Transform 2020, our flagship AI event for enterprise decision-makers, is bigger than ever. And regardless of how much you have been able to watch live, I have good news for you. In addition to our Transform 2020 coverage, you can view sessions on-demand right here: Transform 2020 video hub. (You may also want to refer to the agenda.)
There are some obvious advantages to hosting events online. First and foremost, you can provide your audience with the same experience — all they need is a reliable internet connection. Two other big wins: venue costs are nonexistent (conference halls and hotels are expensive) and your potential for reach is massive (location is no longer a constraint, just time zones). Transform 2020 attracted triple the registrations of last year’s event. In 2019, 93.75% of our attendees at the in-person Transform were U.S. residents. This year, the number is closer to 60%. I wouldn’t be surprised if the non-U.S. piece continues to grow along with the whole pie.
There are, of course, some tradeoffs (see my previous column on how coronavirus will change tech events forever). Both types of events face unique obstacles. For example, at in-person events, it can be hard sometimes to get people to be quiet. At online events, it can be hard sometimes to get people talking. It’s tough to engage people online, especially if you’re offering them multiple platforms at once. In our case, that’s Coda, Slack, Tame, YouTube, and Zoom. Then there is our website, the event website, and of course some email. Oh, and don’t forget the inevitable conversations happening on social networks.
It’s a tricky balance — juggling between encouraging conversations wherever they’re happening while also driving attendees to where they’ll have the best experience. You want to boost engagement where it will be most likely to occur, without stifling anything preemptively. And ideally you want as many 1:1 conversations happening as possible, but you have to keep in mind the fact those are happening won’t be visible to other attendees as they often are at in-person events.
2020 won’t be the last year of online-only events. I’m looking forward to learning as we dive in, and I have no doubt our online events will only continue to get better. If you have specific feedback or ideas, feel free to reach out.
ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.