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Sydney to Minneapolis on Skype Video

Last evening I helped stage (with Entrevis and Heartland Circle) an event and three profound things happened:

1) Malcolm Cohan was introduced to several dozen people in Minneapolis before coming here in person in a couple of weeks. Malcolm is being brought to the US by George Johnson of Entrevis. You’ll be hearing a lot about Malcolm and his Vision’s for Humanity. The entire premise of telling vision stories is profound in-and-of-itself, but this guy is so incredibly delightful and the vision stories so powerful and fun to watch that people are creating them like crazy and I’m surprised they are so compelling.

2) We had Malcolm speaking to an audience over Skype video and you can seem him projected in front of the group in the top photo. This isn’t a big deal to do, you might think. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge to hook up to the in-house mixing board (I even brought my own board!) while ensuring the audio from Malcolm came through the speakers so the audience could hear him *and* so that the microphone was fed back into my laptop so Malcolm could interact with the hosts and audience.

After getting everything set up, tested and underway, Murphy’s Law appeared and suddenly the DSL connection dropped completely a few minutes into it! After determining with the excellent staff at Horst Rechelbacher‘s Intelligent Nutrients that it was dead, I pulled a rabbit-out-of-a-hat and connected through my Treo 700p and my Verizon EVDO connection and it worked! It still dropped the Skype video call several times, but it got us through until the DSL came back up in the last ten minutes.

3) About the live event itself. Something profound took place as we had the opportunity to have someone on the other side of the planet be able to speak with a group of people in Minneapolis, interact as though he was in the same room, and for nickels-n-dimes in cost. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

My objective was to create the connection between Malcolm and the people who came. In many ways this was a learning experience for all of us and I learned quite a bit. I now know *exactly* what must occur to create a rock solid connection between a venue and someone Skype’ing in from afar (none the least of which is to ensure the venue’s internet connection doesn’t go down!).

My motivation was helping George pull off a successful event, satisfying my own curiousity about Malcolm, but I was especially keen on learning how to create that authentic, human connection between someone geographically distant and an audience. Making a great connection meant making it as real as possible for both sides; making Malcolm feel as close and intimate with those to whom he was connecting as possible; and removing as much “noise” from that connection as I could. It helped that he’s so engaging and was quite gracious when his connection kept dropping!

I’ve done events like this where there has been a satellite linkup for huge bucks. Video cameras costing thousands. Technicians and gear requiring trucks. This wasn’t about the technology per se…it was about using it in a way so that it was a non-issue for how it works and what it cost for us to pull off this event. No one came to see how cool Skype video is…they came to hear Malcolm and on the strength of the recommendation of Craig and Patricia from Heartland Circle and the enthusiasm and knowing of George.

I’m still stunned that it went as well as it did and I know the next one will be even better.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. Video presença e Lei de Murphy

    Li este artigo e achei muito interessante.Não pelo uso do Skype Video num evento através de um telão, que não é uma idéia nova ou original, embora bastante inteligente. Mas pela forma com que o autor e produtor do…

  2. I’m a writer of children’s poetry, having just completed my 230th poem. At the request of local children, the poems are on my own website, with illustrations, voice recordings, articles for teachers and parents, etc etc.

    I already go into local schools and read to children, talk to them, listen to what they have written etc. I am going to make this available to schools worldwide via Skype as from September.
    I would like teachers to know of this.
    http://www.whiteheadm.co.uk/html/josies_poetry.htm
    Josie Whitehead (Josie’s Poems)

  3. Steve,
    Outta the park interesting and, oddly enough, reassuring!! Your artistic ability with your own stories from the telling to the graphics: inspirational!

    The possibilities of connecting so easily with loved ones and clients so far away, so easily, makes this technology so practically useful… now to go out and get hooked up.

    From my perspective the medical application possibilities you outline so well here will significantly change the delivery of medical care globally – and we won’t have to wait for a sign-off from unmanaged care!
    Thanks so much!
    Chuck

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