Last year, when the Millennial Summit was in-person and held at the Chase Center on The Riverfront, it launched an app to help attendees streamline their experience. I used it and thought it was a nice perk, allowing you to keep track of panels and send questions to panelists digitally (a win for the introverts).
This year, the MillSummit app was way more than a perk — it was where the event happened. It was how people chatted, took notes and shared happy hours. And, unlike some far bigger and more famous multi-day virtual events that didn’t use a similar platform, it worked.
Instead of logging into Zoom for each panel, attendees accessed the virtual sessions in event rooms on the app. If you felt like checking in on different breakout sessions happening at the same time, you could — and, since sessions have replay available to attendees for several days after the summit, the stress over trying to do it all was diminished.
This was my first time using an app platform to attend an event, and I have to say, I hope it isn’t my last. The glitchiest part of my day was using Zoom directly as a moderator (I moderated the keynote presentation and fireside chat with Kimmi Wernli, president and owner of Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter) — though to be fair, considering the session happened during the worst of Tropical Storm Isaias in my area, it could have been a lot worse.
Charlie Vincent, executive director of Spur Impact, the organization that runs MillSummit (and was likely the one working hardest behind the scenes throughout the three-day event) has said that in the coming years, when we can return to in-person events, the MillSummit will likely be a combination of in-person sessions and virtual content. The all-virtual event this year has shown that replayable content has a lot of value, and can potentially open up the event to attendees worldwide while maintaining a local, in-person component.
It also boosts the idea that, yes, you can have a virtual conference that is not free, where ticketholders have access to exclusive content they can revisit, and you can actually experience every single session — something that’s impossible at the in-person summit. Virtual is still an experience of value when done right.