Field Notes: Drift’s HYPERGROWTH 2019

I had a phenomenal time attending the first half of Drift’s HYPERGROWTH conference in Boston on Tues, 9/03. Drift is a chat software & conversational marketing platform that raised a $60M Series C from Sequoia, General Catalyst, and CRV in 2018. This is Drift’s third year putting on this event and the event was incredibly eye-opening. Below are some of the key takeaways and lessons learned from the speakers.

David Cancel (CEO, Drift)

  • There are over 7K SaaS solutions for sales and marketing on the market today. This means that customers have more choice than ever before.
  • In order to differentiate from the competition, companies need to create a compelling end-to-end customer experience.

Alex Honnold (Professional Rock Climber + Free Solo)

  • Before tackling an incredibly difficult task, remove all distractions so that you can create a space to think deeply. For example, Alex would go two months without responding to emails.
  • At the end of the day, there is no shortcut to accomplishing a difficult task. Put in the work and grind it out.

Danny Meyer (Founder, Shake Shack)

  • Customers don't pay for food, they pay for how you make them feel.
  • Surround yourself with people who have strengths that compliment you instead of hiring people who just make you feel good about yourself.
  • Culture is not supposed to be “maintained”. Culture needs to advance as the company grows.

Leela Srinivasan (CMO, SurveyMonkey)

  • The CMO’s job has a median length of 31 months, which is materially shorter than other C-suite positions. Part of the reason is that most CMOs struggle to work closely with the sales function.
  • One way to increase collaboration between marketing and sales is to review the respective metrics together at the same time. After reviewing the metrics and setting new targets, be incredibly honest with each other and hold the other function accountable for their metrics.

Anita Elberse (HBS Professor: Businesses of Entertainment, Media, and Sports)

  • Dare to make big, blockbuster bets. The notion of smaller bets being “safer” is a myth. Anita challenges the audience to pursue something they’re so passionate about that failure is worth it.
  • Bet on your own star power and use it to lift others. Along the way, surround yourself with the right people.
  • Find your inner multi-hyphenate. Build a career that lets you combine multiple roles so that you can learn new skills. The highest achievers keep breaking out of their comfort zone along the way.
  • Do as The Rock does. Specifically, we never just play the game, we want to change the way the game is played. Challenge the norm in a constructive and positive way.