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.
November 20 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm
We’re almost maxed out on attendance, so sign up now to get a virtual seat. Guest speakers include Mary Ann Pierce, MAP Digital and Ben Hindman, CEO of Splash. Plus lots of networking.
Mary Ann Pierce
Founder and CEO at MAP Digital, Inc.
Ben Hindman
CEO at Splash
6 Month TrendCast:
  1. You’ve got two jobs now, so it’s time to start prepping for the hybrid world. See Accelevents' new guide and read this from the Associations Now.
  2. A platform only goes so far. With virtual conferencing platforms reaching their maximum number of viable players, you’re seeing new entities offering to run the show and pick your platform. When does that make sense? Thanks to Marni Edelhart at Momentum Events for the Virtual Events as a Service insights.
  3. Virtual events will need to monetize now or close up shop. (Read about The Information’s path to sales below)
  4. Physical events will need to recoup lost revenues. Rumors are flying about higher membership fees for associations in 2021, for example.
  5. Everything old is new again: Breakout rooms, 21 questions, trivia, polling, mysteries, scavenger hunts, and speed-dating. All of the same attention-grabbing techniques in the physical world are finding themselves online.
Time&Money vs. Screen-Time&Free
The second half of 2021 is going to be all about priorities. We should be able to assemble again, but I’m guessing you’ll be doing some serious calendar curation, weighing the risk/benefit of in-person attendance. IRL, you’ll head to fewer, better-vetted conferences more directly aligned to your interests. Your virtual conference life will be driven by the ones on the periphery of your interests or goals. Expanding your career. Keeping up on interesting phenomena. Getting a quick dose of mind-fodder. There’s going to be events-a-plenty to go around, and smart events creators will bifurcate their attention between real and virtual.
Forget the 40 Minute Feast
If you thought you could take a pass on listening to your aunt’s retelling of that story or watching your uncle belt down one too many, you’re in for a long surprise. Zoom announced that it’s lifting the 40-minute limit for all free-account meetings globally from midnight ET on November 26 through 6:00am ET on November 27 so your Thanksgiving family can have an interminably long meal.
MmHmm Good
Wired reported on a damn clever new app that makes your Zoom calls appear like you’re in a studio. Mmhmm, the app that shall remain vowelless, lets you gussy up your Zoom calls by giving you TV anchor-like features. Instead of a split-screen of you and your slides, the slides, for example, can appear behind you. Other effects and tricks are available, some free, some not. The mmhmm app is available on iOS and MacOS.
The Golden Ticket
According to Adweek, The Information, a Silicon Valley insider’s fest of events and communiques, hosted 50 virtual events this year. Ticket prices for its WTF Summit in September were $1,000 real dollars apiece. The Information’s Founder Jessica Lessin chalks it up to the who’s who roster of attendees her company’s events attract. According to Adweek, over 500 attendees (300 more than at the live event) bought tickets costing $1,000. They used HopIn as the platform to fuel networking.

*Analysis: We’re going to see the yin/yang of rightsizing in the virtual events world. Keeping your attendees VIP or opening it to the hoi polloi will be a big topic of discussion. Think two-tier admissions and experiences.
Worth Checking Out
- Event Planners Guide to Covid 
- BizBash’s guide to how tech could resuscitate live events.

- Death to Drayage Something that no exhibitor misses from the real world is the drayage. Take a look at how those charges might change in a post COVID world
- Breakout Rooms Spread Like Wildfire
This month’s go-to for virtual events goes to the good old Breakout Room. Best practices show that break-out rooms with fewer than 5 people that use a structured list of questions for discussion are most productive. This format is further enhanced when a designated individual reports out the conversation to the rest of the attendees.
Interpreting Market Signals.
Signs of a less locked-down future? Can the market give us any insight into the virtual events landscape? Here’s a quick look.

Premise: The vaccine and an election indicate we’re looking at a less locked-down market.

  • Zoom (work from home) and Peloton (exercise from home) signal we might be readying for an end to stay at home.
  • Lyft and Uber -- Defeat of Prop 22 let California keep drivers relegated to being gig workers but also signals travel is up
  • Cruise operator Carnival Corp
  • AMC Theaters 37%.
  • Airline Sectors
  • Energy If you’re traveling, you need energy.
  • Beauty and Clothing: I might need to look normal again
Hop On to Hopin
This week’s big winner in the virtual events scorecard goes to startup Hopin. It announced a $125 million raise and a valuation of more than $2 billion. Read VentureBeat’s account of how Londoner Johnny Bourfarhat developed the platform when he became housebound after an illness. Hopin’s secret sauce is a combo of social networking features including a fast-paced “chat-roulette” way to meet people.
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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About Us
Got a real tip on a virtual event? We’d love to hear from you. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160 | @robinr