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inbound 2016 #inboundsolo

It’s been a few weeks since the epic event in Boston. Before I even begin, “Well done, HubSpot. Well done.” The event was, just like the marketing giant, huge. I couldn’t find a great flight/hotel package for the first night that I deemed ‘worth it’ considering the event didn’t officially start until 6:30PM. And, since it was my first Inbound and I had no idea what to expect, I arrived on day 2. Upon arriving, I spent the first few hours navigating the shuttle and Uber service, checking in to the hotel, navigating the massive Boston Convention Center, and registering for the next few days.

Now, looking back, there were several key take aways that I wish I knew before going #InboundSolo.

  • I really know very little about Hubspot

This is tough to admit. I’m Inbound certified—through HubSpot! I read their blogs; I’ve used their CRM tool, and (now) I’ve been to their annual conference. Yet I still don’t know, or at least understand, the extent of their reach. This is really meant as a compliment. HubSpot has more to offer than just…well, anything. They really are all-things marketing. Going #InboundSolo allowed me to interact with HubSpot, sponsors, vendors, and other marketers in the low times. I was never rushed or yelling over loud crowds. I had the opportunity to learn about HubSpot, from HubSpot, at HubSpot and that alone made the conference worth-while. If you are on the fence for next year—dooo eeeet.inbound16

  • There really weren’t that many networking opportunities at Inbound 2016

Let’s be fair, networking is a critically important piece of business. Whether you are networking for prospective clients or new partners, whether you are looking for better tools or new strategies, or whether you want to meet like-minded professionals or future employment leads, networking is the hub-spot (pun intended).  With that in mind, the inbound conference was supposed to be a place to network. The problem? Quite honestly, there was just too much.

Remember, I’m #InboundSolo. I wasn’t at Inbound to take the plethora of classes and breakout sessions. I was there, like hundreds (if not thousands) of others who had an opportunity to see key-note speakers and fill the days networking. But, with more than 3/4 of attendees literally jogging from session to session, barely giving themselves an opportunity to eat, that means off-the-bat 12,000 of the 16,000 people just aren’t available to network with. That’s pretty significant for an event focused on networking.

Some nay-sayers will say there are lots of opportunities, you just have to find them. True. And I’m not saying I did zero networking. I am saying, using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Snap Chat provided lots of interest and few opportunities because of the sheer volume of activities. The networking platforms don’t differentiate between #inbound2016 and #InboundSolo (assuming you knew #InboundSolo existed—a group set up by non-HubSpottians specifically for networking).

  • Where are the day-passes?

If I had only one negative take-away from this event, it is hands-down the missed opportunity to do the breakout sessions. In the same way #InboundSolo was a flop, #Inbound16 was epic. I was the odd man out from JMC Brands, sent specifically to meet people outside the mold. As I’ve said elsewhere, that lowered the number of people drastically. Subtract from that the organizers, speakers, venders, and people who work working or meeting already established connections and the number of opportunities drops even further. Where are they? In the breakout sessions. Standing in lines hoping to grab a seat in the filled to capacity class rooms. Talking to like-minded people with like-minded interests—now that’s a great place to network. #InboundSolo would be a lot better as #InboundDayPass. #JustSayin

2016 inbound charles duhigg

Inbound 2016 Speaker - Charles Duhigg

All in all, Hubspot did a fantastic job. I had a blast; I met a lot of people (even if it wasn’t ‘networking’); my days were full. Plus, I did enjoy the key-notes. Charles Duhigg (Smarter, Faster, Better) is a must see! Even personas not typically thought of as marketing (Anna Kendrick, Alec Baldwin, Serena Williams) brought uniqueness and way to humanize, and personalize, what is quickly becoming an automated process. I can honestly say the price was worth the time. See you next year—maybe standing in line, pretending.

If you want to checkout any speakers that you may have missed at Inbound 2016, many of the talks are posted on YouTube and you can find the playlist here!

Did you go to Inbound? What did you think? Let me know below.

Did we miss an opportunity to network together? Let’s do that now. Start here.