VOGSY is fortunate to interact with leaders and influencers involved in a range of professional services organizations (PSOs). The PSO Knowledge Expert Series brings you their thoughts on the topics that matter most.
For this edition, we spoke with Joshua Jones, Founder of The WebiNerd LLC. Joshua has been in the online events business for a long time, including as a leading specialist with ZOOM. The WebiNerd was born out of his passion for online events and now, with our current distributed business world, his company is in hypergrowth.
MVL: So Joshua, your world must be pretty hectic right now. How are you coping?
JJ: It’s an exciting time in the online events industry right now, Mark. And though we all wish it were under more positive circumstances, social distancing has forced people to quickly make very tough decisions just to stay in business.
I’ve been fortunate to have connected with so many industry professionals throughout my career and I’m pleased to say that we’re pulling together, sharing our resources and expertise and really doing our best to help people and businesses. If I’m coping well, it’s because of the team, network and trust that we’ve been quickly fostering here to reach as many people as possible with solid advice and support.
MVL: Give us some more background on The WebiNerd, your services and clients.
JJ: Our goal is to provide the highest quality and best value technical education, coaching, development and production support in the online events industry. You choose the platform, we’ll send in the experts. In the last month, we’ve hired four new team members to respond to accelerated demand.
Everyone here works in support of the other. We operate from a perspective of abundance with a culture of kindness, transparency and curiosity. Existing clients have been very pleased with the way we’ve been fluidly matching their needs, and we’ve had an amazing opportunity to reach more people. I expect us to make big moves to stay in front of the changing market and hope your readers will watch our story on social or reach out to start a conversation.
MVL: Now, about this surge in demand for digital events, is that here to stay? How do you see the future?
JJ: I’ve been in the industry since 2007, starting in a technical support role. When the financial crisis hit in 2008, our call centers lit up and never went back to the previous normal. When “business as usual” is disrupted, the need for collaboration at a distance increases. We’re suddenly adopting these new tools and processes and taking the time to develop our skills with them — these become part of our business DNA and they don’t go away.
Remote and at a distance: This is how business will be conducted and personal relationships will be maintained, now and into the future. Distance or remote collaboration, video conferencing, a virtual meeting, a webinar — whatever you call it — is no longer limited to the traditional business space. Want to take an aerobics class online? I can put you in touch with someone. Cooking, gardening, happy hour…anything you can think of, someone out there is going to find a way to do it online.
This age of digital communication is just starting to mature and I’m thinking that’s just in time for the next evolution in the market. I’d watch this space.
MVL: I hear you! My youngest had never been into yoga much but is now a daily practitioner — online, with friends, 100 percent remotely. So what is your advice to business owners and leadership teams, is there any best practice for right now and any way to think about how to adapt and adopt for the future?
JJ: When we’re with our clients, the technology isn’t challenging, so best practices are everything! If you’re doing it right, the technology steps out of the way. Don’t take on too much at once. Build your program of online events on a strong foundation before you add complexity.
It’s time for your CEO and leadership to offer weekly town hall events to reach your teams where they are.
Use your communications platforms from the top down — this is crucial for adoption. Start with a webinar; it’s a very controllable environment free of disruption from the audience.
Take a look at your appearance on camera so you can really be present for people. Review what security measures you are taking to make sure your communications and privacy requirements are honored. These are all hot-topic items currently.
MVL: As you know, VOGSY serves the knowledge economy, typically an area where lots of communication and collaboration take place. Specifically for leaders in B2B services firms, what should they focus on when it comes to online events?
JJ: Currently, we all need to focus on staying in touch: with teams, friends, family. Get online and be personal. Share stories, be kind and let others be heard as well. Maybe we can set aside some business time for caring for people and nurturing relationships.
I always encourage clients to look at their online events and webinars not as business or sales tools, but as community building engagements.
Find ways to reach someone – or everyone – in a new way. We have a lot of opportunities here to try new things in a very forgiving space.
MVL: So how about The WebiNerd’s future then, once we all know this stuff like the back of our hand? What is the next phase of the company?
JJ: Right, should I be concerned about that? Like I said, we operate with a theory of abundance in mind. We’re going to find new ways to keep sharing valuable content for users in the space so they can use online events to their best advantage at any level. We’ll collaborate and partner with more of our friends in this space, and we’re going to have a lot of fun!
If I’ve learned anything from my time in this space, it’s that there is always opportunity to explore more deeply just around the corner. We’re eager to reach more people and do great things!
MVL: Finally then Joshua, if people want some of that abundance, want to connect with you or The WebiNerd and learn, where do they go?
JJ: Simply head over to thewebinerd.com and take a look at our content page. Our social is linked at the top of every page. We also encourage everyone to share their story with us and ask questions. Let us know what you want to see and what helps you most. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation and get on our calendar.