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The Day I Had To Wear Pants To Ring The IPO Bell

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on November 20, 2014 in hubspot 17 Comments

It's #TBT. It's been a busy and exciting several months.

Earlier this year, HubSpot decided to publicly file our S1 document as part of the IPO process.  On October 9th 2014, after our IPO roadshow, I had the thrill of joining a few HubSpotters and ringing the bell on the NYSE.  $HUBS (NYSE:HUBS) was off to the races.

hubspot-ipo-small
Note: I'm the guy in the middle.  I'm easy to pick out because I'm the calmest one of the bunch.  That's not because I'm cool and collected, but because I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all.
In the intervening time between the S1 filing and the IPO, I was in what is known as a "quiet period" during which I couldn't really say too much about the company.  I don't know all the details in terms of what one can and can't say during a quiet period.  I'm not a lawyer and have never played one on TV (or whatever the kids are calling these days).  So, I erred on the side of conservatism and didn't say much at all during that period.
 quiet-period-tweet-2

Last week, we had our first earnings call as a public company.  Here's the full article: HubSpot Announces 51% Revenue Growth For Third Quarter 2014.  tl;dr: We beat analyst expectations and raised guidance.

So, now, I'm officially out of the "quiet period".  This means I'll be resuming my normal level of blogging, tweeting and such.  And, I can now retweet and link to articles about HubSpot that include the word IPO (like this one).

A few quick observations from the IPO process itself (a longer article, in collaboration with my co-founder is coming soon).

1. The IPO roadshow is a lot like a series of many (50+) VC presentations compressed into ~2 exciting and grueling weeks across many cities. I ended up having a better time than I thought I was going to. It was fun to tell the HubSpot story and share our ambitions for the business with some super-smart folks.

2. Ringing the bell on the NYSE was a lot of fun.  We broadcast the event to our offices in Cambridge, Dublin and Sydney so our team could follow-along in all the fun.  Arguably, the team back at the office(s) was even more excited than we were on the floor.  There was rumor of tears of joy and such, but those have not been confirmed.

3. The biggest "holy crap!" moment happened the morning of the bell-ringing ceremony.  My wife Kirsten and I were walking up Wall Street on our way to the exchange building.  Then, we saw the HubSpot logo draped over the entire building.  Was not expecting that. We were floored. It was*awesome*.  (It was particularly fun for my wife, who gets credit for the HubSpot logo almost 10 years ago -- well before there was even a company).

hubspot-logo-nyse

4. A quick/fun story about the day I wore pants: In the middle of the road-show (I was on my way to SF at the time), I got an email from someone on our media team.  The email stated (among other things) that the NYSE actually required that one wear pants in order to participate in the ceremonies.  And by pants, I mean trousers/slacks (not jeans or shorts).  At first, I was a bit offended that someone would feel the need to tell me that I needed to wear pants/trousers/slacks to the NYSE bell-ringing.  But, about 10 seconds later, I realized that I had not, in fact, brought any pants/trousers/slacks on the roadshow -- because I wear jeans every day.  10 seconds after that, I remembered that I had actually not worn pants/trousers/slacks in many years, and was pretty sure I didn't own any.  As it turns out, my co-founder (and CEO of HubSpot) had not brought any pants/trousers/slacks on the trip either.  Though, in his defense, he does actually own some.  So, we went shopping during the roadshow.  Since neither Brian nor I are good at shopping, our COO (JD Sherman) was gracious enough to join us.  (JD has really good fashion sense).  So, we bought pants, I wore them to ring the bell.  Crisis averted.  (By the way, I did wear a sportscoat and nice shirt for our roadshow meetings, no HubSpot hoodie).

Oh, and by the way, as you can tell from the photo at the top of this post, pants were completely unnecessary at the podium.  I could have been wearing pajamas and nobody watching would have known.

5. Here's a photo of me with my co-founder, Brian Halligan: "Dude, here's the HUBS ticker symbol on the iPhone stock app!"
nyse-hubs-price-iphone

6. One cool thing we did was how we handled the "friends and family" allocation from our initial pool of IPO shares (whereby designated folks got to buy at the initial $25/share IPO price).  Instead of giving this to the traditional "friends and family" like many companies do, we instead offered these shares to our partners, long-time supporters and employees.  People that have helped us build the business.  (Of course, my mom was disappointed that she couldn't buy at the IPO price, despite having indirectly helped the business by bringing me into the world.  Sorry, mom!)

7. During the quiet period, there were a couple of articles in the media about HubSpot that were just factually incorrect.  But, we couldn't respond or clarify at all.  I bucket this as "life in the big city" and didn't let it bother me too much.  Overall, there was almost no drama during our IPO (other than my lack of pants)

8. Well before going public, I advised the HubSpot team that they shouldn't obsess over the HubSpot stock price.  Of course, for the first couple of weeks, I was obsessed over the stock price.  I had it beamed over Bluetooth to my smart watch, so I could just casually check it without being obvious about it.  Thankfully, I'm over that obsession now, and have returned to a state of normal (well, normal for me).

9. I reiterated my advice to the team earlier this week at  our "all minds" meeting.  Don't get overly elated when the price is up, or overly deflated when the price is down.  Just take care of our customers, and the stock price will (in the long-term) take care of itself.

10. One of the more common questions I get is:  How has my life changed after the IPO?  To be honest, it hasn't changed that much.  That might have something to do with the fact that I'm neither CEO nor CFO of the company (sorry, Brian and John!), so my life hasn't really gotten any harder.  On the upside, it's kind of cool that a much larger pool of people now recognize me/HubSpot when when I am running around donning the company logo (which for me, is every day).  There's also that whole thing about the $125MM+ raised in the IPO too.  

11. This photo is a last minute addition.  Including it because it was one of my prouder moments from the IPO journey.  The photo shows JD Sherman (COO, HubSpot) and Tom Farley (President, NYSE).  And, if you look closely, you'll see me in the background photo-bombing them.  This is outright impressive, but particularly impressive given a) the context b) the fact that it is the only photo-bomb I've ever done.  By the way, Tom was a super-gracious host.  He's even wearing a tie with the HubSpot logo on it that morning.

jd-farley-photo-bomb

All in all, it's been a great year.  That's all I've got for now.  Oh, and if you're amazing and want to join one of the coolest public companies around, check out the HubSpot Culture Code deck to learn what makes us tick (included below for your convenience).  We are so hiring.  Pro tip:  Emails to the address at the end of the deck get forwarded directly to me, and nothing makes my day more than hearing from folks that enjoyed our culture code deck.

Thanks to all of you for your support.  
Cheers.

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10 Tips For A Successful Startup Job Search

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on October 23, 2014 in guestpost recruiting career 8 Comments

This following article is a guest post by Rick Burnes.  Rick is the VP of Content Products at BookBub.  You can follow him on twitter: @rickburnes.

Startup job searches are hard. There’s more risk (most startups fail!), there’s less information and the best opportunities are sometimes hidden and hard to find.

So how do you navigate a startup job search successfully?

dream-job

 

I learned about this over the last six months. Earlier this month, after six months speaking with Boston-area startups about new opportunities, I left HubSpot to begin a job at the Cambridge book discovery website, BookBub.

It’s not easy to leave an amazing place like HubSpot, so I wanted to do it right, and got a lot of different advice. Here are some of the best tips I got:

  1. Take Your Time. Job searches are not fun, so everybody’s tempted to jump at the first opportunity that comes up. Resist it! If you’re looking for anything other than an entry-level job, it’s going to take you some time to find the right thing. Six months is normal. You’re much better off waiting and landing in the perfect job than rushing through the search and ending up in a job you want to leave after six months.

  2. Tell Your Manager You’re Looking. If it’s at all possible, you should be upfront with your manager. If you have a strong relationship and your manager is smart, he or she will help you. I told my HubSpot manager, Mike Volpe, shortly after I began my job search. He was very supportive, providing many key introductions and strong references to potential employers.

  3. Look For a Company Where You Can Make a Big Impact. Try to find a startup where you bring new skills to the table. If you can teach the company new skills, you’ll have a bigger impact than if you have the exact same skill set as the other five marketers or engineers at the company. I was attracted to BookBub because they’re planning some exciting new content initiatives that my background in marketing and media can help them with.

  4. Look at the Numbers. Startups are risky, but you should do as much as you can to minimize the risk. One way to avoid ending up at a bad company is to get as much data about the company’s traction as possible. I knew BookBub was the real deal when CEO Josh Schanker walked me through the company’s latest board deck, highlighting their millions of members, amazing member engagement (see the Facebook comments here), and great revenue growth. If a startup isn’t willing to share this kind of information with you, it’s a red flag. I’d start looking at other options.

  5. Look for Companies With Big, Disruptive Opportunities. Is the company you’re interviewing with making a modest incremental change, or a big disruptive change? You’re better off with a disruptive company. If your new company’s opportunity is narrow, your opportunity will be narrow. If your new company is thinking big (if it’s trying to change a whole industry) your opportunity will be big. BookBub excites me because it has a massive opportunity -- an opportunity to completely change the way authors promote books and readers find them.

  6. Make Sure You’ll Be Building the Right Skills. When I started my search I found a lot of companies looking for traditional B2B marketers. I eventually steered away from those companies because I don’t want to develop traditional B2B marketing skills. Instead, I want to build on my inbound B2B marketing experience with B2C marketing skills. This is another reason I was attracted to BookBub, a company that does both B2B and B2C marketing.

  7. Make Sure the Company You Pick Has Realistic Expectations for You. During my search I spoke with a few companies that had done zero inbound marketing (no blog, no social following, no SEO), but were looking for a marketer to come in and generate huge new lead flow with almost no new spending in a matter of months. That’s impossible. Inbound is awesome, but like most things, it takes time and money. I steered away from those companies.

  8. Look for a Company With a Good Network. A company’s network is another good way to judge its prospects. If the startup has awesome investors and advisors, and its team members have strong relationships from previous experiences, its chances of success are higher. BookBub’s network, including NextView Ventures and Founder Collective, as well as many strong startup and publishing-industry relationships, was very attractive to me. An added benefit of a strong network that I saw first-hand at HubSpot: When it comes time to start looking for your next new job, your company will be able to connect you with new opportunities.

  9. Use a Spreadsheet to Evaluate All of the Companies You’re Speaking With. If you’re doing it right, you should be talking to a lot of companies. And if you’re talking to a lot of companies, you should create a systematic way of comparing them. For my search, I created a spreadsheet that listed each company and scored them along criteria such as “role fit”, “business risk”, “business opportunity”, and “team caliber”. The spreadsheet didn’t produce any surprises, but did help me keep track of all the opportunities, think clearly about them and prioritize them.

  10. After You’ve Done Your Research, Pick Something You’re Excited About. Once I collected company performance data, put everything into my spreadsheet and finished my research, I had a handful of great companies left on my list. There were a lot of reasons I ended up deciding on BookBub -- I loved the team, it was a unique opportunity to combine my media and marketing experience, and I love books. But at the end of the day, BookBub was simply the company I was crazy-excited about. That’s more important than anything else because, like most people, I do my best work when I’m excited.

One last thing about a startup job search: The most important factor in your search is something that’s already decided by the time you’re looking -- your current job. HubSpot’s success, and my success at HubSpot, was one of the biggest things I had going for me. You can’t change the experience and the job you have now -- but you can do your diligence, ask the right questions and be patient. If you pick wisely, it will pay off later.

 

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