Why do my kids need $20 haircuts when a good set of clippers cost under $100 and will last for years? For many (if not all) of us, Covid-19 will change our lives forever in some way, shape, or form. Whether it is how we shop, interact with others, our personal hygiene, or work, the pandemic has altered the way we approach many aspects of our lives by forcing us to question the status quo.
Covid 19 has ended my streak of work travel. It has been 21 years that I have been to an airport on average every 6-8 weeks. It has been 31 weeks and counting since I last had to use my passport and our out my water bottle.
This past week NamesCon hosted their first virtual conference called NamesCon Online and it got me thinking about how conferences in this industry are changing due to the pandemic. This wasn’t the first virtual conference for the domains industry since the Covid-19 shut down in March, ICANN has had several, and it won’t be our last. With all of the technology at our disposal today, like Zoom, why do we need physical conferences anyway?
Well, for me the answer is quite simple. Relationships. This industry is small and driven by relationships. Building, growing, maintaining, and developing relationships is important for most companies to thrive because without them this would be just a faceless industry where decisions are made solely by commercial markers when many other great opportunities may be missed by not interacting with the numerous attendees in the hallways, sessions, at breakfast, lunch and dinners, during industry events, or drinks at the hotel bar.
I was eager to take part in NamesCon Online last week out of curiosity more than anything. Watching pre-recorded sessions or reading panel highlights is easy but we must adopt a new way to help with relationships at a virtual event in order for online conferences to remain relevant for most industry professionals. I am not sure what that looks like but it also raises a question about how conferences will be affected when there is a vaccine and we must once again take off our shoes and empty our water battles before boarding a plane. My guess is if the industry can be successful at conducting virtual events then physical events may be that much better when we get back to them. The one major benefit for virtual conferences over physical conferences is that you don’t have to wear a mask during to attend a virtual conference (unless you want to).