Once Upon a Time, at the Dawn of the 21st Century...
...four colleagues had a shared vision. But this was just the beginning.
One Great Idea. One Great Team Waiting for the Right Moment.
Great ideas rarely come to fruition overnight. As an example, consider director James Cameron. He had the idea for Avatar a good decade before he began filming. Why the wait? He needed the technology to catch up with his vision.
And that's kind of how our story goes: we had this great idea about event conferencing. We just needed the right moment to bring it all together.
First, a Little Background.
Four of us from the current BeaconLive team were working together in 2001 for an equipment manufacturing company that built conference "bridges" for large telecom providers worldwide. The technology we manufactured offered accessible conferencing capabilities and simplified design on automated outbound calling to a pre-defined group of people. (We called it "Hot Conferencing." Cool, huh?)
At the time, things were going great, were being the operative word. Because then came 9/11, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the overall busting of the telecom industry. Thousands of telecom jobs were lost, companies closed, and equipment manufacturers like us were struggling to stay afloat.
And That's When the Great Idea Came About.
Despite the trouble within the industry, we knew in our gut that event conferencing had legs in a global economy: "virtual" meetings could connect people who were spread out over great distances, reduce travel costs, provide a "green" solution, and even offer a revenue stream, if online events were advertised and people paid to attend them.
We also realized that simply providing a customer with the technology and walking away wasn't the best way to conduct business - for ourselves or for the customer. But showing customers all that they could do with the technology and helping them every step of the way...well, that was something that got us all excited and seemed like a win-win for everyone involved.
Now, you're probably wondering how we could know for sure that what our gut was telling was, indeed, true. Simple. Because we had customers telling us this was what they wanted. We just chose to listen.
The Genesis of Event Conferencing (a.k.a. "Webinars")
We're not about to claim that we were the absolute "first" company, but we do know we were among the first pioneers to run a bona-fide webinar that exemplified our vision (fully moderated, operator entry, Q&A, polling, one-way audio, audience of up to 250 people). Of course, we didn't call them webinars back then. We called them "event conferences."
And, yes, this was still way back in 2001. We'd like to say that after our epiphany, we simply morphed the company we were working for into this Great Vision we had. And if this were a Hollywood ending, that's exactly what would have happened.
The Birth of BeaconLive
The vision behind BeaconLive came about in 2001. But like a fine wine or tasty marinade, this vision needed time to age and mature. For the next six years, we nurtured it over many bacon-and-egg breakfasts at our favorite greasy spoon. We talked. We brainstormed. We listened to our customers about their needs - and how we could meet those needs as a true service provider. We continued to improve the technology since we also understood that even the best customer service can't make up for a product that doesn't work when you need it to work.
And, finally, in May of 2007, we got our chance to see our vision come to life. We bought the company we'd been working for, and BeaconLive was "officially" born. To celebrate, we hired Scott Bradshaw to handle our sales & marketing and Vicky Gibson to head up our finance department. (Okay, we celebrated in other ways, too.)
And that pretty much sums up our story. For nearly a decade, we've been persevering in a specific market and listening to what our customers need to run their businesses better and doing both with a team of highly dedicated web conferencing professionals who have never failed to meet the challenges of growing a service and technology company in an extremely demanding and competitive marketplace. To many, that might sound like the end of our story. But all of us here at BeaconLive know it's still very much the beginning.
Here's to the next ten years.