Lessons Learned on the Winding Road, with Christopher O’Donnell

Feb 26, 2020


Christopher O’Donnell is Senior VP of Product at HubSpot where he drives product management, design, and user experience for HubSpot’s suite of products.

Prior to this role, Christopher led the product team building the HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Sales Pro. Upon joining HubSpot Christopher led the re-write of the HubSpot Marketing product, culminating in HubSpot Contacts and the release of HubSpot3 in 2012. Previously, Christopher was Director of Product at Performable before it was acquired by HubSpot in 2011. He has also been a startup founder, advisor, and product/UX leader.

In his free time, Christopher pursues his decades-long passions for building technology products, producing music, and playing guitar. Christopher graduated from Brown University with a BA in Computers and Music.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How Christopher’s career with HubSpot began by way of an acquisition, and how he progressed to Senior Vice President of Product
  • How Christopher managed to transition into his work with HubSpot after the acquisition, and how Christopher built trust with the new team
  • Why everyone at HubSpot has leadership as a part of their job description, and why a toxic culture is the enemy of trust in the workplace
  • Why collaboration between teams is vital at Christopher’s 3000-employee company, and why Chris believes leadership’s role is to empower the frontline teams
  • What valuable lessons and personal insights Christopher gained during his experiences playing poker with professionals
  • Why experimentation and changes aren’t something to be afraid of, and how Christopher overcomes the fear of change
  • How Christopher’s lifelong passion for music led him to become part of a band called the Providers
  • How Christopher’s team at HubSpot uses three key leadership roles, “The Seer”, “The Fixer”, and “The Runner”, and what each role is responsible for
  • How a leadership framework can help people better understand where they fit within an organization and maintain focus on their role


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