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Dharmesh Shah: “Aligning Vectors: How To Optimize To Maximize Impact”

The NFX Team · @NFX · Aug 2020

Dharmesh Shah NFX Founder List

This essay is part of The Founder List by NFX, audible essays from the most prolific leaders in technology, selected by the Founder community.

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Text Version

I learned this from a late night dinner while glamping with Elon Musk many years ago:

“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.” — Elon Musk

I didn’t fully understand this at first, so I had to go digging in my brain for what I could recall of linear algebra. Once I pieced together what he meant, the impact was profound. I later shared this lesson with my team at HubSpot. HubSpot is about 14 years old now and I’ve spoken at countless “all-minds” meetings (our version of an “all-hands”), written hundreds of articles and otherwise tried to share things I’ve learned with everyone.

Of all the things I’ve shared, this “aligning vectors” idea is one of the lessons that has stuck the most. It “stuck”. It has become part of our vocabulary and not a week goes by that I don’t hear some reference to it in the halls of HubSpot.

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