Yesterday I joined thousands of people in Collision from Home. This is the online version of Collision, who was supposed to happen in Toronto, but had to go online due to the current COVID pandemic. The other events of Web Summit group are Web Summit and RISE. Web Summit just confirmed to happen in Lisbon in December this year, Collision is online and RISE, in Hong Kong, was postponed to 2021.
I had very low expectations about this point. We would all be at home, consuming content, with very low interaction.
As in the offline event, entrance is crowded. In Web Summit 2019 I tried to watch Snowden and it was really a bad experience. In the online event it took me about 10 minutes to log in the web app, with the support team sending messages and really supporting. Technical problems persisted in some sessions, sometimes causing big delays. It was amazing to see how the team could fix things and enhance the experience with the event going on.
The mobile app is almost the same and it allows you to connect, chat, and build your own schedule. You select your interests; the app recommends what you should watch based on them and you add what you want. Pretty simple and very helpful.
When you log in the web app you can see the stages.
- Channel 1, 2 and 3 with the video content - panels, interviews and talks
- Radio channel – only audio content
- Workshop channel – I didn’t check it in this first day
- Q&A – one channel just for it, I found it a good idea
- Classic Talks – dedicated to the best talks from the past editions of Web Summit events.
You watch the talk in a window, there is a tab with the participants and another tab for chat. Audience can react with emojis, which is pretty interesting but not everybody likes it. So, people started asking for a way not to see those emojis flying in the screen and they build a button to turn off reactions. I turned it off, but you know, I kind of missed the emojis so I turned it on again.
I really didn’t get it. So, you watch Margrethe Vestager talking about competition in 2017. Well, if in this tech, start-up, innovation world everything moves so fast, does it make sense to watch a talk about competition 3 years ago? I started watching Gary Vaynerchuk asking the audience about who was consuming content on demand. It looked like something from 10 years ago.
The great thing about being online is that you can jump from one stage to another so easily (and don’t need to walk that much). Also, you can grab something to eat or drink without long lines – the kitchen is few steps away, with the things you like.
Also, if you have an interval of 40 minutes, 2 hours, you can do something else. But this is usually the time we usually meet people in the offline conference.
One of the efforts to humanize the online conference was the short videos between the talks, with speakers answering personal questions. Who is the person who influenced you the most? What would be your message to your younger self? Although not all speakers got it, I think the result was good.
They also thought about the start-ups who would have a terrible time in networking online. So, they created “40 words” video, like a start-up ad, also between the talks.
These are my considerations in terms of the format and my experience, but I plan to write something about my takeaways from the talks, some good stuff in this first day.
(*) Originally published in https://blogcintiamano.wixsite.com/cintiamano