Image Courtesy: Emily ElyWhat an incredible event! Funny enough, I realized on the shuttle over to the event on Tuesday morning that it was my one year anniversary with Traklight, and getting to attend INBOUND was the best work gift—EVER! HubSpot announced that over 10,000 people registered for the event, a record number of attendees. 

One of the keynote speakers, Malcolm Gladwell, taught some important lessons for entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners in the audience. He taught those lessons through the story of Malcom McLean, a man who revolutionized the shipping industry by standardizing shipping containers. We learned that Malcom McLean became a successful entrepreneur with courage, imagination, and a sense of urgency that helped transformed his idea into a reality. 

Malcolm Gladwell at INBOUND14

Courage

Malcom McLean was a disagreeable man. But that allowed him to be persistent in his dream. He had the necessary courage and attitude to pursue the standardization of shipping containers in the face of others who said he was crazy. But he didn’t need their approval. He possessed the courage to be independent and move forward with his dream. 

Imagination

Malcom McLean was met with challenge after challenge in his attempt to restructure ships that could hold the containers, and building new cranes that could lift these heavy containers onto the ships. He had to reimagine everything in a different way. The takeaway from his story is that you need to reframe your problem to maximize the outcome of the solution; make it possible.

Urgency

Malcom McLean was not willing to wait for the creation and implementation of his new idea. He was in a hurry. One example of this (and there were many) was that he gave a deadline of 90 days to the company building his new crane. 90 days! But that urgency was the third key to his success.

Without the courage to pursue your ideas, you will remain stuck behind the walls erected by naysayers. But even if you were courageous and attempted your journey against the advice of others, without the imagination to figure out a way around the wall, you would still remain trapped. And even if you had both courage and imagination, you must possess a sense of urgency, lest someone else capitalizes on your idea before you.

I challenge you to embrace each of these qualities to help build your idea into a thriving and successful business, and to take your current business to the next level by sharing these qualities with your team.


Your business depends on a transformation of your attitude. Your IP depends on you protecting it. 

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