Favorite Moments from #INBOUND19
Eight. That’s how many times I’ve traveled to Boston for the annual “HubSpot Event.” I’ve experienced a plethora of sessions, connections, parties and more.
While some may see the event as a user conference or a chance to sell a product, I see it as a homecoming. Every year INBOUND brings together like-minded professionals. Many of us have become friends, so it feels like a family reunion.
Even though #INBOUND19 was number eight for me, it’s not stale. It’s not predictable. It doesn’t get boring. I was stoked to return after a year way— and I don’t ever want to skip an INBOUND again!
Before INBOUND, we offered a few resources for making it the best INBOUND ever. Now, I’m revisiting the event and showing off some of my favorite moments. This is kind of a personal journal entry under the Impulse Creative flagship, in hopes that I can inspire others to join us for future INBOUND events.
With so many speakers, a ton of parties, conversations in the hallways and so much going on, it’s difficult to distill it down to a favorite moment or two. So here are 10 favorite moments of #INBOUND19 for you.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 1: Hangin’ with Halligan
The top moment has to be hanging with Brian Halligan on the couch of the Westin lobby with the Impulse Creative team.
The Westin lobby is where it’s at. A lot of speakers and sponsors stay at the Westin (super convenient!) and the traffic through the lobby is intense. So sitting in the chairs and couches enjoying a drink or two is the ultimate networking opportunity for anyone in the inbound world. Only it doesn’t feel like networking. It’s just conversations.
The one night that it was over the top rad was when HubSpot Co-Founder and CEO Brian Halligan walked up to our little group and sat back on the couch, put his feet up and said “So how’s everyone at Impulse Creative?”
For the CEO of a huge public company (we see him like the Steve Jobs of INBOUND) kick back and relax— and know who we all are … that was pretty dope. Brian’s a good guy who truly does care about the people around him. We had a great conversation as friends.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 2: Getting Recognized
We all loved hearing people say “that’s George B. Thomas” walking the streets of Boston.
George is well known in the HubSpot world. We get that. But sometimes we forget that he’s more than a friend and colleague. He’s a personality!
The best part for me was when Remington (Begg, our CEO) would have a little fun with George and encourage the recognitions. It’s a good reminder to George, always the humble hero, that he’s making a difference in the world with his content like Sprocket Talk.
Plus it embarrasses him a bit. 😊
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 3: Pride in the Team
Seeing your friends and colleagues kill it on stage is priceless.
I get to work with some of the most amazing humans in the inbound marketing/sales/service world. Our team of 14 professionals is terrific. Add to that the fact that two of them got to take the INBOUND stage, and it was so much fun for me.
Remington held a session on conversational marketing strategy that was so popular, he had an encore scheduled as soon as the agenda was open to reserving seats. For his first time on the INBOUND stage, he absolutely killed it.
It’s also fun to see the people line up after a session to ask one more question or thank the speaker for life-changing knowledge.
Then George spoke on personalized 1-to-1 video. His subject was so popular, he had to schedule an encore as well. The best part was how he owned the room, worked the crowd and crafted a social media frenzy so powerful that #GBTvideo trended on Twitter in Boston.
I love watching my friends wow the crowds!
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 4: Challenging Message with Tony Chatman
Being challenged in Tony Chatman’s session on unconscious bias brought about growth.
We all have them. Research proves it. We make snap judgements on people, assuming everything from intelligence to income in less than a second. But data doesn’t do the story justice. Tony Chatman does. His delivery, his stories, his experience and his entire strategy on overcoming our unconscious bias blew me away.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 5: Geraldine’s Lesson on Harassment
I’m so grateful for the inspiration to do better from Geraldine DeRuiter’s session on online harassment.
Many people know Geraldine through her social media presence, especially on Twitter. Maybe some know her because of her travel writing on The Everywhereist. Others know her because of her tech-famous husband, Rand Fishkin. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Geraldine for my podcast.
When I saw her talk’s title, “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Surviving Online Harassment,” I wasn’t sure if I should go. I really wanted to see her speak, but it didn’t feel like the session was for me.
Instead of writing it off, I changed my thinking and wondered how I might be able to learn from her experience and other women, and add my voice to the wave of shutting down harassment and abuse.
I’m so glad I did! She was fantastic. Geraldine has this magic way of turning a very heavy, scary situation and adding enough humor to disrupt the intentions of the abusers. I was inspired, educated and motivated. Her INBOUND session isn't recorded, but here's another version.
Plus, as she and Rand walked through the Westin lobby the night before I got to say hi and get a photo. They were both on The Storytellers Network at different times (Rand on The Storytellers Network), so this was my first in-person meeting. They were as gracious the photo seems. They were amazing.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 6: Personal Stories of Fun!
Seeing my Impulse Creative family enjoy all INBOUND has to offer filled my bucket. We’re all so scattered during the event that spending time together can be difficult. But we did manage to enjoy dinner together, plus some random fun here and there. I especially loved seeing Jenn and Jackie enjoying the Club INBOUND fun features!
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 7: Community
So many of us are supporters of each other, and actually real life friends. That’s the abundance mentality we try to live by every day.
That’s the case with this great group of people. We were so busy enjoying each other’s company, we didn’t even get a photo! But sharing our time with Doug Davodoff and his team, and Tyler Pigott and his team, was a favorite moment of mine for sure. While the food at the brewery was hit or miss, the beer was good and the conversation even better.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 8: Laughing with the Competition
Spending time laughing with Trish Lessard and the team at Media Junction. This is a theme apparently. It’s all about relationships, even with your “competition.”
Sitting in the Westin lobby enjoying conversation and maybe a few drinks leads to deeper relationships, creative ideas and just plain fun.
The best was when Ryan and Alex from Strategon were giving Trish a hard time, and including me— someone they hadn’t met yet— as one of the family.
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 9: IRL Interactions
Being social in 3-D with tons of great like-minded professionals.
Besides the specific examples above, simply having conversations everywhere with people in the same professional space and same headspace is always incredible. Each year that’s the magic for me, and this year was no different.
I even got to serendipitously sit with Kirsten Waerstad. I’ve met Kirsten in years past, so she looked familiar. Here’s the scene:
In a room for Geraldine DeRuiter’s presentation. The room set up is “cafe” style: lots of little tables and a casual feel. I set my stuff down and go to get a drink of water. As I come back, a woman is eyeing the table and about to sit down.
Me: “Great, join me please. I love making friends at INBOUND!”
She sits, and we start talking.
Me: “So, what do you do that you’re interested in being at INBOUND?”
Her: “I’m a freelancer, a graphic designer and I’m thinking about this project. Full disclosure: I’m married to Dharmesh Shah.”
This is when I realize the we’ve met, and she’s been the gracious person who took this photo:
So then we have a great conversation, and enjoy the presentation from Geraldine. Of course, she and Dharmesh are friends with Geraldine and Rand. So after, it was like a group of friends including me in their circle. And I got to get a pic with the gracious and wonderful Kirsten!
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 10: Live Podcasting
So this was an unexpected moment. I was in the room for Remington and George’s Live Sprocket Talk “Ask Me Anything” recording, with plans to live tweet for us and just “be there.”
Instead, George invited me on stage and we three got to record a live podcast! Another instance of inclusion and creativity… love it!
Plus, afterward George made the most generous and giving comment to me. He said, “A couple times when you were answering someone, Remington looked at me and was like 🤯. Dude, that was dope!”
Favorite Moment of #INBOUND19 11: A Friendly Visit
Personal bonus: Meeting up with one of my favorite HubSpotters of all time, just because he wanted to say hi: Sam Mallikarjunan.
Sam was the inbound marketing consultant who helped me hone my skills back when I first started using HubSpot. He’s become a good friend over the years. I’ve enjoyed watching his career and learning a ton from him.
Who is Sam Mallikarjunan? He’s the former head of growth at HubSpot Labs, led the company's marketing expansion into Latin America, and oversaw the team that built a new market in e-commerce for the world's #1 sales and marketing platform. He’s now the Chief Revenue Officer at business communications tool Flock.
While Sam isn’t with HubSpot anymore, and wasn’t attending INBOUND, he made time to stop by the venue to connect and chat.
So if a friend mentions they’re in town and it’s a little inconvenient for you to go say hi, make the choice to do so. The sacrifice of your time is worth it. Sam’s visit was soul-filling for me, and hopefully for him as well.
Will You Join us for #INBOUND20?
We’ll be there for next year’s INBOUND. Make sure you connect with us! We’ll even share any discount code we get, so be sure to sign up for our Impulse Creative newsletters!