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Notes from Drift’s Hypergrowth 2019


On Tuesday, our team rode our bikes down to Boston’s Theater District to attend Drift’s Hypergrowth conference.

The event was held at the gorgeous Wang Theater and the Drift team put on a real show that was jam packed with excellent content from an all star lineup of speakers.

If you were a marketer, entrepreneur, aspiring business leader or even just a person who likes to go on the internet sometimes — you left Hypergrowth 2019 feeling curious, motivated and energized by the insights from the speakers.

So, for everyone who couldn’t make it, we thought we’d share a cheat sheet with our notes from a few of our favorite presenters:


DANNY MEYER: CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group; Founder, Shake Shack


>>> Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business


  • Think about growing your business as breaking in a baseball glove: your brand new glove is where you start off with your own point of view but it’s get broken in by catching a ball over and over again… and that’s having a dialogue with your customers. This is where you learn how you can truly be of use to your customers.
  • A successful business is built on 49% Performance and 51% Hospitality. Hospitality encompasses everything that contributes to how you make someone feel: they may not remember exactly what you said or even what you did, but people always remember how you made them feel.
  • Danny prescribes to the idea of “Virtuous Cycle of Enlightened Hospitality” to drive his businesses, rather than the alternate views that businesses must only listen to their customers or only focus on value for their shareholders.

Here’s a diagram that illustrates that idea:

LEELA SRINIVASAN: Chief Marketing Officer, SurveyMonkey

>>> In the Hot Seat: X Questions on Every CMO’s Mind for 2020


Leela sat down with Drift’s CMO, Dave Gerhard for this session and our favorite part was when she shared the best things she’s learned at each of her roles in her marketing career:


At Bain:

– When faced with any problem, a good marketer should take only 30 seconds to lament over the issue and then immediately work to try and solve it. Saying “it’s not my job” is not an option.


At LinkedIn:

– In business, relationships are everything

– Be as close to your customer as you can


At OpenTable:

– Always take on a “local vs global” mindset when expanding into new markets

– Bring what works in one market to the next, but be sure to adapt and adjust as needed to the new local area

– Leela used the example of growing OpenTable from the US into Japan. Some aspects of what led to its success in the US were applicable to expanding into Japan, but many were not. She had to alter their go-to-market strategy to work within the culture of how things are done in Japan.

ANITA ELBERSE: Professor, Harvard Business School

Professor Elberse develops and teaches an MBA course covering the “Businesses of Entertainment, Media, and Sports” and she was definitely our favorite speaker of the day.

She was witty and entertaining but also clear and informative in her talk about what business folk (marketers and entrepreneurs especially) can learn from the superstars of the entertainment world:


1. Make Big, Blockbuster Bets

  • Be bold like Beyonce and her Lemonade album: no pre-promotion, huge amount of money and time invested in creating music videos for each song and a surprise drop that blew everyone away
  • But also embrace the possibility of epic failure: this is why it’s important to work on something you’re passionate about… so even the epic failure will be worth it



2. Bet on your star power… then use it to help others.

  • Be like Lebron James: Instead of working with an agency on his endorsement deals, he hired his friends and opted for non-traditional ways of doing deals
  • Instead of taking a fee, Lebron asked for equity for his partnership with Beats Headphones. That equity ended up being worth $70 million dollars!



3. Find your Inner Multi-hyphenate

  • Be like celebs like Jay-Z (rapper who started Rocafella Records and Rocawear clothing) and Gwyneth Paltrow (actress who started Goop) who are not just known for one thing
  • Take on additional roles to grow
  • The highest achievers break out of their comfort zone
  • The path to the top is seldom linear



4. Do As The Rock Does


  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started as a football player who never quite made in the NFL, became a famous WWF wrestler, than got into acting and producing.
  • His films have grossed over $3.5 billion in North America and over $10.3 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing box-office stars of all time.
  • Superstars never just play the game, they change the way the game is played
  • Challenge yourself to do what no one has done before
  • Ask yourself “Why Can’t I?”

In conclusion, we had a great day at HYPERGROWTH 2019 and already looking forward to next year. ?

Want to see more? Check out our story highlight on Instagram.


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