Celebrating 20 Years- Part 8: Staying Tech Savvy

Gail Davis, 05 July 2019

Being in the business of speaking, we hear all the latest thought leaders and accompanying buzz words. Disruption, re-tooling and change management are all concepts we hear about daily. At 20 years, it is fun to reflect back and think about how many massive changes we have seen and to think about the impact.

Let me take you back to 1999: We had a wall of shelves where we stored our speaker videos in VHS format alphabetically. We suggested a speaker, and if the client was interested, we went to our duplicating machine. We had a small tv and two VHS recorders. We bought blank VHS tables in bulk. We copied the tape and then we mailed or overnighted, depending on the urgency. I remember one time when one of my sons said, “There has to be a way to make those digital and send them via email.” I laughed, but clearly he was on to something. 

Back then the contracting process was certainly different. We prepared the contract and put it in the mail or overnighted so our client could review, sign and return. Then we did the same process with the speaker. At the very minimum, if everything went right, you were looking at an eight-day turnaround. Now with DocuSign, we can complete a simple contract in a single day.

Next month we will host clients in Dallas for a day of content and celebration to acknowledge our 20th anniversary. We did something similar in 2009 to recognize ten years of business. My staff was laughing that only 10 years ago our clients sent responses via fax forms. Today they register online. We will also use live streaming for many of the speakers at our event in a few weeks.  

TED talks have given more people in more locations access to info and have created a desire for shorter talks. Video presentations and holograms have improved significantly but my experience is that clients still want the speaker to be onsite.

At GDA Speakers, we invested in a custom software solution that gives both our speakers and our clients portal access. This system is designed with complete transparency. It has streamlined our processes even further and has significantly reduced the ramp up time for new employees. 

I wonder what changes will occur in the next ten years. I hope you will be along for the ride as we discover and adapt together.

Pictured above: A photo of our Client Portal home screen. Where you can access proposals, agreements, invoices, speaker information and so much more!