What happens when you load up a Chevy Suburban with 5 of your coworkers and drive to one of the biggest conferences in North America?
For starters, you really get to know one another. Thankfully, I’m in a position where I’m working closely with 2 friends I grew up with and my other 2 colleagues are pretty awesome as well. That said, after being with each other constantly for 5 days straight, I think we all needed a bit of a break. I for one ate a bunch of Lebanese food. Not sure what they did, but whatever, to each their own.
The following is my first-hand account of HubSpot’s Inbound 2017.
Day 1 included some free time that was spent exploring Cambridge and our president Rudi’s Alma Mater, Harvard University campus.
Side note: did you know the main dining hall building there is basically Hogwarts? If you didn’t, it’s not your fault… It’s not your fault… It’s… HOW DO YOU LIKE DEM APPLES!? Ok I’m done.
Next stop was a grand tour of HubSpot HQ. IMI’s point of contact, Brandon, met us in the lobby and gave us a solid rundown of the 2 buildings they currently inhabit. Pretty incredible to think they were a start-up consisting of about 10 people just 20 years ago. They now employ over 2,000 people in the Boston area in 2 beautiful buildings that include cafeterias, sleep pods, cafes, and beer dispensers. Despite my previous blog, it would appear IMI still has a few things to do if they want to establish themselves as the coolest place to work in town!
After chatting all things IMI and HubSpot, it was time to get a move on so we could get to the conference in time for the big kick-off. Now, I’ve been to a few convention centers in my day… But this was absurd. The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is like 3 airplane hangars smashed together and 3 floors of breakout rooms all around. Apparently, this isn’t big enough, however. 21,000+ attendees also require full use of the attached Westin Hotel and all its breakout rooms. If I had one piece of advice for first-timers attending Inbound; wear a Fitbit.
Don’t worry though, traveling from session to session is easy thanks to the abundance of signage and helpful volunteers. Furthermore, because there’s so much to see and do, you get acclimated with the giant space fairly easily. That said, I caught my director, Jason McNaught, wandering aimlessly with his mouth agape more than once. Still amazed we didn’t get lost on our way there and back!
In the main exhibit area which came to be dubbed “Club Inbound”, purple and blue LED lights illuminated the massive space while a spire of rotating screens and tickers made up the centerpiece. Pretty sure there was a DJ inside spinning some tasty beats too!
As I write this, I realize I could write an entire article about all the incredible features and elements that make up the look and feel of Inbound. But, what makes this conference second to none is also the content.
Keynote speakers included must-sees the likes of Brené Brown, John Cena and this lawyer turned first-lady you may have heard of, Michelle Obama. All of which were truly inspiring to listen to. Although when Cena didn’t powerbomb anyone through a table, I was a bit disappointed.
All of this was unbelievable, and frankly overwhelming at times, but the meat and potatoes of the conference were the massive variety of sessions available. HubSpot is, at its core, a marketing/sales platform. So, the bulk of the sessions were made up of anything and everything to do with those 2 things, and how they can be implemented into HubSpot for you.
IMI started implementing HubSpot in August of 2017, the conference was in October, thus making us a bunch of HubSpot n00bz. That fact excited me, however, because I was going to have the opportunity to engage with hundreds of experts.
Instantly, it was clear that marketing with video and the use of Facebook Messenger was going to be a theme in terms of industry trends. What really blew my mind though was how many different APIs, extensions and integrations there are for HubSpot. This was of particular interest to me because IMI at its foundation is a Global People Company. So, finding new and innovative ways to use HubSpot for recruitment purposes was a focal point. Thankfully, there were many relevant sessions enabling us to gain valuable information on that topic. Not to mention, some really cool add-ons we hope to explore.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the major announcements from Inbound as, it too, might have a major impact on how IMI carries out its daily business. HubSpot announced following their acquisition of Motion AI they would be adding bot technology to HubSpot’s CRM software FOR FREE! This has the potential to greatly streamline our processes and reduce the time it takes to screen/hire candidates and to ultimately provide them with good jobs.
There were many cool announcements made at Inbound this year, all of which could be major players in terms of establishing how one does their business. Especially when it comes to pure sales and marketing.
Inbound thrives in several ways. It’s mind-blowing in its design & entertainment, amazing in its organization (I didn’t even get to mention the food trucks!), and chalk-full of amazing content. But what really makes it special is how it’s a direct representation of what HubSpot can do. At the end of the day, HubSpot has become the product they sell. The result of building a reputation so powerful, their business comes to them. I dare you to attend Inbound and leave without feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
IMI is new to HubSpot, and the road ahead in terms of integration and implementation is long and daunting. But if Inbound taught me anything it’s that it’s a game changer, and I can’t wait to see how it changes the game here at IMI.
You don’t need to be a sales, marketing, or IT guru and you certainly don’t need to be a HubSpot master. Inbound was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I plan on applying that to my career immediately (well, after this). So…
Check out my colleague, Britt's blog post about Inbound as well!