The Future Has Not Been Canceled

The Revolution Will Be Live Streamed

Energy Can Not Be Created Or Destroyed, It Can Only Be Changed From One Form To Another.

– Albert Einstein

I went through an emotional rollercoaster yesterday and I’m sure I’m not even done with the ride yet. A few months ago I was asked to present at a new conference in Amsterdam called The Future of Events (FOE). Based on those who were listed on the site, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I was a bit cautious for a number of reasons (that I don’t need to get into here) including it being a first year event produced overseas by someone I had no relationship with. As the speaker line-up started filling up, I got more and more excited. I didn’t even announce that I was speaking at this conference until it was a month out because of my trepidations but I let my excitement guide my actions.

While taking a day off with my son yesterday, I started to get messages from Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, as well as emails and text all saying that the Future of Events Conference was canceled. I immediately thought to myself, this isn’t surprising. In fact, a quick search on Twitter revealed that fellow Future of Events presenter David Adler of Biz Bash felt the same way.

I was in the state of disappointment and negativity for a good thirty minutes. To say I was looking forward to spending quality time with event professionals I respect immensely while contributing to the advancement of the industry was an understatement. Disappointment gave way quickly to anger. Why wasn’t I e-mailed to be told of this cancelation from the conference? Why weren’t we asked how we could help raise their attendance numbers? The lack of transparency, communication, and collaboration that I’ve come to expect from those I work with just wasn’t there and it left me angry. However, in the next 30 minutes I regained my faith that had been momentarily lost in the void of negative and spiteful thinking.

a19e412ffd91e5c6832a16c5a44c1f1cA plan was already underway that would try to refocus the work and energy to impact the industry that presenters put together to share in Amsterdam. Liz King of Liz King Events, Dahlia El Gazzar of DAHLIA+ and Aaron Kaufman, CSEP of Fifth Element Group put together a strategy that only event planners could in hours that secured speakers, sponsors, venues, and event technologies all in an effort to impact the industry by turning lemons into lemonade. Many of the presenters from FOE, including myself, came on board for their plan of a virtual conference live streaming event that would be totally free for viewers. This conference is called CtrlAltDel after the Windows short cut to rebooting. It’s a smart way to capture the experience that went into what will bring this to fruition.

While there is still a lot of work do be done, I’m in awe of these leaders ability to push themselves past disappointment and anger and channel it into something positive that may end up impacting more people than was originally intended.

The 3 Lessons For Me Were:

  1. Never under estimate event planners focused on a goal. Regardless of how much time and resources are available, they’ll put together something that someone without those skills couldn’t with months and large budgets.
  2. Your network is everything. What took the previous conference months to accomplish took a few hours because of strong relationships.
  3. If the parachute doesn’t open after you jump, you have until the time you hit the ground to fix it. That there isn’t enough time to make it perfect is not an excuse not to try.

For the next month, I’ll be promoting this event and re-tooling my presentation for live streaming. I hope you find a way to use this virtual conference towards your goals. This is a story that could only happen in our industry!

Learn more about Ctrl+Alt+Del