Face-to-face still counts
Certainly, video communications and online collaboration tools can eliminate wasteful travel and create significant efficiencies – after all, hanging around airports, stations or being stuck on a motorway hardly constitute an effective use of time – but in the end, people like to meet people with whom they want to form a business relationship.
This point was well made at a recent briefing on VC funding that we attended in London. Both of the speakers made the point that, no matter how detailed the proposal from a company requiring investment, a fair proportion of the ultimate decision came down to the impression made by the aspiring entrepreneurs when they met the people with the money. Evidently, some VCs will know in five minutes if they want to invest in someone, showing how important the human capital part of an idea is to the resulting success of failure of the enterprise. Despite all the maths and projections, human interaction remains critical.
That was remarkably candid and extremely revealing. So much comes down to that face-to-face meeting – no wonder they are so valuable. It reminds us why both we and our customers are so keen to make the most of MWC. With so many people in one place, it's the outstanding opportunity of the year to meet actual and prospective clients, but it also reminds us how much of the hard work has to be completed beforehand. You can't just turn up at an event like MWC without having undertaken as much preparatory work as you can and pre-arranged as many meetings as possible. Everyone attends with his or her own agenda and catching their attention is difficult.