Cultural-Fit-ology: The Final to Determine the Best Company Culture in Tech

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It’s the finals of OpenView’s Cultural-Fit-ology March Madness tournament and only one company can emerge on top. Who will take home bragging rights for having the best company culture in tech? You decide.

Cultural-Fit-ology: The Final to Determine the Best Company Culture in Tech

Note: The tournament is closed. See the results and a complete recap with key takeaways and tips for building your own company culture here.

It all comes down to this. We started with 16 of today’s top tech companies, each with a reputation for having incredible company culture and lines of aspiring employees wrapping around the block. Now two remain: HubSpot and SEOmoz. Only one will be crowned king of company culture.

Even in a tournament that saw its fair share of surprises and upsets, few may have anticipated this final matchup (one without a representative from the great state of California or a certain online retailer that starts with “Zapp” and ends with “os”). But both finalists came out swinging, and their success here is a reflection of their industry success and business growth — both fueled by a laser-focus on the mission, vision, and values at the core of who they are. It should be a fantastic matchup.

Here is a look at the final tournament bracket:

Company Culture March Madness Bracket_Finals

Download a PDF copy of the tournament bracket here.

And here is one last look at the two finalists, the qualities that have elevated their cultures above the rest, and the paths they each took to the finals:



Headquarters: Cambridge
Company size: 300+ employees
Motto: All-in-one marketing software
CEO: Brian Halligan
X-factor(s): The HubSpot Way; Beer fridge
Road to the Final Four: Sent home goods retailer Wayfair home packing in Round 1; Added another win for Boston vs. NYC by trouncing Fab in Round 2; Left Google searching for answers in the Final Four

You don’t become the second fastest growing SaaS company in history and get named the best place to work in Boston two years in a row without an amazing culture. From its vaunted “No Door Policy,” where CEO Halligan and other top execs sit with everybody else, to its open-thread wiki and its “podjects,” where any employee can organize new projects to improve the company, HubSpot encourages fresh thinking as much as it does fresh beer in its dedicated fridge. Plus, any HubSpotter wants to enroll in a “mini-MBA” course can look forward to classes taught by the CEO, MIT profs, and entrepreneurs like Paul English from Kayak (seed #3). Ping pong tournaments after sundown with spiked slushies are the icing on the cake. For a closer look, watch "Inside HubSpot," which our readers voted Best Recruiting Video of the Year.



Headquarters: Seattle
Company size: 100+
Motto: SEO and social monitoring made simple
CEO: Rand Fishkin
X-factor(s): The TAGFEE Code; Paid Internet access and office equipment for employees’ homes; Roger
Road to the Final Four: Won the "Battle for Seattle" by slipping past Amazon in Round 1; Rallied to dominate Rackspace in Round 2; Edged out Dropbox to secure their own space in the finals

When SEO and social monitoring software company SEOmoz opened the doors to its new office in downtown Seattle in 2010, the business welcomed its employees into a space that had some pretty uniquely named areas — The Batcave, The Death Star, and Spider Skull Island, just to name a few. Oh, and it paid to have a crepe maker come and craft custom crepes for every employee.But those things don’t define SEOmoz’s company culture. In fact, CEO Rand Fishkin says they have nothing to do with culture. Instead, Fishkin defines SEOmoz’s culture as its values, mission and vision, and hiring, firing, and promotion criteria (also known as its TAGFEE Code). And judging by SEOmoz’s reputation in a city full of tech heavyweights (it was voted the best place to work and play in Seattle in 2011), Fishkin certainly knows what he’s talking about.

Once again, we asked HR leadership pros and Fistful of Talent alums Kathy Rapp and William Tincup to provide their predictions and encourage you to do the same in the comments below. Game on!

(1) HubSpot vs. (3) SEOmoz

HubSpot raked in the highest number of votes in a single round to dominate its Final Four matchup. Not only did it leave Google searching for answers, it also left our guest commentators wondering whether there’s anything that can stop the “HubSpot Way” from leading straight to the title.

That task falls to SEOmoz, which pulled off another close win over an odds-on favorite, this time against Dropbox (ensuring the champion will not be from California). Can it continue its Cinderella run and ride the TAGFEE Code to a third upset? Or will HubSpot carry its momentum into the final and prove it won’t be denied?

Two great companies with exceptional company culture, but only one can be champion. Who will it be, HubSpot or SEOmoz? Cast your vote below!

Update: The poll is closed and the results are in. Find out who was crowned this year’s Cultural-Fit-ology Champion.

[polldaddy poll=6982916]

Calls from the booth:

William Tincup@williamtincup’s prediction: HubSpot.
It’s all HubSpot, man. They slayed the dragon in Google and they deserve the victory. SEOmoz has done really well. They proved to a lot of folks that they have depth and moxie, but the big game is going to come down to a company that is poised for greatness and that company is HubSpot. Again, I think HubSpot has transformed marketing the way transformed sales. Folks, get ready for a blow out. HubSpot, HubSpot, HubSpot…

KathyRappFOT@KatRapp’s prediction: HubSpot.
Okay, so the underdog blew away Google and now I’m with ’em even if they don’t have any Shiner in the beer fridge. From their Gangnam Style video to the fact that they really do seem to have this inbound marketing thing figured out – they have both the culture and the business model to put them on top. This one will be really, really close, but you’ve got to love those crazy kids from Cambridge!


Find out who the winner of OpenView’s first annual Cultural-Fit-ology tournament was here: the best company culture in tech for 2013.

  • 🙂 oh you guys!

    thanks so much for all of this, it’s been fun for us at HubSpot to watch and we’re super grateful for the recognition. uncanny timing too, as our new culture manifesto launched this week on Slideshare and charged right up their charts to become their most popular, with 144,000 views since tuesday!

    you can see the deck, and all about our new HEART culture manifesto, at

    last thought – we love Rand and SEOmoz dearly. make no mistake, they’re going down!! (we hope), but no matter what it’s delightful to be in their company.

    thanks again for running this & may the best culture acronym win!

    • jcrowe_openview

      Thanks, Laura! It’s been a great tournament and celebrating these amazing company cultures has been a lot of fun.

  • Phil Smith

    Can I say I love working in an industry that so greatly prizes how well we treat each other?

    Oh, and Go SEOmoz! Let’s bring some heat! ^_^

  • Regardless of how this shakes out — it’s a win for inbound marketing. Is it a coincidence that both companies in the finals believe passionately in empathy and consideration for the customer?

    • jcrowe_openview

      Good point, Dharmesh. Whether the winner is HubSpot or SEOmoz, what’s clear from the votes and comments is that both companies have a great following, earned on strong values and a real connection with their employees and customers.

    • Yes sir, it really tough to compete for both companies HubSpot and SEOmoz. But I would like to vote and want to see win SEOmoz..

  • We all love Dharmesh here at SEOmoz, but war is war – set Roger to Battle Mode! 😉

    • jcrowe_openview

      That’s the spirit, Dr. Pete!

    • Yes, I want to see SEOmoz to WIN! . .Roger keeps fighting until you get success of this battle!

    • Stellan Herr

      Let’s get ready to rumble!

  • Awesome to see both companies at the top of the pile…right where they deserve to be.

    I have to say I’m not so happy about the page presentation in terms of fairness, but I guess that’s as may be.

    What I wanted to comment on most is what’s been completely missed here in the discussion of SEOmoz…yes, the company culture is demonstrated every day through TAGFEE, my darling Roger Mozbot and all the pure awesomeness of every Mozzer on staff, but there’s more to it than that.
    At SEOmoz it’s all about the LOVE and that’s a culture that can’t be beaten!

    Team Moz forever!!!


    • danatanseo

      Woohoo! Sha…Yes, I am with you. You nailed it. It goes beyond what’s “stated” and transcends into an aura that IS culture.

      I live in Olympia, Washington. If someone called from SEOMoz tomorrow and offered me a job…I’d move. No question. I’d do the same if I lived in any other city in the world.

      Go SEOMOZ!


  • Go Go SEOMoz!

  • Come on SEOmoz. We’re all voting for you at Noble Creative. Your passion for over-shareing gave most of us the tools to get started… For that, we are all #teamseomoz

  • Martin York

    They may have a gangnam style video (so last year). But let’s compare apples to apples. Harlem Shake time (so last month): Vs 🙂

  • Working and living with a TAGFEE company is simply the best way to to start a week 🙂 Apply passionate and inspired colleagues, awesome coffee and yummy snacks – and you have yourself the best place to hang out 5 days a week! The cute puppies don’t hurt either.