Posts Tagged 'Microsoft'

Positive News and Observations

It has been rather quiet on my blog for the last 2 weeks. There is a very simple reason. I am managing our Convergence 2009 Europe Series events and it has been extremely busy. Tomorrow we kick off the series in London. While I am also working on a new event in Dubai in March.

First the very positive news: despite the challenging event times (scrutinized budgets and lower attendance in general) we have been able to sell all expo spaces at all 4 locations (London, Vienna, Frankfurt ad Rotterdam) even before our event attendance registration site went live. And all 4 locations are close to a complete attendance sell out as well. London and Rotterdam are already (with many people on the waitlist) and Frankfurt and Vienna will be very soon. People are still attending events if they see the value and if companies are able to sell the value. And now we should live up to the expectations. 🙂

And for the people that can’t get in anymore, we are recording all sessions and will make them available to the attendees and people on the waitlist post the series on our Virtual Event Platform.

The observation though is “Why do people only wake up and try to get everything sorted last minute?”. And are these the people responsible for long term vision and strategy of companies? I always wonder. Maybe it comes to some proper time and project management. They could get way more if they would put some skin in the game earlier.

But hé, we are going to enjoy it. It is lovely to manage sold out events. This is luxury in the current climate.

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The New Efficiency

I just have been exploring the Microsoft New Efficiency Launch on the Virtual Event Platform. Each new event on the platform is adding features and functionality.

  • In this release I especially like the 2 screens for watching the presentations; you now see the presenter and the slide deck in the configuartion you want (big, small, side by side etc). Whatever you say, I prefer to see the presenter. It keeps me more focussed and more eager to stay and listen.
  • The Notice Board with special announcements and ready to click items. Faster access to critical items.
  • The evolvement of the social media integration, especially Twitter and the sharing functionalities.

What you also see here is the way Microsoft is scaling the content of the small live event in SanFrancisco. Not only via the Virtual Event Platform event but also via the New Effciency Launch website. Both digital channels are just a means to an end and the content is consumed in a media player. 

The expo is there, all breakout sessions are here. The positive thing is that it takes less clicks than before to actually see a session and with the 2 screens … A really neat improvement.

Nice!

Event in Dubai

Last week I was in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to collaborate with the Microsoft Gulf subsidiary in order to setup a key event in 2010. A few general musings about my first experience in the Middle East.

  • As any country there are local flavours and ways of doing business. Hmm
  • The city looks brand new to me. Waw, although sometimes I had the impression I was in Las Vegas
  • The Dubai World Trade Centre is a very nice venue. The one thing that caught my attention right away is that the simple watches on the walls are “Rolex”. Is that an indication?
  • Big (royal) weddings are done in the WTC. They were setting up one (2 weeks needed!!) An eye opener.
  • Do they treat email the same way we do?
  • Ramadan has an impact in every day life. Respect is the key as a foreigner.
  • Dubai seems a city which combines tourism with business. Many nationalities represented.
  • The impact of the local government and the sjeiks circle of influence

Really looking forward to make this event a success and learn a lot.

All comments about doing business in Dubai very welcome. As well as tips and tricks.

The Future of Virtual Conferences (2)

I received quite some reactions on my first post about the Future of Virtual Conferences. And most people agree with the direction I was referring to. Also see this post of Steve Ellis.

Last week the Micosoft TechNet team (IT Professionals) from Microsoft UK had a successful virtual conference. Personally I have my doubt about a day long virtual conference. But hey they were succesful. And the reason is that they thought about what they wanted to achieve at the virtual event and post the event right from the start.

Good positioning (alternative to a roadshow), involvement of the target audience themselves, inviting them to participate in the pilot, ask for feedback all the way and help select the right content. Basically anything you should do for a live physical event as well.

As I refered to in my previous post, they integrated with Twitter to provide instant feedback, respond to questions etc. And further they had the interactivity with competitions and online chats. And they do the “office hours” concept I wrote about (post event at certain times the speakers will again be available for questions and online chats). The content will be available for another 3 months post event.

So far this is among the best I have seen so far, concept wise. The platform is only a means to an end.

There is no magic, only hard work and clever thinking.

The Potential of an Event

In his opening (at the Microsoft Tech Ed North America) Bill Veghte explains clearly the value of a live technical conference: maximize everything around content (do the best you can) and allow for easy networking and interaction.

The economy is tough and rather going south than standing zenith. Budgets are cut and T&E (Travel and Expenses) is low. So maximize your efforts in providing the right value (what do YOUR ATTENDEES WANT, not what you want as a company) for your audience.