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Brian Halligan

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Brian Halligan
Brian Halligan head shot.jpg
Brian Halligan in 2010
Alma mater University of Vermont
MIT Sloan School of Management
Occupation Executive, author
Website HubSpot

Brian Halligan is an American executive and author.[1] He is a CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, an Internet marketing company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is also a senior lecturer at MIT. Halligan uses the term inbound marketing to describe the type of marketing he advocates.[2]

He has co-authored two books on marketing: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs[3] with HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History[4] with David Meerman Scott.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Halligan was born in Westwood, Massachusetts, and grew up and attended public schools in Westwood, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Vermont and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management in 2005.[5]

His career began at Parametric Technology Corporation in several roles leading up to senior vice president of the Pacific Rim. Wanting to work in a smaller company,[6][7] he joined Groove Networks as vice president of sales, where he worked from 2001 to 2005 before it was acquired by Microsoft and rebranded as Microsoft SharePoint Workspace.[7][8]

After a period as a venture partner at Longworth Ventures[9] he co-founded HubSpot in June 2006. In 2012, Inc. magazine reported that the company has $28.5 million in revenue and has 304 employees.[10] He credits the company's success, in part, to innovations like the "Alpha, Beta, Version One" policy, in which employees begin proving their ideas might profit the company "nights and weekends" (the alpha phase) before receiving additional resources (the beta and version one phases).[11]

Halligan also serves on the board of directors of House of Possibilities, a community service organization[12] and the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX).[13]

Publications, speeches, and awards[edit]

Halligan's first book, Inbound Marketing, was co-authored with HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah. The thesis of the book is that people now block marketing that interrupts them, such as advertisements and spam, that instead companies need to provide information that is useful to prospects, who will then self-identify. Reviewing the book, Meryl Evans said that it contains "elementary stuff..." but it "does a good job for those who don’t have a clue about how to use social media for business." [14] It was also reviewed in The Boston Globe.[15] As of July 2011, the book was in its seventh printing, had sold 40,000 copies, and had been translated into nine languages.[16] The book was revised and updated in 2014 in a second edition.[17]

With co-author David Meerman Scott, Brian Halligan (right) on the Marketing Lessons... book tour. The background photo montage includes Jerry Garcia, co-founder of The Grateful Dead

His second book, Marketing Lessons, was co-authored with David Meerman Scott. It uses the marketing activities of the rock band The Grateful Dead as an example of this. Scott Kirsner, reviewing this book in The Boston Globe,[18] mentions that the authors say that they were inspired, in part, by an article in The Atlantic by Joshua Green.[19]

Halligan speaks on marketing and business topics, including at the TEDx.[20] He was an entrepreneur in residence at MIT[7] and is a senior lecturer, teaching "Entrepreneurial Product Development and Marketing" with Elaine Chen.[21] He is also an occasional lecturer at Sloan on the science of selling and marketing.[22]

Daniel Lyons incidents[edit]

In his book Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start Up Bubble, which is sharply critical of HubSpot's management and culture, former HubSpot employee Daniel Lyons accused Halligan of age discrimination.[23]

Materials obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that certain Hubspot executives working under Halligan considered the book "a financial threat to HubSpot, its share price, and the company’s future potential." The FBI report discusses "tactics such as email hacking and extortion" in the attempt to prevent the book from being published.[24]

Halligan was forced to pay financial penalties by the HubSpot board of directors because he failed to promptly alert the board after he discovered that staff members at HubSpot behaved inappropriately. "There was definitely some fishiness. But I didn’t report it. That was my bad," Halligan said about the incident.[25][26][27][28]


  1. ^ "HubSpot Management Team, Brian Halligan, CEO & Founder". HubSpot. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO & Co-Founder". Inbound Marketing. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ Halligan, Brian; Shah, Dharmesh (2009). Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-49931-1. 
  4. ^ Scott, David Meerman; Halligan, Brian (2010). Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-90052-0. 
  5. ^ "Five MIT Sloan companies to watch #3 HubSpot, Moving the World to Inbound Marketing" (PDF). MIT Sloan Alumni Magazine. MIT Sloan: 29. Fall 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "HubSpot: Key People: Management: Brian Halligan, CEO & Founder". VentureBeat Profiles. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Entrepreneur In Residence: Brian Halligan". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Microsoft, Groove Networks to Combine Forces to Create Anytime, Anywhere Collaboration". Microsoft. March 10, 2005. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Brian Halligan". General Catalyst Partners. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ "HubSpot - company profile". Inc. 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ Markowitz, Eric (September 2010). "My Story: Brian Halligan of HubSpot". Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Raise the Roof invitation" (PDF). House Of Possibilities. September 18, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX). Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ Evans, Meryl (March 9, 2010). "Inbound Marketing: A Social Media Primer". The New York Times/GigaOm. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ Kirsner, Scott (October 19, 2009). "Brian Halligan's To-Do List: Run Company, Write Book, Raise $16 Million". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Brian Halligan, Nominated for a Small Business Influencer Award in: Leaders". Small Business Influencers. July 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ | url = | publisher = Wiley | date = August, 2014
  18. ^ Kirsner, Scott (July 16, 2010). "New book casts the Grateful Dead as brilliant marketers". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  19. ^ Green, Joshua (March 2010). "Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  20. ^ Halligan, Brian; Shah, Dharmesh; Caruso, Joe (June 29, 2011). "How do you catch an angel investor's eye?". TEDx Boston. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ Chen, Elaine; Halligan, Brian. "15.S16 H2 Special Seminar in Management: Entrepreneurial Product Marketing and Development". MIT. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  22. ^ "MIT Sloan's inaugural Marketing Conference to reveal the future of engaging the digital consumer". MIT Sloan. September 1, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ Primack, Dan (April 16, 2016) "Why Tech Workers and Investors Should Read 'Disrupted." Forbes. (Retrieved 8-16-2016).
  24. ^ Extortion, hacking claims sparked HubSpot investigation, FBI records show, Boston Globe, 24 March 2016
  25. ^ beta Boston
  26. ^ My Year in Startup Hell, Dan Lyons in Fortune, April 2016
  27. ^ Woodward, Curt (2016-03-24). "Extortion, hacking claims sparked HubSpot investigation, FBI records show". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-04-12. Chief executive Brian Halligan was fined for failing to promptly alert the company’s board of directors after finding out about the incident. 
  28. ^ Kirsner, Scott (2015-07-30). "HubSpot CEO and CTO discuss firing of company's 'third founder' over attempts to obtain book manuscript". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-03-16. I did the math on how many days I’ve been a working professional. It’s something like 6,250, and yesterday was the worst. 

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