Edited excerpt from Happy Birthday HubSpot! 9 Lessons From Our First 9 Years by Dharmesh Shah:
Because you’re human, you probably seek love. It’s natural. We spend a fair amount of time and energy looking for love (hopefully in some of the right places). I’m going to posit to you that you need to carry that sentiment to your startup. I’m talking about the hope to find someone that “gets you” and “likes you for who you are and what you believe”.
Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange. But it’s not that strange. Chances are, there are some companies or brands that you love. All I’m saying is that as a startup, you need to seek that love.
Let me explain by telling you how we do this at HubSpot. Like most growing companies, we want to get people to buy from us and become customers. But, unlike most companies, for us, deep-down inside, that’s not enough. We don’t just want people to buy from us. We want people to love us. We want them to love what we love and respect what we do, even if they don’t buy from us. Even if they are unlikely to ever buy from us. Because what we believe is that the more people that love us, and want us to succeed, the more likely we are to do so.
(1) People who say they love your company are often drowned out by complainers, because complainers tend to be more vocal. In Jason Fried’s words, “remember that negative reactions are almost always louder and more passionate than positive ones”. Cf. When your product change is greeted by a torrent of complaints, what should you do?
(2) Sometimes events prompt the people who love your product to speak up. I just promoted Eli Hoffmann to replace me as CEO of Seeking Alpha. The announcement prompted a remarkable outpouring of appreciation for Seeking Alpha. As I pass the running of the company to Eli, it’s inspiring for the team to see how much they and their work are loved by our readers and contributors. See the remarkable comment thread on the announcement.