A few months ago I sent Dharmesh’s site to Robert Scoble who linked to his site and ever since then he has been on an upward climb. Dharmesh has some really great startup and business advice and is the guru for businesses being sold on eBay. I got to ask him 3 tough questions.
1- How should young people convince their parents that its okay to do a startup over a microsoftish (secure) company?
This is a hard one as parents rarely give sufficient credit to their children (and this doesn’t just apply to entrepreneurship). I would suggest focusing on the fact that a lot can be learned in the startup process (regardless of whether one succeeds or fails). Also, mention that it is important to take risk and that doing so while one is young is usually easier before other responsibilities in life start coming in to the picture. Finally, I think it might help to demonstrate that you have a passion for actually creating something great (and this is not just a passing fancy). When you’re at a startup you’ll grow must faster than at a “secure” company. Of course, eventually you may want to quit a startup as it becomes increasingly comfortable and you stop learning.
2- Why should anyone listen or read you?
Tough question. There are many, many bloggers that are much more successful, much more articulate and have much better ideas than I do. Part of the value that I bring is that unlike the “a-listers”, I can serve as a more modest benchmark of how a programmer can start young, work hard, and still succeed. Though examples like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are great inspiration, I find them to be a little too “remote”. I don’t look at folks like that and think “Hey, I can do that!”. I much prefer more down-to-earth examples that may not have succeeded as much, but that I think I resemble much more. My hope is that by making my writings informal and down-to-earth, I’ll have some appeal to a pool of potential entrepreneurs that will look at me and think: “Hey, if Dharmesh can do it, I can too. He’s nothing that special.”
3- What is hubspot in lament terms and how is it going to succeed?
HubSpot is my most current startup. It is a software company building a web-hosted set of applications that help small businesses increase their revenues by integrating the sales and marketing function. Too many small businesses are still trying to sell “the old way” and have not yet accepted that their clients are now using the Internet more and more. If you are a small business today, you need to get smart about how your potential clients will find you, select you, and engage you.
This goes beyond just creating a website and licensing some CRM tool. We’ve created an “end to end” product that does both the sales and marketing piece. I am hopeful that we’ll be successful as we are actually the first CRM company that is actually addressing the transformation that is occurred in the way sales now occur. Companies like salesforce.com have basically taken a product idea from 10+ years ago and just put it on the web. It’s nothing but a web version of Siebel (simpler and lower risk, but the same product). We are doing something very different. We are betting on the trend that smart small businesses recognize the opportunity to grow their business by using the Internet, and we want to offer them a simple, integrated solution that meets their needs.
Thanks for your time Dharmesh!