Let’s Get Real

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Commentary, Ideas

It’s not every day the (National Book Award Winning author) keynote speaker at a major conference like INBOUND gets booed.

For an industry that is so focused on authenticity, I’m very disappointed.

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity in marketing. If you follow our blog you know the mixed emotions that word gives us (not unlike the word “innovation”). Like your favorite song that you’ve just listened to too much. It’s still good. You just don’t want to hear it for a while.

For me, me day started with waking up to see a flood of push notifications that I had fallen asleep fearing. This isn’t about politics, it’s about humanity. I didn’t care for either candidate during this election, but cared less for (read: feared) one much more than the other. That’s all I have to say about that.

In a state of disbelief, the real events of the day began at INBOUND 2016. I was chugging coffee and chatting with my new Nova Scotian friend when, following an inspirational and humorous video for Girls Who Code ran, Ta-Nehisi Coates took the stage as the opening keynote.

Did we take our eye off the ball?

Did we take our eye off the ballThat’s when it all hit home. It was all I could do to hold back tears as he spoke and I thought about all the events leading up to November 8, and how it had ended. Protecting my family and my sweet Snugglenugget (a five-year-old girl!) is my prime directive. There’s absolutely no way for me to express how worried I am now. Fine, I lied… now, that’s all I’ll say about that.

Coates spoke to us from the heart. Freely. Bravely. Certainly, it wasn’t the popular decision. But it was authentic. At the end, applause mixed with boos echoed through the hall and we all moved on to our breakout sessions.

I wasn’t surprised, but slightly shocked at the backlash he and INBOUND received. For an industry that is so focused on authenticity, I’m very disappointed.

For the rest of the day, speakers talked about knowing your customer, telling your story, humanizing business, connecting with people… in other words, being authentic.

Don’t worry, we’re brining back BIG ideas

For sure (for me at least), ire didn’t fill the air and negate lessons learned. Now is the time to collaborate, build, care and grow. Can’t wait to share the big ideas we’ve got and what we’re bringing back to Waymaker and our clients. Stay tuned for the next post.

-KC (@kevincoulson)

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