Happy New Year

Year of change

2018 was a pretty amazing year with ConferenSpy. I welcomed two new client on board – EASFAA (Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) and NYSFAAA (New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association). They both had successful first conferences in 2018. Overall, clients hosted larger conferences this past year and I introduced a complete rewrite of the mobile application which keeps getting better and better. It was daunting work at times, but the app really needed to be rebuilt from the ground up and this time it is legit, built with React Native – the code Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other giants use (thus the daunting part). Suffice it to say that React Native will be around for quite some time.

You may (or hopefully may not) remember some struggles near the end of 2017 with my hosting company. I decided then to migrate everything and now have multiple servers setup (four to be exact) to handle better performance and reliability for you all.

Company of one
Interestingly enough, most of you know that this (currently) is a one-person company and at times I’ve struggled with the business side of things. I do have some amazing help with masterminding ideas, but when the rubber hits the road, or fingers hit the keyboard as it were, it’s all me. Truth be told, I’m a developer at heart and not very business minded most of the time.

To that end, I decided to take a business course this past fall, and let me tell you it was transforming. I came out of the course with a complete business plan; as in printed and bound, not just in my head. We’re talking marketing plan, financial plan, target market, competitive analysis, everything. It is the most prepared I’ve ever felt with respect to this business. For the final project we all had to prepare a 6-minute speed-pitch (Shark Tank style) for a group of professional business people with 4 minutes for questions. We were all competing for their votes (extra points toward our grade). All 3 judges loved my pitch and I was able to handle their rapid-fire questions about everything. Two of the 3 judges voted for me, and the 3rd took me off her list because “it wasn’t fair to the rest of the class because it was such a good presentation”. Yes, I was robbed of the points, but the praise was worth more than any extra points I could have gotten. BTW, I nailed a 95% in the class.

Rebranding Challenge
After reading comments on one of my papers, the professor questioned the name ConferenSpy. She didn’t get the ‘spy’ part, and wondered if I missed mentioning a security aspect to the software, or if it was used by law enforcement or something. When I first started, this was only a mobile application that could ‘spy’ into the conference by attendees, I thought it was pretty clever at the time. Five years later, it has grown into a complete conference management system, and the mobile application is now just feature of the product. Anyway, this got me thinking and started me on a journey to rebrand the software, and business as a whole.

She challenged me to find some word or words that encompassed the product and try to form a name from them. She wanted something that made total sense when you said it, almost making you envision the product itself. Now this is software, so until you see the product, it may be tough to visualize, however, I understood what she meant.

This journey started last September and November 26th I decided on a name, the next day I commissioned a logo, and was able to obtain the domain name. If you’re really interested, you can read all about that naming journey here

The Announcement
I am happy to let you know that on January 19th, ConferenSpy will be relaunched as VenüDesk. And here is the new logo

I feel this name encompasses the concept of a centralized location for organizing a conference. Conferences happen at a venue and a desk is a place where planning happens, most of the time away way. This gives way for some neat naming conventions. For example your admin console is now your desk, you have an inbox where all of your pending work is located, you have drawers, etc. Yes, I’ve had fun with that. 

My new website is located at https://venudesk.com. The site is a great overview of what VenüDesk can offer with multiple pricing levels. These levels allow more flexibility for a conference that may not need a mobile application or may want more customization options for their conference site and mobile application.

The VenüDesk blog is called “Behind the desk” (you’re reading this now) where I’ll post these newsletters along with stories and articles about things happening at VenüDesk. Oh, did I mention the company is also called VenüDesk? It will become an LLC in the next month or so, pretty exciting eh?

Thank you! 

Let me tell you, I have a lot in store for 2019, so sit back and enjoy the ride with me. Thank you for being a valued customer, it means the world. Your success matters to me, and I hope that 2019 will bring you much success, and I’m grateful for being part of that.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, email me anytime at my new email address – [email protected] I’m working on a phone number and live chat, so stay tuned for those.

 

Go forth and plan,

-Jonathan

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