Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Hubspot controversy

The movie, The Intern, is first class, I did a review here. This is on my must see again list especially since I saw it on an airplane. Robert De Niro really shines. And it is so real. Right after I saw the movie, I read the Dan Lyons post from April 5 2016, When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie on Linkedin. At the time of this posting he has 725K pageviews, (I have only topped a thousand a couple of time). He is using to posting at least partially to draw attention to his book, Disrupted, which is about his time at Hubspot. One except from his post:

"One excuse for pushing out older workers is that technology changes so fast that older people simply can’t keep up. Veteran coders don’t know the latest programming languages, but young ones do. This is bunk. There’s no reason why a 50-year-old engineer can’t learn a new programming language. And frankly, most coding work isn’t rocket science.

What’s more, most jobs in tech companies don’t actually involve technology. During my time at HubSpot fewer than 100 of the company’s 500 employees were software developers. The vast majority worked in marketing, sales, and customer support. Those jobs don’t require any special degree or extensive training. Anyone, at any age, could do them."

His post also collected over 2K comments, about one percent of all readers, commented. That is a very high degree of  engagement on a touchy subject.

On April 12,, 2016, Hubspot, by way of CTO Dharmesh Shah, responded, with a Linkedin post: Undisrupted: HubSpot's Reflections on "Disrupted". At this point they have 460k pageviews and 647 comments, so currently their message is less viewed, but their reader engagement is higher. And as you can guess, the comments are on both sides of the issue. Here is a snippet from their reply:

Dan had applied for a job and we were pulled into the process. He was looking to transition away from a lifelong career in journalism after a long tenure at Newsweek. He wanted to join the wacky world of tech, an industry he had written about for many years. We respected that. So, we offered Dan a job at HubSpot, and he accepted.

About 20 months later, Dan resigned from HubSpot and then went on to write “Disrupted”. It is a broad criticism of the tech industry including companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Box,, LinkedIn, Amazon and Netflix. But mostly, it’s a scathing and sweeping criticism of HubSpot: our culture, our people, our business, our inbound philosophy, our office, our logo, our IPO, our company color, and our annual event -- pretty much everything about us. Dan pokes particularly hard at HubSpot’s culture.

Back to the movie, The Intern, it could have been about them, (except that Ben Whittaker - Robert De Niro's character has the grace and humility to shine in the whacky tech bubble he found himself in). Now the question that matters is will this impact HubSpot's brand? If I simply type HubSpot into Google, the controversy does not make page one, so my guess is no.

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