Changing roles at work (HubSpot)

I am changing my role at HubSpot to focus less on day-to-day management, HR, and product-centric efforts, and more towards creating a “HubSpot platform” for internal and external developers to build on.

That’s a mouthful 😉  Let me explain in a little more detail, both what I’ll be doing, and why I’m making this change.

For about three years now, I’ve been HubSpot’s VP of Engineering.  In that role I did a lot of recruiting, building a team that’s several multiples bigger than when I started.  We grew from dozens of customers to thousands of them, created a variety of new products, improved existing ones, learned about process and agility, and it’s been a fantastic experience.  I put in place and managed the entire product development process, structure, framework…  It was fun.

But for a while now, I (and several other people inside and outside HubSpot) have felt that although we’re a great sales and marketing company, engineering has been mostly a supporting role.  I want to change that.  I want us to drastically grow our technology chops, start working more with the outside world of developers, and in the process improve our product as well as the lives of HubSpot customers and HubSpot’s own developers.

There is a range of projects in the queue, from internal-facing scalability and reliability improvements, to external-facing APIs and integration opportunities.  I look forward to handling the technical challenges as well as the ecosystem-creation and business development ones.  And since I’ll be managing way less people directly, I hope to have much more time for hands-on coding and development, which I sorely miss.

HubSpot has a very broad, sweeping vision and goals.  It’s unlikely we’ll ever have enough developers in-house to fully realize the extent of our vision.  Even if we did, there would always be more ideas than we can implement.  Many industry-specific or customer-specific types of needs, we are unlikely to address in our core product.  At least not for a long time.  I’d still like those people to be able to use inbound marketing to their advantage, and the platform should help them.  We already have a variety of partners and interested parties queued up to start working with us.

The transition will be gradual and it will take a while.  We couldn’t do it at all unless we already had another fantastic engineering leader at HubSpot, in the form of Jim O’Neill.  Jim is in my top five colleagues I’ve ever worked with, a true personal friend, and I trust him completely.  Otherwise this move would likely be impossible: finding someone from the outside for this role is incredibly tough.

As a HubSpot shareholder, I’m excited about these changes.  Dharmesh, Jim, and I have actually been talking about them for months.  I also sought advice from a couple of great HubSpot friends (and Board members), David Skok and Andy Payne.  They were extremely helpful, as always.

It will take a while, but I hope this transforms HubSpot in the future.  HubSpot Inc v2.0, if you will 😉

By the way, we’re hiring smart engineers 😉  If you want to join us, please get in touch.