Day 2 at #INBOUND18: Aspire to be Different

Day 2 at #INBOUND18: Aspire to be Different

Big Ideas

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September 6 2018
Big Ideas

Although I gave Day 1 of #INBOUND18 the theme of “Slow Down and Reflect,” I immediately forgot about that when I jumped into my jam-packed schedule for Day 2. After it was all said and done, I would like to give today’s theme the name “Aspire to be Different.”


Since my day consisted of multiple keynotes and breakout sessions, there is absolutely no way I can document everything on the fly – mostly because I’m not a strong writer. So instead, I’m going to highlight only a few keynotes and/or breakout sessions I found great value in for the remainder of the week.


Keynote: Beth Comstock

My morning kicked off with Beth Comstock’s amazing keynote about being an introvert in an extroverted world, giving yourself permission to jump any hurdle in front of you, and most importantly, to avoid the fear of failure. While Deepak’s keynote (that we covered on Inbound's Day 1 review post) specified that 80% of the American workforce is unhappy with their job or career, Beth Comstock states that 65% of people do not feel creatively fulfilled; that’s a huge portion of the unhappy workforce (whether that was fully intended across both keynotes remains to be seen.)


She goes on to ask, “Who are you waiting for to make a change in your life? Your boss? Your mother? Yoda?” She says that “Change happens when you give yourself permission to imagine a better future, and then you make it happen.” This is a very powerful statement given that I’ve been hearing similar aspects throughout my career.


“Change happens when you give yourself permission to imagine a better future, and then you make it happen.”​

Beth Comstock - Inbound Conference 2018

To evoke change overall, she provides three simple steps:


1. Give yourself permission – Have an open mind and take small steps forward. Be relentless when it comes to facing “gate keepers” or the naysayers. The answer “no” can also mean “not yet” and leaves the door open for you to change the way you sell your idea.


2. Discover – Make the world your classroom and follow your curiosity (apparently, she judged a boy band competition, just because.) She mentions that she follows the “rule of 3’s.” When she encounters something new, she says “that’s interesting.” The second time she sees it, she asks, “is that a coincidence?” and finally, if she sees it a third time, she asks “is this a trend and can I learn from it?”.


3. Make it happen – A vision doesn’t happen unless it’s acted on and you must lead it; it cannot be delegated. If you’re focusing on making change, you need a strategy, which is just a well-told story, and you need to always be open to feedback or, in her words, “agitated inquiry.” Ask the tough questions and be open to feedback you don’t want to hear. In fact, ask the question “tell me something I don’t want to hear.” 


While Beth Comstock continues to discuss these points under the “make it happen” section, she ties it back to self courage and the ability to face fears. We face risk every day and there is no way to eliminate it entirely. As individuals, we need to build the confidence by experimenting and failing when the risks are smaller, and to try new things, as opposed to perfecting them. I know Marty will be the first person to tell you that getting a task to 95% complete is easy, it’s the last 5% that’ll kill you.


After a recap of the three points, she goes on to say that we’re all empowered by our jobs/careers/life and that nobody but yourself is going to give you permission to achieve your goals and blunder your way toward creating the life that you love.


In the end, she asks a very important question: “Are you a machine that only outputs, or are you a human who’s willing to take risks and try new things? Feeling fear makes you human and if failure is not an option, neither is success.”



"Feeling fear makes you human and if failure is not an option, neither is success.”

Beth Comstock - Inbound Conference 2018




Basically, just follow the words of Miss Frizzle – Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy.

To view the presentation slides from Beth’s keynote speech, click here.


Keynote: Brian Halligan

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when HubSpot co-founders Brian and Dharmesh took the stage, but I will say that I wasn’t disappointed. Brian’s presence was very energetic, and he was clearly excited to promote something new right off the bat. I figured it would be something HubSpot related, like a new feature or system, but he was quick to shut that idea down. The idea he had was something bigger and more revolutionary in thinking.


Inbound Conference 2018 - Day 2 - Hubspot Founders keynote


Before diving into the idea, he went through some points related to HubSpot’s survey analysis of existing customers (apparently, they interview one customer a week) and how for the past 10 years and, up until a few years ago, everyone’s answer of how and why they started using HubSpot was the same – the content and inbound marketing drew them in as a customer.


What Brian and the HubSpot team has started to witness in the past few years was now completely different. Their customers were no longer being pulled in by marketing, but rather, by word of mouth. The example he gave was Mary, who worked at Company A and used HubSpot for years had recently left for Company B. When moving over, Mary became an internal HubSpot promoter at Company B and convinced the internal teams to make the change to using HubSpot.


Inbound Conference 2018 - Hubspot Founders Keynote - Word of Mouth


Because of this, it forced Brian and the HubSpot team to look at marketing in a different light. They went back to the trusty Marketing and Sales funnel and started to notice cracks in the process. This is something that I’ve been toying with in my head for awhile, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it as clear as Brian did. I could tell there was no feedback loop, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to identify the bottom back to the top.


Brian’s new and revolutionary solution to the old and tired Marketing and Sales Funnel is the “Marketing Flywheel.” I’m kicking myself I didn’t come up with it first. What is the flywheel you ask? Well, it’s this:


It’s broken up into three categories surrounded by Growth – Attract, Engage, Delight.
I won’t go through the whole process, as it’s completely explained at if you want to know more. However, it essentially closes the loop on the customer journey because, even after a person leaves a company, organization, etc., their evangelism doesn’t end there. It’s constant and always growing.


Stay tuned for the review of Day 3 of #INBOUND18 tomorrow!  



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