The way we work has changed drastically over the past 2 years, and we have entered  the era of tela-everything.  With Covid currently in full swing again, meaning people are restricted to their homes.  Many businesses are looking to their MSP’s to keep their business running.  Phelim Rowe joins us as we settle into a new year and new routine to chat about where we are headed in 2022 and how you can prepare your business.

Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford 

A nation nation back. It’s the first of the year first chance to talk to Phelim Rowe. How’re you doing?

Phelim Rowe 

Yeah, I’m all right. I’m back in the land of the living. I think it’s been an interesting Christmas New Year period for everybody. How you doing?

Harry Brelsford 

Good. Good. Yeah. Just taking them there, keeping it as safe as I can. Let’s talk about that. You you have some reflections on kind of where we been and where we’re headed with the the world of work.

Phelim Rowe 

Yeah, and and there’s, there’s a pessimistic way you can look at it or an optimistic way. Obviously, every person in their dog has Corona right now. Right, everybody? Absolutely everybody. And that means a lot of people are restricted to their home. And they’ll say, oh, no, not again, homework, and again. But if your business is set up with a great MSP, then this should not be a massive deal to you. And moreover, there will be a lot of people who are, you know, with COVID, but feel absolutely fine. And, of course, there will be some terrible instances as well, you know, heart goes out to them. But there’ll be a lot of people who are just ready to work remotely, which I think will be testament to how strong or not our culture of hybrid work is. I mean, I don’t know what you think. But, I mean, there are some companies pushing to get people back into the office. And, personally, I feel that is for a very separate reason. It’s, it’s it’s sort of presenteeism, but but but but I want to how strong you think hybrid work has become over the last two years?

Harry Brelsford 

Oh, I think it’s here to stay. I mean, everybody I speak with now remember, I’m in a certain segment of the world of work, right? Tech, and so on, but everybody loves it. Okay. And the tech workers tend to have that flexibility. Now, some other startups have involved where you might have a retail storefront. Well, of course, you have to go to work, right that you in another couple friends in health care. vascular surgeon, well, she she has to go to work. Right. That’s that’s how it works. But I think it’s not only here to stay. But what’s interesting, what I was going to add to your conversation about kind of what we’re seeing is also the the world of events. So we’re, we were participating in a fairly well known event called it Expo, a super show from TMC publishing. And we just pushed from February 8 through 11th, to June 22, through 24. So we just pushed basically five months. It was to be located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is in a major surge. And, you know, the decision had to be made a month out, right, February 8 is creeping up on us, we had to make make the call sponsors and speakers and attendees can adjust. I think it’s the right decision in the surge. And, you know, it’s just it’s we hamster up in the air, literally, about the event model. I know of a major distributor that postponed or canceled for the first half of the year. So you know, your effect your event guy, any any thoughts? That’s what you do you produce events?

Phelim Rowe 

Well, I guess it’s about risk appetite. And a lot of people got really burned in 2020. There were lots of venues to got burnt, who then in turn bone, other people? And you know, what do you want to do? Do you want to meet an expo? What’s that, like up to half a million dollars renting out an expo? Maybe? I don’t know, do you want to risk that? Only for new, you know, mandates to come in. And conversely, if you’ve got a giant Expo, and nobody comes, you’re, well, you’re either toast or you’re gonna refund everybody, or both. And so I saw I can see why the Expos are doing it. conferences I feel can be a little bit more nimble. If it’s a sector that’s very reclusive, anyway, okay, I get why you might not do that. But I’m wanting one for the physical security sector. And that community is very face to face very much up for meeting. And I mean, their entire job revolves around meeting. And so so I am running an in person event on the 27th of January, according to all government guidelines, and so on, but, but But it’s about risk appetite, and if you push it out, then you’ve you’ve made another risk calculation that you haven’t toasted your 2023 event. Because then your 2022 event will be too close. Maybe you have to move the other one then what about your vendors and their their marketing cycle? So it’s not an easy decision, and I don’t know it’s

Harry Brelsford 

It’s tough. Yeah, it is. It’s a I think it wasn’t lost on myself or my publishing partner TMC. The results from CES were underwhelming. I’m sure you tracked it, you know that it was a quarter of the audience. And that might be generous. Any thoughts on what you heard about CES?

Phelim Rowe 

Yes, yes. Um, I heard a lot of great things about the online format, that it was actually a lot more engaging than other events. And I know some of my colleagues who spoke virtually, I think that was a success story. Um, but I think it’s a little bit almost unkind to dwell on numbers being down in that. Because the event happened, it can happen again, you know, but even the big mighty CES, if they had canceled it, it might have got toasted. So. And then there’s, you know, the other question of, you know, buyers and suppliers walking around. I obviously are going to be sensitive to to the hard work that they put in, but I feel that the online version was a success story.

Harry Brelsford 

Good, no, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. Because the popular media and I only know what I read, I read some of the trade journals. But the popular media didn’t cover the online events, right? To be very honest, they were more focused on these empty photos. That is, you know, photos, exaggerate both good and bad, you can make an event look really crowded. If you do a two hand wave, and you can’t count Gnosis. You can make an event look empty. If it’s a coffee, if you know they’re on break.

Phelim Rowe 

If a photographer has a bone to pick with you or has an axe to grind, wow, they can they can make it look like Billy No, it’s they they could take a picture on the last minute of the last day of the smallest track. But I feel it’s good that it happened. It’s nice that at least those who wanted to go could go. But you know, people will start saying Is it right that I dropped 50 to 100 grand on a massive stand. When Mike what are my objectives? Are my objectives to move all my stuff for a fun five day party time? To to Las Vegas or to somewhere else? Is that what I’m going for? Or is my objective to freak out my competitor with my largest? Okay, could be or am I truly dedicated to winning new business now? Then, then then I get it right. But but people people people exhibit at these things for a much larger reason. I remember 2018 at RSA, for example, there was one stand, they’d spent a lot of money on their stand, but it was blank, except for a cardboard cutout of someone saying I fooled you. I’m not here. I thought okay, cool. But, you know, we have to start dividing events that are out there for lead generation and business development, and events that are out there for some other type of

Harry Brelsford 

branding, like a Superbowl ad, a branding exercise. Yeah. Hey, I’ll end up this. Uh, so are you going to be if you’re allowed, will you be at RSA and I believe Orlando this spring? Is that on your radar?

Phelim Rowe 

Maybe? Maybe not depends. It’s say even me, even me, and I’m not afraid to go to the events. I’ve got all my nice PPE equipment, but I don’t know. I would like to go. But part of me. Part of me wonders if I can get a lot out of it virtually. Yeah.

Harry Brelsford 

Yeah. All right, my man. Well, we’ll talk to you next time. Thank you for your time.

 

already. See you soon.