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How HubSpot’s culture code and lack of policies delight

HubSpot has laid out for the public their roadmap for standing out and retaining quality team members, and let’s just say they’re not exactly running a traditional operation.

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HubSpot stands out

HubSpot has released the above presentation on creating their company culture, proving how “uncomfortably transparent” they are as they offer their road map in public. Using traditional titles is about the only traditional move the company has made, and even that was hotly debated. To keep happy and productive employees, teams, and delighted customers, they offer unlimited vacation time, there are no offices, and everyone plays musical chairs every three months to keep things shaken up.

Their policies are almost non-existent, rather urging team members to use their best judgment – when everyone’s culture matches, judgment calls will typically be reflective of the company’s mission. This is why company culture is so important: “culture happens, whether we plan it or not.”

Presentation transcript

1. THE CULTURE CODE Creating a company we love.

2. WHAT’S CULTURE? A set of shared beliefs,values and practices.

3. WHY WORK ON CULTURE?

4. Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing. Customers are more easily attracted with a great product. Amazing people are more easily attracted with a great culture.

5. THE INTEREST RATE ON CULTURE DEBT IS HIGH. Much higher than financial debtor technology debt. Often, crushingly high.

6. CULTURE HAPPENS. Whether we plan it or not, culture will happen. Why not create a culture we love?

7. Let’s make the company we always dreamed of. Let’s create a company that will be a great place to be from. REED HASTINGS & PATTY MCCORD NETFLIX.

8. Now, an observation…

9. PEOPLE HAVE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED HOW THEY LIVE AND WORK.

10. THEN / NOW. FOCUS Pension / Purpose, NEED Good Boss / Great Colleagues, HOURS 9-5 / Whenever, WORKPLACE Office / Wherever, TENURE Whole Career / Whatever

11. AND ALTHOUGH PEOPLE HAVE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED…

12. Many organizations operate as if they’re frozen in time.

13. They operate as if money is what matters most…

14. …as if the Internet hadn’t been invented…

15. … and as if amazing people are just happy to have a job.

16. We’re different.

17. We are HubSpot.

18. We’re creating a company we love.

19. This document is part manifesto,part employee handbook,and part diary of dreams.

20. When something is aspirational (not yet true) we try to call it out.

21. THE HUBSPOT CULTURE CODE. 1. We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission. 2. We obsess over customers, not competitors. 3. We are radically and uncomfortably transparent. 4. We give ourselves the autonomy to be awesome. 5. We are unreasonably selective about our peers. 6. We invest in individual mastery and market value. 7. We defy conventional “wisdom” as it’s often unwise. 8. We speak the truth and face the facts. 9. We believe in work+life, not work vs. life. 10. We are a perpetual work in progress.

22. We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission.

23. “Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.” TIM O’REILLY.Note: The O’Reilly Library at HubSpot is named after Tim.

24. OUR MISSION is to make the world INBOUND. We want to transform how organizations do marketing.

25. inbound is about empathy.I t’s about creating an experience people love.

26. WE BELIEVE OURS IS A NOBLE CAUSE.We help organizations grow.

27. We also reduce spam, junk mail and other unpleasantness.

28. We are passionate about our mission. It has earned us the love of thousands. We’re also maniacal about metrics and reaching our goals. It has earned us the resources to further our mission.

29. Balancing this dual personality of mission & metrics is challenging. But it’s also what makes us DIFFERENT.

30. And sometimes dysfunctional.

31. One way we balance these things is to have a guiding goal that serves the mission.

32. Our guiding goal is delighting customers.

33. We obsess over customers, not competitors.

34. Have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. ANDREW MASON. FORMER CEO OF GROUPON IN HIS DEPARTURE EMAIL

35. FOR EVERY DECISION WE SHOULD ASK OURSELVES: “Selves, what’s in it for the customers? Will this delight them?” In other words…

36. SFTC. Solve for the customer. Not just their happiness, but their success.

37. We sometimes often have SFTC to remind ourselves of this. Solve for the customer. Not just their happiness, but their success.

38. WAIT. Does “Solve For The Customer” mean just giving more away for free? Wouldn’t that delight customers? NO. To delight customers in the long-term, we have to survive in the short-term. Because…

39. Bankrupt companies don’t delight their customers.

40. All other goals should support our guiding goal.

41. We have a professional sales team. Does hitting our sales goals support our guiding goal?

42. YES. Having delighted customers requires having customers. (funny how that works) We’re on the path towards our Guiding Goal as long as we sell to customers that we expect to delight.

43. This is the key. We shouldn’t sell customers we’re not justifiably confident we can delight.

44. WE LOVE TO EDUCATE. We are enthusiastic teachers. We believe success comes through educating customers, not exploiting them.

45. We are radically and uncomfortably transparent.

46. THEN. (back in the 1900s) Power came from hoarding knowledge. Decisions were made behind closed doors. NOW…

47. Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.

48. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” -LOUIS BRANDEIS

49. WE SHARE (ALMOST)EVERYTHING. We make information available to everyone in the company.

50. We protect information only when: It is legally required. Example: Information covered under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) It is not completely ours to share. Example: Individual compensation data

51. WE HAVE THE MOST INTERESTING WIKI ON THE PLANET. *Examples of things we share and discuss:• Financials (cash balance, burn-rate, P&L, etc.) • Board meeting deck • Management meeting deck • “Strategic” topics • Lore & Mythology (the funniest page on the wiki) *Unverified claim

52. FROM

53. AND LIKE ANY MINDFUL COMPANY, WE HAVE:

54. We have open access to anyone in the company. No permission needed. Nobody has an office.

55. CULTURE HACK. A large part of the company goes through a random “seat shuffle” every 3 months. We’ve been doing this since the beginning. It reflects our “change is constant” credo. It also circumvents a lot of needless discussion.

56. The intent behind all this transparency is to support smarter behavior and better decisions. So…

57. We give ourselves the autonomy to be awesome.

58. THEN. Organizations tried to prevent mistakes with policies and procedures. NOW…

59. WE TRUST OURSELVES.

60. Just because someone made a mistake years ago doesn’t mean we need a policy. WE DON’T PENALIZE THE MANY FOR THE MISTAKES OF THE FEW. We only protect against really big stuff.

61. We don’t have pages of policies and procedures.

62. Instead we have a 3-word policy on just about everything: USE GOOD JUDGMENT.

63. Social media policy. Travel policy. Sick day policy. Buy a round of drinks at an event policy. Work from home during a blizzard policy. Our policy on all of these (and most other things): USE GOOD JUDGMENT.

64. WHAT’S GOOD JUDGMENT? Team > Self. Favor your team’s interest over your own. Company > Team. Favor the company’s interest over your team. Customer > Company. Favor the customer’s interest over the company.

65. We’re pretty good at the Company > Team first and second – but the third is tricky sometimes. Favor the company’s interest over your team. Remember, acting in our customers’ interest is in our Customer > Company long-term interest too. Favor the customer’s interest over the company.

66. Now, let’s talk about where and when we work. Generally…

67. Results matter more than the hours we work.

68. Results matter more than where we produce them.

69. Results matter more than how much vacation we take. (we have unlimited vacation time)

70. We believe in the freedom to work when,where and how we want. Remarkable results are what matter. This is what we believe.

71. But we also recognize that…

72. The biggest driver of performance in complex industries like software is serendipitous interaction. BEN WABER. VISITING SCIENTIST, MIT MEDIA LAB AUTHOR, “PEOPLE ANALYTICS”

73. So, we trust our leaders to use good judgment when guiding their teams.

74. And we try to create a work environment where we want to come in.

75. THEN. Influence based on hierarchy. Command & Control. NOW…

76. INFLUENCE IS INDEPENDENT OF HIERARCHY.

77. We want direction on where we are going… NOT detailed directions on how to get there. h/t Simon Sinek

78. We don’t want just “managers,” we want inspiring leaders. Passionate coaches. Tireless supporters. Managers exist to help individual stars make magic.

79. CEO, CTO, VP of This, Manager of That. Doesn’t matter what your title is. EVERYBODY DOES REAL WORK AND GETS THEIR HANDS DIRTY.

80. Oh, and speaking of job titles…

81. WE HAVE TRADITIONAL JOB TITLES AT HUBSPOT. It is a topic of intense debate. Options:1) No titles for anyone 2) Make up our own creative titles 3) Use traditional titles.

82. We ended up with the last option. Bummer. But, it does align with our desire to increase individual market value.

83. Back to having autonomy…

84. Awesome is as awesome does.

85. HAVING AUTONOMY DOESN’T MEAN CRAP IF YOU DON’T ACT. DON’T OVER-THINK IT. JFDI.(Just F*#king Do It)

86. With this kind of transparency and trust we can’t take chances when hiring. So…

87. We are unreasonably picky about our peers.

88. You become the average of the 5 people you hang out with. Drew Houston CEO, Dropbox Note: Drew’s a friend and on our advisory board.

89. What makes someone a great fit for HubSpot? What makes them awesome for us? What does it mean to be HUBSPOTTY?

90. There are 5 attributes that we value in people.

91. HUMBLE. Modest, despite being awesome. Self-aware and respectful.

92. Wait. Doesn’t being humble mean lacking confidence? No. The very best people are self-aware and self-critical – not arrogant. Examples: Bezos. Buffet. Berners-Lee.(and that’s just some of the Bs)

93. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. -C.S. LEWIS.

94. When things go well, humble people tend to share the credit. When things go poorly, they tend to shoulder the responsibility.

95. EFFECTIVE. Gets sh*t done. Measurably moves the needle. Immeasurably adds value.

96. EFFECTIVE PEOPLE ARE: Predisposed to action. They just start doing. They have a sense of ownership. They’re resourceful and always looking for leverage.

97. Effective people find ways to have their cake and eat it too.

98. ADAPTABLE. Constantly changing. Life-long learner.

99. WAIT. What about good people that just want stability and predictability? They may do good work, but they likely won’t be happy here. Change is constant at HubSpot.

100. REMARK?ABLE. worthy of being remarked upon* Has a super-power that makes them stand out in some way. Remarkably smart. Remarkably creative. Remarkably resourceful. *h/t to Seth Godin

101. TRANSPARENT. Open and honest with others and with themselves.

102. HUMBLE EFFECTIVE ADAPTABLE REMARKABLE TRANSPARENT

103. We want people with heart. Those who will help HUMBLE us create an EFFECTIVE company we love. ADAPTABLE REMARKABLE TRANSPARENT

104. Yes, “heart” is a bit cheesy.We’re a bit cheesy sometimes.

105. WE DON’T JUST BELIEVE IN HEART,WE BET ON IT. We hire, reward, and release people based on the five attributes.

106. EXAMPLE 1: If you’re closed, arrogant and stuck in your ways, it doesn’t matter how effective you are. It’s not going to work out.

107. EXAMPLE 2: You can be remarkably smart, humble and open. But, if you’re not effectively moving us forward, it’s not going tow ork out.

108. Does this mean we only accept those that fit match the 5 attributes perfectly? No. Confucius has good advice here…

109. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” CONFUCIUS.

110. “We’re a team, not a family. We hire,develop and cut smartly so we have stars in every position.” +1 We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so we didn’t.

111. Don’t just hire to delegate. It’s tempting to bring people in that you can push off work you don’t have time for. Hire to elevate. Bring people in that are better than you at something and you can learn from.

112. WITH GREAT PEOPLE COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. Success is when a group of people achieve their collective potential. So…

113. We invest in individual mastery and market value.

114. We want to be as proud of the people we build as we are of the company we build.

115. We believe in investing to increase the individual market value of every HubSpotter.

116. We’re doing a few things already…

117. HubTalks: Learning From Leaders Clay Christensen Eric Ries Sheila Marcelo Colin Angle “Innovator’s “The Lean CEO, care.com CEO, iRobotDilemma” Startup” These are small informal talks given at HubSpot.

118. Unlimited Free Books Program. Post a comment on the HubSpot wiki requesting a book. It shows up in your Kindle account. No muss, no fuss. No expense sheets.

119. Unlimited Free Meals Program. Take someone smart out for a meal. Learn something. Expense it. No approval needed. No limits. No rules. Use good judgment.

120. THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING. We believe in compensating fairly, but we want to invest generously in our learning and growth. We’re always looking for new ideas.

121. We compensate based on fair market value. Reality: It’s hard to know what market value is. We think of it as VORP (Value Over Replacement Player)

122. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO PROGRESS AT HUBSPOT. 1. Gain mastery as an individual contributor and make magic. 2. Provide spectacular support to those who are doing #1. Reality: This is mostly true, but we need a quant-based approach to measuring how true it is.

123. We defy conventional “wisdom” because it’s often unwise.

124. We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying new things. #inbound12

125. Why do we care so much about being daring?

126. We start out being exceptional. As we grow, there is a dark, powerful force that pulls us towards the average. If we regress to the mean, we fail. It’s that simple.

127. Remarkable outcomes rarely result from modest risk.

128. Simplicity is a competitive advantage.

129. Things start simple…

130. THEN COMPLEXITY QUIETLY CREEPS IN. ITS TOLL LIES BELOW THE SURFACE.

131. WHY DOES COMPLEXITY CREEP IN? It is often the easy, seductive answer to short-term issues. Fighting for simplicity takes courage and commitment to the long game.

132. WHY DOES COMPLEXITY ALWAYS INCREASE? Because everyone adds complexity and nobody takes it away. Ironically, adding complexity is easy and maintaining simplicity is hard.

133. COMPLEXITY AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS. Example: “I need to hit my goals this month, so I’m going to push for this exception to our standard contract.” Result: You may make your goal now, but we all pay the price of the complexity forever. Focus on the long game. Team over self.

134. Like software, Organizations should be frequently refactored. Refactoring means to improve internal structure without changing external behavior.

135. REFACTOR. • Pull out unused features. • Remove unnecessary rules. • Stop generating useless reports. • Cancel unproductive meetings. • Prune extraneous process.

136. We speak the truth and face the facts.

137. NO SILENT DISAGREEMENT.If we disagree with a decision or direction, we have the responsibility to speak up. We trust our candor will not be used against us.

138. We have the right to clear, candid and constructive feedback. We can ask for this at anytime. We’re replacing the traditional annual review. Favoring more frequent feedback.

139. WE LOVE DATA. We like to think our decisions are not data driven but data powered. We like to think it, but it’s not true. We are obsessed with data.

140. DEBATES ARE WON WITH DATA. Job titles don’t win debates. We disfavor pulling rank.

141. BUT WE ALSO DISLIKE INDECISION

142. Data is collected. Debates are had. THEN SOMEONE JUST HAS TO DECIDE. An imperfect decision is better than no decision. A controversial decision is better than no decision.

143. WE BELIEVE IN WORK+LIFE, NOT WORK VS.LIFE.

144. Work-life “balance” is misguided.

145. We don’t think it’s possible to be unhappy at work and then happy in life. We believe in enjoying life. We also believe in enjoying work. We believe in work+life fit.

146. WE ARE A PERPETUAL WORK IN PROGRESS.

147. We believe it takes more than talent to succeed. GREATNESS REQUIRES INTENSE COMMITMENT.

148. WE WORK IMMENSELY HARD. It’s not for everyone, but it’s part of who we are. We are on a mission to transform marketing. That’s not easy to do.

149. WE ARE NEVER DONE. Never done iterating. Never done learning. Never done rethinking.

150. THE HUBSPOT CULTURE CODE. 1. We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission. 2. We obsess over customers, not competitors. 3. We are radically and uncomfortably transparent. 4. We give ourselves the autonomy to be awesome. 5. We are unreasonably selective about our peers. 6. We invest in individual mastery and market value. 7. We defy conventional “wisdom” as it’s often unwise. 8. We speak the truth and face the facts. 9. We believe in work+life, not work vs. life. 10. We are a perpetual work in progress.

151. WE WERE INSPIRED BY • The Netflix Culture Deck (McCord & Hastings) • “Drive” (Daniel Pink) • The Valve Employee Handbook • “Rework” (Fried and Hansson) • Google’s People Ops Team …and countless others on the web.

152. PROPS TO OUR EXTERNAL BETA USERS. They helped out despite having better things to do. • Patty McCord, Netflix Culture Deck • Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz • Joel Gascoigne, Buffer • Leo Widrich, Buffer • Hiten Shah, KISSmetrics • Jason Fried, 37signals • Garry Tan, Y Combinator • Dan Martell, Clarity • Ziad Sultan, Marginize

153. THANK YOU. Congrats for making it this far. We would love feedback and discussion: CultureCode.com

HubSpot

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JoeLoomer

    March 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Sometimes lengthy posts lose me just due to taking so long – but this one was soooo worth it.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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Business News

Coca Cola drops 200 brands, most you’ve never heard of

(BUSINESS NEWS) Coca Cola hopes to revitalize their drink arsenal by rolling back some “underperforming” brands (that you might not have known they were still making.)

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Woman drinking Coca Cola against plain wall

2020 has forced a lot of businesses to return to their proverbial drawing boards, and the Coca Cola Company is no exception. Last week, Coca Cola announced in a corporate blog post that they are halting the production of 200 of their beverage brands.

In the words of Cath Coetzer, the head of global marketing for Coca Cola, the restructuring will “accelerate [Coke’s] transformation into a total beverage company”.

“We’re prioritizing bets that have scale potential across beverage categories, consumer need states and drinking occasions,” Coetzer added. “Because scale is the algorithm that truly drives growth.”

That’s… a surprising amount of technical beverage jargon, Cath.

Coca Cola is already the leading manufacturer of non-alcoholic drinks on the planet. It’s hard to imagine their scope becoming any more “total.” But this strategy shift comes as the consumer thirst for soda is drying up.

Soda consumption has steadily fallen over the last ten consecutive years, thanks to a swath of modern studies that link excess sugar intake with negative health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

In light of this research, regional sales taxes on drinks with added sugar have been debated across the country, despite aggressive corporate lobbying against it. All this has meant that beverage companies have had no choice but to pivot hard.

Take Odwalla, a Coca Cola brand that touted its vitamin content and servings of produce, which was discontinued earlier this year. Despite being marketed as a health brand, Odwalla flavors contained whopping amounts of added sugar: Their popular “superfood” flavor quietly boasted 47 grams per bottle.

The brands affected by Coke’s recent soda cull also include TAB diet soda, ZICO coconut water, and Coca Cola Life, plus internationally marketed drink brands like Vegibeta of Japan and Kuat of Brazil.

Condensing their portfolio allows Coca Cola to prioritize their most profitable products and invest in more new beverage trendsetters that better fit the times, like sparkling water, coffee, or even cannabis-infused products.

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Business News

Uber and Lyft face the music as employee ruling is upheld

(BUSINESS NEWS) The battle for Uber and Lyft drivers’ status continues, and despite company protests, the official ruling has been upheld.

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Interior of Uber and Lyft rideshare looking out on palm trees

A gig economy has its pros and cons. For anyone who has ever been an independent contractor, done freelance work, or worked for companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, the pros are clear – you get to work when you want, where you want and how much you want. Flexibility and gigs go hand in hand.

And the cons? Well, those are a little more complex. Without a W2 linking you directly to the company, you as an independent contractor don’t receive the same rights and perks that your 9-5 employee friends might. For example, your employer is not required to provide a healthcare option for you. You are also not entitled to earned time off or minimum wage.

So which is better?

The gig economy conundrum has made its way all the way to an appellate court in California last week. The ruling was that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees.

Back in May, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys from L.A., San Diego and San Francisco brought forth a lawsuit that argues Uber and Lyft gain an unfair, unlawful competitive advantage by not classifying their workers as W2s.

Uber and Lyft responded to the suit, stating that if they were to reclassify their drivers as employees, their companies would be irreparably harmed – though the judge in last week’s ruling negated that claim, stating that neither company would suffer any “grave or irreparable harm by being prohibited from violating the law” and also that the financial burden of converting workers to employees “do[es] not rise to the level of irreparable harm.” Essentially, the judge called their BS.

Additionally, according to the judge, there is nothing that would prevent Uber and Lyft from offering flexibility and independence to their drivers – and they have had plenty of time to transition their drivers from independent contractors to employees (the gig worker bill that spurred this lawsuit was decided in 2018). Seems fair to me!

However, there is an oppositional proposition on the ballot that muddies the waters. Proposition 22, if passed, is a measure that would keep rideshare drivers and delivery workers classified as independent contractors, meaning that those workers from Uber and Lyft would be exempt from the new state law that classifies them as W-2 employees. And you might be surprised to know how many of the app-based rideshare workers are in favor of Prop 22!

In a class-action lawsuit, Uber has been accused of encouraging drivers and delivery workers to support Prop 22 via the company’s driver-scheduling app. It appears, unfortunately, that Uber is manipulating its workforce by wrongly hanging their jobs over their heads.

On this matter, Gig Workers Rising stated: “If Uber and Lyft are successful in passing Prop. 22 and undo the will of the people, they will inspire countless other corporations to adapt their business models and misclassify workers in order to further enrich the wealthy few at the expense of their workforce.”

Ultimately, the fate of California Uber and Lyft driver’s in still in question. It’s unclear if the question we should be asking is, will Lyft drivers have proper healthcare through their jobs or will they have jobs at all. All of this is occurring at a time where millions are jobless and 158,000 individuals sought unemployment support this week due to COVID-19 layoffs.

Personally, I have little sympathy for tech-giants that rake in billions off the backs of the exploited working-class. If the CEO of Uber is an ostentatious billionaire, then his employees should have health insurance. Clear and simple.

The scariest part of the gig economy is that workers have become increasingly happy to work for a company that gives them little to no benefits. More companies are dissolving or combining positions so that they can further bypass their responsibilities to their employees. Let us not be fooled: The dispute over whether or not to make Uber and Lyft workers W2 employees does not affect the health of the companies themselves. What it will affect is how fat the bonuses will be the big guys at the top, and that’s exactly why the companies are so adverse to the ruling. They’d rather their workers suffer than lose a single dime.

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Business News

Bay Area co-living startup strands hundreds of renters at dire time

(BUSINESS NEWS) They’re blaming COVID for failing as a co-living space, but it looks like trouble was well established even before now.

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Person packed a bag and walking away from co-living space.

Over the last few years, “co-living” startups have become increasingly common in tech-rich cities like San Francisco. These companies lease large houses, then rent individual bedrooms for as much as $2,000 per month in hopes of attracting the young professionals who make up the tech industry. Many offer food, cleaning services, group activities, and hotel-quality accommodations to do so.

But the true value in co-living companies lies in their role as a third party: Smoothing over relations, providing hassle free income to homeowners and improved accountability to tenants… in theory, anyway. The reality has proved the opposite can just as easily be true.

In a September company email, Bay Area co-living startup HubHaus released a statement that claimed they were “unable to pay October rent” on their leased properties. Hubhaus also claimed to have “no funds available to pay any amounts that may be owed landlords, tenants, trade creditors, or contractors.”

This left hundreds of SF Bay Area renters scrambling to arrange shelter with little notice, with the start of a second major COVID-19 outbreak on the horizon.

HubHaus exhibited plenty of red flags leading up to this revelation. Employees complained of insufficient or late payment. The company stopped paying utilities during the spring, and they quietly discontinued cleaning services while tenants continued to pay for them.

Businesses like HubHaus charge prices that could rent a private home in most of the rest of the country, in exchange for a room in a house of 10 or more people. PodShare is a similar example: Another Bay Area-based co-living startup, whose offerings include “$1,200 bunk beds” in a shared, hostel-like environment.

As a former Bay Area resident, it’s hard not to be angry about these stories. But they have been the unfortunate reality since long before the pandemic. Many urbanites across the country cannot afford to opt out of a shared living situation, and these business models only exacerbate the race to the bottom of city living standards.

HubHaus capitalized on this situation and took advantage of their tenants, who were simply looking for an affordable place to live in a market where that’s increasingly hard to find.

They’ve tried to place the blame for their failure on COVID-19 — but all signs seem to indicate that they had it coming.

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