So, What’s the Future?

Tom Smart

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Now that the AAW Virtual Symposium is in the books what are your thoughts? I give the organization and the demonstrators great marks. Was it perfect, no, but given the time available to get it organized I think it came off really well. I watched all three days and learned a lot. I’ve never been able to make it to a symposium, but I think the camera views offered by the demonstrators made my at home attendance better than sitting there in person. Each demonstrator put the viewer right next to their lathe.

So what’s does all this mean for the future? Once we are no longer locked up, should the virtual symposium continue? If so what does that mean for vendors? Would they prefer to be onsite or do business via the internet and save the travel and hauling everything across country? As Bob Dylan said “the times they are a-changin”.
 
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Tony

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I thought it was very well done considering it was put together at the last minute. Like you said, it wasn't perfect but it was very good. I missed Friday entirely because of work, waiting to watch it when it get everything edited and compiled. I've been to SWAT for the last 3 years. The best part of going to symposiums for me is the socializing and seeing all my friends, meeting new friends and laying hands on all the new, shiny tools. The educational part of AAW was right up there with the live demos I've seen at SWAT. In some ways it's better because of the tight camera shots. I told my wife I expect them to do both next year, assuming it's allowed. For people that can't attend in person it's a great option. I would certainly attend virtually again, although I do plan to go in person in 2022 in Tennessee.
 

duncsuss

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I enjoyed the virtual symposium a lot, and honestly think I retained more from of the demonstrations than if I'd attended live. I was able to easily make notes, snap pix of my monitor if there was an angle I wanted to capture and review later, and take an occasional bio-break without disturbing the entire audience (too much information, right?)

Like Tony - I plan to go to live events, but would really like them to run both.

One huge point: I suspect this is the first AAW Symposium to have a positive cash flow. Over 4,000 people, $20 each - call it $800,000 income. Costs could not possibly have come near that amount, even if Zoom jacked up their rates obscenely. If they run one of these events *and* the Real World Symposium, the surplus from one could subsidise the other and reduce the amount of fund-raising the AAW is forced to do.
 

Tony

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I wish I could retain the videos somehow. My memory has never been great and age is making it worse...
 

Tom Smart

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What will professional demonstrators want to do? Stay at home in their own shop to demonstrate a few hours across a long weekend or loose maybe a week and travel to a live symposium? Of course, they are all selling their own tools and gizmos as well. Is that better done “live” or can they get the same revenue virtually? If you reach 4000 virtual attendees can you sell more that way than standing in a booth? Trent Bosch’s website was locked up for sometime after his demo, I assume because of high traffic.
 

Tony

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I believe even if the symposiums don't go virtual there will be quite a few people that continue to do Zoom demos. I've watched a ton of them since March, it's been great. For $5 or $10 they are an incredible value!
 

Brandon Sloan

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Full disclosure, I didn’t sign up. I don’t have internet available at my house. For the 5 or 6 other people like me, I hope the in person symposiums come back soon.
 

Tony

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Full disclosure, I didn’t sign up. I don’t have internet available at my house. For the 5 or 6 other people like me, I hope the in person symposiums come back soon.
Heck Brandon, you can watch it on your phone man!
 

Brandon Sloan

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I did consider doing that, but I couldn’t sit still for long enough to get through a full presentation. I’d prefer an on demand platform. I know they will be available for two weeks after the event, I probably should have registered.
 

trc65

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I didn't sign up either. Out here in the boonies, our only internet option is a wireless hotspot. Download speeds during the day are less than 0.5 Mbps, so figured no way I'd get it. Heck I can't even watch a 2 min YouTube vid without it throttling in the middle.

Never been to a National Symposia either, so I didn't miss anything. I understand the reasons they can't offer a DVD of the presentations, but I'd be first in line if they did.
 

Tony

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I can tell you it was brutal to sit and watch a screen all weekend, I'm certainly not used to doing that. I learned a lot from it though.
 

Graybeard

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Agree with all of the above. I wonder if the auction prices were better, the same or worse than in person? With a larger audience you'd think it would have been higher but I have no reference since I've never attended one live.
 

Tom Smart

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I can tell you it was brutal to sit and watch a screen all weekend, I'm certainly not used to doing that. I learned a lot from it though.
But the nice thing about it, Tony, is you didn’t have to sit there the whole time. You could get up to get your milk and cookies, let the dog out or go to your TX outhouse. And you could do all that in your bunny slippers.

But I do agree about missing to meet up with friends.
 
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Tony

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But the nice thing about it, Tony, is you didn’t have to sit there the whole time. You could get up to get your milk and cookies, let dog out or go to your TX outhouse. And you could do all that in your bunny slippers.

But I do agree about missing to meet up with friends.

You're right about all of that except the bunny slippers. Mine are armadillos. :texas:
 

William Tanner

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Tom, this is an excellent post. I agree with many that this was an excellent event especially when it was assembled quickly and had never been done before. The only symposium I've attended was in Portland. The information I took away was as good as an person event but I also missed mingling and networking. Also, I missed doing business in person with the vendors. I did finally buy that much desired airbrush kit from Joe Fleming.

A couple of weeks prior to the symposium, I invited Phil McDonald, the Executive Director of AAW to our monthly club chat. Phil talked about the transition to the virtual symposium and he really stoked the our members into participating. It was either during that chat or maybe at the AAW Annual Member Meeting that he thought the virtual option would always have a place at the symposium. I was hoping for that as we don't travel much anymore.

There were many high points in the symposium for me. One take away was that Mike Mahoney said he sometimes hires people to do his sanding. Why didn't I think of that?
 

Tom Smart

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Bill, interesting and exciting that AAW is leaning towards keeping the virtual symposium as an option. As someone who has not been able to get there in person, being able to access to the live demonstrations remotely is great. And recorded access for several weeks following the event is an added plus.

I recall Mahoney’s comment about sanding elves. I also saw your live comment about that being your take away from his talk.
 
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