Culture has become recognized as a critical element of business success. But having a good culture is just a start. Making it scale, and driving your growth, takes work.

The kind of culture Brian Halligan wanted for HubSpot in its early days was one where they didn’t have to think about it. He subscribed to the Fight Club credo: the first rule about culture is that you don’t talk about culture. They broke that rule. The reward for that act of civil disobedience has been a powerful recruitment engine, an early warning dashboard, and a preventive maintenance system.

Documenting Culture

Over coffee one morning, Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, challenged Brian to think more intentionally about culture.
“Culture is the secret ingredient to scaling up a company,” he said. “To scale hiring, you have to figure out culture. Without a great culture, retention will become an issue and building a recruiting funnel will become painfully difficult.”

Wait. A recruiting funnel? Colin had just used the magic word.

In HubSpot offices, it’s hard to find a whiteboard that does not have a funnel drawn on it—HubSpot was all about the sales funnel, and we were evangelizing an inbound methodology to help small and medium sized companies attract more attention and supercharge the conversion of website visitors into leads.

That chat with Colin inspired me to reframe culture using an Inbound lens. Just as a great product is like a magnet that attracts customers, a vibrant and healthy culture is like a magnet that helps attract and retain employees who in turn recommend us to their network of talented professionals. All of a sudden, culture made perfect sense.

Back at the office, we kitted up a quick Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to take the temperature of our 100 or so employees. ‘How likely are you to recommend HubSpot as an employer to someone you know?’

I was shocked to read in the comments to this 1-question survey that the primary reason people liked working at HubSpot was that they loved the culture. Had none of them seen Fight Club?

“Who were we to argue with Colin and his own employees? So, Brian Halligan dove in, tried to fully understand the culture they already had, and documented it. HubSpot posted The Culture Code publicly online, and has since garnered more than 3 million views on SlideShare. Just about every new employee mentions The Culture Code as a key part of their decision to join the team.”

Documenting culture gave it scale.

 Read the 12 lessons here.


How can we help you accelerate your growth?

In the face of disruption, most business leaders need to evolve fast but don’t have a process to unlock growth and enable change. Vision Platform offers a game-changing framework that equips your team to unify its vision, build a culture of innovation, and reinvent your future through transformation.

You can learn more about our structured workflow that’s fast, outcome-driven, and iterative.
Connect with us through our web site or by email at