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Uncovering Bezos’ key to success | Volume 18

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Last weekend the Bucs took the Chiefs in the Super Bowl to come out on top with a 31-9 win. 

As the score jumped in favour of the Buccaneers, viewership declined. With streaming taking viewers away from the TV, only 91.6 million watched live on TV with 96.4 million total views including streaming services. 

This Super Bowl experienced the smallest TV audience in 15 years.  

Personally, I (Cali B, not Ross) am not one for sports, although Foundation’s Slack was lit up with messages from fans of both teams admitting defeat and celebrating the win. But the only winner I am interested in is who had the best Super Bowl Ad

Streaming is peaking in popularity and there was a time when we saw virtual events go through the same rapid rise in popularity. 

Virtual events were seen as exciting, dare I say revolutionary and a welcomed burst of social interaction as we experienced the first wave of lockdowns.  

But have they begun to lose their charm as we settle into the routine of 24/7 screen time and streaming savvy?

Before we get into that here’s a peek at what’s to come: 

  • Can’t hurt to spice up your virtual events 
  • Jeff Bezos is stepping down from CEO but he has left us with valuable lessons
  • Investment in community development has been on the rise

Virtual Event Fatigue 

Since the start of the Coronavirus back in 2020, virtual events have increased 1000%.

That stat may look shocking but we have passed a year of having confirmed cases in North America making it a no-brainer that virtual events have taken over all in-person events

Now, with a year of virtual events behind us, screen attendance has lost the novelty and excitement. Audience members are becoming less engaged, turning off their cameras, giving into pop-up notification distraction, and multitasking with housework


Wild Apricot found that 38% of virtual event hosts are noticing that there are too many other events vying for their audience’s attention, and participants are over it

B2B event marketers said that audience engagement is the largest challenge faced when hosting virtual events, followed by interaction abilities. 

With access to virtual events that would otherwise be limited by geographical access, going live with industry leaders, and events popping up that have never occurred in person; this has become a crowded scene. 

Generally, in-person attendees are naturally more engaged as they put their phones away and listen intently to the speaker. It is harder to gain the same attention online when distractions are easily present. 

Personalization aimed at the specific audience, including breakout room discussions, hands-on tasks and frequent Q&A periods are ways to engage the audience. Features based on personalization, customization and interaction should be focused on when preparing virtual events to foster an engaged audience. 

This situation has also created a new niche market where companies have popped up to create virtual presentation platforms focused on making virtual meetings more engaging. MmHmm is one of these companies and they have gained $31 million in pre-launch funding, which is promising for this emerging market. 

Key Takeaways

  • Virtual events require greater attention given to personalization and interaction
  • With access to a greater scope of events, audiences are experiencing event fatigue 
  • Emerging from this fatigue, a new niche industry has risen focusing on virtual hosting and providing an engagement based hosting platform 

Bezos Places Amazon’s Success One Thing: Customer Focus

Jeff Bezos has left his position as Amazon’s CEO and is leaving us with his key to success. 

The most important person in the room.”
Jeff Bezos on his view of the customer

Establishing a customer focus needs to go beyond the quarterly review of customer feedback, deeper than understanding how your customers use your product and surpassing the achievement of quality UX. 

Bezos was known to bring an extra chair into meetings to symbolize the customer. He saw that they deserved a seat at the table and their presence should always be considered. Keeping the user and the end goal in the mind at every step of every process is his key to finding success

At every level of the company, from call center to c-suite, everyone needs to be able to answer customer questions and have a wholesome view of the customer experience.

For a long time, Jeff was the only person at Amazon who could answer customer queries, but as the company grew he could step away from this responsibility. Still, when he could, he would often respond to direct customer emails and was known to occasionally forward emails to other executives or department heads, including a simple ‘?’ in his forward to seek the answer and nudge a direct response. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Customer focus is a major key to company success
  • Even as company growth occurs you need to keep the end goal and end-user in mind
  • Try keeping an empty chair or something to symbolize your customer’s presence in every meeting to keep their opinions and experiences in mind

Community Value Continues to Grow

Annually CMX releases a community industry report. On February 3rd, they came out with their 2020 findings and 2021 applications. 

This report comes from 528 community managers, across 42 countries, from a range of industries and company sizes, surveyed during November and December of 2020. 

Since 2017 the importance of developing a community has become essential to businesses. The report findings help guide and support business and community professionals to invest strategically in community development. 

Below are six takeaways from the report that reflect trends going into 2021.

1. Internal community teams are growing and maturing 

  • 88% of surveyed companies have at least one dedicated, community manager 

2. Community is becoming critical to business 

  • 86% of surveyed companies say the community is critical to their mission 

3. The community saw more investment through COVID-19 

  • 56% of community managers viewed it as more essential since the pandemic 

4. Measuring community value remains a top frustration 

  • 45% of community managers struggle to quantify the value of their community

5. Facing fatigue, virtual events are here to stay

  • 80% of surveyed representatives said virtual events are important to their strategy 

6. There’s more work to be done for community inclusion 

  • 79% of community managers believe organizations should take a public stance on diversity, equity and inclusion issues 
  • Only 50% of surveyed companies have dedicated diversity policies 

Inclusion and measuring community value are areas of focus moving into 2021. Companies have recognized that these features are critical, yet the execution is underdeveloped. 

Key Takeaways

  • Community is a crucial part of a business’ strategy 
  • Including community in a mission statement isn’t enough, it needs to be acted on
  • In this climate, community development is becoming increasingly important and is worth the investment in growth


🖊  Box, a cloud content management system has acquired start-up SignRequest for $55 million to expand their portfolio of services. 

🤫  The Hustle prefers privacy when it comes to financials, and HubSpot has agreed to keep the valuation of the acquisition to itself. That said, we do know the acquisition is official and a great success for The Hustle.

🚚  Shipping and logistics process automation company, Slync.io reported closing $60 million in Series B funding. This influx will be used to grow its physical presence and expand core teams.  



Artificial intelligence is far from perfect when it comes to overcoming race and gender biases. AI technology as a concept was never meant to benefit the common good, it was meant to streamline processes and improve robotics.

In efforts to overcome AI biases, researchers have begun looking deeper into AI technology and how it’s influenced and being used to censor content. Two studies stood out to me when reading through a recent Wired article by Will Knight

  1. AI’s aren’t all the smart, they are what they read. Algorithms trained on old texts learn to replicate the texts and this old content doesn’t represent the world or climate we live in today. 
  2. A 2018 Google study found that image recognition algorithms present tremendous cultural biases. One example: it could only recognize Western wedding scenes.



Serendipitous Work Moments Recaptured Remotely by Marissa Goldberg


Exodus by Bob Marley & The Wailers (Best Track: Three Little Birds

Originally Sent Out Thursday, February 11, 2021. Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today. Signing up also gives you early access to Ross’ Tuesday essay full of exclusive industry insights.

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