34 min read

#INBOUND24 Preview: Main Stage Speakers + Making 'Big Picture' Inspiration Cool Again (HubHeroes, Ep. 84)

We’re back with another exciting conversation about #INBOUND24, because HubSpot has dropped their first round of featured speakers!

  • Ryan Reynolds 

    Join the Hollywood star as he gives the audience an in-depth look into his ventures outside of acting. He’ll touch on his production company Maximum Effort, his advertising platform MNTN, as well as his many other ventures including his recent reinvention as the co-owner of Wrexham Football Club. Join this special closing session to gain a better insight into how Ryan decides where to invest his time and energy and how he brings a growth mindset to everything he does.

  • Serena Williams

    Serena has spoken about the early mornings and late nights that come with her latest chapter as founder of Serena Ventures, the venture capital fund backed and founded by her in 2017, crediting this latest challenge as part of her love of “reinventing herself in different and authentic ways.” Serena will provide her insights and learnings on this new entrepreneurial phase of her life in a special conversation with celebrated media voice Kara Swisher.

  • Kara Swisher 
    Recognized as Silicon Valley's most feared but revered journalist, Kara Swisher's unparalleled access to industry leaders has positioned her as the oracle of the tech world since the mid-90s. Whether it’s a tech trend, a new innovative company that is making waves, or a groundbreaking interview, Swisher is always at the forefront. Join the award-winning journalist, podcast host, and founder of Recode as she shares her insights about where the technology industry has been and where it’s going over the next few years.

💥 Related HubSpot Resources:

But wait ... there're more! 

  • Josh D’Maro (Disney)
    From Mickey Mouse to Marvel…princesses to Pixar…and galaxies near and far, far away...storytelling is the foundation of every Disney experience. So, what makes a great story? Hear from Disney Experiences Chairman, Josh D’Amaro, as he shares the fundamentals of Disney storytelling and how his teams use innovative technology to bring iconic characters to life.

  • Yamini Rangan

    HubSpot leaders Yamini Rangan, CEO, Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO, and Andy Pitre, EVP, product, will take the Main Stage on Wednesday, September 18 to open INBOUND; unpack the latest trends in AI, marketing, sales, and service; and announce innovations from across the HubSpot platform.

  • Dane Vahey (OpenAI Head of Strategic Marketing)

    Join this presentation to learn the advantages of an AI-first marketing and sales strategy using a multi-modal approach. We'll look at how to embed AI through your GTM process to transform customer and business outcomes, covering real examples from customer service to marketing analytics. We’ll share ideas for integrating text, image, voice, and video into content creation and customer engagement.

  • Kat Cole (Athletic Greens)

    Kat Cole has a track record of elevating beloved brands to the next level and leading through periods of radical transition. As President and COO at AG1 (formerly Athletic Greens), Kat is responsible for leading the business, scaling the company’s fully-remote team, accelerating growth, and driving innovation in a crowded category. Join Kat and Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief, Liz Plosser, as they discuss what it takes to overcome obstacles, how to take calculated risks to differentiate your brand, and why quality, simplicity, and consistency matter when inspiring health habits.

  • Matt Wolfe (Host of the Next Wave Podcast)

    Explore how artificial intelligence is reshaping the landscape for content creators, empowering them to reach and engage audiences with unprecedented precision. From AI-driven content recommendations to predictive analytics for audience insights, discover how these cutting-edge technologies can elevate your content strategy, expand your reach, and drive sustainable growth. Whether you're a seasoned content creator or an aspiring influencer, this session promises practical tips and actionable strategies to revolutionize your approach.

  • Michelle Peluso (EVP + Chief Customer and Experience Officer, CVS Health)

    Today’s consumer craves simplicity, personalization and affordability. Consumer expectations are constantly evolving and organizations should evolve alongside of them. CVS Health's consumer-centric strategy has converted 45% of detractors into promoters. In this fireside chat discover how embracing a data-centered approach to feedback collection, closing the loop with all consumers, solving pervasive issues and cultivating a consumer-centric culture among colleagues drives loyalty and satisfaction among consumers — turning critics into advocates.

Today, we’re not only going to unpack our thoughts about these sessions, we’re also going to have an honest conversation about something I’m particularly passionate about, and I know George is, too – the importance of these high-level inspirational sessions to everyone attending INBOUND. 

💥 Go Deeper: How Have Inbound + HubSpot Changed?

Let’s be honest, making the “business case” for why going to INBOUND is important and worth the investment is one of the most common questions we get each year about HubSpot’s main event. And while these main stage speakers often draw excitement and attention, we can’t ignore the murmurs from certain pockets within the peanut gallery that these main stage speakers don’t add real value for attendees. 

In This Episode

This episode covers a diverse range of topics, including the #INBOUND24 main stage speaker lineup, the value of inspirational talks, and the diversity of stories being told. George, Devyn, and Liz and guest discuss the significance of the main stage speakers and the impact of celebrity emphasis on the event. Their conversation also emphasizes the importance of personal and professional growth, the power of inspiration, and the need for open-mindedness. The conversation delves into the themes of learning, expanding perspectives, and the transformative nature of Inbound.


#INBOUND24, main stage speakers, diversity, celebrity emphasis, inspirational talks, value, storytelling, customer experience, growth mindset, marketing, business, conference, Inbound, main stage, personal growth, professional growth, diverse perspectives, inspiration, open-mindedness, learning, expanding perspectives, transformative.

Key Takeaways

  • The value of inspirational talks and the diversity of stories being told at Inbound 25.

  • The impact of celebrity emphasis on the event and the significance of the main stage speakers.

  • The range of topics covered, including growth mindset, storytelling, and customer experience.

  • The importance of calibrating main stage speakers to focus on solving problems rather than building topics around celebrities.

  • The jaded cynicism and eye rolls surrounding the perception of the main stage speakers and the event. Inbound is a transformative experience that fosters personal and professional growth.

  • Main stage sessions offer valuable insights and inspiration for attendees.

  • Diverse perspectives and open-mindedness are essential for expanding one's horizons and embracing new ideas.

  • Inbound 2024 promises to be a roadmap to mindset and core beliefs for becoming greater than before.

  • The power of inspiration and the impact of Inbound on individuals' lives are significant aspects of the event.

And so much more ... 

Additional Resources

Episode Transcript

Liz Moorehead: [00:00:00] You're on your own, Devin. You're on your own, man. Every week, every week, it's kind of like the beginning of the Mission Impossible movies, where it's like, we will disavow any knowledge of your existence. You are on your own.

George B. Thomas: Facts. Good luck, brother.

Liz Moorehead: So every time, every time you drop a bad take about Fast and Furious, Hubspot is like, nah, bro, we're

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Cause you know, HubSpot is a big fan of Vin Diesel and the

Fast and Furious.

Devyn Bellamy: Well, I can neither confirm nor deny, all I know is how I feel and, and I will stick to it, uh, religiously. Now, keep in mind, it's not a problem with Vin Diesel, love Vin Diesel, triple X movies are hilarious. Um, however, the fact that we went from stealing DVDs to space,

George B. Thomas: It's all good. In a

Liz Moorehead: That's called growth. That's called growth.

George B. Thomas: by the way. And here's the thing, you know how I know HubSpot loves the Fast and Furious. Because cars have sprockets and so does HubSpot. I'm just [00:01:00] throwing that out there.

Liz Moorehead: Yeah. I would like to think that every time they make a change to the product, they're sitting there going, what would Vin Diesel do?

That's what I would like to think happens in

George B. Thomas: Without a doubt. I think 

Devyn Bellamy: All right. Here's the deal. I'm not allowed to talk about

this, but we actually have a channel called what would been diesel do it's it's entirely devoted around marketing questions as well as rev ops and automation. And yeah.

Liz Moorehead: Devin Devin talk. Okay. Okay. So what we need to do for inbound 25 is we need to have a Q and a session with Vin Diesel where he's not allowed to study in advance about inbound, but he has to answer complex marketing and sales questions as Dominic Toretto. And this is me once again, making the case for us doing a live show at inbound for hub heroes, because I'm totally always on point.

Always on point

Devyn Bellamy: I'm thinking about it. The thing is that most people don't realize is that yeah, he is a very, you know, big muscular action dude, but he's extremely intelligent. 

Liz Moorehead: and nerdy. He's

a dungeons and dragons [00:02:00] fiend.

Devyn Bellamy: D and

D nerd. Xander was his, it was his character name. I mean, come on. So if there, if there is one guy that I could see surprising the heck out of me with marketing knowledge, um, and just being able to, to put it out, it is definitely

George B. Thomas: So first

Liz Moorehead: hear that Vin Diesel?

George B. Thomas: so hang on. So first of all, you're getting your, your, uh, wish this year. We'll talk about that here in a minute, Devin. If, if at inbound 25, if the inbound gods are listening, If, if we could have Dominic Toretto at inbound on the main stage, I for free would be the interviewer with, without a doubt you, I, you call me, I wouldn't care what day, what time I would sit there with, uh, Dominic Toretto, AKA Vin Diesel and put on a dope marketing sales and service interview.

Devyn Bellamy: Absolutely. I would sit there next to George, very uncomfortably staring at [00:03:00] Vin Diesel the whole time and periodically whispering, to really just kind of round out the three dimensional experience that could be that fireside chat on the main stage at

Liz Moorehead: Unbound 25.

Devyn Bellamy: And you can interview him as Vin Diesel. I'll interview him as Groot. 

George B. Thomas: Oh 

Liz Moorehead: So is every question just I am

George B. Thomas: yeah, 

Devyn Bellamy: And so he nails it 

George B. Thomas: yeah. But it might be a little bit of a. Non value add, uh, interview that 

Devyn Bellamy: Ben's running for his seat, Groot. 

Liz Moorehead: Well, okay, guys,

George B. Thomas: Yeah,

Liz Moorehead: in this 

Devyn Bellamy: You're a horrible wrangling cats this week, Liz. 

Liz Moorehead: You got, you know what?

I was about to execute a flawless segue. Devon, 

Devyn Bellamy: And I threw the wrench in it. Go 

Liz Moorehead: this is like the episode when you were messing with

my outline. This is like that episode.

Devyn Bellamy: I thought about it, and I'm not doing it 

Liz Moorehead: I will set you on fire with my brain if you do that. Oh, my God.

George B. Thomas: especially with this

Liz Moorehead: Because Oh, yeah, there's a lot going on because we have a lot to talk about. We are back with another inbound [00:04:00] preview episode because y'all, uh, they dropped the main stage speaker lineup and we have a lot to talk about today. So I'm just going to quickly run through who we've got on the main stage this year.

First, we're starting with Devin's best friend, brother from another mother, Ryan Reynolds is going to be there. Not 

Devyn Bellamy: Max with the applause 

George B. Thomas: I know. Max, come on. Why are you missing it?

Liz Moorehead: Look, it's the same guys. Okay, let's move on. That's fine. It's fine. We're doing great. So he's going to be on stage to talk about his

George B. Thomas: Was that bad timing? I'm sorry.

Liz Moorehead: That sound, that sound you hear is my soul and my will to live escaping my body as quickly as possible. Don't poop. Don't poop while we're recording.

Devyn Bellamy: Okay, okay, okay, okay. Oh, okay. Alright, let's go. Come on. 

Liz Moorehead: Yeah. Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds is [00:05:00] going to be on stage. We're also going to have Serena Williams talking about her new chapter as an entrepreneur with our venture capital fund, Kara Swisher, who is an iconic journalist, podcaster, and interviewer. We have Josh DeMauro, who is the head of Disney experiences.

Who's going to talk about the fundamentals of dizzy storytelling. We have the one. The only Yamini Rangan, who is the HubSpot CEO who will be sharing the stage with Dharmesh Shah and Andy, I'm, I'm going

George B. Thomas: Petri. Petri.

Liz Moorehead: Petrie. I thought it was Petrie, but no.

George B. Thomas: Not that cool.

Liz Moorehead: I know that's my eight years of French that has done absolutely nothing for me shining through.

Then we have Dane Vahey of OpenAI. They're head of strategic

George B. Thomas: Let's go.

Liz Moorehead: I'm so excited for that one. Cat Cole of Athletic Greens, uh, who's talking about, we're, this is the one I'm very interested in because they scaled their growth. Completely [00:06:00] revitalized their brand and they did it with a fully remote team during a time when a lot of companies are like, please come back to the office.

Pizza parties are our company culture. So I'm very excited to hear about that. Then we have Matt Wolfe of the, who's the host of the next wave podcast. We have Michelle Peluso, who's the EVP and chief customer and experience officer of CVS health, who is talking about their consumer centric strategy and a lot of CX goodies.

And just overall, that's a lot of stuff. That's a very diverse lineup for this year's main stage. So today we're not only going to unpack our thoughts about these sessions. We're also going to have an open and honest conversation about a topic that, um, I am equal parts passionate and kind of cheesed off about George.

I said this to you earlier this week when we were planning this episode, for some reason, somewhere along the line over the past several years. We have criminalized big picture [00:07:00] inspirational talks is not being actionable or valuable enough for attendees of inbound. And I, I got, I got a lot of problems with that.

I know you've got a lot of thoughts about that and Devin, I cannot wait to kick your hornet's nest because my guess is we're going to have a couple of times where you get real up close and personal with that camera while you shouted us because you love us and I'm very excited about that. So, gentlemen, we're going to grab a snack in a backpack like George likes to

George B. Thomas: Let's do it.

Liz Moorehead: But George, George, I want to start with you. What are your initial reactions to this lineup? Are you excited? Are there any themes you're seeing come out? What, where's your head at when you look at these?

George B. Thomas: Yeah. I'm actually really excited about this year and this release of who's going to be on the main stage, because one, there is a broad spectrum of things that could easily go into how we need to take care of ourself and the life lessons of businesses that focus on that part of our lives. There's definitely a level of creativity, [00:08:00] because if you look at what's going to happen with the Disney story, and obviously Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool and him being able to talk about, you know, Uh, different businesses, which I can't wait to actually dive into that one a little bit, cause I have some deeper thoughts.

Um, and just, you've got, you know, a podcaster, you've got the one that really actually kind of threw me for a loop when I started to read the thing was. Kara Swisher. I, I think I want to change my description. Like, I don't know what I would be the most feared at, but like, I started to read her description.

I'm like the most feared but revered journalist. Um, okay.

Liz Moorehead: love Kara Swisher. She's like one of my idols. She's incredible. The work she did at New York magazine. Whoa.

George B. Thomas: I'm like, I'm, I'm intrigued. So, and I think that's the thing is this is, this is a lineup that intrigues me. Um, this is a lineup that I look at and I think there's a lot of potential. [00:09:00] Um, and this is one of the first lineups where I have a really hard time leaning into what you started to talk about is that, uh, demonizing, don't waste time on the main stage because it's just gonna be a lot of fluff.

This doesn't feel like a lot of fluff to me if I sit down and watch these sessions, which is nice because Let's be honest, it became demonized because there were a couple years where it's like, what the actual frick, but I think we're at a point where it shouldn't be that way. Um, cause there's a lot of education, a lot of inspiration, uh, that people can gleam.

And I, I know I'm excited to gleam for my own business, um, out of these main stage sessions.

Liz Moorehead: I understand that there was some beef with previous years, but the year that I spoke at inbound, I was the last session on the last day, but we did have standing room only. And when they had to expand my room, but it did give me the ability that year to say, I can now officially say on my resume that I opened for John Cena.

Cause I would say, [00:10:00] It's technically right before the closing keynote. So I stand by that. I stand by

George B. Thomas: Yeah, use that. Use that for the rest of your life.

Liz Moorehead: Totally. Totally. Oh, but like, I just, I mean, you can't see me or him, but you know, it's fine, Devin. I'd love to hear from you. You're a resident in house HubSpotter. What are you excited about?

What are the sessions for you that

you can't miss?

Devyn Bellamy: Uh, number one, and I know you're gonna think I'm gonna say Ryan Reynolds, but I'm gonna say the product spotlight, product spotlight every year is the most exciting time for me, even more so now that I'm a hub spotter, because I work here and there are still things that are going on that I know nothing about.

Um, we are very good at keeping secrets here at help spot, even internally. So with that being said, I'm, I'm really excited to see what's happening, uh, for the, uh, product spotlight. I am very excited about partner day. Uh, this year we are focusing a lot more on networking and breakouts. Um, and so it won't [00:11:00] be as much sitting in a big room, staring at the stage.

Um, but, uh, there are going to be some dynamic speakers, dynamic sessions, dynamic networking opportunities. Oh yeah, the most prolific brand marketer on the face of the planet is gonna be in Boston in September. And And the fact that we're talking about who's going to be on the main stage and the value that the main stage has, have you watched a main stage talk and, and, and, and, and keep in mind that the depth that we're going in and, you know, I'm not even gonna lean closer to the camera.

I'm just gonna use my 

Liz Moorehead: Are you holding the camera? Are you? Oh my God.

Devyn Bellamy: we're talking to these people, you want to know how the most prolific brand market, like mountain, mountain, Dead pull and aviation and re 'em all in the same commercial. And it's about none of them. It's a min com. I mean, come on. Like seriously. Come on. The, the thing. You Alright.

You know what, I'm gonna calm down 

Liz Moorehead: So Devon, [00:12:00] Devon,

George B. Thomas: conserve energy, brother. It's early.

Devyn Bellamy: It it, there's so much, there's so much amazing and, and, and it is like, yeah, the, okay, that's part of, you know what? Go ahead. Next 

Liz Moorehead: Devon, sweetheart, I don't know what you feel about anything. I'm going to need you to emote more. I need you to 

Devyn Bellamy: I'll work on 

Liz Moorehead: be more heart forward.

George B. Thomas: So, so Liz, before you jump forward, what's

Liz Moorehead: I'm not jumping

George B. Thomas: I, I absolutely agree with Devin, like Ryan Reynolds, to me, first of all, there's the micro lessons that you're going to learn through this, but man, I can't help but look at his session description and him and go, man, there is a map that shows how money makes money. And,

Liz Moorehead: Can I actually read his description for everybody?

George B. Thomas: any business owner. Needs to realize that money is meant to make money. And, and Ryan Reynolds [00:13:00] and the businesses that he started in the, or, or are part of, it maps out money

makes money. 

Devyn Bellamy: Him and Shaq.

George B. Thomas: Oh my God. Yes. Yes.

Liz Moorehead: All right. So for the listeners at home, I want to read the session description because I think it gives clarity to what George is talking about. Join the Hollywood star as he gives the audience an in depth look into his ventures outside of acting. He'll touch on his production company, Maximum Effort, his advertising platform, M M N T N.

I'm just, I knew that, that was a test. You

George B. Thomas: I know. I mean, I

Liz Moorehead: a cry for help.

George B. Thomas: used to run ads for marketing profs, marketing sports podcasts when I hosted that. So that's how I learned that it was mountain anyway.

Liz Moorehead: I, I totally knew that too. As well as his many other ventures, including his recent reinvention as the cone co owner of Wrexham football club. Join this special closing session to gain better insight into how Ryan decides where to invest his time and energy and how he brings a growth mindset to everything he does.

What's not listed here is he's [00:14:00] also now a partial investor in a formula one racing team.

George B. Thomas: And it doesn't mention mint here. Does it either in this one?

Liz Moorehead: Is he just, well, is he an, is he an investor in that or just a spokesman?

George B. Thomas: Well, no, if you go down to his Ryan Reynolds, actor, producer, entrepreneur, like after that. It literally says, Gin, Mint, Mobile, Rexxum, Aviation.

Liz Moorehead: Ryan Reynolds, get a job. You don't do anything. Jesus.

Devyn Bellamy: makes him, here's what sets him and Shaq aside from everyone else, and I can't wait to hear him talk about it, is most people will show up and be a face. What they do is they be the face, but they're also part owners. They're not going to put their face on anything that they don't have a stake in.

And so like, when you look at the shack and the general, he's not, he's not like, you know, selling out to sell car insurance. He owns the car insurance company. And like, And, and, and then with Ryan Reynolds, he takes it to the next level because with Shaq, [00:15:00] he's having fun. He's everywhere. Ryan Reynolds is having fun.

He's everywhere. And he's using, he's almost commingling funds with the way that the brands co promote each other. It's, it's, it's beautiful. It's, it's genius. And, and, and it's 

George B. Thomas: You know what else is genius, by the way? Because I like looking at the micros and the things that we're talking about. Join this special closing session. So, listen. There's always been an attrition issue at Inbound, where Friday people are grabbing their flights. I wonder if American Airlines, United, JetBlue, Airbus, JetBlue, Airbus, JetBlue are like.

What happened this year that everybody's leaving on Saturday instead of Friday from Boston? And, and the, the thing is, Ryan Reynolds as your closing session. That's what happened. Like, that's, that's a genius move by the people who are putting on Inbound and putting the speakers where they're actually putting them.

Liz Moorehead: So [00:16:00] here's what I'm excited about for this year. What I really love about this lineup is the diversity of it. You know, we, we have, cause you know, George, you mentioned this in years past, there have, there's sometimes been a little bit more of a celebrity emphasis, things like that. What I really like about this is the diversity of stories that are being told here and the diversity of.

Lessons and inspirational pools that they are creating. They're going out of their way with each of these main stage sessions, essentially to create an inspiration container around a big thematic idea, which I think is a far cry from, like, I remember there was 1 year and we're about to get into this.

that we're about to get into my little touchy subject about main stage speakers. But the, the one time I will say I did have a gripe, cause I've never had a gripe about a main stage speaker I've watched. The only one I had, and I like her, was [00:17:00] Anna Kendrick. I didn't understand what that fireside chat was.

And it felt more geared around her presence. Personality, and it reminded me of some of the things that you and I, George, talk about with our clients when they're creating content, whether they're doing webinars or something that's more event based marketing. Is that whether you have a sponsor or you're a guest, you should never build a topic around a product.

In this case, the celebrity is the product and instead you should have a topic or a problem that you're digging into solving. And that's something I think they're getting much better at in terms of calibrating these main stage speakers. Um, cause I also go, I mean, I go to other conferences and having big names like they guys, it's a keynote speaker circuit out there.

These celebrities are out there doing talks and it is, they will often show up with their own talk and you kind of get what you get. And what I like about what they're really pushing here is this diversity, again, that range of topics, you know, uh, the growth mindset aspect of Ryan Reynolds. [00:18:00] Storytelling with Disney, the cons, the customer experience.

Like I never thought I'd be interested really in CVS help, but like, I actually now want to understand the, the CX lessons that she has. And Kara Swisher, I want to be you when you grow up. I'll never be that scary, but you're amazing. So that's, that's where my head's at with that. But let's, let's talk about this elephant in the room.

George B. Thomas: Wow, a deep breath. Holy crap. Buckle up. Buckle up.

Liz Moorehead: think, think about it, guys. One of the most common questions we get every year when we start preparing for these preview shows is, how do I convince my boss to let me go? How do I convince my boss that what's going to be at Inbound is valuable? And the moment these big names start popping off, that you could their eye rolls heard around the world.

You just want to go see Ryan Reynolds and meet Deadpool. This isn't about actionable, whatever. First of all, Yeah. But second of all, there is this weird kind of jaded [00:19:00] cynicism where it's like, this just showcases what's wrong with inbound. I miss the good old days of inbound, dah, dah, dah, dah, all of those different things.

So I'm curious, what do you guys think of that? Devin, we'll start with


Devyn Bellamy: All right, so again the thoughts and opinions expressed on this podcast are devin and devin only So with that being said, um Personally personally I Don't care one way or the other about the main stage speakers. That's not why i'm there That's I treat the main stages entertainment. It's, I treat it as edutainment.

I don't come to hear the main stage content only because all of my life changing inbound experiences aren't associated with the main stage. All of my life changing experiences happened from breakout sessions, um, and networking, uh, black and inbound had [00:20:00] nothing to do with the main stage. I, I taught a two hour market sales and marketing session yesterday.

and it started out very high level talking about life cycle stages, uh, flywheel, and it ended with algebra. Uh, and how to calculate how to calculate, um, your, your analytics in your flywheel. So the point is every single thing that I taught yesterday. I learned at, or because of inbound, not just HubSpot Academy, but I learned about these courses that I could rock out after talking to professors live at inbound.

And I, I like talking the talk, walking the walk, just perfecting my craft. These are all things that I learned how to do at inbound. I, my, like my, The entire trajectory of my career can be traced to two moments, discovering HubSpot Academy [00:21:00] and going to Inbound. And people, so many people have stories just like mine.

Um, and more people need to hear these stories to understand that, yeah, Ryan Reynolds is great, and this is me talking. I. I am not going to inbound to see Ryan Reynolds. That's not why I'm going. It is, I am over the moon about it. Like, cannot express it enough. However, every inbound has had A measurable impact on my life just from the people I've met and the knowledge I've gained.

I wouldn't be on this podcast if it wasn't for inbound. So the thing is, is that people see the main stage. That's not, I wouldn't even call that a quarter of the inbound experience. That is a great way to get people to come to the website. What you should be doing is looking at the breakout sessions, looking at the agendas, looking at the topics, look past the names [00:22:00] and look at who you're going to be when you leave inbound.

That's what you should be focusing on.

Liz Moorehead: George, what about you? What are your thoughts on this?

That is a third trimester pregnant pause if I've ever seen one. Damn.

Devyn Bellamy: whew, 

Liz Moorehead: Damn. Ooh. 

Devyn Bellamy: had cravings. 

George B. Thomas: pickles and ice cream, peanut butter pickle sandwiches. That was the craving. So So listen, you know, there's, there's so many times that, um, People make assumptions and have knee jerk responses and, um, they shut things down before they give it an opportunity. I was literally talking to Jorge about this earlier today.

About how so many times people will think they want to do something, but they'll shut themselves down before they actually get to allowing themselves to try to do the thing. [00:23:00] And I think this happens with people's bosses. I think this happens with us as individuals. And I think sometimes we make these knee jerk. Blanket statement decisions that there's not going to be value in a thing because we've positioned it as it being the, um, lure or the worm to catch all the fish to get them to the thing. The fish finds value in the lure. The fish finds value in the worm. Like I'm willing to sit on a main stage session.

And just wonder, what can I learn? What is possible if I truly pay attention to the words that is coming out of this other human's mouth. And to me, it, it correlates back to something that I'm, I'm a big fan of. And when, when I talk to clients about this, I'm like, [00:24:00] listen, I don't care if the janitor comes to you with a good idea.

We should be listening for good ideas. Humans are humans. We all have brains, we all have thoughts, and we can all learn from each other. And so, listen, I'm going to beg people listening to this. If you've historically had issue with main stage sessions, give it a try this year, make sure that it's a focal point and you come in there by the way, as you would a breakout session, you know, the difference you come into a breakout session, you got your iPad and your notepad ready.

You know what you do when you come into main session, you take selfies, you sit there, you chit chat with your friends, you take a little nap and then you walk out completely different mindset of what you're walking into and what you think you're going to get out of it. And so my challenge for everybody this year is give these a try because I feel like, especially this year, there is going to be a massive list of lessons that we'll be able to take away for our [00:25:00] businesses, our marketing, our sales, and our service.

Liz Moorehead: You know, George, I haven't heard you say this in a while specifically. Um, man, now I'm going to get a lot of hate mail. So I'm going to ask you a question that's going to immediately make you say, man, now I'm going to get a lot of hate mail. You and I both know that there are business owners, business leaders, agency owners listening to this right now who are a hundred percent guilty.

Of the eye rolls I was talking about who 100 percent push back when their people say, I want to go to this. And then they see Ryan Reynolds. They're like, it's not worth it. If you go skip those, what's your message to them, Pookie?

George B. Thomas: Really? Really? We got 

Devyn Bellamy: Ha ha ha ha! 

Liz Moorehead: Do you want to just say the phrase? Yeah. I'm going to get a hate mail now to say it. Say it.

George B. Thomas: No. No. Okay, I'm probably gonna get hate mail. Um. I mean, I don't know who you think you are. I don't really understand who you think you are. The [00:26:00] fact that your thoughts should be everybody's thoughts in your agency. Just because God blessed you or your parents blessed you or the universe blessed you with the ability to start an agency. And be able to hire some humans.

I don't understand where the leadership of that should dictate what they're going to be able to absorb and change in themselves and in your organization, based off of 30, 45 or 60 minutes of what Ryan Reynolds might say of what, you know, Michelle might say of what Yamani might say of, of what any of these main speaker, listen, I'm glad that the agency owner that I worked for when I was back in Massillon, Ohio, Wild Boy Design didn't say, Hey, you're not allowed to go to any keynote main breakout sessions because if so, I would have never heard Gary Vaynerchuk speak.

I would have never decided that I wanted to be on a main stage. I would have never decided that I wanted to grow up to be a marketer, and I probably would have never fell in love with HubSpot the way that I did because. It [00:27:00] was the whole process of don't call me a customer, call me a human and Gary Vaynerchuk killing it on the main stage.

So I ask you the same way that I opened this is, who do you think you are? them be them. Let them do them.

Liz Moorehead: Devin, go off. Yeah. Go off. King.

Devyn Bellamy: Okay. So, so I, I mentioned earlier that, um, the main stage didn't really have anything to do with my experience. I take that back. 150 

Liz Moorehead: There we go. He's back. He's


Devyn Bellamy: Here's the thing. Because I don't. I still don't like the main stage is not the reason why I go, but to say that there have not been life changing moments for me that happened on that main stage, like Gary Vaynerchuk when he spoke and I was sitting in my hotel room and I was dealing with social anxiety and I knew that I needed to meet people and I didn't know how to do it.

And then I just wrote something. About, uh, that awkward moment when you want to meet [00:28:00] people. Um, but instead it was something that I just, it was about Gary V. And he tagged, he tagged, he replied, he says, you can do it. And I'm like, you know what I can. And. And the thought was about starting Black at Inbound.

So, Black at Inbound started because of a white guy on the main stage. Just so you know. So, that's one thing. The next thing.

So many of us had a twilight zone moment in November of 1996. And I won't go into details about what you believe and who you vote for, whatever. All I know is that that was a difficult time for people who look like me.

There are so many people who didn't understand why that was a difficult time. So the morning that Trump got elected 

Liz Moorehead: oh, you mean 2016? I thought you said


Devyn Bellamy: said 2016. Oh, I said 20. I meant 2016. Alright. Uh, yeah, I thought I said 1996. 

Liz Moorehead: 1996. that's why I was like, wait a minute.

George B. Thomas: Time machine, baby time 

Devyn Bellamy: Yeah. I'm 

George B. Thomas: [00:29:00] That's when the Simpsons actually said that Trump would be president

Liz Moorehead: You were still in mourning. We were all still in mourning over Tupac. It was fine. Continue.

Devyn Bellamy: Yes. So what I meant to say was 2016, that was the number that was in my head. Um, when, when Tassi Coates came in and scrapped his entire 

Liz Moorehead: Oh my God. 

Devyn Bellamy: And took the wind

out like people walked out 

Liz Moorehead: I remember.

Devyn Bellamy: were Set twitter ablaze with how angry they were about. Um, a man simply expressing Uh, his, his, his, his, it's not even his opinions, all he did was go down, it was, it was an entire semesters African American studies class condensed into one keynote speech 

Liz Moorehead: still have it online. they did not take

it down. I'm so glad they, I'm so 

Devyn Bellamy: And not only did they not take it down, they doubled down and got extra black the next year.

So if you're mad about the fact that we have a black person on stage talking about black opinions, well guess who's coming [00:30:00] this year, Michelle Obama. Get mad about that. 

George B. Thomas: Yeah. That was the year after that,

Liz Moorehead: I remember, I remember being in that room because I, I read a lot of his essays. He's just an incredible educator. And what I did, I was sitting with a bunch of people who had no idea who this man was because I remember when I woke up that morning, I was like, man, Ta Nehisi Coates,

bold move

cotton. Like, this is going to be, 

Devyn Bellamy: We'll see how that works 

Liz Moorehead: we're going to see how this works out.

And when he walked on stage and said, For those of you who know me, you know exactly what's about to happen. For those of you who do not know me, I'm sorry. Like some, she said some version of that, and it was just like,

George B. Thomas: which, by the way, at that moment, I was sitting next to Marcus Sheridan and we're sitting there and we don't swear a lot, but we basically looked at each other and was like, oh, shit,

like, like, like, 

Devyn Bellamy: was front row center and I was next to a lady who [00:31:00] only didn't leave because she was in the front row with me But she was texting like calling him Ta Nehisi snores and she was so mad and I'm over here just like yes Yes, angry woman be mad. This is not for you. He is speaking to me right now. it was It was beautiful. It was 

Liz Moorehead: It was a beautiful, it was a cultural moment, regardless as to whether you, 

Devyn Bellamy: a culturally Substantial moment. 

Liz Moorehead: that's one of those memories where I'm like, I know exactly where I was when that happened.

George B. Thomas: oh, yeah, well, yeah, you're at inbound and in the main

Liz Moorehead: Thanks, George. Thanks.

George B. Thomas: the, here's, the only thing that for me, because I'm not disagreeing with this conversation. The only thing that was. Rough or frustrating for me was it was the presidential election. And we have to remember that a large portion of the humans that actually came to inbound aren't from America.

So like they had like, no, like they're like, I don't even understand what's going on and I have really [00:32:00] no connection to this. And so that was like, for me. Kind of what like the awkward part of what was happening in that situation.

Liz Moorehead: based on the conversation I had with our Australia client last night, George, they've been considering our politics of spectator sports since

  1. So maybe it was more relevant than we thought

it was.

Devyn Bellamy: that, yeah, so that's the thing. So, two things. Um, one, um, yes, we are the laughingstock of the world in that regard. Um, it is their favorite reality show, is our political system. Um, but, Um, with that being said, what I loved about his speech is that he gave so much context and so much emotion that regardless of your level of knowledge of American history, you came away with a strong understanding of African American history, if nothing else, and how, where we are, Has, um, where we're headed and, and what that election meant, um, for the trajectory of the growth of people of [00:33:00] color and not just black people.

And it was just like, whether you agree with them or not, uh, whether you are, regardless of you vote red or blue, it's like that kind of moment. And that kind of discourse is what makes inbound so special is because, so here's the way I would explain it. If someone had to tell me why I would go see the main stage speakers, um, the breakouts have affected me fundamentally.

Professionally in ways that I cannot quantify. The main stage has created like Nick from Fargo said, some core memories that have shaped me as a human 

Liz Moorehead: I love our live studio

audience. Thanks Nick from Fargo.

Devyn Bellamy: exactly. So like, cause now I'm sitting here thinking more about impactful moments that resonated with me. Um, water has nothing to do with 

George B. Thomas: Oh That was so


Devyn Bellamy: has [00:34:00] nothing to do with my job. But when I tell you I was sobbing during that presentation, and all the tears of grief, joy. All of them that, that, that changed how I thought of things. It changed how I looked at nonprofit organizations. It changed how I looked at fundraising and it changed how I look at access to water as a basic human right.

And the fact that so many people don't like it, it's yeah, the main stage. Um, you're, you're going to get something out of it, even if that's all you do, but that's not going to be the most impactful 

George B. Thomas: and if people are curious like what you mean by water It's it's charity water and it was Scott Harrison Which by the way, if you type in what's fun about this if you type in like Scott Um, Water Foundation, one of the first links, um, it's, it's CharityWater. org [00:35:00] slash about slash Scott Harrison Story.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can't make this junk up. The video on the top hero section of that page is the inbound talk

Liz Moorehead: I'll put a

George B. Thomas: on that page of Charity Water. So yeah, link it in the show notes.

Liz Moorehead: All right. I've taken my mic off the stand. Guys, are you ready for my thoughts

George B. Thomas: Oh, here we go. Buckle up.

Devyn Bellamy: let's go. 

Liz Moorehead: This whole conversation reminds me of every time I would want to sink into the floor and become one with the tile when everybody's like, We got to focus on quick wins, guys. We got to focus on quick wins. We got to focus on those short term tactics. We got to focus on how we're getting from point A to point B as if that is the only pathway to growth as if there is no input that there should be no inputs in terms of our long term growth.

And sustainability, right? You know, George, I listen to you talk about this all the time with our clients, right? You know, yes, we want to get those quick wins now, but this is about [00:36:00] setting yourself up for longterm success in the future. That's what this conversation reminds me of. This conversation also reminds me of the fact that I have to sometimes remind people that did you know part of my content creation time?

Is sitting there and thinking part of my content creation time is every time I read a website or pick up a book that has absolutely flipping nothing to do with my job. Because if I'm only consuming tactical one dimensional how to content within the echo chamber of my own industry. Or the industries I'm creating content for, I will die not of boredom, but I will become atrophied in my creative capabilities and abilities.

One of my biggest inspirations as a B to B content creator, the content that makes money for other businesses. It's comedy, reading comedy essays, watching SNL [00:37:00] sketches, because comedians are a master of one thing, timing and precise word choice. They know how to move people and drive emotions. There's a reason why comedian actors, even if the market rejects it, are better at converting over to drama than dramatic actors are able to convert over to comedy.

There is a reason why. Why? So why do I bring that up when we think about the idea of growing better that HubSpot has put out there? Growth isn't just about your ability to bring in more MQLs and SQLs that can be converted into customers. Yes, that is important, but if we're talking about how we grow as organizations, how we grow as individuals, whether we're content creators or strategists, we become better and grow better when we introduce growth.

New ideas into our little brains inside our flesh suits that help us look at the world in different ways that help us embrace different perspectives. We learn [00:38:00] from each other. We don't grow if we just continue to eat the same stuff that we're consuming every single day. So it infuriates me. To my core that you're saying that there's no value in your people sitting down and learning from some of the best minds in the world, even if they only hear one line.

That sticks with them. Think about what George was talking about. You are quoting a keynote from 2012. That is 12 years ago. I remember Malcolm Gladwell's keynote that changed my life. I was there when Simon Sinek did his, I'd never seen the start with Ytalk. That was my first time seeing it on a main stage at Inbound.

George B. Thomas: Listen, listen, Liz. I had a religious moment when it was Spike Lee. I'm just, I'm just saying it like, anyway.

Liz Moorehead: But like, that's, that's me on my [00:39:00] soapbox. How dare you, any of you say that to put your people in front of some of the smartest minds in the world. And to get bigger ideas about what's possible in this world, I mean, guys, also, come on. These are what, like 10, under 10 main stage speakers that we're talking about here.

And there are hundreds of all of those tactical quick win sessions, hundreds, George is doing one of them. Guys, come on. When did inspiration for inspiration's sake just to expand our minds and revise what we believe is possible in this world? How is that a negative? I don't get it. Anyway, done with my soapbox and put my mic back on the

George B. Thomas: nice, nice, well played, well played.

Liz Moorehead: Thank you. Oh, yay. Thank you, Devin.

George B. Thomas: Oh, yeah, we should, we should just do like the, There we go. Um, yeah,


Liz Moorehead: So in case you're wondering, 

Devyn Bellamy: was beautiful. 

Liz Moorehead: thank you.

Devyn Bellamy: that was, uh, a poem to my [00:40:00] rants.

Liz Moorehead: Oh, but

I love your rants. They're so angry and very close.

George B. Thomas: hmm,

Devyn Bellamy: no. I stand by my rant

George B. Thomas: yeah,

Devyn Bellamy: I'm just commenting on the beauty of your soliloquy.

Liz Moorehead: So Devin, I want to stick with you here for a moment. As business owners, agency leaders, and quite frankly, inbounders of all stripes, look ahead to inbound 24. What do you want them to remember about the big point about this event and what it's all about?

Devyn Bellamy: There is a hilarious amount of knowledge in a venue with like minded individuals. Um, that was true. The first year I've gone and it's been true ever since. it's, it's fun. It's great. It's Disneyland for marketers one week a year. Um, but at the same time, every time I have participated in inbound, I have come away better than I had before, especially as a customer, especially as an executive.

Give. [00:41:00] Inbound had more of an impact on me before I started working at HubSpot than after because now I have to work inbound. I can't do all the fun things that I used to do because I have a signup sheet that I'm on. Right.

But, um, the point is, is that our ethos, uh, at, at, uh, HubSpot is helping people grow better.

Inbound will make you grow better. Um, As long as you're not just going there and showing up and drinking and hanging out. Inbound works if you work it. There is so much opportunity to grow professionally and personally there. And to deny someone the opportunity, uh, simply because you have a bias against the, your personal perception of, uh, the impact that celebrity can have.

Um, You can kiss my grits, um, and also read about, hell, inbox me. [00:42:00] I'll talk to you directly one on one about why Inbound is the only conference that I have never missed and why anytime I started a new job, I baked into my hiring contract that they would be flying me out to Inbound every year.

Liz Moorehead: bring us home. Help us land the plane. What do you want folks to walk away from this conversation today? Remembering? Cause we've, we've covered a lot of ground,

George B. Thomas: yeah. Well, first of all, I'm not ready to answer that yet.

Liz Moorehead: but I don't have any other questions.

George B. Thomas: because there's a big, there's a big gaping hole. I'll, I'll answer that in a minute. I'll answer that in a minute. There's a big gaping hole that has to be, um, mentioned here. Is this going to be the first year since 2012 that Brian Halligan is not going to be on the main stage?

I do not see him anywhere interviewing anybody. I do not see him as part of the spotlight. I do not see him listed anywhere as being part of And

to me,

Devyn Bellamy: I saw his name on the flyers.

George B. Thomas: to me, [00:43:00] I don't, I don't see it. I don't see it. And maybe it's coming. Maybe it's coming. That would be good because if we've reached a place in space and I know homeboy's busy, don't get me wrong.

I know he's doing things and shaking and baking. But if we've reached a point where Brian Halligan is no longer part of Inbound, I gotta be honest with you. I'm a little sad. I'm a little sad. And I just need to share that I see. That right now that's a void. So we'll see. We'll see. All right. Uh, so now I'll answer your question.


Liz Moorehead: But what if he's being interviewed by Vin Diesel and they just haven't announced it yet? That's my

George B. Thomas: that, that would be the best.

Liz Moorehead: That's my hope.

Devyn Bellamy: I'm looking at the flyer, his name's on it, he's gonna have something to do.

George B. Thomas: Well, 

Devyn Bellamy: It goes, Andy Petry, Ari Murray, Barbara Pang, Brian Alligan. 

George B. Thomas: Okay. 

Devyn Bellamy: heart has resumed 

George B. Thomas: Meet me too, because I'm like sitting here looking at the website, just being like, [00:44:00] pseudo sad of like, Interesting. like, okay.

Devyn Bellamy: That just means there's more time for him to hang out with me,


George B. Thomas: Yeah. Hey, I'll hang out with Brian any day of the week. Cause it's awesome and fun. Um, I'll never forget the Weston, uh, lobby sitting on a couch. Uh, Remington, Breg, Beg, Brian Halligan, me, uh, Doug David off. And we're like, yep, this is happening. Let's let's have fun. All right. So here's what I want to kind of end this with, because again, I'm sort of weird. But I pay attention to the micros of things. And, and I, I love to connect dots. So here we go. If you think about the release and what's happening right now, you have Ryan Reynolds giving maximum effort is the title of this thing. Ladies and gentlemen, I'll ask you to think about what would happen in your life.

If you were [00:45:00] focused on giving maximum effort in your business. In your relationships, in yourself, how would you be able to impact the world if you were giving maximum effort? The next one is from center court to venture capital, meaning a method to the madness, a road that you must travel, a way to make yourself greater than you already were when you were great.

This is Serena Williams. And I ask you, do you have a road that you're traveling down to take you from who you are now to who you will be in the future? Because that's really important for us to not be stagnant and just be in one place. If you think about the next one they've released, it's Kara and it's recoding the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, every now and then we got to upgrade our software. We have to reprogram and recode ourselves to understand the world around us and who we're supposed to be inside of it. If you think about the next one, now we're talking [00:46:00] about Josh and dream to reality. You know how many humans I've met that are afraid to dream?

You know how many humans don't think that their dreams can come reality. And so they get stuck in places that they shouldn't be. Like, look at these titles. Look at what people are talking about. Global market. Yes, we're in a global market and we do need to grow. Like, There's just so many micro pieces to even how we're naming the things and the humans that we're bringing in to talk about them that I really hope that everybody starts to understand that.

Yes, you will have the individual breakout sessions for your tactical stuff, but this is a road map to a mindset. Core beliefs and things that you must believe about yourself, your business and the universe to become greater than you are when you first enter Boston for [00:47:00] inbound 2024. And I can't wait. For people to hit my email, not with the hate mail, but with the emails of how inbound 2024 changed their lives because they actually took time to go to the keynote sessions.

Liz Moorehead: Devon called me a poet, but after that I'm an illiterate cotton

candy grape. Cause damn. 

Devyn Bellamy: Cotton candy creeps are awesome!

George B. Thomas: love grapes.

Liz Moorehead: But illiterate. And you eat them.

They're not gonna write a b They're not gonna write a blog for you, son. Certainly not a sonnet. 

Devyn Bellamy: Walking away.