Christopher O’Donnell on Leading and Building Creative Teams

christopher o"donnell
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Christopher O’Donnell is a technologist, musician and public speaker who has built dozens of web and mobile products. His product portfolio ranges from language learning products for the U.S. military to the most popular free CRM product in the world.

Today, Christopher serves as Senior Vice President of Hubspot Product, which he led from startup ($50M in revenue) to successful publicly-traded company ($600M in revenue). Christopher has become a staple in the product management community and was recently named one of the Best Product Leaders of 2019 (via Comparably). As an experienced leader, he is passionate about leading and supporting teams to build anything, from developing tech products to creating rock & roll records.

He is a highly-rated public speaker and a frequent guest lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management and major global corporations, speaking on topics like leadership & team-building to audiences of over ten thousand. Outside of his day job, Christopher spends his time as songwriter and guitarist for his band The Providers, with whom he has recorded dozens of albums across a variety of musical genres.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The similarities between creating a rock & roll album and developing a tech product
  • The key elements to building a high-performing creative team and culture/environment
  • What drew Christopher back into making music after taking a break to focus on technology products

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  • “I love being around super bright, creative people who want to do great work.”


  • “To be successful, you want to hire and attract people who are better than you and who know more about the subject than you.”


  • “What we’re looking for is, what about? What about this? What about that? Try this. Try that!”



Learn more about Christopher’s band The Providers


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