The Beal Deal Interview Channel

The Beal Deal Interview channel is sponsored by Trackur.

The Beal Deal with Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh)



Here’s something a little different for this week’s Beal Deal. Someone I admire from afar, but have never actually met in person. How’s that for an endorsement!

dharmesh-shahIf you’re not already digesting everything that Dharmesh Shah tweets, posts, or publishes, then you are doing your business a disservice. A serial (successful) entrepreneur, Dharmesh’s current project is a little software company you may have heard of…HubSpot!

If you’re running a startup–or have aspirations to build a startup–then you should be following Dharmesh. Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll get.

1. At HubSpot, you’ve raised an impressive $65M. How different would your company look without that venture capital?

We raised an additional $35 million in Q4 2012, so now HubSpot has raised $100 million in venture capital. In terms of how the company would be different without the capital? Completely. Ever since my co-founder and I started the company, we’ve had aspirations to build it into a big, successful, sustainable business. This would not have been possible without raising venture capital.

2. I often see you tweeting that you are working late into the night. How does someone as busy as you find time for notion of a “work-life” balance?

I reject the idea of “doing time at work” and then “escaping to life”.

I don’t believe in work-life balance. It connotes the idea that work is something that is in opposition to life and must be “counter-acted”. I reject the idea of “doing time at work” and then “escaping to life”. Instead of work-life balance, I use the term “work-life fit”. I think work is an important part of life. It gives one a sense of fulfillment, purpose — and joy.

3. With your entrepreneurship blog OnStartUps, you provide lots of valuable advice for start-ups. What has your audience taught you?

People value humanness and authenticity

A lot! Here are a few: First, Entrepreneurs are similar regardless of where in the world they are from. They may have different access to opportunity, but they deal with similar challenges, and they build startups for similar reasons. Second: People value humanness and authenticity. Finally, No matter how much time you spend writing a really good blog article, the value of the comments will almost always exceed the value of the original article.

4. You and SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin appear to have a bromance going on. How did that start and where’s the relationship heading? :-)

Venture capital was one of very few topics that I might know about more than Rand

Totally. It started many years ago, over email. I’d been a long time online fan of Rand’s. Late one night I discovered that he was in the midst of raising a venture round. This was something I knew a little about. I volunteered to chat with him by phone and give him some pointers. Venture capital was one of very few topics that I might know about more than Rand. We had never talked on the phone before (I don’t do phone calls, see http://SorryNoCalls.com). But, in this case, made an exception. We talked for a while and hit it off. The first time we met in person, we had dinner with our wives in Boston (Rand and Geraldine were on their way back from Europe). Thankfully, our wives got along swimmingly as well.

In terms of where the relationship is headed: We both continue to be frantically busy with our businesses. We’re working together on inbound.org, which has been fun and we take every opportunity to get together when we’re in the same city.

5. What books do you consider a “must read” for any entrepreneur?

Here’s my reading list: http://onstartups.com/Resources/ReadingList/tabid/3356/Default.aspx

6. What does 2013 look like for you and HubSpot?

More crazy growth. We’re about 460 people in the company now, and expect to grow pretty fast this year. I’m having a fantastic time. Spending time doing the things I love: Writing code, evangelizing inbound marketing — and thinking about strategy, talent and culture.

Thanks Dharmesh. Say hi to Rand from me!