INBOUND 2019: The Brian and Dharmesh Spotlight

September 4, 2019 by Simran Sakshi

Hello again, we are back with another exciting Inbound 2019 session recap, the much awaited keynote of the year: The Brian-Dharmesh Spotlight!

Judging by the last year’s standards, the Brian & Dharmesh Keynote had set their bars quite high, and looks like they are ready to break boundaries yet again!

Enter Brian Halligan, CEO HubSpot, with his never ending charisma and style. The first ball he throws at the audience “DISRUPTION”. 

A heavily UNDER-understood term, he says, we agree!

But who really are these disruptors? The technology companies bringing in great product innovations in the market? Technology disruptors, yes. These people stick with the “product-market fit”. 

And then there are a whole new species of companies who focus on the experience-market fit, i.e., building great products, but with an even better experience. Brian calls them “Experience Disruptors”. (Another ball, we know!)

These Experience-disruptors work hard to build friction-less companies that can keep their Flywheel running.

The byline – Focus on Customer Experience! Automate, automate, and automate.

And here comes the third ball…

So learn it from Netflix. Instead of just focusing on your personas, focus on your data as well. And then Personalize. It’s actually very simple for Netflix, “The more we use their products, the better their personalization is”.

Finally, remember to not just sell to your customers, but “Sell Through Your Customers”. For if you are a wannabe experience disruptor, you don’t just have to extract value, you have to ADD value.

To sum it all:

Now do you see one important observation from above? Nowhere does this playbook talk about AI, blockchain, or technology disruptions. Meaning? ANYONE can do this. So go ahead ladies, and gents, embrace your SUPERPOWER!

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Next up, we had Dharmesh Shah, CTO HubSpot, enter in his usual “HubSpot Branded” T-shirt, claiming this doesn’t let him worry about his style sense, you know? Says he is here to talk about the personal and professional lessons he’s learned on his own journey to growing better — and the fears that came along with them.

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Begins by talking about his 3 most personal, most relatable fears:

1 – Low Battery Warning
2 – Making Eye Contact 
3 – Fear of Water 

And then justifies the first with the second (introverts, we tell you)!

But his underlying statement all through is to face your fears. And he lays down the 5 key ones businesses need to face in order to grow better.

Dharmesh highlights how most businesses like HubSpot face the “fear of commitment” when deciding who their target market should be.

Here’s the thumb rule:

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What you really need to fear is not commitments, but “uninspired choices”, which will make it difficult for your business to grow.

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Second fear, Fear of Differences, but that really shouldn’t be a fear after all. Dharmesh regrets how HubSpot was too little focused on diversity in its early years.

You need a mix of personalities, people who are different, in your business.

And if you didn’t think about it when you started your business, the next best time is NOW.

Moving to the next fear: FEAR of CHANGE.

The purpose of a corporation has drastically changed from “delivering shareholders value” to commitment towards creating value to customers, employees and shareholders. You need to attract and retain people in your organization, so build your culture accordingly, and evolve with time.

One important aspect of this is “Flexibility”.

Future of Work = fn (flexibility)

This includes the geographic, schedule as well as method flexibility. So if you are open to having a remote team, Congratulations! You have a flexible environment. You allow your team to work in their “Pajamas”! And did you know that this was directly proportional to SUCCESS? We didn’t either!

Finally we have the last two fears.

But instead of these, here’s what you should actually have.

That sorted, Dharmesh took us back to his third fear. Remember his fear of water?

Turns out he finally faced it, with the help of his son!

What we learn:

So if you are in a similar situation, facing any of the overwhelming fears in the way of your business growth, there’s just one thing you got to do: DUNK YOUR HEAD!

Do it again, and again, and again. Face your fears, one step at a time.

That’s all folks! We hope you had an amazing time reading the recap as we had summing it for you. And before you close this window, WE ARE AT INBOUND. If you are too, say hi to @abhinavsahai or @sumaep. We will be happy to chat!