This month, we were excited to attend the INBOUND 2018 conference in Boston put on by HubSpot. With over 250 speakers presenting to over 24,000 attendees across four days, the week was jam-packed with opportunities to explore new topics and learn from innovative industry leaders.
The three days were filled with deep learning, entertaining presentations and interviews, and thought-provoking conversations on a wide variety of topics and current issues. Themes ranged from diversity and representation to feminism and the impact of the internet on social issues. Inbound marketing was a major component, of course, but each speaker made the topic of inbound their own by incorporating their unique stories and experiences.
To give you a window into all that we learned, here are some highlights from our favorite sessions. Rather than transcribe each of their sometimes 60-minute sessions, we’ve put together our favorite quotes from the week with the idea that they might inspire you and offer an interesting perspective.
Deepak Chopra, Best-Selling Author & Founder, Chopra Foundation
Deepak Chopra kicked off the conference by taking us on a deep dive into what it means to be human and where we come from — taking it back to not just the day we were born but to the theory of how the universe was created. His insightful presentation had us thinking more expansively about nature and how we can bring ourselves into harmony with both our inner self and the outer world.
"The are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle."
Brent Chudoba, CFO & COO at Thrive Global
"Jump at opportunities that feel risky. The scariest decisions are almost always the best decisions."
"When working with a team, be clear about what you need and why it’s important. Smart, creative people can figure out the how."
"Set rules, goals and milestones. Anytime we invest in something, we need to know who is involved and who is responsible. Then, we set our goal — what we are achieving. Last but not least, we set milestones, which means putting real dates on every item so that there's accountability."
Molly Hayward, Founder of Cora Women
Early in her career, Molly Hayward thought nonprofits were the only organizations that had the power to change the world. Today, she’s the founder of Cora Women, a purpose-driven company that is disrupting the feminine products industry through innovation and design.
Hayward defines a brand as “the emotional aftertaste that you’re left with after some touchpoint with the business.” She designed the Cora brand with exceptional attention to detail, following her philosophy that “how you do something is how you do everything.”
Hayward also emphasized the purpose behind the business and how that has enabled such strong consumer loyalty. She told attendees, “Tell a story with purpose to create connection, generate memory and empower sharing.”
Kali Roberge, Founder of Creative Advisor Marketing
Kali Roberge gave a compelling presentation about the importance of authenticity when marketing yourself or your brand.
"Being grounded in who you are makes you confident. Ask yourself, 'Who am I, really?' Then drop everything else."
"What do you believe? What change do you exist to make? Who do you aim to change? What promise do you make? Understand that what you believe won't resonate with everybody, and that's okay. Own what you're about. Be willing to take a stand for who and what you say you are."
Madison Utendahl, Head of Content and Social at the Museum of Ice Cream
Madison Utendahl gave us a look behind-the-scenes of the Museum of Ice Cream and shared the core principles that help her team build community both online and onsite at their NYC and San Francisco locations.
"Our three rules for content at the Museum of Ice Cream are: (1) Create the rules, (2) inspire through imagination and creativity and (3) uplift community."
"When creating content, focus on educating and informing people, maintaining color cohesion and empowering the creative work of others."
"At the Museum of Ice Cream, we believe in self-expression, individuality and accessibility."
Lena Waithe, Emmy Award-Winning Writer, Producer and Actress
Lena Waithe talked about being her authentic self in the media world and creating content that matters — the kind of work that can outlive her. She spoke to the importance of representation of all kinds in current media and how she hopes to inspire others to be confident in showing up as who they truly are.
"Don't ask if your dream is crazy, ask if it's crazy enough."
"We need more folks to be out, to be proud, to be phenomenal."
"It's tough to be the first, to be the only. But I wear that with pride. I'll gladly take the hits if it makes it easier for everyone who follows."
Scott Harrison, Founder & CEO of charity: water
Scott Harrison shared the moving story of how he turned his life around and started his organization charity: water, which is working to end the water crisis in our lifetime.
"Do not be afraid of work that has no end."
"Charity means love. To help your neighbor in need and expect nothing in return."
"Why shouldn't charities have epic, inspiring brands? Why shouldn't we care about the way we create and the excellence of that work?"
Tarana Burke, Activist & Founder of the #MeToo Movement
The #MeToo movement has been a core topic in the media recently, but the movement itself has been around much longer. Founder and activist Tarana Burke has been working to bring attention and change to sexual harassment and assault for over 25 years. Speaking about the spotlight the movement has gained in the media, she emphasized that "We've been talking. The difference is that we weren't believed."
"Every hashtag is a human being. These are people's lives we're talking about."
"Movements happen in pieces. [#MeToo] is a moment in a longstanding movement. But we can leverage this moment to do more work."
Emily Chang, Author of BROTOPIA, Executive Producer and Anchor of Bloomberg Technology
Emily Chang's book, BROTOPIA, seeks to expose and understand the enormous gender inequalities in the technology industry. In her interview with Tarana Burke on the subject of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, Chang emphasized the importance of taking action.
"What people can do is listen and not be a bystander. If you see something, do something. We all know this is a problem, so at this point, ignorance can only be willful."
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Award-Winning Author
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave an inspiring address about her personal journey as a student, artist and author. She highlighted the importance of listening to others with empathy, and acknowledging that we all have blind spots — assumptions that we make based on our own social and/or cultural contexts and backgrounds. Adichie pointed out that when you hear only one story, it's too easy to generalize or think in stereotypes. Storytelling has the power to build bridges, but only if the stories are heard.
"The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."
INBOUND 2018 was more than worth the trip, and we can't wait for next year's conference!
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