Convention centers can be beautiful energizing places. They can also be sad lonely reminders of why business travel sometimes sucks. I have spent many hours inside convention centers as a speaker before they became one of the first big casualties of the pandemic. A Businessweek feature this week focused on the collective efforts of architects, city officials and event planners to imagine a richer future for these forgotten convention spaces. The events industry right now is filled with hope, which is fueling multi-million dollar investments. The irony is that hope is also the one thing that these events themselves can bring us.
Gathering the smartest minds in a profession together face to face for future-shifting conversations inspires hope. It is undeniably important. Every time I am invited to an event, I experience this hope. It’s what makes the travel delays, time away from family and long hours worth it. And like the magic of a wonderfully planned and executed convention, hope is one of those things that is really hard to recreate over Zoom.