What Makes a Virtual Conference Work

In a Q&A session during our New York virtual U.S. conference, Jacob Nielsen gave his thoughts about moving our conferences to be virtual events instead of in-person and discussed our plans for the future.

I have actually been been very, very happy about how it’s going to make the US conference virtual. I think that been many examples in the past of failed or at least not very positive outcomes of doing remote events or distance education. And this is the case that has been around for 30 years, but it’s usually been failed and most people drop out. And so why is I think that why is that this actually has worked? I think there’s a variety of different reasons compared to all of these other attempts that have been made so many times. And so one is I do think that we really have, like, awesome speakers know I’m really very proud of my team and how they’ve come together to make this so great. And this like hand-picked speakers over 20 years. So that’s one thing. The other thing, I think also the audience. I’m also really proud of you guys, the audience, because these are people who, like you have to, like, buy into it and really engage with it with the activity. Or it’s also not even if you have great speakers, it’s still not going to really work that well. So the speakers in the audience together that way, that’s the real core. I think that’s high quality here then a lot of other places then. I also think actually that our business model helps as well, because we we sell the courses by the day. And so if somebody said, of course, it’s because they signed up for that course and they paid for it, and so they better pay attention. Whereas I think for a lot of other things where you have, like always is a three month long event, if people even if they pay for every individual lecture or activity, let me just take it. He should check my email. And that’s a big risk of tuning out when you’re sitting at the computer and have all these distractions. So I think that that business model of selling each day separately helps to convince people that they better pay attention. And I think also having a lot of engaging activities as well. So there’s a variety of different ways, I think, that it works. It has our that has actually worked better than to be honest, maybe I fear, you know, and we’ve had all these requests for many years. Why don’t you do this online so we can all connect from people who have no travel parties and have always worried about it because the experience honestly is bad for most other people who have tried distance education. And yet this one, I think, has actually worked really, really well. And I think those are the reasons. Now, again, I’m never satisfied by so even though I think it has worked very well, I want the next one to be even better. And so I’m going to rely on you guys feedback forms because I read all the feedback form. So please, please provide your feedback and we can do it to decide which we always do. And we’ll make the next one even better and we’ll announce the next the next one. We’ll just kind of consume the feedback from this one and then we’ll announce the next one relatively soon. But one thing that is definitely a decision is we’re going to keep doing this because they have been working out very well. And I say even after we are done with the virus and we can go back to do an in-person event, which I do love to meet with people in person, we’ll still also do virtual events as well, because it really is a way to reach out to a much broader audience, which I think is a great thing. So there’s many, many things I work really, really well. So we’ll keep doing them and we’ll keep doing some mix of in-person and virtual in whatever many years it comes. But when when we can do both.

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