Episode 38 - The Why Behind Cloud Conventions

Helping the Channel Get Business Back on Track

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Cloud Conventions is more important than ever because its purpose is to motivate our industry to keep themselves in gear so they in turn could get their business and help their customers get their businesses back on track as we navigate and emerge from the COVID crisis.  Launching on May 11, attendance is open and at no charge to the telecommunications and cloud channel.  Listen to the “why” behind Cloud Conventions.

As long as the Channel Partner’s trade show for the telecommunications channel has been around, I’ve looked forward to going to Vegas.  My goal was always to see what was coming next in the industry, to reinforce valuable relationships and form new ones.  But even before the COVID crisis sidelined not only Channel Partners, but every other event, I was worried that this year’s event was going to be different than others in the past.

It started back in January when a group of us tried to book hotels and plane tickets two months in advance and got total sticker shock.  The airfare had escalated to over $1,000 from Atlanta and hotel rooms, even in less fancy hotels like Treasure Island were well over $600 a night.  What the hell, right?  In the past, you could always find a bargain in Vegas even if it was across the street from the event hotel.

A little research was all it took to find out that someone got their wires crossed when it came to scheduling and hordes of construction and building people were ready to descend on Vegas in the same week as Channel Partners for the world’s largest industry show.  So, Convey bailed for the first time in almost twenty years and then realized that if we bailed, partners who had not yet made travel arrangements were going to likely stay home as well.

That’s when the idea of having Convey deliver a virtual event was born.  We knew we had the technology, strong vendor support, a huge network of sales partners and deep experience doing webinars, but also we knew that in order for the event to work, it had to have a mission, a purpose, and a reason to be there.

Before the virus spread to our shores, we focused on two reasons that Cloud Conventions was needed:

Reason 1 was that more and more sales partners have been disappearing from the Vegas event over the years.  Based on that pesky construction show and the high cost of travel, we knew that many partners would get discouraged from coming.  However, the disappearance of sales partner from the Channel Partners show was not just a 2020 thing.  It seemed that the show had been losing its relevance, its mission and even its way as more exhibitors vacated the exhibit floor for other spaces, people were harder to find because they were so spread out, and the overall experience was getting old and somewhat tired.

That leads us to reason #2.  We believed that partners needed a better experience.  Yes, it’s important to know about SD WAN, and yes, it’s important to be updated on mobility, but frankly, Vegas is less than ideal as the place to do it.  Sessions were feeding partners with advertorials, but not with strategy.  There was little to no attention being paid on how to create a better sales partner by helping them run businesses efficiently, market to get people to pay attention, and how to grow their business.  The content and education were frankly, stale.

But then the unthinkable happened and we all started working from home in March, live events and trade shows were cancelled and business went on full lockdown in April.  For an industry that prides itself on relationships, this is emotionally devastating when you can’t see your team, your customers, your partners and your friends.  And frankly, this is the one industry that is pivotal to the rest of the economy’s ability to keep working because we drive the network, and the technology tools to empower our customers to create a virtual work environment and keep going.

And then it became crystal clear to us that Cloud Conventions was now even more important because its purpose was at a higher level and that purpose was to motivate our industry to keep themselves in gear so they in turn could get their business and help their customers get their businesses back on track as we navigate and emerge from the crisis.  But getting business back on track involves thinking differently, thinking strategically and having new ideas ready to help those customers that are depending on us to be that consultant and advisor that thinks beyond cable connections, SD WAN networks and the cloud.

And because this mission is so important, Cloud Conventions will be unlike any live or virtual event the industry has seen.  Here is our commitment:

  • We promise not to be a series of endless product advertorials and so spiff-focused that you don’t walk away with anything that you couldn’t have gotten in an email blast.
  • We promise you will learn new strategies to help yourself and your customers virtualize your workforce, your contact center, your marketing strategy and your customer service. 
  • We will help both partners and industry vendors survive this catastrophe by getting new ideas to run your businesses more efficiently, find new tools to help you and develop the right communication, leadership and resilience strategy to keep your head in the game.
  • You will hear from thought leaders both in this industry and beyond.  Speakers who are volunteering their time to bring you new ideas in a time when new ideas are called for:  leading people through a crisis, how disruption will lead to innovation, and what you need to know about the markets you serve and how they are weathering the storm.
  • This will not be a series of boring webinars.  It’s going to be fun.  You’ll have a chance to network, visit with vendors, join live chat, pick up that all important trade show swag, and get engaged.  We’re even going to have cocktail parties, so get ready to have your hosts make it a great time for everyone.

What started as a desire to bring a better educational experience to partners who were priced out of Vegas has now turned into so much more.  We’re working harder than we ever have in our lives to make this experience meaningful for attendees, a great way for vendors to reinforce existing relationships and form new ones, and for everyone to have an educational and content-rich experience.

I would have said that we will make America Great Again, but I’m sure my friends on both sides of the political aisle would have killed me for stealing that phrase or even using it.  But, to paraphrase, it’s our jobs to keep America working and help get business back on track.  Let Cloud Conventions in May be your educator, your motivator and your virtual experience to get you inspired, and ready and able to help your business and be ready to help your customers.