Holding a company summit online

Every year, NETCONOMY organises a summit with everyone meeting up in person somewhere to discuss what we’ve learnt over the last 12 months and work out a vision for the future. Thanks to COVID-19 this had to be changed and so the summit has been moved online and I have to say, Netcademy (our internal training department) and everyone else involved with setting that up did a marvelous job there!

Besides the keynotes by members of the management team there were 8 tracks with talks by people from all over the company. To make things easier for the speakers we also introduced so-called “stream masters” which acted as a light-version of session chairs and were there to handle the initial audio/video setup with the speaker, help with the recordings (to ensure that all talks were also available for those who could not attend), and things like that.

All those tracks were handled via Zoom which we also use for our day-to-day business. This helped keep the overhead to an absolute minimum and since we already knew that Zoom could handle sessions with 50-100 people in them easily, it made sense to stick with it. Same with Slack which we used for the session channels in case anybody had problems getting into a room. Since everyone at the company is already used to Zoom calls, we didn’t even have to moderate the calls as mic-discipline was never an issue 😍

At the non-online version of the summit we usually had a party at night. This, obviously, had to be replaced as well. To keep the evening still enjoyable the organizers managed to set up various events including exit-the-room and a pub-quiz hosted by Adrian (who’s organized countless previous quizzes in Graz) which was the one I eventually picked. I had never attended an online-pub-quiz before but the combination of Twitch for the announcements and the quiz master and Zoom for the break-out rooms worked quite well! Luckily, we had enough displays available to keep chat, Twitch, and Zoom open at the same time 😅

All in all I want to thank everyone who helped set this year’s NETCONOMY Summit up! There is still one more day of sessions next week but day-one was very well organized and with the exception of some hick-ups in the morning everything went smoothly!