A Personal End of Year Note From Sandy
Throughout 2020, all I kept saying is that we just have to get through this year, we must end this year, and I hope we make it! Like most businesses, many of us thought 2020 was going to be our year. So many of us closed 2019 with great profit and the feeling of economic stability. Our 2020 projections were high, and it felt quite exciting. Nobody in the world could have predicted what would happen in March 2020 – usually the time of the year when things blossom!
We watched as our industry went from running thousands of events daily to a sudden, abrupt halt. However, we did not give up hope. As a floorplanning system, we were able to watch many thousands of the events get postponed to new dates – we still felt that flicker of hope – but as time moved on, we quickly understood that these postponed events would not take place anytime soon. And I have to say, on a personal note, my downer came personally when my daughter realized she would not be getting married on her wedding day, originally scheduled for the end of March.
Let’s fast-forward nine months and we are at the end of December, all together saying good riddance to 2020 – but I have to reflect on other thoughts – I did marry off two kids this year and while in my dreams these were not the weddings I thought we would have, they were both spectacular in their own way. The intimacy of a small crowd, the personal touch that each of my children gave to every guest that arrived. It was all so moving and I really feel that none of those moments would have happened in the dream weddings I had previously imagined for my kids! Two happy couples starting their lives, living every day together with no running to offices, running abroad, or running anywhere!
As for business, well, like everyone else after the initial shock, our creative minds went into full, high gear. We as a company have probably created the best technology anyone (including myself) has ever seen. They say that in every downturn, opportunities arise. I am not saying it was easy – we worked night and day (as we had nowhere to go!) and even though we were getting into a comfort zone by 2019 – we jumped out of it overnight.
“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won,” said Winston Churchill and more recently, “We do feel that there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future,” said. Steve Jobs. I have always been a huge fan of both these men. With Steve Jobs’ quote, we always kept this idea in mind as we planned our strategies years in advance. We always dreamed and studied the market with creative opportunities, innovative ideas and while nobody saw the future, we had seen that virtual event – online – immersive – virtual reality and augmented reality was going to be our future. We did not know, however, that we needed to build this in six months!
Six weeks ago, we launched exVo, and our core business survived as many venues needed remote selling tools to keep venues and spaces alive as many were not open, and even if they were, clients couldn’t travel. Online visualization tools became a must-have solution for brands and venues to stay relevant and ahead of the game during this very long year, and likely for more years to come.
exVo was accelerated to the market. It was not a pivot, it was not a “let’s do something to stay alive” – it was a “let’s take our technology and dream, and make it happen faster, as in, NOW.” The market could not be more ready to explore a new virtual/hybrid platform that allows you to do something totally different than the other 180+ 2D products out there that are, let’s face it, just an extension of Zoom fatigue without bringing creative innovative solutions to our industry. These platforms have not allowed designers to design. They do not allow planners to really plan and do not allow production companies to produce something visual that feels alive. It has been an answer to jump fast and allow people to connect – BUT NOT NETWORK!
Maybe us taking six months to watch what was happening was a good thing. Apple always comes with products last. While I have never compared our company to Apple, I now feel as though we launched an Apple product. It’s high quality, it’s packaged with incredible innovation and imagination but most importantly, it will allow for new opportunities in networking, sponsorships, production, and planning. It will alleviate our Zoom fatigue and bring us into a new era of allowing in-person events to slowly come back but keep the hybrid “extension” event by creating a parallel universe to mirror and keep both worlds connected at all times.
We have run quite a few events in the last couple of weeks and have watched planners for the first time telling us how alive they felt using their planning skills. We have watched designers, production companies being incredibly creative while having the opportunity to go even further beyond their usual limitations in the real world. However, for me, it’s all about networking and feeling alive as if you are truly part of an event. We have watched thousands of people enter exVo and get excited that they are talking person to person — fully immersed and feeling alive again!
Our future is looking good for 2021. Vaccines will be given around the world and life will start to feel normal again – but it will be a new normal. We will likely not travel that insane amount anymore (I know I won’t) but I will join many more conferences and keep educating myself as I have done this year – that’s one thing that will stay as we forward.
From our Allseated family to yours, we wish you and your families a safe Holiday Season and best wishes for a Happy New 2021!
If you have not seen our invite to the Forward Together Industry Event on Janaury 7, 2021, please click here to learn more as you are all invited – if you want to hear more about exVo contact me personally! xxxxx