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Cincom is one of the largest commercial providers of Smalltalk, with twice as many customers and partners as other commercial providers.

Tom Nies

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History Shows that What Seems Like Sacrifices Might Be Blessings in Disguise

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The year 2020 is unprecedented and scarred by negativity and fear—the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Facing an enemy that we can’t see while trying to protect ourselves and our families can be a stressful and overwhelming task. We are here to tell you, it’s not all been negative. Take a deep breath, relax and let’s spend a few minutes thinking about some positive things that have come out of this pandemic.

A quick look at history tells us that things almost never go back to the way they once were after periods of disruption similar to our current pandemic. In fact, the times of greatest hardship and suffering in our past have almost always yielded positive, unexpected changes. For example, after World War I, airplanes became stronger, faster and more resilient; photography, sound recording and advanced communication were all developed; and there was positive progress for women’s rights. A similar thing happened in World War II. Jet engines, computer navigation systems, microwave ovens and the means to put us on the moon all came from technology invented or improved during the war. The same can be said of the Great Depression, the Spanish flu and so many others.

Springwise has put out some intriguing stories about innovations that have come from our current pandemic. A few of these ideas include LED face masks that mimic patterns of the mouth“Tree-House School” designed for the COVID eraa touchless tech platform to integrate with museums for COVID-era visitsholographic menus and pay points for safe, touchless food ordering and COVID-proof cinema seats, Wes Anderson-style.  

Another positive coming from the pandemic is the exploration of creative and engaging formats being developed for events. From drive-in meetings to year-round virtual convention centers, event coordinators are doing what it takes to keep attendees feeling safe and able to engage. As you can guess, much of that creative, “out-of-the-box” thinking comes in the form of re-imagined meeting formats, with virtual options being the most widely popular. 

These new meeting innovations give all of us the ability to attend more conferences, meetups and sessions—things we may not have had the time or budget to do in the past. It even gives us the opportunity to research and find other interesting meetings to attend and participate in that we may not have previously considered.  Gone are the days of planning out travel, accommodations and food. There’s no need to block out days on your calendar, book flights and schedule car rentals. From the comfort of our homes, we can meet people, network with industry peers, discover new prospects, learn about competitors or learn a new skill.

In the olden days (you know, before March of 2020), a limited number of people could go to meetings because of budget, time restrictions or some other mitigating factor. Now, having virtual options, companies get way more bang for their buck. Anyone can attend free sessions, and many more can participate in discounted sessions, saving companies time and money while still benefiting from the networking, prospecting and skills development these events provide.

Another benefit of attending virtual conferences and meetings is being there to support those who may be speaking on behalf of your company. Before, fellow co-workers could only hear stories about their colleagues speaking at in-person conferences or watch a video of the talk after the fact. Now, it’s entirely possible for entire product groups, teams or the whole company to be in attendance virtually in support of their representative. 

A perfect example of this is last month’s UK Smalltalk User Group Meetup, which we discuss here.

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