Essays

I try to write two poignant essays per month and make them really worth your time. I always publish to my subscribers first, and will never claim that my advice will get you "195,013 visitors a month without spending a dollar on ads."



The Pros and Cons of Using the HubSpot COS

Most articles about the HubSpot COS are written by biased agencies, so I did a massive 2,200+ word breakdown of the pros & cons of using the COS to host your website.

Read essay / December 4, 2017

How to Integrate Clearbit Reveal with Google Analytics via Segment

I recently integrated Clearbit Reveal for Google Analytics via Segment and ran into some issues. Here’s how I got past them.

Read essay / October 15, 2017

Marketing OKR Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

An inside look at my marketing team’s framework for setting and tracking goals with OKRs (objectives and key results).

Read essay / September 8, 2017

How Facebook Conversion Attribution (Really) Works

Facebook’s ad product is world-class, but their conversion attribution is about as clear as a pint of Guinness. I explain how it works, in plain English.

Read essay / July 11, 2017

A Stupendously Misleading Blog Post

In which I call out a blogger for unfairly accusing HubSpot of engineering reports to make it appear that their customers are succeeding when they aren’t.

Read essay / May 22, 2017

Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?

Mike Volpe, former CMO of HubSpot, sat down with the crew over at Seeking Wisdom to chat about startups and marketing. The part of the interview that really stuck with me is about marketing playbooks, and how everyone is looking for a repeatable formula. BREAKING: there is no magic formula.

Read essay / April 27, 2017

In Memoriam: Robert A. Sobers, Sr.

This is the eulogy I gave for my father, Robert A. Sobers, Sr., at his funeral on March 7th, 2017.

Read essay / March 20, 2017

A Review of the New HubSpot Updates from INBOUND16

My unfiltered take on the new product announcements from HubSpot’s INBOUND16 conference. I focus on the big marketing features, but will include my thoughts on some of the Sales and CRM stuff as I start experimenting with them more.

Read essay / November 18, 2016

Advice for Young Makers: 8 Things I Wish I Knew

A few months ago, I gave a talk titled 8 Things I Wish I Knew to a group of students at Drew University. My goal was to short circuit many of the key lessons I learned over the past 15 years. Here’s what I told them.

Read essay / October 14, 2016

Understanding the HubSpot Sources Report [Video + Cheat Sheet]

This video lesson will give you a good handle on how to interpret the Sources report, tell you where it can deceive you, and explain how it compares to its zany cousin, the Google Analytics Channels report.

Read essay / October 9, 2016

Pricing an Online Course

The thought process behind pricing my online course, Mastering HubSpot. Includes a side-by-side pricing breakdown of 6 popular online courses.

Read essay / September 4, 2016

Fuzzy Advice

I’ve noticed a growing trend of fuzzy business advice and I’ve come to the conclusion that a.) it’s easy to give non-specific advice and b.) people eat up inspirational stuff.

Read essay / September 3, 2016

How to Automate Net Promoter Score Surveys with Drip

A step-by-step walkthrough that teaches you how to automate NPS surveys with Drip. Includes a free Drip-ready NPS email template.

Read essay / September 1, 2016

How to Automate Net Promoter Score Surveys with HubSpot

A step-by-step walkthrough that teaches you how to do full-fledged NPS surveys with HubSpot (and nothing else). Includes a free HubSpot-ready NPS email template.

Read essay / August 28, 2016

Playing on Easy Mode

Innovating on an existing idea, instead of inventing something new, is one of the best ways to increase your likelihood of making something people want.

Read essay / June 20, 2016

Munchkin Report: September 2015

State of the Munchkin as of September 2015: iOS development is underway and we start scripting our explainer video.

Read essay / September 25, 2015

Tracking Form Submission Events the Right Way

Tracking form events on your “thank you” pages is ideal, but it has some limitations. Another option is to track the event when it happens via JavaScript. Here’s how.

Read essay / August 18, 2015

$9 Marketing Stack: A Step-by-Step Guide

A step-by-step guide that shows you, in painstaking detail, the exact steps I used to configure a marketing and analytics stack for my SaaS app Munchkin Report.

Read essay / January 28, 2015

$9 Marketing Stack: A Step-by-Step Guide [Archived]

This article is out-of-date. It may still be helpful to you, especially if you’re using ActiveCampaign.

Read essay / January 28, 2015

Marketing Stacks

With the proliferation of marketing tools over the past few years, we’re desperately in need of some default marketing stacks.

Read essay / January 6, 2015

A Detailed Summary of Nathan Barry’s Book: Authority

My detailed notes on Nathan Barry’s money-minting book Authority.

Read essay / December 30, 2014

Rules of Growth, Debunked

Austen Allred wrote a creative, yet somewhat link bait-y, post called Rules of Growth. I object.

Read essay / December 30, 2014

End-of-Year Update on Munchkin Report

State of the Munchkin as of December 2014: we’re struggling with the decision to build a mobile app and launched a new email course.

Read essay / December 29, 2014

Stacking the Bricks in 2015

There is no such thing as overnight success. There is only stacking the bricks.

Read essay / December 28, 2014

8 Simple Rules to Avoid Email Hell

The email etiquette my team follows to promote effective and respectful email communication.

Read essay / October 30, 2014

3 Truth Bombs from Gary Vaynerchuk

Three hard-to-face truths about the state of marketing from Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s getting harder and harder to hide behind vanity metrics and engineered reports.

Read essay / October 7, 2014

Paul Graham on Growth Hacking

PG thinks growth hacking is bullshit. Is it? Depends on your definition.

Read essay / October 1, 2014

5 Design Resources for Non-Designers

Here are five excellent resources for those who want to learn about software and web design, but don’t fancy themselves designers.

Read essay / October 1, 2014

Growth Hacking Trello Template

A growth hacking Trello board template and accompanying Google docs which you can copy and use with your team.

Read essay / September 18, 2014

Growth Hacking = People + Process

Growth hacking is experiment-driven marketing executed by people who don’t need permission or help to get things done.

Read essay / September 9, 2014

Still Kicking

Quick and dirty status update on my creative side project: a SaaS app called Munchkin Report.

Read essay / March 26, 2014

Accelerating Boostrappers

Why I believe the bootstrapper community would greatly benefit if individual founders joined forces, Voltron-style.

Read essay / January 2, 2014

My Struggle with Ruby Blocks

My name is Rob and I had trouble understanding Ruby blocks.

Read essay / December 23, 2013

Entrepreneurial ADD

Many entrepreneurs can’t focus on one thing because they get bored too quickly.

Read essay / August 28, 2013

Segmenting a MailChimp List by Signup Source

How to capture the signup source for each MailChimp subscriber so you can segment your list based on how they subscribed.

Read essay / August 19, 2013

Building Traffic From Scratch

Building an audience from scratch is, in my estimation, one of the hardest things about bootstrapping. It’s slow going right now, almost depressingly so.

Read essay / August 18, 2013

Building Software in Public

I’m going to publicly share all of my steps toward building, launching, marketing and selling my first software product. Come follow along!

Read essay / August 13, 2013

Status Boards and Company Culture

One the most fun and useful things I’ve ever built is the Fog Creek Big Board.

Read essay / August 11, 2013

HubSpot Gotcha #1: Identity De-duplication

If you don’t pay close attention to your form settings in HubSpot, you could end up with undesirably merged leads.

Read essay / August 7, 2013

The Dangers of Projection
(Or Never Bet Against Rob Walling)

Projection is a dangerous thing in business, especially when it comes to marketing.

Read essay / July 30, 2013

Gmail’s New Inbox is a Win for Shrewd Email Marketers

Gmail’s new tabbed inbox is a pretty radical change, and it’s got many email marketers in a tizzy.

Read essay / July 24, 2013

Rocking GTD with Trello

Using Trello for GTD has been very effective for me, especially when I’m disciplined about defining my next physical action.

Read essay / December 13, 2012

How to Redirect Tumblr Post URLs After Migrating a Blog

Tumblr has a great feature that lets you create multiple blogs beneath a single umbrella account. However, your primary blog–i.e., the one you create first–is special.

Read essay / December 7, 2012

9 Easy Questions

If you ever talk to young developers, designers, or product managers about career path, please dog-ear this presentation by Joel Spolsky and pass it along.

Read essay / November 5, 2012

Please don’t learn to code

The proliferation of online code schools is a wonderful thing, and I for one love teaching people to code, but programming is not for everyone.

Read essay / January 19, 2012

Using Mercurial Subrepositories

When you clone a repo, Mercurial will recursively clone all of its subrepositories as well, so the developer (or build server) doesn’t need to know about the dependencies — the source control system handles it all.

Read essay / March 21, 2011

Sticky notes with CSS3

I used CSS to make sticky notes, here’s how.

Read essay / November 3, 2010