5 minutes with founder of VR and hybrid event firm Glisser

By Laura Berrill
AI Magazine talks to Mike Piddock, founder and CEO of the virtual event and hybrid event company Glisser

Could you give me an overview of your position and what it entails?

I’m the founder and CEO at Glisser, which is a virtual and hybrid events platform that focuses on maximising audience engagement. My role covers the whole business, but primarily I find myself focusing on specific parts of the company where I can be most helpful and have the most impact. This is constantly changing - and can range from setting the strategic product roadmap, interviewing potential recruits around the world, diving into our company metrics, or simply unblocking challenges for other members of the team so they can achieve their objectives. A bit of everything really.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I would say it’s evolved over the years, and that one thing I’ve definitely learnt is that you have to have a range of ‘leadership styles’ that you can apply in certain situations, rather than operating in a totally fixed way. Ultimately, you’re driving at an outcome, and usually that outcome means bringing on board others to help you. You need to get a feel for their personalities, the way they like to work, and what motivates them, and adjust accordingly. For example, leading a team of developers requires a very different approach to leading a team of salespeople.

How have you reacted to the course of the last 18 months?

Prior to COVID-19 we largely served an in-person events sector with technologies that allowed their audience to participate in the event right there in the meeting room. As COVID hit we had to react fast and decisively, focusing our attention on the virtual events space. We listened to our customers throughout, and quickly got a feel for what they needed and how we could engineer our product to support them. After stabilising (and indeed growing) the business, we then set our sights on how we can operate permanently as a hybrid business, and maintain the culture and spirit of the company when we’re not in the same office space every day.

To what extent had it impacted existing projects?

The pandemic more or less wiped out our existing business overnight, in that physical events stopped and clients that were signing up for our technology to use at these events no longer needed it. However, we were able to demonstrate its value in a virtual environment, and ensure many of those clients stuck with us, albeit with a slightly modified platform and a slightly modified requirement!

What are your priorities going forwards?

After the shift to virtual events, we immediately started asking ourselves “what’s the end game here?” We realised that first, the world wouldn’t just revert back to physical events overnight, but secondly, people would one day be back in a room again. We felt strongly that that meant ‘hybrid’ or ‘blended’ events would become the norm, at least during the transition phase, and most likely permanently. As a result, our priority is to build a business that is ready for where we end up, rather than where we are right now. 





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