Explaining HubSpot to my Nine-Year Old

“Daddy. What’s a HubSpot?”

“It’s a platform we use to generate leads for our clients,” I answered quickly.

“What’s a platform?”

I knew full well my answer didn’t satisfy her.

“It’s a tool we use at work to help our clients.” If the dismissive technical answer didn’t work, perhaps a simplified dismissive answer might do the trick.

“I’ve never seen you use tools.”

 Great. We’ve gone from talking about my worth as a provider and switched gears to my inability to hammer a nail.

My little one is not one to give up easily. Normally I’m all in, ready to indulge questions about the origin of the world, why mean people suck and how her assertion that unicorns exist is built upon false logic. But as I quickly probed my mind for any useful daddy analogy to explain what I did for a living in terms she could understand, I knew straight away I was at a loss.

So I decided to overwhelm her with information.

“HubSpot is a different kind of tool, honey," I said. "It’s an online platform that organizes all of the useful tools in our web development arsenal to deploy on behalf of our clients. It gives us the ability to coordinate campaigns based upon available consumer data and search patterns to ensure that our clients’ digital footprint is visible to their desired target demographic. It’s one of the most powerful top-of-the-funnel, lead nurturing and conversion platforms in the world. It also has an intuitive customer relationship management system that allows us to segment the target audience and serve them intelligent and relevant content through personalized marketing automation."

She was quiet. I sipped my coffee victoriously and returned to what I was doing, leaving her to ponder my superior dad intellect.

“I don’t get it.”

She’s toying with me now. We locked eyes for a few uncomfortable seconds. As she sat there expressionless, I mentally prepared her recommendation letters for law school. A few more seconds. Nothing. She wasn’t letting me off the hook. I could log into the system and demonstrate the powerful analytic capability of HubSpot or have her visit a client’s website and download a content offering. A teachable moment if ever there was one. But I imagined her trying to answer her friends when they asked what her daddy did for a living. Shrugging her little shoulders she would offer some pitiful explanation like, “I think he leaves footprints on a platform and uses invisible tools to lead his clients into a funnel.”  

I was going to need props. She’s a visual learner. I retrieved a blue piece of construction paper from her crayon bin and got to work.

“This blue piece of paper is the Internet. You’ve heard of the Internet, right?” No answer required here as she gave me the ‘really daddy?’ stare. “Right. Pretend the Internet is an ocean. Above the ocean there are millions of helicopters searching for people in lifeboats.”

“You work for the Coast Guard?”

“No. Stay with me.” I tore little pieces from the edges of the paper and scattered them about the blue sheet. “The problem is that every lifeboat is blue and everyone lost in a lifeboat is wearing blue. My job as a digital marketing agency is to help my clients get found.”

This was the right tact. She was now staring intently at the specs of blue on the paper, so I pressed on.

“As a digital marketing agency we do all sorts of things to get noticed. We shoot off flare guns, shine mirrors in the sky, pour gallons of food coloring into the water (that’s a good one, no?) and make a lot of noise to help the helicopters find our blue boats. Then we found an ever better way. HubSpot is like a giant orange aircraft carrier. Instead of flare guns, they have flare cannons. Instead of mirrors, they have thousands of disco balls and searchlights. They even have fluorescent undercarriage lights to illuminate the water below like one of those tricked out muscle cars.”

“I lost you at muscle cars.”

“Sorry. Daddy’s riffing. Go back to the big giant orange boat with flare cannons.”

“Got it.”

“Daddy’s company partnered with the big orange HubSpot boat so I’m allowed to invite my clients on board. Now when the helicopters fly above they can more easily find my clients’ websites.”

More silence. She exchanged glances between me and the blue paper. After a few seconds she nodded then broke the silence.

“Are you still a writer?”

“Um, yeah. Daddy still writes. Why?”

“Can I just tell everyone you’re a writer?”

“Of course. But what about HubSpot?”

“I’ll just tell everyone you write stories on HubSpot’s boat.”


Nailed it. Daddy of the year.