As I adjust to the new normal, I've been thinking hard about the future of the Hey! events. Like the rest of the events industry, things have been turned upside down.
The plans we had at Hey! HQ for 2020 quickly became unachievable. That's not to say we didn't take it all in our stride, having held a successful online conference as well as the usual Hey! events, but things were definitely a change to what we had planned, so the schedule required a rethink.
If I'm honest, I've been a bit burnt out, mentally knackered from days spent in the home office working with clients, and physically tired trying to maintain some sort of fitness in what still feels like a relatively locked down country, regardless of the Government guidelines. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly grateful for continuity of work provided by supportive clients, I couldn't have wished for better clients through a world pandemic. Something to note, however, is that it's become harder to separate the life from the work when we work where we live. I've had a home office for quite some time which I love. But not feeling comfortable leaving that office and going back into a shared office setting, that's weird.
One thing it has done though is provide me with some time to reflect. It seems like 2020 can be the year for that! After turning All Day Hey! into a social, online conference (inventively labelled All Day Hey! Live), I was proud to see what we could achieve with technology and a little willpower. I got the same feeling when we premiered the Hey! Live event with Laura Kalbag. It has been liberating interacting with the Hey! community in this new (for us) format, having relied so heavily on the in-person events.
But the world has changed, and we need to keep up. I no longer see All Day Hey! Live as a one-off but a possible business model for the conference moving forward (don't worry, the in-person one isn't going anywhere) — a chance to cast an even wider net using Hey! to reach more people. I was buzzing to see 27 countries tune in to watch the conference stream, imagine if we could do that with the regular events as well.
And so the future of Hey! for now, looks like a hybrid approach. While it's not safe to do in-person events, we'll move things online for the foreseeable. We'll focus on better production value, more diverse subjects, engaging lectures where we'll interview the best from the industry and talks focusing on new and battle-tested topics and technologies that are relevant to our community. As a collective of creators and thinkers, I want us to use the Hey! platform to unleash the social creatures we are, to talk once again on topics we love, and share ideas and knowledge.
We're kicking things off with a bang. I'm excited to welcome Lu Liu to the virtual stage to talk about how she got into technology on 20th October. Her talk will deliver practical lessons surrounding how it's never too late to get into tech. If you've been on the peripheral of technology considering a role in the industry, this talk is for you. You'll also be able to ask Lu questions during the event, as she'll be present for a Q&A in our Slack community.
Following Lu in November, I'm thrilled to welcome back Sharon Steed to talk about empathy at work (and beyond) on 10th November. As a member of the All Day Hey! alumni, Sharon gave a similar talk back in 2019. I wanted to get Sharon back to continue that conversation. How do we learn empathy on a deeper level? We'll be discussing that and more on a live stream where you can ask Sharon anything through our Slack community.
As we continue to wrestle with what is no doubt a challenging time for everyone, I'm going to be ploughing my energy into continuing to run these events the best I can. As always, I welcome feedback on how we can improve these events, make them more accessible for everyone, and generally push things forward.