Enterprise hits and misses - Coronavirus changes the tech event game, and AI projects get a scale-down

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 2, 2020
This week - Coronavirus is changing the tech event game - will virtual events get a market push? AI projects get a scale back, blockchain gets a critique, and Salesforce has a blinder of a week. Your whiffs find journalists stepping in it.

Lead story - Will Coronavirus mark a tipping point for virtual events? by Kurt Marko

MyPOV: There is plenty we don't know about the Covid-19 Coronavirus just yet. One thing we do know: virtual event technology just got a big push. Kurt:

While there's nothing like face-to-face, honest and open dialog for sharing information and ideas, the time- and financial-inefficiency of big events, paired with the occasional risk of novel contagions or identity theft, make virtual alternatives much more attractive.

Video conferencing via Zoom, and even Google Hangouts, and no, I'm not putting substandard Skype calls on this list, has improved significantly. But that's not really virtual event tech. Kurt:

However, what's missing is a way to combine the intimacy of video conferencing, the scalability of video streaming and the serendipitous interactivity of live events.

Kurt goes on to preview several companies that have tried to crack the virtual event nut, including 6Connex and vFairs. Regardless of how the event season plays out, I've long felt that companies are screwing up the possibility for online interactivity between major events. Look no further than the stale, bullhorn-style-we'll-take-your-questions-at-the-end-if-we-have-time "slides and talking points" webinar.

Reviewing the screen shots Kurt provided, I flashed back on some virtual events I slogged through years ago. I would describe my prior encounters in virtual events as more strange than serendipitous, wandering lonely rooms before finding some random partner for a weird chat session. Judging from these screen shots, it doesn't seem to me that virtual events have made a big leap forward in the years since. But I'd be eager to see if my perceptions are wrong. I have a hunch that this year, I'll get my chance.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style.

Salesforce had a rather over-the-top week, eh?

Vendor news rolled on:

A couple more vendor picks, without the snarkables quotables:

Jon's grab bag - A couple more hype balloons got punctured this week. Martin took on digital transformation (Digital transformation hits the 'Trough of Disillusionment'), and Neil took on NLP (Natural Language Processing - the term is everywhere, but a true NLP app is hard to find).

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Lead story - responding to the Coronavirus tech impact 

MyPOV: I looked for another lead story, as I'm sure many are sick of Corona hysterimedia coverage. But the most thoughtful/interesting enterprise stories were on this topic - and, more importantly, how to respond - so here we go.

Constellation's Ray Wang provides a comprehensive take for event planners in Best Practices: Hosting Events In The Age Of #Coronavirus (COVID-19), from cancellation policies to partnering with local health authorities.

Dave Kellogg hits a different angle in How Startup CEOs Should Think About the Coronavirus. This one hit home:

Nobody wants to work for a CEO who’s panicking. But nobody wants to work for a CEO without a plan, either.

Now for the hard part: culture may need to change:

Sending a strong message telling people not be a hero and stay home when they're sick. Startups are full of people who give it their all, so it's not uncommon for folks who are not feeling well to come into the office for that big presentation or meeting.

Panic? No. Figure out how to succeed within changing circumstances? Yes.

Honorable mention

Overworked businessman


So a high school student created a fake political candidate, and Twitter went ahead and "verified" it. Meanwhile, ageism in Silicon Valley is prompting more men to give the plastic surgeon a call.

I haven't listened to this podcast yet, but with the title Everyone Loves White Papers, it's got to be worth a listen. The year is still young, but it looks like Clearview AI may have the "dangerous techno-dorks" award for 2020 pretty much locked up (Clearview AI says its full list of customers was stolen in a breach).

Meanwhile, this TV reporter had a no-good-very-bad-day par excellence:

reporting fail

On second thought, this journalist probably had it worse:

rental car fail

Stay safe out there, and see you next time...

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang. 

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