Many times in my posts I will reference Andy Abramson and his VoIP Watch blog His communications relations agency, Comunicano, serves many clients in the IP communications space but above all, Andy always puts the good of the overall IP communications space first. He may be critical but his criticism will focus on where a product, company or service needs to pay attention to help not only the product but the industry succeed; he may praise a product or service but it will be well earned praise. And, in the interest of full integrity, when a client is involved in a story there is always a full disclosure.
Andy also is a gracious host; in his typical manner, over the past two weeks he organized and supported many activities at both eComm 2008 and VON.x so that both bloggers and entrepreneurs could get together more informally, discuss industry issues and learn more about not only the products and services but also, and more importantly, the people behind the products and services. Most famous are his VON wine dinners where, in a way only Andy can manage, thirty to forty key industry players can participate in a single conversation. Andy learned a lot about team work, building lifelong relationships and mentoring while he served for thirteen years in various public relations roles for the Philadelphia Flyers professional hockey team. So, with a personal interest in hockey due to both my own upbringing and the current success of one of my own long time neighbors as a player with another NHL team, often our conversations will turn to hockey and the stories behind some of the players and team management I only read about in the new over the years. Can anybody say "Gordie Howe"? or "Bobby Clark"? or "Bobby Orr"?
On the weekend after eComm 2008, I spent a couple of hours with Lee Dryburgh, the driving force behind eComm 2008 and the fact that it happened at all. Lee had sensed at the last eTel a year ago that there was a community of IP communications players – vendors, service providers and media – who needed to meet annually to get an update on innovation in the space and who needed to network in person on an informal basis. Lee put up his personal backing to make sure eComm happened; he had many challenges in pulling this conference together in a five month period. Voxbone and many other vendors came through with major sponsorships. But there are many aspects to organizing such a conference including the marketing communications required to attract attendees.
Photo courtesy James Duncan Davidson
But I said above that Andy always puts the industry first. In a post-conference blog posting this evening Lee states the situation succinctly:
But there is one post I can not leave any longer. A post to say a big thank you to Andy Abramson and his team at Comunicano. When Andy found out that I was putting together a new conference as a successor to ETel all on my own, he waded in to help. He assigned tasks to his great team members at his PR agency Comunicano and said that it would be without charge (there was no money so this was awesome). At the time I did not know Andy, only knew of him, so I really did not know what to expect. Lots of people had made promises, some of them very grand indeed. Andy promised very little so I did not expect anything and I mentally wrote it off along with many other promises. Cut forwards four months later to the conference, Andy and his team had done more than anyone to build up attendees, press and sponsors. It was completely unexpected. He promised very little yet delivered concrete results above anyone else.
When I first posted about eComm a few weeks ago I knew that Lee needed many more registrations; we were told that this and subsequent Skype Journal posts brought in a few registrations. But I also started receiving low key emails about eComm from Comunicano; at that point I knew that the Comunicano team would be able to draw in many more attendees than any Skype Journal post could even think about attracting.
Thanks, Andy (and your Comunicano team), not only for your contribution to making eComm a success but also for ensuring we all have additional opportunities to network, to meet and to build the relationships, both business and personal, critical to the success of this industry. And thanks to Lee for having the initial vision, personal commitment and deep-down dedication to organizing and executing a successful event.
And hopefully our future Skype Journal posts will be more informed as a result.
Note: Just as I completed my first draft of this post, I saw Phil’s post about Pulver Media. Sounds like we may have lost one other key venue for pulling the industry participants together.
Tags: Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch, eComm 2008, Lee Dryburgh, Comunicano
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