The HubSpot Culture Code is an Incredible product.

When HubSpot’s CTO and Cofounder set his sights on defining an intentional culture for the company, he built more than a slide deck. He built a product.

2 min readJul 16, 2021


from HubSpot’s Culture Code deck:

I love learning about how great companies build their cultures. Recently, I heard Dharmesh Shah, cofounder of HubSpot, talk about the hundreds of hours he has spent on an internal project — and product — called the HubSpot Culture Code. Why is HubSpot’s CTO focused on company culture, something usually owned by People Operations or “HR?” Because it’s that important, and Dharmesh makes a point of spending his time on the most important work of the company.

The result — The HubSpot Culture Code — is not just a manifesto or handbook — it’s a product, built for HubSpot’s employees. They’ve published the entire thing online, and it’s worth your time if you’re building a team. Here are my favorite takeaways:

  • “Culture exists whether it’s intentional or not.” Every company has a culture. Whether you’re intentional about designing the one you love is up to you.
  • SFTC: “Solve for the Customer.” I love that the first tenet of an internal culture document is all about a relentless focus on the customer.
  • “It’s not an open door policy. It’s a no door policy.” The idea that every employee has access to every other; that “debates should be won by better insights, not bigger job titles;” and that “transparency ≠ democracy” hits all the things employees desire in transparency, while addressing all of the things that create concern for company leaders.
  • Use Good Judgment. This three word policy replaces most policies in the company. (At Flywheel, this was called “DFIUFEE” — don’t fuck it up for everyone else)
  • Customer > Company > Individual: HubSpot calls this the “cheat sheet on good judgment.” Don’t solve for your personal interests over that of the team, and when in doubt, solve for the best interests of the customer.
  • “Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself. It’s about thinking of yourself less.” Best definition of humility that I’ve heard.
  • “We like learn-it-alls, not know-it-alls.” Stealing this.
  • Free Books Program. “Request a book, it magically shows up in your inbox. No expense reports required.” What better way to encourage learning than that.




Founder and CEO of Alpaca. Goals Nerd, Spreadsheet Enthusiast, and Runner.