Dharmesh Shah is the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot which is a well-established yet young company focused on inbound marketing automation and lead management. The company has a strong culture of innovation and customer centricity. It’s almost inevitable that when I open the Zite app on my iPad and read something interesting and insightful, I find the HubSpot byline at the bottom.
Dharmesh seems to have the personality of someone who is insightful, connected, and co-launched a successful startup which has a purpose of making connections with people looking to make connections to their own customers. In a recent LinkedIn article he wrote, he talks about the greatest speech he ever slept through.
HubSpot landed Seth Godin and Nate Silver to talk at their annual conference then landed Arianna Huffington who was to be their guest keynote. I actually read an article describing how they’d achieved that through some persistent social networking. Dharmesh delivered what he called the most important keynote of his life at that point, talked shop, did PR, schmoozed, and stayed wired until he just crashed. That makes sense for such a focused environment and a person who can be seen burning the candle at both ends. Then he slept through the keynote his team worked so hard to land.
With a huge pile of irony, Arianna Huffington talked about how creative companies are realizing that burnout is a problem and that working to the point of exhaustion is actually counterproductive. She referenced her sleeping host (7:30, 10:50) on more than one occasion. She also talked about taking measures to prevent burnout by limiting work hours, choosing which goals to accomplish and which to let slide, and creating better overall life balance.
This is all very much in line with my recent post of Clearing Up the Mental Clutter. I actually took the time to write that on a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles and wrote this on the plane back home. The trip out had me writing about setting aside time to think, read, expand yourself above the details, then to let the clutter go so you don’t dwell on what’s unimportant. Dharmesh’s story just happened to be something I’d saved off to my iPad for just this purpose. Sure the video is 47 minutes long but so what. Watch it on your iPad on a treadmill. Download the TED app and save a few talks for offline use. Take the time to read or watch something inspirational or enlightening instead of watching a reality show or dwelling on depressing headlines. You’ll be better for it.
Embedded in these musings is the concept of taking control of your life and doing so with clarity. If you spend so much time on the individual mechanical tasks that you lose track of why you’re doing them in the first place then the tasks lose meaning. Invariably you’ll get to what should be the end of the day and find yourself wanting to keep going. At some point it takes worthwhile effort to realize what’s an important deadline and what’s a minor detail which would just be replaced by another minor detail tomorrow.
Then it’s time to file it all away, get up, and move on to something refreshing.