What I learned at my first day at #inbound13


Inbound 13 is like SxSWi, only a little smaller, more intimate, and more focused on a specific company, Hubspot.  It’s a four day conference with jam-packed sessions of awesome.  Here are my highlights from last night and today.


Lesson 1: My students are AMAZING.  Well ok, I knew that already, but I had a fabulous dinner with a group of amazing women who graduated in ’08, ’10, ’11, and ’12 — and they are all doing amazing things here in Boston.  It is an amazing gift to have been a small part of their lives during college and be able to get together with them, and help them all connect now. The networking around the table was super cool.

Champlain College Alumni in #BOS

Lesson 2: Talking the talk means walking the walk. This conference is big. Over 5k people have descended here at the Hynes Center in Boston and the place is a zoo. As much as Hubspot wanted the wifi to work and the sessions to go smoothly they’ve had to contend with overloaded wifi, a dearth of plugs, and standing room only sessions. By the Keynote today at 2 p.m. they were already modifying things. Agendas are changing on the fly,  they are expanding sessions, and shifting things behind the scenes to accommodate the crowd. An event planners nightmare…an attendees convenience. Kudos to the whole Hubspot team. I’ve never seen such a responsively designed conference. (see what I did there?)

Lesson 3: Seth Godin. Is. Amazing. There is nothing more I have to say here. Really. You already knew this. Seeing him live was a highlight (but sorry Seth, not THE highlight for me). Words of wisdom just fly from that man. The tweet stream tells much of the story but some gems for me included:

  • Mass Marketing = Average
  • The internet was the first medium invented without marketers in mind.
  • You can not buy your way to share of voice.
  • And probably most importantly for future students of mine: “If you ask ‘what do you want me to do’, you are part of pack.”  This is a race to the bottom.”

Lesson 4: Hubspot is pretty cool. I knew they were doing some good things. I learned that from @pistaschio and @bleaning. But as I watched the keynote unfold this afternoon I was super impressed with their platform. I am now on a campaign to see if I can get it in my classroom. (Hint Hint @mvolpe@dharmesh and @bhalligan).

Lesson 5: Laura Fitton is a genius. Alright, I’m not sure if the BoldTalks are totally her brainchild, but I know she organized them and they. are. awesome. So inspiring. Short 20 minute talks covering all areas. Today I learned from @jasonkeath on how to brainstorm, @mitchjoel on the “one screen world” and “remote control of our lives,” @cspenn on comic book heroes and using social media to make a difference, @JarrettBarrios of the Boston Red Cross and his story of the Boston Marathon Bombing (let’s just say WOW!), @ducttape on Marketing Confluence (I’ve used his books in my classes!), and @brian_wong of a new startup called Kiip who is revolutionizing mobile advertising, focusing on “achievement moments.” Did I mention all of these are inspiring?

Lesson 6: There is actually someone who talks faster than me. That would be Hubspots “Social Media Scientist” @danzarella. Whirlwind fun times with stats galore today. Learned some fast facts…so fast that I had a hard time capturing them. But it was a fun time!

Lesson 7: Brian Solis ROCKS! Ok, I know, another one that is no surprise. But this evening I met him with a gazillion other people at an after party, had a great chat about my classes — and he actually remembered me. We’ve been tweeting at him and with him in my classes for several years, and I met him once at SxSW. He gave me an extra book for my students too! If you haven’t heard of his new book What’s the Future of Business, read this post from Hubspot: http://blog.hubspot.com/brian-solis-wtf-future-of-business-im-hspr. But first here’s a pic of me with Brian. Yeah. Totally awesome!

Elaine and Brian Solis

Lesson 8: Conferences make me sleepy. Non-stop fun all day, plus meeting at night and a whole round to do again tomorrow means a lot of energy expended. Most important to pace myself. There are still TWO DAYS to go!

Bonus Lesson: Check out Charity Water. You’ll be glad you did. More on this tomorrow after the One Republic Concert (oh, did I forget to mention that one?)

happy lolcat