5 Takeaways from Spike Lee at Inbound

Spike Lee at Inbound

Lessons from Spike Lee's HubSpot Inbound Session

HubSpot's Inbound Conference has hosted an eclectic mix of speakers and sessions from its inception, from Michelle Obama to Oprah Winfrey.

This year at Inbound was no different as HubSpot invited master filmmaker and storyteller Spike Lee to give insights into his creative process.

Spike Lee blog - 1

Here are the most impactful lessons from Spike Lee's HubSpot Inbound session:

1. Listen to yourself

As the director of movies like "Malcolm X" and "Do the Right Thing", it is no surprise that Spike had some sage advice about how to select a story that would connect with an audience.

Asked by how he goes about writing a script or approaching the making of a film that will connect with a wide audience, Spike did not hesitate:

"I have to connect. I'm not worried about the audience. The audience is not going to connect to it if I don't connect to it. So number one, I have to connect to the story."

This is an important reminder that the first audience in any creative endeavor is ourselves. No matter what kind of ambitious creative task we embark on, whether it be writing a blog, building a new operation, or creating a narrative film we need to put ourselves into the task.

2. Create trust through a body of work

The most difficult part of getting started on an ambitious journey can be getting people to buy in - whether it be buy-in from the head of your department about a radical new approach to marketing or a creative project you are working on.

For the issue of how to get others to buy into your project, Spike keeps it simple:

"I have a body of work. They can go to IMDB and see my work. And I have positive relationships with the studios."

Trust is something that is built on your track record. Without a body of work, you cannot get buy-in from others to help realize your next ambition. So get started building that track record, because it will help you realize your ambitions in the future.

3. Technology has democratized creativity

Asked about the biggest change he has seen in his career, Spike responded:

"Technology has really brought a democracy to [art]. There's better ways to get your art out there."

The democratizing power of technology can be felt in almost all endeavors nowadays. Be sure to take advantage of and embrace new ways of doing things and new ways of learning, because technology has made it much easier to make something new and get it in front of other people.

4. Keep Moving

Many people have the tendency to tinker with a piece of work that has already been submitted, or they tend to dwell on the failures of a project that is in the past.

Spike's reaction to that?

no sense

What he said at Inbound:

"No do-overs. That's it. Whether people like it or not. I keep it moving."

This is a testament to personal resilience and the ability to accept the past and overcome hardship. No matter the outcome of your projects, good or bad, no matter if you fail or succeed- it is important to stay on your feet and to keep moving. That is how you will get most of your opportunities and get the most out of your opportunities.

5. Learning is a lifelong quest

Spike's top insight for living a good life:

"You stop learning when you take your last breath. That can be used not just for film-making but for anything else."

The message being imparted here is that every moment of life has the gift of learning in it. And every moment is therefore useful towards the betterment of yourself as a person. If you treat life as a lifelong quest for knowledge, then you will have lived a meaningful life.


Although we may not all become master storytellers that direct Denzel Washington to a best actor nomination, the craft of storytelling is a process that is important for all of us in our ability to communicate and connect with others.

It was a huge pleasure to have Spike at Inbound to give us insights into the creative process of storytelling.

im gone

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