Oh how I love the phrase “power hour”, it reminds me of my days at University in America when we would “pre-party” by knocking back a shot of beer every minute for one hour. I even created a signature “mix tape” of 60 songs (remember mix tapes?!), changing from one song to the next every minute so we would not have to bother with a timer.
Fast forward twenty something years and when Pierre Lindh, Co-founder of iGaming NEXT, told me about the launch of POWER hour, I was immediately drawn to the title (oh the memories!) but even more drawn to the concept once we got talking.
Since the explosion of digital events in the iGaming space, I have discovered that I actually love this medium for content absorption and as time goes on, I’m warming up to interacting with speakers and delegates in real time over the event platforms. And this is exactly what the POWER hour concept is focused on: content and real time interaction.
The inaugural “weekly digital iGaming NEXT POWER hour” is set to take place tomorrow, July 3rd at 3pm CET and the event is free to attend. In anticipation of the launch, I had a conversation with Lindh to learn more about the content he plans to share, how he plans to share it and how this series ties into the iGaming NEXT portfolio of events.
Becky Liggero Fontana: Thank you so much for joining me today, Pierre! I’m loving how you and your team have embraced the digital revolution in iGaming industry events, so lets jump right in. The industry is already quite full of webinars & digital events these days, how does POWER hour stand out from the rest?
Pierre Lindh: The POWER Hour is such an interesting project to create, because it started out by us asking ourselves the simple question if it was possible to reimagine digital events, to see if we could come up with a format that transcends this general feeling people have of digital events just being a temporary substitute for in-person events, which I think a lot of people feel they are right now.
We said, there has to be a format which can truly be engaging enough to work long term. And that is how the POWER Hour was born. A short weekly concept, every Friday between 3-4PM CET, where you’ll consume engaging content while engaging by asking questions and debating with the speakers and other delegates. We believe that this interactive format is the future of media.
BLF: I love this idea, Pierre. Can you share with us some more details on how you are going to create this more digitally engaging environment?
PL: Well, imagine the traditional way of watching TV. It is a one way communication channel where the TV speaks to you. Our digital platform is built for a kind of triangle way of communication where not only does the ‘TV’ speaks to you, but you can speak back to the speakers, and the other viewers through the chat.
This makes for incredibly interesting discussions where the delegates can break out into their own discussion on the current topics, as well as fact checking what is being discussed which can make for some great insights, not only from the speakers, but from the other delegates.
BLF: Sounds great, I think we are all really missing this type of interaction. So for tomorrow’s installment you’ll be addressing the future of U.K. regulations, navigating grey markets and the Evolution & NetEnt merger- is there anything special you can reveal about these sessions, the speakers or even simply why you’re so excited to kick off the series with this lineup?
PL: Well the lineup of speakers for our inaugural POWER Hour is second to none, and I want to thank you Becky for moderating the excellent panel on the U.K. regulations, as that market is now on serious shaky grounds.
Personally, I’m really excited to chat with Robin Eirik Reed on grey market, as he is now launching his new venture Ichiban, focusing on Asia. And finally, I’m looking forward to participate in the roundtable, discussing the massive Evolution acquisition on NetEnt, hosted by Sam Brown.
BLF- You are welcome and I’m honestly so excited for our panel, the topic is totally on-point and the panelists are too. Thank you for the opportunity! Moving on, can you also tell us how POWER hour ties into your iGaming NEXT flagship event in the fall?
PL: Our flagship digital event, iGaming NEXT: ONLINE – Adventure of Change is aiming to become the primary digital conference of the year for the iGaming industry. A clear cut and very cocky goal that we think can be achieved since our organization is now fully focused on building our digital projects for the rest of the year. We are aiming for 10,000 delegates.
The Power Hour is a great way to get people comfortable with digital events, and our platform. It is also a great way for us to gather feedback from our delegates on what type of content they want, so that we can build the strongest agenda event in an iGaming digital event.
BLF: Ha, nothing wrong with a cocky goal- good luck and looking forward to that event as well! Speaking of which, why have you already decided host iGaming NEXT as a digital-only event in October & push iGaming IDOL to October 2021 when there are other organizers who are promoting in-person events by that time?
PL: Yes, it is true that legally, we would now be allowed to organize iGaming NEXT & iGaming IDOL later in the September, and at first glance thought you think that this must be great, it means that we can now move ahead and do whatever we want again, COVID-19 is defeated and everything is sunshine and rainbows…. Well, that is not exactly the reality.
If there is anything that we have learnt from this pandemic so far, it is that when we try to make any form of prediction, the situation changes. Cases are starting to spike again in some areas of the world, and the reality of the situation is that we simply don’t know at this stage how things will play out.
Secondly, even with the recommendations that are in place for Health & Safety measures, we don’t know how effective they will be, and we feel uncomfortable knowing that we might be to blame for a ‘super spreader’ event. Therefore, we have taken the decision together with our partners to postpone the in-person events until we have more clarity. It is the right thing to do.
BLF: Very sensible decision. I, for one, do not plan to travel to any events anytime soon and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way. However, once restrictions are lifted and industry professionals feel comfortable to travel again, including myself, what is your plan for POWER Hour and its format?
PL: This is the beauty of the concept, it transcends the social restrictions on events. Our plan is to establish this concept as something that the industry can enjoy indefinitely, social distancing or no social distancing. That is the very purpose of the concept, and we think people will love it.
BLF: Excellent Pierre, I can’t wait to be a part of the first POWER hour tomorrow and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me today.