EnPoint’s “Aha!” Moments
Hubspot’s annual marquee event looked a little bit different this year as INBOUND 2020 was held virtually. Keynote speakers, who consisted of innovative thought leaders and top marketing and tech industry professionals, offered their expertise in the virtual conference’s sessions and workshops.
After attending the event, our team wanted to share key takeaways from standout sessions and the “wow” quotes that stuck with us. It will be no surprise to you that some of what we wanted to highlight has to do with mentorship and how we help others along their journey while living our own. We hope something sparks your own innovation, creativity, and wow.
Adaptability and Innovation in Times of Uncertainty (with Jim McKelvey, Founder of Invisibly and Co-Founder of Square)
In his session, McKelvey spoke of the role of innovation and adaptability as an entrepreneur. In these times, it may feel like we lack the freedom to explore and tap into our inner innovative spirits. McKelvey suggests that the constraints that our society faces during this time of uncertainty is actually a positive thing as having constraints allows for creativity to prevail. The speaker’s suggestion is reminiscent of the old adage, “Necessity is the mother of innovation.”
McKelvey also reminds entrepreneurs that with outlandish ideas come no guarantees that it’s going to work. In times of doubting your abilities when starting new things, he says that there’s a time you should feel incompetent and unqualified. He pointed out that if you’re walking down a path no one’s been through before, there’s no such thing as “being qualified.” It’s enough that you’re pioneering this new endeavour.
Normalizing The Messy Middle (with Scott Belsky, Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive VP of Adobe Creative Cloud)
In these times where we face great uncertainty, Belsky points out that we must accept its burden, rather than being consumed by it. He likens our capacity for time and energy to a computer’s RAM storage (a simple and efficient analogy!). Right now, we are all likely allocating a certain percentage of our “RAM” to this collective anxiety. Given we have a finite amount of mind-share or RAM we can use, recognizing and accepting this can guide teams to understand each other even more during these times.
On the product development side, Belsky poses an interesting question, “What can we stop doing?” This is a great exercise for companies with technology-based products like ours, where the inclination can be to add more features to enhance the product. However, if we lead with Belsky’s question in mind, it can help examine and pare down what is essential to our products and the value they provide to clients.
“What can we stop doing?” — Scott Belsky on re-examining the essential features of a company’s products
Building a Brand with Authenticity (with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend)
“You owe it to your followers to say something,” said Chrissy Teigen. In the session she shared with her husband, John Legend, the pair talked about their life story, company milestones and success stories. A couple points that stood out from the session were to make sure to trust that your employees values are aligned with yours, and that everyone’s role isn’t going to be defined, especially when you start something new. This rings true to the new world of work we live in where the work from home model often involves new training for staff, growth opportunities and time to adjust to work/life balance at home.
Chrissy and John talked about merging big purpose to passion and taking this time to build on your ideas, saying, “Find people who are excellent at what they do and have similar values; a combination of you together is much better than you alone.” John talked about the importance of being honest with yourself and learning to say no to what isn’t true to yourself. He noted, “People have an idea of what they are looking for, but now that idea is much more malleable.”
“Find people who are excellent at what they do and have similar values; a combination of you together is much better than you alone.” — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Scaling Innovation and Culture (with Sandy Carter, VP Amazon Web Services)
“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a thought”, says Sandy Carter, VP Amazon Web Services. In this session, Sandy shared her views on the importance of culture saying, “Culture eats strategy for lunch. Culture is what you actually do versus what you say you do.”
She also spoke about the role mentorship plays in supporting women in the tech as part of a good company culture. ‘For anyone who is a leader, it’s imperative to reach ‘back’ and pull someone with you; we can’t be it if we don’t see it.’ The importance of role models is something we understand and believe in at EnPoint. Furthermore, a point of pride for us is that we get to work with clients like Techsploration, which connect young girls to role models in STEM, the Dalhousie Computer Science Mentorship initiative, which supports female-identifying students in making connections to peers and industry.
Sandy reminded us of the importance of needing all the voices at the table; taking risks; and diversity as a topic for ROI. She explained, “we need more women to set the example and be a vocal supporter of the next generation; making diversity a safe topic to talk about”.
“Culture eats strategy for lunch. Culture is what you actually do versus what you say you do.” — Sandy Carter on the importance of corporate culture.
Rapid Fire Notable Quotes:
- “Mentorship is a great resource; it is an efficient and inexpensive means of supporting people. It’s a two way street. I’ll give to you and need you to give back by taking the relationship seriously.” Bob Iger, Chairman of Disney (paraphrased)
- “The most precious resource we have is our time.” Van Jones, political and news commentator
- “Be humble and be hungry.” Bob Iger, Chairman of Disney
- “Look for the gap in the market. Look at a market and then identify where the market ends. What if we could make a car for $2000? Would that open up transportation? Always look for where the people are excluded and try to bring them in.” Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder of Square
- ‘Our legacies will last much longer than our lives’ Jesse Williams, actor and activist.
Williams’ quote is a great way to sum up the impact of mentorship. The ripple effects or impacts of the relationship last longer and spread beyond anyone mentor/mentee. What legacy will you leave?