown nicely.  Here are some answers:

    1. We didn't really implement any real "growth hacks". 

    2. One big initial driver of growth is the early community that was seeded as a result of @randfish  and my following. 

    3. Having HubSpot become the financial sponsor for the community was very helpful.  This gave us the financial resources to invest in development, design, community management and growth.  It also helped directly with growth, because we were able to connect with the large audience of marketers that HubSpot already reached.

    4. The big one for me is one I've learned before inbound.org: To build a great community, you need to have an altruistic bent -- that is, you have to be there to be helpful. It's OK for a community to have financial value -- but that can't be the only reason for it's existence. People don't want to contribute to something they think is purely for someone else's selfish interest.

    5. I would have been more disciplined around picking the early feature-set.  We tried to build too many things, and that time would likely have been better spent better understanding our members and what they wanted to do. We should have focused more on retention and engagement (which we are doing now) than on just growth.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What Tool(s) Do You Use for Social & Web Listening/Monitoring?

    I've used:

    Fresh Web Explorer from Moz (still use it now, relularly).

    mention.net (even used their API to build on top of their platform -- but didn't end up pursuing this). Don't use it anymore. Can't remember why.

    Google Alerts -- though I'm running into issues with adding/editing alerts (some weird Google multiple accounts thing).  All my existing alerts are still working, so haven't bothered with it.

    RivalIQ - Good structured check for specific changes -- like when a company changes their twitter bio or page title on their home page.

    Owler -- Just read the emails that come out regularly.  It sometimes catches good stuff.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Did Morgan Stanley just kill the single-vendor marketing suite?

    I have much respect for Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec), and I guess I'm a bit biased being the CTO of HubSpot, but I'm not sure that a report from a single investment bank with data from a relatively small sample that doesn't necessarily represent the broader community of marketers really spells "death" of the single-vendor marketing suite.  

    Do like how he calls them out on one of their misleading charts.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What do you expect from Facebook's F8 conference today?

    Not sure what the big announcements in general are, but the two of the most interest to me:

    1. Facebook Messenger opening up an API for people to create bots.  That's a Very Big Deal.

    2. Facebook at Work update. If they pull this off, it could be a very big deal too.  But, I'm less optimistic about it.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Is there a response from HubSpot on article about its ageist hiring practices?

    To be candid, the book just came out and I'm still "processing" it.

    Frankly, I'm really disappointed in Dan's account of his time at HubSpot. It really doesn't match the experience of many HubSpot employees. It's certainly not the kind of experience we work hard to deliver. I think it was a bit of a leap for Dan to take his individual experience and extrapolate it into such a broad criticism of HubSpot.

    Culture is very important at HubSpot. We value attributes like humility and transparency and try to look for them in every hire. Age doesn't factor into it at all. We just want smart, passionate people that match some of the cultural attributes, described in the HubSpot Culture Code.

    I'll likely have more to say next week, but right now, I'm deeply immersed in an R&D project that I'm super-excited about. 
  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Do you use NPS (Net Promoter Score)? For what kinds of things? What have you learned?


    1. Agreed.  We need to do more work on this at HubSpot (attaching economics to the scores).

    2. This we do really well.  We share all NPS surveys (customer, employee, etc.) with all employees.

    3. Totally agree.  What we try to do is "bucket" the qualitative feedback on NPS surveys and come up with a list of "action items" we can execute on to address the issues expressed.  This has worked very well for us.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Ask Dharmesh About The HubSpot Culture Code

    @fesaskari_sic I would start simple.  Make a first pass at defining what types of people you want on the team.  This will help guide early recruiting.  You can start the process of defining (or at least discussing) some of your early values -- these things will help you make some of the early decisions.  

    Remember, there are very few "absolutes".  It's not about right vs. wrong, it's "right for you" vs. "wrong for you".  

    Example: Some startups have a distributed team from the start -- and a culture to match that.  Others are more "centralized" where most people are colocated in the same office.  Neither one is right, but it's helpful to know which you're going to be (at least at the start).

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Insightful Study of 386 SaaS Startup Pricing Pages

    @benjbrandall You could use http://crayon.co to build a gallery of the weirdest SaaS pricing pages.

    I'm not convinced though that weird would convert better.  Unless, it was weirdly simpler.

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on Why Tesla Finally Acquired The Tesla.com Domain Name

    I'm a sucker for great domain names.

    I'm not sure what Tesla paid for the tesla.com domain, but within reason, I think it was totally worth it for the reasons the article states.

    Oh, and one more reason:  Over time, Tesla Motors probably wants to just be known as "Tesla" -- because they're going to be continuing to work on things that don't have motors (like their power wall battery thingie).

  • Dharmesh Shah added a comment on What do you do to strengthen your company culture?

    At HubSpot, we think of our Culture Code as our "operating system" (or framework) for making decisions.  

    Done correctly, a culture should make hard decisions easier, and easy decisions unnecessary (because everybody already knows what the right answer is, based on the code).


    1. Let's say we have some new, insightful data about the business that just turned up.  Who do we share it with?  Easy.  Everybody (unless there's a legal requirement not to).

    2. We just interviewed this new candidate and they are amazingly smart, and have a lot of relevant experience.  But, all of the people that met them thought they were overtly arrogant and egotistical.  Should we hire them?  Easy.  No hire.  (Humility is one of the core attributes we look for).

    3. We're trying to hire away this fancy executive from a company we respect and admire.  But, they're used to "perks" such as a fancy office and their own parking spot.  It's a competitive market, and they could really help the company.  Do we give them the perks?  Easy.  Of course not -- it's not in our culture.

    I'm biased, but I think hundreds of decisions get made at HubSpot every week that are helped by the Culture Code deck. 

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