VEG’ers are not just sitting around twiddling their digits. The pandemic has not ended events. Instead, and very quickly, it has evolved them. Here is this week’s news in the world of events, brought to you by the VEG.
The Switzerland of Virtual Events
Switzerland is known for keeping a neutral position on world events. That got us thinking about what we, at VEG, have in common with Switzerland. We aspire to be the Switzerland of Virtual Events. Neutral!

Our job is to Be Best (can’t believe I said that) at creating a repository for information about virtual events and creating a community for all the stakeholders in the virtual and hybrid event world. We began with platform reviews, moved to tool reviews and then the lightning bolt struck. Event planners gonna plan, but the rest of us mere mortals want human resources as much as tech resources. And just like that… our new Talent and Production section is open for business. If you’ve got event talent tell us more!
Dream Team Once you've been around the block a few times you know you don’t have half (probably less) of the answers you’re going to need. VEG has recruited the world’s best Board of Advisors (just ask them) across diverse fields and talents. You can read all about them here.

In other VEG news, Julie Sylvester, who was with us at Living in Digital Times rejoins the group as Director of Sales and Marketing. Alfred Poor, who’s been a tech-guiding star for me since PC Magazine was a magazine that came via mail and was printed on paper, is joining us as Technology Editor. (He’s a punishing stickler for features tables and details. You’ll be the beneficiaries.)
The Best Laid Plans
January 25
Minus the Davos, this year’s World Economic Forum worked on conquering the COVID pandemic, accelerating racial justice, and reducing carbon emissions. But a powerful by-product of being virtual was that it was much less elitist.
January 28 - February 3
The Sundance Film Festival is underway in its virtual incarnation. Protocol, a great newsletter, does a deep dive into how VR is going to need to replace red carpets and après ski wear. It calls out the New Frontier Gallery with a number of AR, VR and interactive pieces (built by Active Theory). Other highlights are The Sundance Cinema House, a VR theater that will be used to screen a number of short films, and Film Party, a virtual bar where festival goers can hang out in a virtual environment. VR goggles are highly suggested but not required. Read more about how Sundance is keeping the partners satisfied in AdAge.
February 7
SuperBowl Sunday: They won’t get to watch the commercials, but the exact number of fans attending this year’s SuperBowl is about 22,000. (The NFL has invited 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to the SuperBowl for free. Others will pay between $2,000 and $5,000 a ticket and probably more through aftersales.

This reinforces our theory that live events will be smaller and pricier than ever. On the streaming front, CBS is offering free streams of the event across many of its platforms, even for non-authenticated users.
February 16
Mardi Gras begins on Feb 16th, but there’s a ban on parades this year. That’s why those creative New Orleanians decided that if you can’t go to the parade, then let the parade come to your home. Parade organizers, float builders, and musicians are all pitching in to create a COVID-safe event that will raise money for local artists hit hard by COVID. Follow Krewe of Red Beans, one of the leaders of the charge as houses transform into parade floats.
Short Takes
The Future of How To’s?
It’s only a matter of time before video replaces the printed word for so much of our instruction. Vidyard looks at simple/free video recorders.
The Future of Humans
Soon everyone can have one of Hanson Robotics’ beautifully eerie Sofias. She’s about to enter into mass production in 4 different varieties. While she made her first appearance in 2016, the pandemic makes her mass-appearance timely. Next event host?

You can meet Sophia’s younger sister, Grace and hear from Dr. Ben Goertzel on The Dao of Sophia.

And Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz’s new startup Sun and Thunder is jumping into virtual storytelling using synthetic beings at home in the MetaVerse.
Soundings Thrive Lets You Play Mock Events
Want to walk a mile in an event planner’s shoes without getting mud on your soles? Soundings Thrive offers virtual event training via mock virtual events. You choose to play the role of event planner, producer, production or other and then get matched with team-mates in the company’s Playground for a hands-on virtual event learning experience. The company also has a freelance matching service for job hunters and huntees.
2021: Tough Delivery Orders
Bizzabo, the conferences and events company, knows we have a monetization problem. Four in five virtual events were free to attend in 2020. The company’s recent report benchmarked their virtual events during 2021 on a number of criteria. There’s going to be some soul searching on getting attendees who’ve grown accustomed to the Year for Free Tickets to change their behavior.

“Free” also could mean that you’re less likely to show up. According to the report, only about 50 percent of registrants attended the virtual events they signed up for. Prices are fluctuating as event planners look for the right balance between large audiences and profitable ones.
Fifty-eight percent of the virtual events were interactive—allowing attendees to "go on stage”. These sessions tended to be smaller, with most capping attendees at about 300, according to the report. About 16 percent were larger streaming sessions and often included text-based activities such as live Q&A or polling. For even more Bizzabo “did ya knows” visit and download the benchmarks. (Did you know that the average virtual event had 20 sessions?)
February 25 | 3PM EST
Next VEG Group Meetup

The program features Marian Bossard, EVP Global Market Events at the Toy Association

Marion talks about how the Toy Association focused on servicing their members during the pandemic As she aptly puts it, "You Know What's Really Fun? Selling!" We’ll also feature Lawrence Coburn of twine. Lawrence previously founded DoubleDutch to bolster engagement at corporate events. Now he's doing it again with Twine, a platform to create meaningful one-on-one conversations.


Feel the need to stay up on the virtual events scene but have a few other to-dos on your list?
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Send any tips and thoughts you have about virtual events. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160 | @robinr