Conventions Are Going Digital, But Human Interactions Remain Key – New Podcast

New Dragonproof Ecommerce Podcast available now.

There are typically at least 13,000 professional & trade conventions every year—but in 2020, the “meetings industry”, a big business unto itself, stands to lose at least 1.2 billion dollars due to worldwide COVID safety precautions. Obviously this figure is a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of business generated at those events, as well as the quarter of a million jobs which support them. But how can we put a price on the loss of basic human interaction—the interpersonal connections which must, and do, drive all business?

Across every industry and interest, conventions are going digital. From ComicCon to Space Tech, B2B to fan expos, annual trade meetings are opting out of throwing events which gather people together in ballrooms and meeting halls, in favor of online experiences.

This is smart from a public safety angle, period. Not only are the staff and attendees protected from harm, so are their families, everyone they travel on the same plane with, and everyone who serves them, from hospitality workers to cleaning crews. It’s just the right thing to do.

In ecommerce, we champion any innovation which liberates workers and business owners from cumbersome mundane tasks. We celebrate the freedom of choice and access to goods for customers which only a global online shopping culture can provide. But as industry professionals, we also need to stay in contact with the human aspect of doing business. We need to hear what our peers are up to. We need to share what we’ve learned. We need to build real bonds with the people in our industries—beyond just cc’ing them in an email.

Of course, the real reason for all those handshakes and seminars and opening night cocktail parties is the personal connection. Human happiness is driven by countless factors and subject to endless discussion, but the core of a good and happy life—illuminated in this wonderful talk by Robert Waldinger—is maintaining personal relationships. This, more than any sales target or educational goal, is the real reason we meet in convention centers each year.

These days, we are all growing accustomed to simulating a workplace with Zoom. This concept is not especially new to any business that has been simulating a showroom with an online shopping experience. But now another important point of personal contact—the professional trade show—must also be reimagined. 

We can use technology to bridge the gaps this year, and find new ways not just to disseminate information or sell products, but to come together and share personal experiences.

Miva’s new “Digital Day” is being offered in this spirit. All the classic aspects of a professional conference will be there—workshops for learning, tools to increase sales, new ways to look at technology, roadmaps to navigating complicated times—but this year is also about bringing people together, in whatever way we can safely do so. This aspect is important.

To commemorate the occasion, I called up two veterans of the event that we throw every year, MivaCon, and recorded our chats for the Dragonproof Podcast. It feels like the right time for a warm and charming trip down MivaCon memory lane—because it is imperative to celebrate the great personal bonds we have forged at these events, even as we discover new ways to achieve them.

Leslie Kirk is a master-level Miva partner and self-proclaimed “geekette” whose breadth of knowledge has propelled so many real people and real businesses to incredible success. Bruce Golub is an ecommerce savant who has designed countless practical systems which make businesses shine to their maximum potential. As avid attendees of MivaCon since the beginning, they perfectly exemplify the great community that has grown around the event.

On the podcast, Leslie and Bruce highlight some of their favorite moments from the MivaCon experience over the years. It’s a great listen, and is in itself proof of the idea that our humanity, technology, and business success are not at odds—they fuel one another.

Here’s to a great MivaCon Digital Day 2020, and many more great shared experiences to come—in whatever form they may take.

Work Together: A collection of industry updates, insights, and resources designed to help independent sellers scale and support our community during the coronavirus pandemic.

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