Blake Dowling: Conference season is here — the power of meeting face to face
Microphone voice speaker in business seminar, speech presentation, town hall meeting, lecture hall or conference room in corporate or community event for host or townhall public hearing

Microphone voice speaker in business seminar, speech presentatio
The home office — and Zoom/Teams/remote — became the norm; some never returned to the office.

When the pandemic hit, most of our population sought shelter and redefined what going to the office meant.

The home office — and Zoom/Teams/remote — became the norm; some never returned to the office. That was not an option for everyone; most of the people at our office went home, too, but we are an essential business. We were needed every day in person to ensure technology was in the hands of those who needed it. You can’t set up remote offices remotely.

Our core logistics & technical squad got a front-row seat to the changing world around us, and it was as close to the Wild West as I have ever seen. We also sold a ton of webcams, laptops, and other items as we assisted in the remote work revolution.

The Aegis team is on the front lines of conference season.

We sold those items until you could not find any on planet Earth. Crazy times.

I will always think very fondly of those who volunteered to stay behind at our office with me: Jeanne, AJ, Harris and Keith; you will never meet a more committed group of men and women. I salute them from the heart as working 12-hour days during the summer of 2020 was a career highlight; we also ate very well, laughed constantly throughout the effort, and drank a lot after hours.

Fond memories, indeed.

The tech involved in working remotely was not that complicated. Buy some gear, and you are all set. The big catch with the home office for the individual is isolation. We are social creatures and despite being the cheerleaders of home offices, we miss the boat on many things. Have you ever worked late and found yourself popping a beer with a colleague and toasting a job well done at 9 p.m. in the office? You don’t get that pride with a home office; building team chemistry with wins, losses, and hard work is best accomplished in person. Companies are starting to figure that out and demanding people get out of their sweatpants and back to the office. People are also starting to figure out they like to be around other people (mostly), and conferences are breaking attendance records all over the state.

Conferences can get old if you have been in the same gig for decades. However, take them away and they seem a lot more rewarding after a break. I participated in several remote conferences in 2020. I was an attendee, speaker, and organizer; they were a great stopgap measure to keep things moving but not replace the real thing.

I attended (2) conferences this Summer in Florida, one in Ft. Lauderdale and one on Amelia Island. The most recent being the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Community Conference. It is held outside Tallahassee, so you can “trap” everyone in the same place. The model works, and you engage authentically with elected officials, corporate leaders, not-for-profits, clients, partners, and friends from the ballroom to the bar. I took a new manager (Mike Harris) from Aegis to the conference, and he said you literally can’t go to the bathroom without getting into a new conversation. It is Infinite networking in action.

Eddie Gonzalez Loumiet, CEO of tech giant Ruvos with yours truly.

I believe the attendee total for the Tallahassee Chamber event was close to 600 (a record), and you are seeing record-breaking attendance around our state with conferences of all shapes and sizes.

But it is not all roses and bonbons out there in the Florida conference world. The annual Bitcoin Conference took a nose-dive, but that would be par for the course.

Conferences, when done right, provide unique moments. Our bank, for example, Capital City Bank, has a top executive in a rock band called Highway 85. They put on an actual concert at the conference last weekend. They were also incredible. You don’t see most bankers talking interest rates one minute and then busting into “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Bon Jovi) the next, but they did.

Great job, guys and gals. Nice to see you, Don, Rob, Beth, William, Brooke and CCBG bank squad.

Bonus: If you attended, you got a stuffed animal sloth from our company. He has a back story: Speedy the Sloth meets a Jedi and finds cybersecurity and tech speed excellence. We also made a short film about it because why not?

 Thanks to Matt, Flapjack Media, and Mickey at Full Press for making Speedy a reality.

Meet Speedy the Sloth, the star of the Tallahassee Chamber Conference.

Our state has a million conferences each year, bringing professionals together in your industry or community. We all chose our professions for a reason and being in a room for a couple of days talking about that trade, that commonality is a nice break from the 9-5 (or 7-7) race.

Borrowing and sharing ideas from others who have mastered their craft or mentoring others who are new to your expertise is what it’s all about. Conferences provide a place for teaching and learning, fellowship, and celebration.

Plus, they are a massive economic boost for Florida.

So, let’s put Zoom on snooze, and I will see you at another one soon.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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