Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Inbound 2013 Marketing Conference: Day 3

My experience: [Travel and Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Conclusions]
(need to catch up? here is DAY 1 and DAY 2 of my experience at Inbound 2013)
Another amazing day today! I managed to wiggle my way into sessions by even better speakers than yesterday, with much more relevant material to me and OMG it made a huge difference.

Time flew by! From one session to the next I barely had time to take notes, tweet a few things, shoot a couple pictures and I was already on my way to the next one. Tearing myself away for an hour lunch break (something I use to help digest the information from the morning and prepare for the afternoon) was much more difficult than usual.

Today's keynote was by Arianna Huffington. The Founder, President and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post. Talk about heavy hitter! Despite her accent and her claim that it has helped her win business negotiations because the other side simply can't understand what she's saying - her talk was extremely well thought out and delivered. Easily my favorite session so far, not just for the content but for the humble, confident aura she gives off that makes it seems like she is just chatting with you one-on-one.

If you ever get the chance to hear her speak - do it. No questions asked. Just do it.

The theme of today was inspiration. I chose talks that offered me a chance to look at things from a different point of view than usual. These presentations served to inspire me to try new things, to re-think my current activities where needed in both my personal and work lives.

For instance: three of the presentations today discussed the value of the individual employee and how ensuring their happiness is the first step to ensuring your customer happiness. It seems like this is a theme throughout the whole conference. Employees come first. From the nap rooms at the Huffington Post to unlimited vacation to transparency and open communication, these values really struck me as the future of "work."

The small city of Flagstaff is about 10 years behind the times with technology, marketing, and social media. I *really* hope we pick up some of this stuff BEFORE 10 years is up; it may mean the difference between retaining Millenials in our community and watching them disappear to organizations that "get it."

In my personal life, I was inspired today to continue practicing two things that I have been working in or dabbling in for the last several years. My love of photography and (to a lesser extent) writing are why this blog exists. If I am to continue learning and growing in those fields, I need to continue practicing both. I'm planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year - as an effort to complete a life-goal of mine to write a book. I am also casting around for a way to continue taking photographs that are meaningful to me personally.

The speakers today were a bit more spunky than the crowd I listened to yesterday.
@RedHeadWriting being profane

Lots more profanity, but a lot more genuine as well. They seemed less interested in selling me something, or selling me on themselves, and more interested in helping me (and everyone else around them) grow into the best person they can be. Not just the best marketer, but the best overall person. After all, people do business with people.

With a focus on people (or humans, as Dharmesh chose to call us) - Inbound 2013 is really about so much more than marketing or sales or social media or lead generation or networking. It's about freeing yourself from the constraints of "regular" marketing or "regular" business and instead interaction with PEOPLE as yourself. It seems the thought leaders at this conference (and I'm guessing others as well) believe that the future of business lies less in technology and more in simply being honest, open, transparent and generally a good person.

Arianna Huffington's keynote really resonated with the entire crowd.

Did I mention there are over 5,000 people at this conference?

Erika Napoletano being less profane

Lines for excellent speakers (and bestselling authors, of which there are 17 at this event) are typically long. Showing up early is the key unless you're willing to sit on the floor - which happens a lot to me.

"Club Inbound" had a live DJ tonight. He works for Hubspot in the IT department.

The charity: water "water walk" developed into a bit of a competition tonight...

Hubspot CEO David Halligan wandered through and chatted with the participants. Really cool to see him. Highly amusing to watch him take ONE step and be accosted by another person with their business card in hand, personal pitch ready to go. Seems a little "outbound" to me...

I put my camera away after "Happy Hour" was done with and headed to have dinner. Because I am staying with a friend who lives 2 hours from Boston (conference-going on a non-profit budget) and because I'm not a big fan of One Republic, the band playing tonight, I bailed after dinner and was home by 9:30.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference. I'm excited to grab a few more inspiring nuggets and start preparing my recommendations for the office back in Flagstaff. That will probably take me a while, with all my notes and tweets and such to sift through... now that I think about it, it's fairly daunting.

I will have a blog post tomorrow detailing the final day, as well as a followup post about my report for the office and the after-event stuff that goes into ensuring all this knowledge actually gets *used* and applied by the right people.