Dharmesh Shah
3 min readAug 1, 2016


It’s not Human vs. Bot, It’s Human^Bot

Confession: For the past several months I’ve been furiously coding away on a new project as part of HubSpot Labs. It’s called GrowthBot. It’s a chatbot for marketing and sales people — and anyone looking to grow a company (like entrepreneurs).

I launched GrowthBot into public beta on June 6th. It received 10,000+ messages in the first 24 hours. Much better than I expected. Overall, the launch went well, and the bot is happily answer requests like “show me companies in california that use HubSpot” and “who are the top influencers about landing pages”. It’s been interesting to watch what kind of messages people send to a B2B bot (even with somewhat guidance as to what it’s capable of). I have a bunch of lessons learned from developing GrowthBot that I’ll share in another post soon.

But for now, there’s another bot-related topic I want to hit on — because it keeps coming up in conversation (no pun intended).

It’s the issue of Humans vs. Bots

Some wonder “will bots cause people to lose their jobs?” I can’t speak for all bots, but for GrowthBot, the short answer is no.

I’ll illustrate my position with a simple visual:

The way I like to think about it is not, Human vs. Bot, but Human + Bot (or Human^Bot i.e. Human to the Bot power). The bot amplifies what you can do. The bot is an exponent.

GrowthBot is a bot for marketing and sales people.

GrowthBot is not smart enough to write a blog post — but it can tell you what posts about a particular topic people are sharing. You just ask: “what are the top posts this week on product marketing?”

It’s not smart enough to automatically run a campaign to drive traffic to your website — but it can answer questions about how your website traffic is doing. “How was organic traffic to the site last month?” And the bot also tells you how that compares to the prior month. You can compare results year-over-year (Yes, June is a slow month, but is this June slower than usual?)

It’s not savvy enough to close a deal for you, but it can help you find potential customers by asking: “show me law firms in Boston that use Google Apps”. (Assuming you’re trying to sell SaaS software to law firms and are looking to find firms that are modern enough to use Google Apps).

So, humans are still doing the creative, meaningful work. GrowthBot is just making those humans better, stronger, faster. It gives them access to information they may not have had access to before (or couldn’t get to quickly and easily). It can surface insights that the humans may not have come up with on their own.

By the way, while in beta, GrowthBot is completely free and easy-peasy to try out. Nothing to download. Nothing to install. No forms to fill out. No credit card required.

Just head over to http://growthbot.org and say hello. I’m not saying it is guaranteed to get you a promotion, but you never know. It may just put that small spring in your step and some useful data in your head.

Originally published at onstartups.com.