It has been a long time. I have done a lot of thinking and had some other priorities.
In the meantime I have changed jobs and decided to leave Microsoft. My vision about the events business setup was and is not necessarily matching with the way Microsoft is heading in this particular area. Each approach has its merits, pros and cons and each approach needs to have the right people for the job.
On July 1st I am officially joining Cisco and will be responsible and accountable for Cisco Live Europe Program and Strategy. “Cisco Live” consists of several components including the company’s flagship European event. The very well known “Cisco Networkers” is a part of this event, actually the main one. And further we are bringing together a few other target audiences and event programs under the overall “Cisco Live” umbrella brand. And not to forget all the virtual event components that are part of Cisco Live. Interesting and amazing times ahead of us as I expect a ton of innovation coming our way in the offline and online communication aspects of our lives.
In order to focus on my new role, I will be silent on this blog. One thing is sure, I will continue to be part of the events industry on the client side as well as pushing innovation in this area. Admit, it is a wonderful place to be acting in.
When we decided to do Microsoft Tech Ed Middle East, this meant it was the first fee paying event we would do in the region for a technical audience (developers and IT professionals).
Normally the registration trend for this type of events is slow in the beginning, takes a spike with compelling offers that expire at a given point in time (early bird, super early bird) to then keep steady until the end.
In Dubai we experienced a different trending. Registration was also slow (let’s say very slow) in the beginning but it continued like that until two weeks before the event. This made it very challeging for planning and budgeting. I was worried but I must admit that the local team was confident that towards the end many people would register. And that happened. After the slow start we have seen an exponential curve towards the end of registration. Just AMAZING. Quite a few people even registered and paid on site (flying in from different countries).
The Middle East was/is surely a last minute sign up “paradise”.
I have seen “Alice in Wonderland” over the weekend and I was wondering if 3D could enhance the attendee experience of a virtual event (despite the special glasses and some headache)?
3D movies and a whole 3D experience is basically a game where technology is fooling our brain to give us a 3D experience. I am fan of it. You come closer to the action and feel more part of it, add a surround system and it even gets better. Would’t that be nice as a virtual event experience? The question of course is if it is worth the investment? Highly likely not.
Published March 11, 2010
It is now almost 3 months since I posted something. I have been on holidays and enjoyed my family over the end of year season and since January I have been extremely busy with Microsoft Tech Ed Middle East. But now, I am back.
I will do a series about doing business in the Middle East and share my experiences. It has been an interesting though very different experience.
And I will catch up on virtual events. I find it really a pity that I have missed the Virtual Edge conference. A shame.
Someone pointed me to the following blog post with research stats about behavior at virtual events. Interesting.
Frequent visitors of this blog know that I consider Cisco one of the leading innovators when it comes to virtual events. A few weeks back they held their Global Sales Experience. This time it was not a live event but for the first time a virtual event. A complete shift if you ask me for such kind of conferences.
There are several good posts about this event called “GSX”.
First a few stats from GPJ, one of the companies involved in setting up the event:
- 88 hours of consecutive sessions crossing 24 time zones
- More than 13,000 active players of “The Threshold”, alternate reality game
- More than 8,000 participants in group chat within the Chat Zone
- More than 9,500 playing GSX mini games
- 90% cost savings
- Content satisfaction scores comparative to previous events
Click here for a good blogpost with more in dept analysis and references to other posts.
This strategy was taking a risk. Companies should allow people to take more risks in order to progress.
Personally I think that a hybrid model for these type of events (objectives) will probably be the right approach.
Thanks Cisco for doing this and sharing the results and learnings with the public!!