Gather.Town proved us that online conferences can be funny!
The Covid-19 pandemics caught the whole world with the guard down. You simply don’t go living day by day expecting some person in a far continent to eat a bat and desenrol a chain of events that will change the course of mankind forever. I think there’s no example whatsoever that could describe the butterfly effect better than some random guy affecting the whole world by his unusual “menu choice”. As we weren’t prepared for that, some of that old-fashioned Darwinism was necessary in order to fit all we built as a society into this new form of living. This distant, cold, always on and cyberpunk-alike alter reality that we had to adapt and overcome.
I’m a peoples’ person, I like to engage in conversation, hug my friends, have a beer in a cool bar, get to know different places and lifestyles, so the pandemics hit me really hard. All of a sudden there were no more offices to attend, bars to meet, or places to travel to. For months, my only human contact - in person - was thanking the cashier in the supermarket after she finished charging me for the bill. Infinite (insert the name of your favorite app for video calls here) meetings, calls, and even parties - PARTIES, for God’s sake - later, I still miss the heat of personal relations.
Nevertheless, it’s important to always refer to that adaptive Darwinist theory that came up in the first paragraph. If we have a problem, the market will need to adapt to it… or simply die. And that shouldn’t be an option to consider, right? As a marketer and sales person, I really miss looking directly at peoples’ eyes, the capability of reading a room’s atmosphere, or breaking the ice with a joke - that might work in online environments as well, but isn’t the same thing. What about sales conventions? They are like paradise for me! A place to meet, do networking, and find great professional deals and opportunities.
It’s been a while since I took part in one of these. But everything changed last week. Ann applied to be one of the startups present at the EdTech Week, a place where startups could showcase their solutions and pitch ideas on a Shark Tank. We worked hard for over two weeks, and it surely paid off, as we were one of the selected companies to swim with the ocean’s biggest predators!
During preparation for EdTech Week, me and our CEO, Yotam, prepared methodically for the occasion. I’m not trying to over praise him, but he delivered a super pitch to those sharks. But till that moment, nothing too different from what we are used to doing. The biggest surprise - and the reason why I’m writing this text - came right after!
We were invited by the program organization to attend an online business conference, on a platform that both of us never had heard of before: Gather.town.
As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of engaging with other people through the online methods that became mainstream during the pandemics. But this was completely different! This was a lot of fun! Moments after joining the platform, I rendezvoused with Yotam in our company’s booth (YES, WE HAD ONE!). When we saw each other’s avatar, we started laughing very hard. It was quite amazing how fluid and vivid the experience was. It really resembled a convention - but at some points it was even better, there were no ultra expensive drinks whatsoever, for instance.
The interface reminded me a lot about my Pokémon RPG playing games. The main difference being I wasn’t looking for rival trainers to overcome with my fierce Dragonite, but other businessmen and women with whom I could interact in real time, engage in conversations, and try to pass our company’s values.
This experience was so amusing that not even the time (event was hosted by an American company, so the conference began at midnight for us IDT) was an upsetting factor.
My experience with Gather.town just describes what I think technology should do for people. Even when we’re not dealing with the best case scenario, machines should entertain, connect, and help us with our goals, by potentially introducing new features and reinventing the status quo. That’s pretty much what Ann believes as an edtech as well, while we build new paths to maximize students’ performance via personalization.
Thanks Gather! It was a great ride!
Daniel Hippertt Head of Communication