Covid Hell – Hybrid Heaven

Surprised?  I am.  Online networking is networking!  And it’s working!

I was sceptical but through a great many MORE one-to-ones than I had Pre-Covid, the consensus is coming through LOUD and clear: many people prefer the convenience of online networking AND attend more often.  Didn’t see that coming!

What we are seeing is the power of adding value through diversification of options.

Those with a strong preference for on-location meetings have an elevated hunger for such events. The extreme and courageous trouble the venues and Jacqui are having to go to is being noticed and value ascribed to it as it should be.  Running events is rarely easy; now, it’s almost improbable!  This difficulty adds value to the TBN Experience for few other organisations will make this effort.

The upsides of on-location and on-line are considerable.


On-location now gives us an increased sense of intimacy combined with personal freedom (who, after all, really wants to be a prisoner in their own home?)  The low numbers mean the events have to be exclusive… and yet open to all who book quickly!  It’s what I call, “Exclusive Accessibility!”

The on-line events offer convenience, flexibility, and saving in time and travel.  Since they seriously have acted as a catalyst for more one-to-one meetings than I’ve previously experienced at TBN, I suspect this excellent resource is here to stay.  Personally, the ability to wear a posh top and jacket whilst sitting there in my underpants is simply liberating.

On-location, as long as we assure people of the same recipe: safe, structured, succinct – I think we can continue to meet as long as the government allows this.

The Future is Hybrid

Yesterday, we piloted our very first ‘Hybrid’ event.  By ‘Hybrid’, I mean a fusion of on-line AND on-location, using technology to weave the experience together.

Whilst the wrinkles (or is it the wrinklies?) need ironing, the first event was a success.  I believe Jacqui’s success has always been founded on two ‘feet’ firmly planted on the earth: structure and loyalty.  The structure is adapting and evolving but the commitment to timely, intentional, structured networking hasn’t.  As for loyalty, people come and go – the TBN Way is not for everyone – but a strong core team of volunteers has emerged.  This is a superb way to build a memorable experience.

Now with the Hybrid option emerging, the proverbial cake can be had and eaten.

Gary Buglass is IT

Our first keynote was from Gary Buglass – a seasoned and passionate advocate of the value of IT and Telecoms to automate, service, and build businesses.  Gary has managed to transform a commodity-based offering – elevating it into the experience-economy.  Many of us do business with Gary because he stirs up confidence in him, his team, and his technology.

Alice Smee Goes Boldly…

…but not baldly.  You’ve got to love Alice’s confidence too.  Whether trekking across far off deserts (more on this in a forthcoming TBN) or learning new skills from YouTube such as how to cut hair, Alice stays young and fit through her commitment to continuous learning and development.  Her keynote, delivered with wry humour makes me believe that the leisure and events industries will recover and thrive because of people like Alice… Alice?

…next Alice went with us all to Wonderland.

The Future may be Hybrid, but it is also Weird

To say Alex Clapcott’s longer keynote was fascinating would be an understatement.  It was one of those,

“You take the blue pill…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Alex gave us a peek at the red pill future – The Matrix of our own potential futures – rich with Universal Money for all, but not money as we know it.  From Bitcoin to bit parts in the work of the future, 2020-2030 will change us all.  It’s not a future I like the sound of, but then Neo didn’t like the ‘truth’ of The Matrix…

…and let’s not forget, Neo changed the truth of The Matrix by becoming part of that world.

There is a Brave New World out there, and TBN is filled with courageous members.  If I may jump to another famous history-maker, I quote our Winston – if we continue to support one another:

We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

Cheeky, though it may be to adjust the words of Sir Winston Churchill, I would suggest Alex was saying to all of us:

We have the tools to finish the job. If we invest in training to use those tools more effectively, we will finish the job with excellence.

Written by Lex McKee

TBN Member